Courtenay mom with premature twins celebrates first Mother’s Day

Sarah Dixon and her partner Terry are taking little Arthur and Charlie on a day walk to mark the day.

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Sarah Dixon will celebrate her first Mother’s Day as a mother by hiking with her newborn twins and her partner Terry on Vancouver Island.

“I don’t expect babies to do something like make me breakfast,” Dixon said with a laugh over the phone from Courtenay.

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Their sons were born on January 23, at 33 weeks: Charlie weighed three pounds, 15 ounces and Arthur three pounds, 10 ounces.

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“We were very surprised when we found out they were twins,” Dixon said. As if on cue, one, or perhaps both, could be heard gurgling in the background.

Twins are rare, and in Dixon’s case it meant additional concern because of hereditary cardiac arrhythmia, irregular heartbeats that can be more dangerous when they are genetic.

“I consulted my cardiologist when we were thinking about trying it and they assured me that I should be fine, I just needed to be monitored for delivery,” Dixon said.

When her pregnancy was confirmed, her doctors on the island took no chances and referred Dixon to the cardiac obstetrics clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver for follow-up.

He was asked to come to Vancouver early and, thanks to an organization in the Comox Valley called YANA (You Are Not Alone) which provides temporary accommodation in Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver, they had a place to stay.

“They provide accommodations to families who need to travel for family care,” Dixon said. “They provided us with an apartment for the entire time we were in Vancouver. “It was a great relief.”

The couple traveled to Vancouver at the end of January to take some time off, but the boys had other ideas.

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Unlike paternal twins, fraternal twins each have their own placenta, and shortly after the couple arrived in Vancouver, it was discovered during a routine ultrasound that one of the children was not receiving all the nutrition he needed, so so an emergency cesarean section was performed. three days after Dixon’s arrival.

“In Sarah’s particular case, she has a heart condition that may be high risk,” he said. Dr. Jasime Grewalprofessor of medicine at UBC and director of the cardiac obstetrics clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital.

The genetic condition involves the heart’s electrical system, he said.

“So what can essentially happen in that scenario is that during times of stress, that flight or fight response, can essentially turn into a life-threatening arrhythmia, so the concern was that the birth would occur in a place where that condition heart could be managed and not become a problem during childbirth.

“Of course, things are more complicated because I was pregnant with twins.”

premature baby
Sarah Dixon with Charlie (left) and Arthur. The boys weighed less than four pounds when they were born seven weeks early in January. Photo by Sarah Dixon /sun

Cardiac Obstetrics at St. Paul’s is a provincial program that cares for women with heart conditions from across British Columbia, caring for them during their pregnancies, “optimizing things so that they don’t run into life-threatening scenarios,” Grewal said. “Be proactive instead of reactive.

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“It’s not to say that things don’t happen, but the idea is that if you’ve done what’s necessary over the course of pregnancy, the likelihood of having a catastrophic event is mitigated.”

The children remained in neonatal intensive care for four weeks, a time Dixon and Terry made good use of.

Any parent who has brought home a two- or three-day-old baby from the hospital and wondered how society could be so irresponsible as to leave such a vulnerable little thing in the care of two amateurs can appreciate that Dixon is grateful for that month. specialized care.

“The nurses are amazing, they taught us everything,” Dixon said. “When we were able to bring them home we were still very scared because they were so small, but we had had a lot of supervised training.

“Obviously you wouldn’t choose that kind of experience, but it was a silver lining. I thought, ‘I can’t believe other people come home after a day and don’t get this four-week training.’

Frank, Dixon’s Australian Shepherd, has taken a liking to the kids and who knows, he might be able to help keep them from straying too far once they’re crawling.

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The children now weigh around nine pounds and are named after the couple’s late maternal grandfather: Charlie was Sarah’s grandfather, Arthur was Terry’s.

The names they had chosen, but they were not sure which name would be given each, until they were born.

“It was very obvious to us who was Arthur and who was Charlie, for some reason,” Dixon said.

“They look very different from each other, with different facial features. And Arthur has a lot more hair.”

The parents do not plan to have more children now that they have two adorable babies.

“I know moms are supposed to say this, but they are such cute and sweet little ones.”

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