A very premature infant who doctors believed would die made a significant recovery after his twin sibling was placed in his incubator.
Hannah Zimunya is convinced that Dylan, her son, saved the life of his brother Deiniol by just cuddling him after the twins were reunited in the hospital.
The boys, from Wrexham, were taken 60 miles (96 kilometers) to a newborn clinic in Bolton after being born 15 weeks early.
While Deiniol deteriorated, Dylan improved and was sent to Wrexham.
A tale of two boys
In October 2018, Hannah, 28, was 25 weeks pregnant when she went into premature labour. While physicians at Wrexham Maelor Hospital did their best to delay birth, she gave birth to the twins two days after.
Dylan weighed 0.9 kg, while Deiniol was even smaller at 0.7kg.
They were moved to the Royal Bolton Hospital, the closest facility that provides care for extremely premature infants and has two incubators available. The twins were put on ventilators so that they could breathe.
“We were expecting the boys to be born early with them being twins, but I don’t think anyone expects or can prepare themselves to go through that”, according to Hannah, who is married to Xavi and has three other children.
Dylan’s condition improved, and he was returned to Wrexham Maelor, while Deiniol remained in Bolton and continued to require 100% oxygen to survive, showing no signs of improvement.
“The whole experience was terrifying”, the mother recalled.
“He saved his life with a cuddle”
When the twins were 14 weeks old, medical professionals brought Dylan back to the hospital to say farewell because they were concerned Deiniol’s health was fatally worsening.
They spent just five minutes cuddling with each other in the incubator. Hours later, Deiniol’s condition had stabilized and his oxygen support had been cut in half.
Hannah said: “It wasn’t until I phoned later that night to ask how Deiniol was doing that they told me his oxygen support had been halved”.
“It was incredible. Somehow Dylan, by just being there, managed to help Deiniol – he made him better”.
“The next day his oxygen [support] levels had gone back up to 100% and he was showing signs of deterioration again, so the nurses suggested bringing Dylan back for another cuddle”.
“Within two days Deiniol was taken off his ventilator completely. It really was a miracle”.
“He saved his life with a cuddle. It was brilliant to watch and it showed all of us that they should never have been separated.”
Before being released in January 2019, Dylan spent a further two months in Bolton with Deiniol. In April, Deiniol went home with his brother.
The boys’ first birthday party included their brother, two sisters, and other family members.
“I can’t explain how happy I am both boys have celebrated their first birthdays, because there was a time where we didn’t know if both of them would get the chance to,” said Hannah.
“It was the scariest time we have been through.”
“We couldn’t be more thankful to all the staff at both The Wrexham Maelor and Royal Bolton hospitals.”
In the UK, twins are frequently placed in incubators together in an effort to enhance their condition, however there is conflicting evidence regarding whether this procedure has any definite advantages.