real life

The heartbreaking moment premature twins Connor and Levi met for the first and last time.

A photographer has captured the moment premature twin boys met for the first and, sadly, last time — and the story before the photo is a heartbreaking one.

Charmaine Winsor was just 25 weeks pregnant when she received devastating news about the health of her unborn twin boys.

Days after a check-up at John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle, a cardiologist delivered the blow to Charmaine and her partner Cameron in the form of a diagnosis: their twins were suffering from Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

A disease of the placenta, TTTS occurs when, in some identical twin pregnancies, vital nutrients from the placenta aren’t shared equally. This causes one twin to have a decreased blood volume.

Along with the diagnosis came the news Charmaine’s twins wouldn’t survive the night if she didn’t deliver them right away.

Levi was struggling on life support. (Image supplied.)

"The neonatalist said because that even though they were 25 weeks, because they were twins the survival rate would be as if they were 23 weeks. They said there was only a 10 to 20 per cent chance that they would survive the birth," Charmaine told the Daily Mail.

Connor and Levi were born two hours after Charmaine was admitted to the hospital for an emergency C-section, both surviving the birth against the odds.

The boys were fighting for their lives, but Connor died seven days later when his kidneys began to fail.

"Connor had to be put up to 100 per cent life support and was on the maximum dose of morphine," she told the Daily Mail

"Levi was doing worse too. I think he was sensing that his brother was dying in front of him."

Both parents held Connor before his life support machines were turned off and he passed away.

"They closed off the room and we had till 9:30pm with him," Charmaine said. "We dressed him, we bathed him, my little ones had a hold of him, we just sat with him."

A nurse made up a bed for Connor next to his brother Levi, where the pair stayed together for few hours before he had to be moved.

ADVERTISEMENT

Charmaine and her husband got a chance to say goodbye to Connor. (Image supplied.)

It was during this time that a member of Heartfelt, a charity of photographers who volunteer to capture images for parents of terminally ill children or those who have experienced a stillbirth, took photographs of the boys.

"They placed Connor with Levi straight away and Heartfelt took amazing photos of my boys together for the first and last time," Charmaine said, in an interview with POPSUGAR Moms.

"[That photo] shows that they got to touch each other and be that close again. It's a photo I'll always cherish."

Levi, now 13 months old, came home from hospital after spending 156 days in intensive care.

Charmaine and Cameron have shared their sons' story to spread awareness about TTTS. The mum said she believed a lack of information contributed to the devastating outcome of her pregnancy.

"TTTS is a heartbreaking disease and I know if I was given more information on it early in my pregnancy, I may have been able to try and fix it," Charmaine told POPSUGAR Moms.

"Infant loss and stillbirth are still very taboo subjects and parents shouldn't be ashamed to share their babies whether they are alive or have grown their wings."

Photos used with permission.