When Maria Jones-Elliot found out she was pregnant, she turned to her husband Chris and said, “that’ll be twins, then”.
At her first scan at seven weeks, Maria, a psychiatric nurse, discovered her instincts had been right.
Maria and Chris, along with their daughter Olivia and son Jack, were ecstatic.
The first trimester, Maria says. was much like her previous two pregnancies. She didn’t suffer morning sickness, and had no health complications.
But one day, when she was 23 weeks (just over five months) and five days along, she started to feel unwell. She felt extreme pressure on her abdomen and thought that might just come with carrying twins. But eventually, she decided to go to the GP.
Maria was only there for a few minutes before she was sent straight to the emergency room at Waterford Regional Hospital in Ireland.
It was only a few hours after she got there that her waters broke.
She was told by her doctor that going into labour so prematurely came with the risk of losing her two babies. “I was sobbing and in shock but I refused to give up. I kept saying, ‘This is not going to happen – I’m not going to lose them,'” Maria recalled.
LISTEN: Chris Judd shares his kids’ birth stories on Mamamia’s pregnant podcast, Hello Bump. Post continues below.
Maria was in labour for two days, and at exactly 24 weeks pregnant – four months before her due date – she gave birth to a baby girl, Amy Elliot.
Amy weighed less than two pounds, and was rushed immediately to intensive care.
As exhausted as Maria was after her 48 hour labour, she knew she had to focus on delivering her second baby.
But suddenly, her contractions completely stopped. “It was like I’d never even given birth,” she said.
The doctors tried to induce her the next day, but nothing happened. The staff at the hospital had never heard of anything like it.
“It should have been a joyful time but it was horrific. I had one baby in intensive care and one inside me, clinging to life,” Maria told The Mirror.
Maria made up her mind that she would not be leaving the hospital until she had both her girls in her arms.
It was four days before she was able to see Amy for the first time, and as she looked at her, tiny, in an incubator and with tubes everywhere, she stroked her stomach and prayed. “I just wanted my girls to be together and safe and well,” she said.