On Sunday we were welcomed into the Turner’s home; a home with a Christmas tree, filled with decorations, colourfully wrapped presents and an embroidered Santa stocking that said, “Thank you Santa from Taylan”. Nothing unusual, it was less than a week until Christmas; yet there were things that stood out from the normal festivity decorations. A whiteboard leaned on the wall filled with handwritten times for feeding and medications; bottles of hand sanitisers could be spotted throughout the house and an enteral feeding machine stood in the corner. Amy and I walked into the lounge room to meet two very special little boys, all the while being careful not to trip over the metres of plastic tubing that snaked throughout the house, connecting two little boys to the oxygen tanks in the hallway.
Jye Benjamin Scoringe and Taylan John Turner were both born prematurely. Jye arrived at 26.4 weeks and weighed just 480 grams while Taylan also arrived at 26 weeks and weighed 500grams. Unfortunately premature births are not uncommon, however these little boys have a lot more in common than their early arrivals. Their mums, 31 year old Tammin Butt and Skye Turner are twin sisters…and their story is very unique.
Tammin and her partner Blake Scoringe were first to conceive and everything was perfect until a scan at 26 weeks revealed that Jye had stopped growing at 22 weeks and 3 days. Tammin was diagnosed with ‘severe onset pre-eclampsia’ and immediately hospitalised. When her organs started to fail four days later, it became critical to get Jye out. On the 3rd of July 2014, Jye made his early entrance into the world.
Skye and her husband Mick had been trying for years to conceive. Skye, who fell pregnant just a few months after Tammin was well aware of potential complications. So when Skye reached 23 weeks she said, “I was cautious and went and had another scan because of what happed to Tam”. In a bizarre coincidence her 23 week scan revealed Taylan had also stopped growing.
Skye said despite being told not to worry she did “because this is the exact same thing that happened with Tam”. Skye was also diagnosed with ‘severe onset pre-eclampsia’ and spent the next two weeks in hospital. Taylan was so unwell that on the 30th of May 2014, at 26 weeks gestation, he needed to be delivered.
The next few months were a rollercoaster of emotions for the parents as they watched their little boys struggle. Jye eventually left the hospital after 12 weeks which according to Tammin was quite lucky as Jye was basically full term.
Taylan stayed in hospital just over five months and has been at home about six weeks. Both boys have health complications as a result of their premature births.
Tammin said both boys have lung disease, severe reflux, colic and constipation. Jye was on standby for surgery for tummy issues and stopped eating for a month. Jye was critical for a while until he started to feed on his own, she said.
“Then we went through the normal horrors of a micro-premmie” she said.
Skye said “Taylan was ventilated right up until he was four and a half months old. His main issue was he wouldn’t breathe on his own”.
Taylan suffers from persistent pulmonary hyper-tension, a condition where pressure in the lungs builds up and effects the heart.
“He’s still on medication for that now. We nearly lost him and they weren’t going to re-ventilate him if he wasn’t going to breathe. We just didn’t know if we were going to bring him home”, Skye said.
Consequently, Taylan suffered damage to his vocal chords from being extubated and has no voice. “He’s just started making noises which is awesome”, said Skye.
Taylan also requires feeding through a tube for 12-16 hours each day because his stomach can’t handle food.
“He’s a work in progress” Skye said.
While Jye and Taylan have a long road ahead of them, their parents are looking forward to a future that doesn’t include trips to the hospital. A future when the boys are strong and they can participate in normal activities with their sons.
As Amy and I packed up our gear, there was laughter outside and talk of Christmas celebrations with grandparents and family. Despite the tubes, the medications, the oxygen tanks…it all sounded so ‘normal’. We silently hoped that next year, Christmas would be ‘normal’ for these two tough little boys and their Mums and Dads.
So to beautiful Jye, Taylan and your families, we wish you strength and love on your journey to good health.
In the meantime enjoy your very first Christmas at home, with all those who love you dearly.