Proud parents Emma and Christian Lincoln will mark their identical twin daughters’ first birthday tomorrow.
Mollie and Maisie were born 12 weeks early and battled against the odds to survive.
Emma tells LAURA WILD about the rollercoaster that has been the past year, and how planning her girls’ Christening and first birthday is something she never thought she would do.
Like all expectant mums Emma Lincoln was delighted when she found out she was pregnant with twins.
After two miscarriages it was the news the 36-year-old and husband Christian had been hoping for.
Emma, who is originally from Lancaster but now lives in Fulwood, Preston, says she had a feeling she was having twins before her first scan.
Because of the miscarriages she had a scan at eight weeks and could not believe her instinct was right when she found out she was expecting not one but two bundles of joy.
But the elation soon turned to fear for the couple, who also have a daughter, Poppy, four, when doctors raised concerns at the next scan.
“From my 12 week scan they said something wasn’t quite right,” says Emma, “They said they were both small but one was a lot smaller than the other.
“I had to go every two weeks for scans and then it got to every week. For the last six weeks I went every two days.”
One of the twins, Maisie, had restricted growth and the pair were advised that one or both of the girls may not survive.
She adds: “They took the pregnancy as far as they could so Molly could survive.
“They told me the different scenarios, if Maisie died it could have left Molly brain damaged.
“All along I didn’t think I would end up with two babies.”
The pair were born on April 22 2013 by Caesarian Section after Emma had gone to hospital feeling something was wrong.
She admits she had a bag packed in the car for six weeks just in case she was rushed in.
“I knew which side they were on, I could feel which side they were on and I could feel that they were not moving,” she says.
“In the early hours of the Sunday morning I went to the hospital and was hooked up to a machine.
“They said the heart rate wasn’t quite right.
“I prepared myself for the worst.”
Mollie entered the world weighing 1lb 15oz and Maisie weighed just 1lb 2oz.
She continues: “I had two doctors in there and quite a lot of nurses. They had one doctor for each baby.
“They just took them away to intensive care. They were put on ventilators, they couldn’t breathe for themselves.
“I had them at 9.30pm and I didn’t see them until 1.30pm the next day. I think I had prepared for the worst.
“Seeing them in intensive care was scary. There were four incubators, our two and two other babies. There were a lot of doctors and nurses around.
“It was surreal. It didn’t feel like they were our babies.”
Because the girls had been born so early and were both so small they had to stay in the neo-natal unit at the Royal Preston Hospital after they were born.
Mollie was able to go home after a 13 week stay in hospital and Maisie stayed in for five months.
“They do try and keep twins together but I didn’t want them to be there for longer than they needed to be,” says Emma.
By the time the girls were both back home with the rest of the family it was September but following visits to the hospital everyday it was finally time for some family time.
Emma says Maisie had four blood transfusions before leaving hospital and when she did come home she was on a feeding tube.
Tomorrow they will celebrate their first birthday at home as a family and next weekend the girls will be Christened.
“Me and Christian might open a bottle of champagne at 9.30pm when they were born and think about that night for one minute,” said Emma.
Emma admits the pregnancy and the months following were “horrible” but says she also feels very “lucky.”
She says: “When I saw other people pregnant I felt jealous. But I didn’t know what they were going through. I have made a few friends in the unit, they came off a lot worse than me.
“I feel quite lucky. We have got off quite lightly. Everything seems okay with them. We won’t know until they are a bit older, everything seems fine.”
Emma said going out was hard and talking to people about being pregnant was difficult because she didn’t know what lay ahead.
“People didn’t know and would ask me about the pregnancies and I didn’t want to, she says, “I didn’t know if I was having any babies.
“I feel like I missed out on a good pregnancy.
“I thought of the worst the whole way along, if I looked anything up on the internet I would feel a million times worse. We took each day as it came.”
Emma and Christian have been together for seven years and married for four years. They describe their babies as “fighters”.
Emma was signed off with stress during the pregnancy and hasn’t yet returned to her job at Virgin in Preston.
She says her husband was much stronger than she was.
“He coped better than me,” she says, “I was crying all the time. He just got on with it, trying to remain positive.”
The future is now looking bright for the girls and everything is pointing in the direction that they will develop just fine.
“I think it means they will be babies for a bit longer, “ Emma says.
“Mollie has just started crawling Maisie is about a month behind her.
“Their personalities have changed, Mollie was more easy going and Maisie was hard work, they have changed now, Mollie is a bit of a whingy bum and Maisie seems quite easy going.
“It’s their first birthday tomorrow, I feel a bit emotional, I never thought it would happen.
“I didn’t think we would end up with these babies, if we did I thought we would end up with just one.
“Being on that unit for five months I’ve seen it could have been a lot worse.
“It makes you realise how lucky you are.”
Emma says she hopes sharing her story will give courage to other families in similar situations.
She says: “Just take each day as it comes and keep positive, it’s all you can really do.”
Emma praised the staff from the neo-natal unit and said she had forged good friendships.
She says: “If it hadn’t have been for the nurses I wouldn’t have coped as well.”