A young mother has tearfully opened up about how a small difference between her twin girls saved the life of her baby daughter.
Hannah Pearl, from Victoria, gave birth to fraternal twin daughters – Madison and Sophia – at 37 weeks via a caesarean section in October last year.
Little Madison was diagnosed with a heart murmur – a common condition found in babies – shortly after she was born – and she was sent home with her parents.
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, the 36-year-old mother shared her anguish after Madison underwent an open heart surgery just a week after she was born.
Hannah Pearl, from Victoria, gave birth to fraternal twin daughters – Madison (right) and Sophia (left) – at 37 weeks via a caesarean section in October last year
After undergoing an open heart surgery for a second time, Sophia kept her sister company
‘The girls were born fine when they were born at 37 weeks, they were in good shape and they didn’t need any special care,’ Mrs Pearl said.
‘They said Madison had a heart murmur and told us to come back in two weeks to get her checked. We were told if she didn’t wake up to feed or if she was lethargic, then come back before then.’
Just three days later, Mrs Pearl noticed Madison was feeding slower – taking in about seven millilitres of milk each feed – compared to her twin sister’s 40 millilitres.
‘She was waking up for feeds, she was interacting, she was fine,’ Mrs Pearl said.
‘But I did notice she was slow on the bottle. She was born so little. Her sister was just smashing her bottles but Madi was taking so long to have hers.
‘I thought maybe she had the wrong teat, or she was being fed at the wrong angle or maybe I should be breastfeeding.’
The 36-year-old mother with her husband Aiden, 35, three-year-old son Alexander and her twin daughters Madison and Sophia
While the girls were born fine, Mrs Pearl noticed ‘she was slow on the bottle… Her sister was smashing her bottles but Madi was taking so long’ (the twins pictured with their brother
The 36-year-old mother said she not overly worried but decided to get her daughter checked by a midwife in hospital just to be sure.
‘And that was when they said Madi was really unwell,’ Mrs Pearl said.
‘They asked me if her breathing was normal, but I didn’t notice anything different except how she was taking forever to drink her bottle.
‘It’s just one of those things I didn’t think anything of it.’
Detailing the terrifying health problems her daughter endured, Mrs Pearl broke down as she recalled day six as ‘the worst day for me’.
‘They had to starve her for 24 hours before surgery,’ she recalled.
‘She was awake, it was awful. I don’t think I went through that day without crying. She was heavily sedated for the surgery.
‘The nurses were preparing us. It was a really hard time for us.’
The 36-year-old mother said she not overly worried but decided to get her daughter checked by a midwife in hospital just to be sure (the family pictured together)
That was when the doctors told the family that Madison was ‘really unwell’ (the twins, pictured)
After spending three days in intensive care, Madison returned home, only to find herself back in hospital in December after suffering an infection.
‘The surgery hadn’t worked,’ Mrs Pearl said.
‘Madi had another open heart surgery at seven weeks old. We weren’t allowed to pick her up with a breathing tube, so we put Sophia next to her.
‘She seemed comforted by Sophia, and still is. I think the comfort for her was the breathing and having her sister next to her. It was very cute.’
At eight weeks old, Madison underwent a surgery on her diaphragm after her lungs collapsed.
‘She’s had three major surgeries before turning one,’ Mrs Pearl said.
After spending three days in intensive care, Madison returned home, only to find herself back in hospital in December after suffering an infection; she later had open heart surgery
And against all odds, the brave little girl proved herself to be a fighter – with the love of her twin sister – after her condition improved (both girls pictured)
And against all odds, the brave little girl proved herself to be a fighter – with the love of her twin sister – after her condition improved.
‘Madi has been through a lot of pain. It’s been a bit traumatic for her but she’s proved everyone wrong,’ Mrs Pearl said.
‘She’s starting to get a bit of strength in her legs. Her legs are like stick thin but she just started to crawl. I think she’ll get there.
‘Madi is always looking for her sister, and she’ll only go to sleep if Sophia is around. They have different personalities. Madi is very cheeky.
‘When she was in hospital, the only contact she had was with Sophia or me holding her hand. I think that really shaped her personality.’
‘Madi has been through a lot of pain. It’s been a bit traumatic for her but she’s proved everyone wrong,’ Mrs Pearl said (Madison pictured in hospital)
‘If it wasn’t for her twin, Madi would’ve been a lot sicker. There was no way I would have taken her into the hospital,’ Mrs Pearl said (all of her children pictured
Looking back, Mrs Pearl said things would be different if Madison was not a twin.
‘If it wasn’t for her twin, Madi would’ve been a lot sicker. There was no way I would have taken her into the hospital.
‘I would have never gone in if it wasn’t for Sophia feeding quicker. Madi wouldn’t have made it past day 10 if it wasn’t for her sister.’
By sharing her story, Mrs Pearl wanted to warn other parents to monitor their newborn babies movements – even if it doesn’t seem much of a concern.
‘I wish someone had told me that hearts work differently in the womb than when they’re at home,’ she said.
‘When you get home, you’re tired because you’ve been in labour but we wanted to get the message out that as a parent, you need to be aware of the smallest things.’