"Our journey to parenthood began with a successful attempt at IVF treatment. An early pregnancy scan revealed that we were in fact expecting identical twins! Everything looked good until a 20 week scan when we were told by a specialist at Kings College Hospital that the boys had conjoined vessels across the placenta which had caused twin to twin transfusion syndrome.
"We were given two options; terminate the pregnancy or attempt to sever these vessels to separate the boys circulatory systems, which would probably result in the survival of one twin. Termination was not an option to us so I had the surgery and was then rescanned to see if it had been successful. I did not need them to tell me that the smaller baby, we named Zachary, had not survived.
"We were heartbroken and psychologically I found it difficult to be carrying a baby who's survival was fragile and also a baby that was no longer living.
"Jude was born at 31 weeks and delivered by emergency caesarean section and at that point we had no idea what was ahead of us. We knew he was a little behind but at 10 months, following numerous hospital visits and examinations, Jude was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. He had suffered brain injury due to him having a stroke in utero when his twin had died.
"The following months were a very lonely time but I eventually heard from other mums of special needs children about Dame Vera Lynn Children's Charity and after an assessment attended our first sessions in October 2017, when Jude was 15 months old. It was the first time we talked to anyone who seemed to understand how we felt and what we had been through. We began working on Jude's sitting, rolling and communication skills. After the first few sessions which he was reluctant to participate and try new position, we then noticed an improvement in all of those areas and he gained a new awareness of his body and a new confidence.
"The Charity also extended its services providing childcare cover for Jude's sibling, 9 month old Tristan, enabling us to attend one to one sessions. In the last 3 months since starting Jude has come on in leaps and bounds and his posture has improved, he can sit unaided for brief periods and has begun to push weight through his arms and feet. He has also started doing new secret things when we are not looking like rolling onto his tummy by himself. As any parents, we want Jude to reach his full potential and the Charity has given us hope by giving us a structured weekly schedule to reach his learning goals. We now feel more in control of our child's future and believe he is now in good hands. We are thankful to the wonderful staff at Dame Vera Lynn Children's Charity for their kindness, understanding and love they have shown us.
"Having a child with additional needs puts you on a journey I have never imagined – nor knew anything about – why would you. I hate the cerebral palsy label, our son lacks gross motor function skills but he is an affectionate and gregarious 19 month old boy who loves his toys and music. Since starting at the Charity we have had lots of good days. Jude has begun to do standing experiences in a walker and the feelings of love and pride are just so overwhelming that all I can do is let the tears roll down my cheeks – not sad tears, tears of such joy that fall from a heart that is bursting with pride for our amazing little boy."
Be the first to hear about what's happening at Dame Vera Lynn Children's Charity