Identical twins born ten weeks early inspire parents to raise money for St Richard’s Hospital

Poppy and Jessica at four months celebrating their first Christmas. Picture contributed SUS-190701-144431001
Poppy and Jessica at four months celebrating their first Christmas. Picture contributed SUS-190701-144431001

Identical twins Poppy and Jessica weighed a combined 5lb 14oz when they were born ten weeks early and, thanks to the lifesaving work of hospital staff, they have inspired their parents to take on their own challenge.

Lauren and Philip Jennions’ girls had to be treated in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth immediately after being born prematurely on August 25, 2018.

Poppy and Jessica at four months celebrating their first Christmas. Picture contributed SUS-190701-144525001

Poppy and Jessica at four months celebrating their first Christmas. Picture contributed SUS-190701-144525001

Lauren, 25, said Poppy (2lb 13oz) and Jessica (3lb 1oz) spent ten days in the NICU before being transferred to St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, where they spent just under six weeks on oxygen and were under the care of an outreach nurse.

Lauren said: “We didn’t see the girls properly until 1am the next morning after they were born — the day of our one-year wedding anniversary.”

When asked how she felt during the ordeal, she added: “I didn’t have time to think about it too much. It was all a whirlwind. I didn’t realise how sick they looked until I looked back on it afterwards.”

On Sunday, October 14, the babies could finally go home to Havant for the first time but this would not have been possible without the work of hospital staff, as Lauren explained.

Poppy and Jessica smiling for the camera on New Year's Eve. Picture contributed SUS-190701-144515001

Poppy and Jessica smiling for the camera on New Year's Eve. Picture contributed SUS-190701-144515001

“The care and amazing work the staff at both units do is life saving,” she said.

“The units helped when our girls had chronic lung disease and anemia. They also supported us when the girls were sent home on oxygen.”

On April 20, Lauren and her husband will be re-tracing, on-foot, the journey made by their daughters between the two hospitals, in the hope it will raise much-needed funds for both units.

Lauren said: “We are raising money for both units by walking from QA Hospital in Portsmouth to St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester as this was the journey our girls had to do.

Poppy and Jessica the day after they were born. Picture contributed SUS-190701-144504001

Poppy and Jessica the day after they were born. Picture contributed SUS-190701-144504001

“We want to raise money for both hospitals — £600 is the target and we’ve nearly raised 50 per cent (£265).

“Any money raised will go towards buying different equipment.

“The distance is around 15/16 miles on a more direct route. I am walking with my partner and lots of our friends and family will be there supporting us.”

Now aged 19 weeks and weighing nine and 10lbs respectively, both Poppy and Jessica are in much better health, Lauren revealed.

Poppy and Jessica on their due date 4/11/18. Picture contributed SUS-190701-150235001

Poppy and Jessica on their due date 4/11/18. Picture contributed SUS-190701-150235001

“They are absolutely amazing now,” she said.

“They are always smiling and are lifting their head a bit more now.”

To donate to Lauren and Philip’s fundraiser, go to https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/laurenjennions-nicu

One week old Poppy and Jessica having their first cuddles with mum Lauren and dad Philip.  Picture contributed SUS-190701-144454001

One week old Poppy and Jessica having their first cuddles with mum Lauren and dad Philip. Picture contributed SUS-190701-144454001

Poppy and Jessica leaving St Richard's Hospital on October 14, 2018. Picture contributed SUS-190701-144443001

Poppy and Jessica leaving St Richard's Hospital on October 14, 2018. Picture contributed SUS-190701-144443001