New double cots help keep premature triplets and twins side-by-side

Date: 25 January 2024

Sandeep Kaur with triplets Akaal Harnaam and Sahai in the new double cot on the neonatal unit at Medway Maritime Hospital 3

Triplets and a set of twins needing neonatal intensive care have been able to continue to develop their special bond thanks to them being kept together in two new double cots bought by a charity for our special care baby unit.

It’s the first time the unit has been able to lay more than one set of multiple births side-by-side, just like they would in the womb, and it was all made possible by The Oliver Fisher Special Care Baby Trust buying the special cots. Previously the unit only had one double cot.

The cots, which are for babies who don’t need to be in an incubator, are wider than an average neonatal cot meaning it not only makes it easier for parents to see their children together, but can also help with the babies’ recovery as research shows that when they are kept close they’re more likely to have a stable heart rate due to their stress levels being lower.

Sandeep Kaur’s triplets, Akaal Singh, and Harnaam and Sahai Kaur, are currently settled next to each other in one of the cots after they were born on at 30 weeks and one day on 10 December 2023 weighing 3lbs, 2lbs 3ozs and 1lbs 7ozs.

The 43-year-old, from, Strood, conceived the triplets through IVF after 15 years of trying for a baby with her husband Gurwinder Singh.

She said: “The double cots are just great. People may not realise it but to have your babies all together in one cot makes a big difference and I’m just so happy they are lying next to each other again.

“After I had the triplets by caesarean and they were taken to the unit for help with their breathing, there was the initial worry that they might not bond with each other again because they were placed in separate cots on the intensive care unit and then the high dependency unit before being moved to the special care ward where they were put in the double cot. However, the staff did put them all in one cot just before midnight on New Year’s Eve so they could see the New Year in together which was lovely.

“When you have three babies on the unit you can place a chair between two of the cots and sit with two of them but when the other one is in another cot across the room you feel like you’re leaving them out so it’s been really nice having them back together again.”

Sophie Theed’s twin girls Billie and Harper are also in one of the cots together. They were born at 26 weeks and one day on 2 November 2023 weighing 1lbs 9ozs and 1lbs 8ozs.

“Having them laying side-by-side in one cot is fantastic because it means their dad and I can both sit with them and talk to them and care for them at the same time which you couldn’t do so easily if they were in separate cots and as a result that’s certainly helped with our stress levels too.” said the mum of four, from Rochester.

Chair of the Oliver Fisher Special Care Baby Trust and Consultant Neonatologist Dr Aung Soe, who works on the unit, said: “We are extremely grateful to The Oliver Fisher Special Care Baby Trust for funding these top-of-the-line cots, which offer all-round improvements to patient care.

“We have many multiple births on the unit at the same time so one of the benefits of having three double cots instead of one, is that more twins or triplets can be kept together and cared for side-by-side. Not only does this provide health benefits to those babies and help build their natural bond, it also means their parents can sit with all of their babies by the side of one cot and spend equal time with them instead of moving from one cot to another.”

In addition, the charity bought 10 single cots which have replaced all of the unit’s old bassinette style cots. All of the new cots can be raised and lowered to any height.

“This means that staff, parents and carers can adjust the height of the cot to meet their needs when it comes to providing care or putting the babies in and taking them out of the cot,” said Dr Soe.

“It’s also great for parents or staff who have mobility difficulties or if they use most mobility aids. In addition, it can accommodate oxygen tubes if any of the babies still require a little bit of extra help with their breathing and as the sides drop down this provides staff with quick and easy access to the babies in the case of an emergency.”

Almost £14,000 of the funding for the cots, which cost £40,000 in total, was raised by public supporters, family members of former patients as well as current staff members from the unit, taking part in the Trust’s fundraising challenge ‘Thrill Seekers’ which saw them abseiling 262ft down the ArcelorMittal Orbit in London.

As a thank you, participants were invited to a special ceremony, which was held on the unit on Saturday 13 January, to see the cots their sponsorship money helped to buy.

Among those who took part in the event when it was held in October last year were Dan Ayling whose son Robert was cared for on the unit when he was born on 5 January 2016 at 27 weeks and three days weighing 2lb 10oz.

The dad of two, from Sittingbourne, said: “My wife Emma and I will be forever grateful to the unit for care they provided to us and our son. If it wasn’t for them Robert might not be here today.

“Over the years I’ve taken part in a number of fundraising events in aid of The Oliver Fisher Special Care Baby Trust because I wanted to give something back to the unit.

“To be able to see the cots in person that I helped fund by taking part in the ‘Thrill Seekers’ event was absolutely amazing. While nobody wants their baby to have to use the neonatal unit it’s great to know it is there for those who do need it and that the cots will help the staff to provide the very best of care to the babies, and their families, who are on the unit.”

  • Summary:

    Triplets and a set of twins needing neonatal intensive care have been able to continue to develop their special bond thanks two new double cots bought by a charity for our special care baby unit.