Saturday, 25 February 2017
A brother's love: Twin holds hands with his baby sibling in incubator as doctors battle to save him from multiple brain bleeds
A newborn boy was comforted by his twin brother who held his hand in his incubator as he was being treated for multiple brain bleeds.
Cooper and Lucas Keen were just hours old when nurses moved Cooper into the neonatal unit as he had low glucose levels.
Mother Kerrie, 36, from Clackmannan, Scotland, had the twins in an emergency c-section and was horrified when her son had seizures overnight and his oxygen levels dipped.
Newborn Cooper Keen (left) is comforted by twin Lucas in his incubator in a neonatal ward as doctors battled to save him from multiple brain bleeds.
When he was seven months old, Cooper (left) was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus, where fluid builds up in the brain. Lucas was often placed in his incubator, so he could be close to his brother.
Cooper spent five weeks in hospital as doctors desperately tried to diagnose him.
Kerrie said: ‘We didn’t know what was wrong. We were told he had suffered multiple brain bleeds. We didn’t have a clue what to think about it, it was awful.'
‘They didn’t know what the issue was with Cooper, what caused the bleed on the brain.
Now three, Cooper goes to the same nursery as Lucas and is looking forward to going to primary school.
‘One theory was that he possibly had a stroke in the womb.
‘They think there was possibly a problem with the placenta and Cooper wasn’t getting enough nutrients.’
When Cooper was in intensive care in Yorkhill Children’s hospital in Glasgow, twin Lucas was also admitted to hospital in Larbert, 25 miles away.
Kerrie said: ‘After a week, babies are supposed to lose 10 per cent of their weight but Lucas had lost about 13 per cent.
‘The problem was because I was trying to breastfeed and pump for Cooper. I thought he was getting enough but he wasn’t.’
Kerrie had to travel between Larbert and Glasgow for around five days to visit both twins.
When Lucas had recovered, he visited Cooper with Kerrie.
She said: 'They used to set up a little cot next to Cooper’s incubator and they’d have there for him to lie. I thought it was important.
‘We used to put Lucas into the incubator with Cooper and they’d hold hands – we have pictures of the whole family around the incubator.’
At five weeks old, Cooper was allowed to go home.
Kerrie said: ‘To see them separated, we never imagined that.
‘It was amazing when they were both home, I remember feeling so happy to have them there.
‘It was scary because we still didn’t know what we were doing.’
Cooper had a shunt fitted in 2013 to drain the fluid from his brain (pictured right). Before they operated, Kerrie said Cooper's head measured 60 cm in circumferance
The twins are now inseparable. Kerrie said: ‘They are brilliant together, Lucas is such a lad but when it comes to Cooper he’s really good'
In November 2013, Cooper was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluids in the brain.
Kerrie said: ‘It had been mentioned when he was in the neonatal unit and they spoke about shunts. My husband and I didn’t know what a shunt was.
‘They were measuring the circumference of his head. It kept growing, I think it was around 60 centimetres.
‘It was getting noticeably bigger so they referred us to hospital. I remember the surgeon was a bit shocked.
Cooper uses a walker at home to help encourage his legs to bear weight. He is also being fitted for an electric wheelchair, which Kerrie hopes he will be able to use when he goes to school.
10 months after Cooper's shunt was fitted, it stopped working and he had to be taken to hospital again. Kerrie said: ‘His eyes were rolling around in his head and he was close to being in a coma.'
Pictured, Cooper and Lucas with parents Kerrie and Owen (left) and big brother Jayden (right)
‘He came in with two colleagues and I remember him saying “you won’t see this often”.’
Cooper was fitted with a shunt, a thin tube, to drain the excess fluid out.
Kerrie said: 'We noticed a difference as soon as Cooper came out of surgery.
‘His right side is much weaker and his fist was usually tight.
Hydrocephalus is a condition where excess fluid builds up in the brain.
Sufferers' symptoms include feeling sick, headaches and blurred vision.
If left untreated, the condition can be fatal.
The fluid can be trained from the brain by putting in a shunt, a thin tube.
Hydrocephalus used to be known as 'water on the brain'
‘I gave him a bottle and and his right hand was much more open – his fingers were trying to hold onto the bottle.
10 months later, the shunt stopped working and Cooper had to be taken back into hospital.
Kerrie said: ‘He started being sick and three or four days later, we started to get concerned.
‘His eyes were rolling around in his head and he was close to being in a coma.
‘With his new shunt, he is a completely different child.
‘After his operation he was giggling away, it was amazing.’
Even though Cooper cannot walk, the twins are inseparable.
Kerrie said: ‘They are brilliant together, Lucas is such a lad but when it comes to Cooper he’s really good.
‘He totally understands Cooper and he really tries to help him.
Pictured, the toddlers with dad Owen. Even tough Cooper can't walk, he has learned to roll in both directions.
Kerrie said: ‘Cooper is quite fun loving but he’s got a serious side to him'. Cooper's right side of his body is weaker, because of his brain bleeds at birth.
Kerrie said: 'Lucas (left) is so boisterous, he’s your typical lad. Cooper thinks its funny when he’s naughty.’
When Lucas was about a week old, he had lost too much weight and had to be admitted to hospital in Larbert. At the time, Cooper was transferred to Yorkhill Children's Hospital in Glasgow, 25 miles away.
‘Cooper is quite fun loving but he’s got a serious side to him and Lucas is so boisterous, he’s your typical lad. Cooper thinks its funny when he’s naughty.’
The pair, now three, attend the same nursery and Kerrie said Cooper is already aware that he is different to the other children.
She said: ‘He loves watching what other kids doing things but you can see him getting frustrated.
‘He’s looking and thinking why can’t I do that because he’s such a sociable boy.
‘He loves being in the thick of it and he would love to run about. Hopefully we can get that.’
Cooper's parents have to carry him up and down the stairs at home. His disability is only physical and mother Kerrie said he is a 'bright' boy'
Kerrie said: ‘He (Cooper) loves being in the thick of it and he would love to run about. Hopefully we can get that.’
Kerrie has to carry Cooper upstairs and the toddler has learned to roll to get around the house.
She said: ‘He can’t sit up on his own and he can roll in both directions. Now you leave him somewhere and you think how did you get over there?’
Cooper is currently being fitted for an electric wheelchair, which the family hope he will be able to use by the time he goes to primary school.
Kerrie said: ‘Cooper is a bright boy. He can do his counting and everything. The disability is just physical.
‘It’s been difficult and every day is a battle but you have to do it because you love them.’
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