Joseph Barker and Luci Hall were thrilled to be expecting twins. The British couple’s excitement and joy soon turned to fear, however, when Hall went into early labor at just 24 weeks into her pregnancy. “When I went into labour, Joseph and I just weren’t prepared at all. It all happened so quickly,” she said. “It was so early and we were so worried about what was going to happen to them. We didn’t know if they were going to survive, it was terrifying. When they were born they were both rushed straight to intensive care, I didn’t get to hold them or see them.”
After taking just two photos, Barker was ushered away, and neither parent got to hold their new babies.
“I couldn’t even get upset about not getting to hold them because I was in shock. I couldn’t quite get my head around what was happening,” Hall said. “We got to see them three hours later and that’s when it really hit us. They were so tiny, you can’t even imagine a baby that small. It was really frightening.”
Both babies weighed barely over one pound each. And at first, doctors told Barker and Hall that their sons likely wouldn’t make it. “They told us not to think about the future because it was so uncertain,” she said. “We were so scared thinking about losing one of them or both of them, it was devastating. It’s not a situation you ever expect yourself to be in when you have your first baby.”
The boys, Charlie and Harvey, were struggling to survive, undergoing seven blood transfusions each and a bout of bronchiolitis. “We were watching our babies fighting for their lives. You can’t explain what it’s like to be in that situation, it’s horrendous. It’s like your worst nightmare, I felt so helpless,” she said. “All I wanted to do was hold them and comfort them but I couldn’t do anything. All I could do was be there every day.”
But instead of dying, the boys grew stronger every day. “They are both little fighters,” Hall said. “They proved everyone wrong.” Now, the 15-month-olds weigh over 20 pounds each, and are thriving. But their miraculous survival has their parents questioning how babies the same age as their sons were when they were born can be legally aborted.
“Seeing how well they’ve done does make you think about the abortion limit. I’d never even considered it before, I just accepted it,” she admitted. “Then the twins came and I saw them in their incubator and suddenly the idea of a baby being aborted at 24 weeks broke my heart. The thought of anyone getting rid of a baby that late is just awful. When I came home I signed a petition to have it changed.”
But as Hall discovered, these are human beings, capable of life outside of the womb, and as medicine advances, the date of viability will surely become earlier and earlier in pregnancy — which proves the inherent humanity of these children.