The happiest day of my life was 30 June when the doctor confirmed my pregnancy. To our great surprise, I was expecting not one but two babies. I had never thought that it could happen to us. During the next check-up, we were told that the twins were going to be identical and that I was a high-risk pregnancy. I had more check-ups than usual and was referred to high-risk pregnancy counselling in the 18th week. Following an ultrasound scan at 23+4 weeks, I was told the babies were doing great and are the same size. We were so excited and joked about how to tell them apart :-)

Four days later, my stomach started to ache at night. I went to hospital the first thing in the morning to make sure everything was all right. I knew something was wrong just by looking at the doctor’s face. Our babies had twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. The very next day, we went to Prague Podolí Hospital where, unfortunately, my local doctor’s fears proved true. I was terribly worried and did not know what was going to happen. I received the first dose of corticosteroids and several drips and spent the night in the delivery room under constant supervision.

The next morning, i.e. at 24+4 weeks, things quickly deteriorated. The doctors and I opted for a Caesarian to make the birth as easy for the babies as possible. Unfortunately, the birth was progressing too fast, leaving me with no choice but to deliver the babies naturally. Vaneska, with a birth weight of 440 g, was born first, followed by Viktorka, who weighed 520 g. We could hardly see our tiny babies in the incubator on our first visit. They were attached to countless tubes. Vaneska was not doing well and suffered a lot with every touch. Viktorka fared a little better. The doctors told us that the next six months were going to be the most difficult ones in our lives. I did not realise it right there as everything was kind of blurred to me. It was only after some time that I actually learnt from my partner what the doctors had told us.

Later on, one of the doctors informed me that Vaneska was having a severe brain haemorrhage. He returned after some time to tell me her lungs were failing. When he opened the door for the third time, I feared he had the worst news for me. Vaneska gave up her fight after 12 hours... Viktorka was brave and started to fight also for her little sister. On her 10th day, Viktorka had to undergo stomach surgery to create an intestinal opening. Unfortunately, she had to be re-operated on a few days later. The news from the doctors was devastating. As her tummy was in a very bad shape, they created two more stomas. They also started planning another, i.e. third, operation to see how everything works out. There were three options. The best one was that the stomas will be closed or that they will be irreversible. The last, i.e. the worst, option was that nothing can be done. Obviously, one cannot live on artificial feeding forever. All we could do was trust the doctors and our tiny hero. Before Viktorka grew bigger and stronger, we had to wait for five long months for the result. Meanwhile, her eyesight began to deteriorate. She successfully underwent two more operations because of the retinopathy of pre-term children. Then the operation day came. Viki was transferred to the Motol Hospital. It was the worst day and the longest three hours of waiting. When I called the hospital to ask about our baby, I was filled with anxiety. The doctor told us that the operation could not have ended better and that Viktorka was very brave. On that day, she was actually born for the second time. We felt unbelievably happy and relieved and could finally start preparing the arrival of our miracle home.

Viktorka had an incredibly difficult start in life, having to fight hard to stay alive, and I believe that our little angel Vaneska helped her make it through. She endured 57 days on artificial ventilation, two eye operations, three stomach surgeries and a number of minor and major infections. After 200 long days in hospital, we could finally take our sweetheart home. Those 200 days were indeed the worst and most difficult ones in our lives. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the doctors and nurses who were looking after us throughout that period and who made our wonderful moments together happen.

Our big thanks also go to The Foundation for Premature Children for their financial support that allowed us to visit Viktorka as often as possible. We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.