I gave birth to super-rare twins born 22 days apart and can't find anyone like me

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Kayleigh Doyle's little Alro was stillborn - but then something incredible happened.

A mum gave birth to super-rare twins - born 22 days apart in different hospitals. Kayleigh Doyle, 22, was pregnant with perfectly healthy twins and didn't know there were any problems until her waters broke at 22 weeks.

Arlo was stillborn via a natural delivery - and doctors told her to prepare for 'twin two' to arrive soon, and not survive. But incredibly Arlo's twin brother didn't arrive and her contractions stopped - and Kayleigh was sent home to rest.

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It was 22 days later that Astro was delivered via c-section and survived against all the odds. Doctors were “baffled” by the gap - and Kayleigh hasn’t found another “twin mum” who has a bigger gap.

Proud Kayleigh said raising one baby while grieving his twin was incredibly hard - especially as they had "bought two of everything". But she channelled her grief into supporting others - and is now a NICU volunteer.

Kayleigh Doyle, 22, was pregnant with perfectly healthy twins and didn't know there were any problems until her waters broke at 22 weeks.Kayleigh Doyle, 22, was pregnant with perfectly healthy twins and didn't know there were any problems until her waters broke at 22 weeks.
Kayleigh Doyle, 22, was pregnant with perfectly healthy twins and didn't know there were any problems until her waters broke at 22 weeks. | SWNS

Kayleigh from Manchester, said: “After the trauma of giving birth to my first baby - I was gobsmacked when they said I could go home. To this day, I still can’t find a woman in the UK who can beat 22 days.

“I was assigned a doctor by a different hospital, and we had daily check-ups in between the two births. Every day that passed, he’d say he genuinely couldn’t believe it. When Astro arrived I couldn't believe he had survived all that time."

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Kayleigh fell pregnant with the twins in October 2020 and all her scans were normal. She didn’t experience any complications until she was hit with labour pains on March 15, 2021.

“I was aware of all the risks that came with having twins,” she said. “I even paid for private GP appointments because I was so worried about complications.

“When I hit 22-and-a-half weeks, literally, I was in bed and had the worst pain of my entire life. I wasn’t sure what was going on, so I went to the toilet downstairs, and my waters broke.”

Kayleigh rushed to the Royal Oldham Hospital, and was kept under observation for five days. She gave birth to Arlo naturally at 4:20am on March 20 - he was 17 weeks early, and he only weighed 1.1lb. He was stillborn, with doctors presuming a blood clot in his placenta may have been the cause.

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Kayleigh said: “He looked like a normal baby. They sat me down after I gave birth, and told me they weren’t expecting ‘twin two’ to survive - and he’ll probably be born in the next couple of hours.”

But by March 25, Kayleigh still hadn’t given birth to her second baby. Baffled doctors sent her home - leaving the new mum confused.

She added: “I started making appointments with another doctor at Saint Mary’s Hospital - he couldn’t believe how long the gap was beginning to get. He came in every day, baffled, and said he couldn’t believe how rare this was.

“I think we all just went into survival mode. But I still found it really triggering whenever one of my doctors would ask me where ‘twin one’ is.

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“We’d bought double everything for the babies - two cots, a pram with two seats. It was hard seeing the twin mums I followed on TikTok recording all their milestones.”

Astro, two, suffered complications from being born prematurely.Astro, two, suffered complications from being born prematurely.
Astro, two, suffered complications from being born prematurely. | Kayleigh Doyle / SWNS

Having shown no signs of going into labour again, Kayleigh’s second baby was delivered in Saint Mary's via c-section on April 11, at 4:12am. Doctors decided to do a c-section after discovering a placenta abruption - which means the placenta has separated from the inner wall of the uterus, and can deprive the baby of oxygen.

Astro, now two, weighed 2lb - and suffered complications from being born prematurely - including a hole in his heart, and retinopathy, which causes abnormal blood vessel growth in the eyes.

Two weeks after coming home with Astro, Kayleigh held a funeral for Arlo - and the ordeal led her to train as a natal intensive care unit (NICU) volunteer.

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She said: “I heard an NICU charity was looking for volunteers in Manchester - looking for people to do stay-and-play sessions, and going to the cotside of premature babies. I went through a year of training - and you’ve got to have had a premature baby to do it.

“I know what it’s like to feel in-the-dark about it - especially with the gap in between the two babies. As well as lonely - because everyone used to ask me where ‘twin one’ was. But I honestly can’t think of anything more rewarding. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

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