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Premature baby comes home

PUBLISHED: 17:44 14 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:26 03 July 2010

HOME COMFORTS: Kirsty and Timothy Long at home with baby Frankie and his brothers Charlie (five) and Kian (seven)

HOME COMFORTS: Kirsty and Timothy Long at home with baby Frankie and his brothers Charlie (five) and Kian (seven)

Liz Coates

LITTLE Frankie Long is perfect in every way and is delighting his parents with his progress after being born prematurely and spending weeks in hospital.

LITTLE Frankie Long is perfect in every way and is delighting his parents with his progress after being born prematurely and spending weeks in hospital.

But their joy is tinged with sadness for the little lad's twin sister who grew alongside him in the womb but died inside at around 20 weeks.

For mum Kirsty Long the mixed emotions of knowing she was carrying both a dead and a healthy baby took their toll on the pregnancy, with every day marking another milestone in Frankie's development.

Baby Frankie finally came 11 weeks early on December 16 when he was rushed to the special care baby unit at Gorleston's James Paget University Hospital to be kept alive by tubes and machines. His perfectly formed sister was born asleep at the same time.

This week big brothers seven-year-old Kian and Charlie, five, were making a fuss of the contented new arrival at their St Antony's Avenue home in Gorleston.

And while Mrs Long and her husband Timothy, 26, are keen to put their ordeal behind them and focus on the future, they also want to remember the little girl who is pictured in numerous fuzzy scan pictures and will remain an important figure in the family album.

Mrs Long, 24, had thought she was only about 10 weeks pregnant when a routine scan revealed that she had been carrying twins for twice that long.

Then came the devastating news that one of the twins would be dead within two weeks and she was offered a termination of both babies, or tests on the healthy one which could bring on a miscarriage.

The couple opted to continue the pregnancy with close monitoring. The little girl died soon after and Mrs Long faced an anxious few months fearing for Frankie.

“Every day I woke up and waited for him to move. It was such a mix of emotions but I had a lot of support,” she said. “The waters broke from the baby that died and they kept me in for four days to see if anything happened to Frankie but then I was discharged and had to go back every other day for monitoring.”

Frankie finally came after a long labour weighing 2lb 15oz, and after weeks of dedicated nursing he was discharged on January 6 weighing 5lb 10oz. Mrs Long said that throughout the bitter-sweet saga Frankie had proved himself a fighter and that everyone was just thrilled to have him at home doing so well.

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