At only 1Ib 13oz at birth, premature twin Roman Trounce fitted perfectly in the palm of his mother’s hand. He was that small because when he was inside, he had attached himself to the top of her mother’s womb that was unusually shaped like a heart.
Doctors thought there was a slim chance for him to live, considering his size. He was only half the size of his twin brother, Samuel.
Eighteen months later, Roman still thrives against the odds, and everyone is hoping he can catch up with his brother.
“We are so proud of Roman, he’s such a fighter, his 38-year old mother, Debbie, said. “He may only be tiny, but he has fought against all the odds to still be here today.”
They gave him the name Roman, signifying that he was a strong fighter.
After several miscarriages, Mrs. Trounce discovered that she was pregnant with husband Christian, 43, a marketing manager. It was the couple’s fourth attempt at IVF treatment, and she found out that it finally worked.
There were ‘natural killer cells’ found in her system that doctors have to use a rare treatment involving egg yolks being injected into her body. According to some theory, some women’s bodies are not baby-friendly, and their immune system attacks the embryo as if it were a foreign body.
“I was so thrilled when I found out I was pregnant, but I was terrified in case I lost these babies too,” she said.
Doctors carried out a scan on her and discovered that Mrs. Trounces’ womb was shaped like a heart, and one of the twins had attached himself into the top of the heart itself. The attachment disables the baby’s placenta to work properly.
Mrs. Trounce had to undergo scans every other day to check if the baby is still alive. And with each scan, they remained hopeful as each showed that the tiny baby inside was still alive.
When she reached her twenty-fourth week of pregnancy, doctors offered to terminate him to give the other twin, Samuel, a better chance of survival.
Debbie did not waver to their offer, but instead, she said, “There was no way that I was going to terminate Roman’s life. I knew that if he didn’t make it, it was going to put Samuel’s life in danger too, but he’d come this far, he deserved a chance at survival.”
At twenty-eight weeks, Roman was still alive, and doctors said that somehow the limited blood supply to Roman was keeping him alive.
“They said that it was a miracle he was still alive, so I just had to pray that he would hold on a little longer. He was still tiny in the womb as he wasn’t growing properly, but at least he was still here.”
Mrs. Trounce successfully—and miraculously—gave birth to the twins in December 2013, when she was thirty-one weeks pregnant.
When Roman was already out, he suddenly stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated. It took four minutes for doctors to get him breathing again.
Mrs. Trounce said, “We knew that five minutes was the cut-off point—anything after that and Roman risked having severe brain damage caused by lack of oxygen.”
He managed to pull through, but then he battled through numerous infections and he had to be on an oxygen for three months.
The couple kept asking the doctors whether he was going to make it, but doctors could not give them any definitive answer. But the strong fighter wasn’t about to quit.
Now Roman has recovered remarkably and is catching up with his brother. He still wears clothes designed for 6–9 months old babies, but he now weighs 17lbs. Samuel, on the other hand, weighs 25lbs.
‘He’s done so well, we can’t believe it. He may need growth hormones as he gets older to help him along, but he’s doing amazing.
‘The twins are different in so many ways, reflecting their size difference. While Samuel is loud and boisterous, Roman is quiet and gentle. The latter is learning how to crawl and is trying to chase Samuel who is now on his two feet. Samuel is protective over his brother and is always ready to hand him his teddy bear if Roman is crying,’ the parents shared.