“I ended up rupturing a membrane, which meant I got rushed to hospital on the Gold Coast, and then they arranged to have me transferred to the Mater,” Sam said.
“Initially it was supposed to be a 35th-week delivery, and I left Alice [Springs] on the second of April, which feels like a long time ago now.”
Still at their home 3000 kilometres away, Tim managed to be “present” at the births thanks to the wonders of modern technology.
He got a phone call from Sam’s mother and had a chat to her and Sam, thinking they were about to be prepped for the surgery.
“But they told me ‘no, we’re doing it right now – here’s the first one!’,” he said
“I was standing in my kitchen in Alice Springs watching my sons be born in Brisbane. It was just amazing.”
The twins, Richard and Matthew, were born happy and healthy, although at 10 weeks premature Mater neonatologist Callum Gately, who worked with the family, said they had the usual challenges of children in their position.
“Babies born 10 weeks premature tend to have breathing issues, their lungs need time to finish developing, so we helped them with that,” Dr Gately said.
“Being twins we tried to keep them together as much as possible, although they needed separate treatment. One of the biggest challenges is giving the parents time with them, giving them that early contact.”
Tim eventually made it out to be with Sam and the boys, and they’ve spent the last three months living near the hospital.
Now, with the twins meeting all their milestones and no longer on ventilators, they can consider finally going back home.
Tim has a son and daughter from a previous marriage and said they could not wait to finally meet their new siblings in person, especially his daughter, Jamie.
“Jamie, who’s 12, gets up every days and says ‘it’s only 15 days now, it’s only 14 days’,” he said.
“Even on the day of the birth she wrote on the whiteboard in the kitchen ‘happy birthday twins’ so they can’t wait to see them.”
Sam and Tim said they had been “incredibly supported” through their time at the Mater.
“Everyone has just been wonderful throughout our whole time here, I really can’t thank them enough,” Sam said.
While the couple said they wouldn’t have chosen to bring the boys into the world the way they did, being on the other side of it has given them perspective.
“I kept a journal of the time we spent here, and I can’t wait to share that with them when they get older,” Sam said.
“It’s going to be a good story for their 21st party, that’s for sure,” Tim added.
Stuart Layt covers health, science and technology for the Brisbane Times. He was formerly the Queensland political reporter for AAP.