In retrospect, says Ben, his problems had begun to build soon after the birth – which had been a natural and uncomplicated experience for Paula, and had actually proven less frightening for Ben than he had expected.
“Polly came first and she was a feisty little thing, looking around the room. Then Logan came out screaming. They were both over 3lbs, breathing well and they looked healthy,” he says. “I think I developed a false sense of security.”
The next time Ben saw his babies, by then transferred to the special care unit – something the couple had known would happen – he felt very different. “It was traumatic. I was immediately hit by how busy it was, all the beeping machines,” he says.
“We were led to the end of the corridor and I knew from experience [working in the hospital’s haematology lab] that this was the area reserved for the sickest babies.”
Arriving in Logan’s room, Ben discovered a team of people around the incubator. “We were told they were stabilising him and to come back in a while. I later discovered they had suspected sepsis.”
Next door, Polly had briefly stopped breathing. “She was blue,” says Ben. “They both looked so fragile with tubes and wires and machines everywhere. I realised we wouldn’t be getting our babies home soon. It was a terrible shock.”