Chloe's Story - Chapter 1
Updated: Sep 23, 2020
I wouldn't be running 500 race miles in a year if it wasn't for a good cause; many of you have already heard a little bit about Chloe and her family, but now the first race is under my belt I thought it time to run a feature on the blog over the coming weeks and months, covering her story in a little more detail. Who better to fill us in, than her Dad? Over to you Jamie...
Hi, I’m Jamie, Chloe’s father. I am honoured to have been asked by Rob to be a guest writer for his blog (feels odd not calling him 'Alan' or 'Mullen', as we did at school!).
He has set himself an immense challenge all in aid of Chloe and I could not be more proud and grateful of my friend. He is a true hero and somebody who has the strength and mental fortitude to succeed at anything he puts his mind to…including running 500 miles!!
Rob has left the content of this blog post to me and as he is doing so much to try and help Chloe, I felt it would be a good time in my life to reflect and give my account of what
happened to our family when Chloe was born. As I sit here writing, I am constantly assessing how much it is a deeply personal story to share, but I would like to think it could possibly help somebody else going through a similar experience.
My story covers our experience over the last 4 and half years since Chloe was born, but today we'll start with Chloe’s birth, her early life and how much the future I had imagined changed in an instant..,
Chapter 1: BIRTH
Chloe had a tough start to life. She was born by emergency caesarean section at 30 weeks and 3 days, weighing just 2.6 pounds. This had become necessary as during a routine scan the consultant had discovered that Chloe’s identical twin sister, Phoebe, had died.
Lisa, my wife, had been in that scan alone. I had attended every scan up until that point: we’d had increased scans early in the pregnancy as the doctors were monitoring the twins closely due to the higher risk of complications with identical twins.
At roughly week 28 of the pregnancy, Lisa became seriously ill with viral meningitis and was monitored with daily scans of the twins until she recovered enough to go home. She spent over a week in Worcestershire Royal hospital, where the twins were due to be delivered, staying in the delivery suite just in case the doctors needed to act fast during her illness.
Typically, on the day of this final scan, I wasn’t there. This is a painful memory: I was at a
conference for work and I remember stepping away to receive a call - it was from the hospital asking to me to make my way there. They don’t tell you why, and I didn’t ask. I like to assume the best; I thought the twins may be on their way early, which we were prepared
I told my brother who is my business partner that I had to go, jumped in the car and left. I
was about an hour and 15 minutes away; I remember calling my mom and having the
conversation you would expect with any loving mother, “drive carefully, take care, make
sure you get there in one piece!”. I arrived at the hospital and rather than rushing in, I took a measured approach, recalling the birth of our son and how we had been in hospital for over 24hrs before he was born, I thought I’d go in prepared so I grabbed a drink and went to the toilet. In hindsight, this was a mistake.
I made my way to the delivery suite, made them aware of who I was and was taken to a room - I remember a lady coming in and introducing herself to me, Trudy. She sat
me down and told me what Lisa has discovered a couple of hours earlier, that twin one -
later named Phoebe - had died. It’s hard to describe what happened next: a distant stare, a
slow deep continual outward breath, which feels like your chest is folding in on itself like a
collapsing star. The constant murmor of my inner thoughts stopped, the millions of
calculations your brain makes every second paused, silence in my mind, silence in the room.
Trudy gently and expertly brought me back, comforted me with kind words and her
presence and turned the focus to the other twin; Chloe.
Lisa had been rushed in for the c-section; I had missed seeing her by a fraction, that toilet break and grabbing a drink had meant that I had missed her going in - small decision, big outcome, something rationally I know I couldn’t have known, but still kick myself every time I think about it. As soon as it was possible, I was taken in to see Lisa. The twins had been taken away and I was told that Chloe was being looked after in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Lisa was coming around from the anaesthesia, the pain and realisation of our new reality clouded by the anaesthetic induced confusion.
All I could do is be there, repeat the same phrases, “its ok, it will be ok, we are going to be ok”.
Chloe at a couple of days old, the teddy was from a memory box and we used it to represent Phoebe being with her sister.
Chapter 2 to follow soon...in the meantime, please consider donating generously to this important cause. CLICK HERE to donate.