A Tayside woman who nearly gave birth in a Tesco car park says taking her twins home after four months in hospital is the “best Christmas present”.
Filipa Geraldes and husband Bruno Silva, from Bridge of Earn, will get to spend the festive period with little Deborah and Aileen, who were born premature at 26 weeks.
They have been staying at the neonatal unit at Ninewells Hospital since August, with Aileen coming “close to death” a number of times.
The twins were conceived through IVF after a six-year battle with fertility issues, making their homecoming even more poignant for the couple.
Filipa, 32, said: “I’m so delighted they’re coming home for Christmas there are no words to describe what I’m feeling.
“It all started on August 18, when I was 26 weeks pregnant and was due to go to Perth Royal Infirmary for a scan.
“Shortly before that I started getting pains. The doctors said it was just the twin’s heads rubbing against my pelvis and advised me to go home and take paracetamol.
“Before going home, Bruno and I went to Tesco on Crieff Road and my pain intensified.
“I’d never had children before, so I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t even think I could be in labour because it was far too early.
“In the end we had to abandon our shopping at the self scanner and get out to the car park.
“That’s when the pain became unbearable and some of the employees had to come out and help.”
The staff timed Filipa’s contractions and it turned out they were only three minutes apart, meaning the babies were about to arrive.
She was whisked off to hospital in an ambulance, where the twins were delivered naturally.
But all was not well at 1.4lb and 1.6lb, the babies were tiny and came out bruised “black and blue, from head to toe”.
They needed to be given oxygen to breathe and Aileen, the frailer of the two, suffered a number of problems in the months to come.
Those included a lung and a brain haemorrhage, which lead to brain surgery and a number of other interventions.
While Deborah was discharged weeks ago, Aileen had to stay at Ninewells and will still need oxygen at home.
Bruno, 34 said: “It has been an emotional rollercoaster.
“A few times Aileen came close to death and the staff at the neonatal unit worked miracles.
“I don’t know what we would have done without them.”