Dad Delivers Preemie Twins on Bathroom Floor After Mom Suddenly Gives Birth in Under 5 Minutes

Max and Emily Bridges watch over their twins
Max and Emily Bridges/Just Giving

Last year, Max and Emily Bridges were over the moon to learn they were pregnant with twin boys. But their world turned upside down forever on November 18, 2018, when Emily went into sudden labor at just 27 weeks and 5 days. With help from her husband, Max, Emily delivered her boys, Zachary and Dexter, on the bathroom floor. It all happened in less than five minutes, before paramedics could even reach the home. Right away, however, the parents could tell something was wrong with Zachary, and before they knew it, Max was performing CPR on his infant son.

  • According to the Sun, the twins weren't due until February 13, 2019. So when Emily's water broke in November, the couple was stunned.

    Emily shared that as soon as she felt her water break months early, her husband's "instinct" kicked in and Max jumped into delivering his twin boys on their bathroom floor -- in just minutes. After Dexer came little Zachary, who Emily described as small enough to fit in the palm of her hand and not breathing.

    The Bridges, who live in North Yorkshire, England, prayed that their boys would be alright as an ambulance whisked the preemies away to nearby Airedale General Hospital.

    "When the paramedics arrived, we thought the worst was over. But it was only just beginning," Emily wrote in an essay for the Sun.

    "The illusion that everything would now be ok was soon shattered upon arrival as we were informed that unfortunately the boys required Neonatal Intensive Care due to them being so premature, which is something Airedale are only able to provide for a limited time," the couple shared on a fundraising page they created with Just Giving. "Things looked like they would get worse as there was talk of moving the boys to separate hospitals in order to receive this care due to limited neonatal intensive care beds across the country."

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  • Luckily, staff at the hospital were able to "pull some strings" and get space for both boys within the hospital.

    But the reality that the Bridges were faced with was not easy. The boys were both extremely premature, and Zachary was particularly vulnerable.

    "It was a tragic moment seeing our boys so briefly before they were taken from us albeit to receive the care they needed," the couple wrote on their campaign page. So much so that Emily decided -- against the medical advice of her doctors -- to discharge herself from her care facility so she could be closer to her boys.

    "When Max and I were finally allowed to see the boys, we felt bewildered and heartbroken," she added in her essay. "They were hooked up to so many machines and receiving blood transfusions."

    Still, the couple maintained hope their boys would pull through, and slept in the hospital overnight to avoid missing any time with them.

  • Then, just three days after the twins' birth, the Bridges received the news they were dreading.

    A scan revealed that Zachary had suffered a "catastrophic bi-lateral brain hemorrhage," and because of the extent of the bleed, they were told there was zero chance the boy would survive. As the couple shared in the essay for the Sun:

    "These were the words we were dreading, but we knew the time we had to spend with him was ticking away fast. We spent Zachary's last hours bathing, changing and dressing him. After just three days and 17 hours of life, he passed away peacefully in our arms. It felt our world had fallen apart, all our hopes and dreams had crashed down around us."

  • The experience was heartbreaking for the couple, who had already envisioned a happy future with their two little boys.

    A year after the traumatic birth, however, the couple says they are healing -- and glad to report that their son Dexter is happy, healthy, and hitting all his milestones.

    They've been sharing their story with others as a means of raising awareness of premature births, as well as a way to honor Zachary's memory.

    Their Just Giving page, which was launched in December 2018, raised money not for the couple but instead for The Sick Children's Trust, which provides accommodations to parents who have children in the hospital. The couple is holding a series of challenges on and off the site for a year, and November's challenge was met when the fundraising goal of £1,000 was exceeded.

    "While the hard working staff of the hospital were caring for our boys, Eckersley House and The Sick Children's Trust gave us the gift of time, time not spent wasted travelling or stuck in traffic but instead it was spent where we needed to be, by the bedside of our sick twins," the campaign page read.

    "We would like to raise money, in order for The Sick Children's Trust to be able to continue to run places like Eckersley House and possibly even acquire additional properties so that they can increase the number of families that they can help," the campaign page continued.

  • They are also continuing to honor Zachary's memory in big ways and small ones.

    "Earlier this month, we celebrated the boys' first birthday, which was bittersweet knowing Zachary was supposed to be there with us," they shared with the Sun. "We lit a candle for each of them -- we have a picture of Zachary and his footprints on our fireplace, so he's never forgotten."

    They also plan to hold a day of remembrance for Zachery every year on November 22, the day he died, and say they will ask Dexter to draw pictures for his brother as he gets older.

    "We need to find somewhere for him to put his grief, but we won't be able to force it," the couple shared.