Giving back: Sisters born prematurely now care for preemie babies

Ainsley and Tiffany Ballantyne know first-hand the ongoing struggles children born prematurely can face.  The Sunday Post reports that the Scottish sisters were both born prematurely.  Ainsley, 26, and Tiffany, 22, received extensive medical care throughout childhood, spending many days in the hospital.  From an early age, inspired by the nurses who cared for them, the Ballantynes knew what they wanted to do with their lives.

Remembering the nurses, Ainsley said, “I would watch them turn sick children into healthy ones and thought I could do this when I grew up.”  She sees her work as a continuation of the loving care the nurses provided for her.  Even long after her premature birth, Ainsley faced an uphill battle, but the nurses always supported her.  “I just want to help other babies who face huge battles,” she said.

Ainsley now works in the neonatal unit of Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and Tiffany works with children in the Accident and Emergency unit.  Whenever their work brings them both to the neonatal unit, patients immediately recognize that they are sisters.  “They say we are virtually identical,” Tiffany said.

The young women have a sibling who was also born prematurely but did not survive.  Ainsley’s twin was lost at 11 weeks into the pregnancy.  Doctors feared that Ainsley would be born soon after, but through an ingenious way of tilting her mother’s bed, Ainsley stayed in the womb for another two months and was born at a point when she could receive adequate medical care to survive.

Years later, like her sister, Tiffany was born 6 weeks premature.  Thankfully, both sisters remained in the womb past what Ainsley calls “the survival line,” the point in gestation at which the baby is viable outside the womb.  Much has changed over the last 25 years, and the age of viability is now considered 24 weeks, with babies born at 22 and 23 weeks surviving with little or no long-term disabilities.  Medical breakthroughs like the use of synthetic surfactants have ensured the survival of an ever-increasing number of premature babies.

Tragically, despite the amazing medical advances and growing success of preemie care, the abortion lobby continues to push for abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.  While the taking of an innocent Life at any time during gestation is inhumane, most people are especially shocked by taking the Life of a child in the womb when that child could survive outside the womb.  While a baby born prematurely at 22 weeks is given the most sophisticated medical care in the world in the fight to survive, a baby in the womb at 22 weeks could be killed in an abortion in most states in our country.

The special care we show to the premature can be a powerful way of advancing the Culture of Life.  The Ballantyne sisters spent their Christmas holidays working in their hospital units, but that didn’t stop them from finding time to collect presents for their tiny patients.  Ainsley told the Sunday Post, “We wanted to make Christmas special for babies fighting to survive.”  She added, “Many of the parents are miles from home and their families and the little presents mean so much to them.”  What a beautiful way to spread the Culture of Life!