Mother who spent years trying to conceive with her husband is left heartbroken when he suffers brain damage from a cardiac arrest just four days after they found they were having IVF twins
- Justin, 36, and Angela Moulding, 35, struggled to conceive for nearly five years
- Overjoyed couple discovered they were having twins after three IVF attempts
- Days later Justin suffered devastating cardiac arrest while out mountain biking
A beauty therapist has recounted the earth-shattering moment her husband suffered a devastating cardiac arrest just four days after she fell pregnant.
Angela Moulding, 35, and her tool maker husband Justin, 36, spent nearly five years desperately trying for a baby.
So the couple from Worthing in West Sussex were overjoyed when, after three IVF attempts, they discovered Angela was having twins.
But their world came tumbling down days later when keen athlete Justin suffered a life-changing cardiac arrest during a mountain biking event.
Angela Moulding, 35, and her tool maker husband Justin, 36, spent nearly five years desperately trying for a baby
Keen athlete Justin suffered a life-changing cardiac arrest during a mountain biking event
Angela was overjoyed when, after three IVF attempts, she discovered she was having twins
The couple met through friends in 2010, before getting engaged in 2012 and marrying in 2013. They tried for a baby soon after but found in 2015 that they needed IVF.
Angela kissed Justin goodbye as he cycled off to a mountain biking event on August 12, 2017, some four days after finally discovering they were going to have children.
But by 6.15pm, he had not returned and two policeman knocked on her door.
She said: ‘We went from possibly the happiest day of our lives to the worst.
‘We’d had a scan at eight weeks, on August 8, 2017, and were told we were having identical twins – it was one embryo that had split.
‘I was laughing hysterically and crying at the same time. Justin’s jaw was on the floor – he didn’t know quite what to make of it. We were in total shock.’
‘We were so overjoyed to find out we were having not one but two babies and finally having a family, when Justin, who was so young, fit and healthy, had this catastrophic cardiac arrest.’
Angela kissed Justin goodbye as he cycled off to a mountain biking event on August 12, 2017, some four days after finally discovering they were going to have two babies.
Angela said: ‘We went from possibly the happiest day of our lives to the worst’
WHAT IS A CARDIAC ARREST?
Contrary to popular belief, a cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack.
A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating due to a malfunction in its electrical system.
It is caused by an abnormal rhythm, or arrhythmia.
Anyone can suffer a cardiac arrest and it can happen at any time and without warning.
Symptoms include unresponsiveness, loss of consciousness, lack of pulse and stopping breathing.
In contrast, a heart attack can be thought of as a problem with the heart’s plumbing – it occurs when an artery supplying the heart becomes blocked.
This causes the heart muscle to begin to die slowly while the patient usually remains awake and alert.
She added: ‘I saw their jackets through the glass, but it was only when they asked, “Are you Justin Moulding’s wife?” that I panicked.
‘They told me Justin had had a cardiac arrest. and I knew I had to try to stay calm, because the adrenaline would be bad for the babies.’
Justin was given CPR at the scene and was taken straight to surgery to have a stent fitted.
‘Initially we thought that, because he had treatment so quickly, he was going to be fine. He was sent up to intensive care to recover and they told us they would keep him under sedation for a few days,’ she said.
‘But when they tried to reduce his sedation, instead of taking between five minutes to a few hours to come round, all he was doing was yawning and making little arm movements.
‘Then a doctor took me into a side room and told us they believed Justin had suffered brain damage, from a lack of oxygen during the cardiac arrest.’
Angela was told people often did not recover from such extensive damage and was advised to stop treatment.
But she sought a second opinion the next day to give her husband more time, because of his age and fitness.
Angela now cares for her twins alone while her husband receives care at a specialist unit more than two hours away
Doctors told Angela her husband was unlikely to recover but she continued with his treatment and he pulled through
Despite his prognosis Justin slowly came round but remained in hospital, able to shuffle for a few steps and with limited speech.
And Angela’s delight at being pregnant was bittersweet without Justin at her side.
She said: ‘After about two weeks, Justin made some arm movements in response to pain. He continued to improve and every day I would talk to him about the babies.
‘Now, his memory still isn’t great. He proposes to me regularly, which is really sweet.
‘He knows he loves me and wants to be married, but doesn’t always remember we are already married. Every single part of his brain is affected.’
Justin managed to help her to choose the names – Arielle and Freya – for their babies born on February 22 at Worthing Hospital weighing 5lb 11 and 4lb 13oz respectively.
Justin has been left with a poor memory and cannot always remember who Angela is
Angela added: ‘It was really special [the birth] and I am so glad that he was well enough that day to come.
‘We’ll probably never have another child, so it was important to me that he would see this. I’m not sure he understood completely and he doesn’t remember it but we were given special permission to film it so we can show it to him and remind him of the special day.
‘We still have to remind him every day that he’s a dad. We have to say, “How many babies do you have?” and he says, “Two”.
‘Arielle is actually a name that we talked about during the first IVF cycle and he remembered. ‘
Four nights after giving birth Angela returned home and is now left to look after both babies by herself.
She said: ‘It’s hard, because one will need changing and then the other will need changing and I only have one pair of hands.
‘Justin is now in Salisbury, Wiltshire, over two and a half hours away, which is the best place for him, but we can only visit him about once a week at the minute.
‘He doesn’t always remember who the girls are. He remembers the names, but I’m not sure he always connects them with his babies.’
Justin was given CPR at the scene and was taken straight to surgery to have a stent fitted – but suffered brain damage
Angela and her friends are now fundraising to buy a wheelchair accessible vehicle.
She said: ‘Justin has now improved so much and can take a few steps, but he is a long way off being able to walk, so we still need a wheelchair. We need a car that can take him, the girls and a few friends or family to help me with everything.
‘Justin was the main breadwinner and I was self-employed, but am now on maternity leave so we’re also fundraising so we can visit him as much as possible. The more we visit, the more he will be able to remember.
‘We don’t know what the future holds for Justin. It’s impossible to tell with a brain injury, but he’s come such a long way since the doctors told me he wouldn’t be able to do anything.
‘I just hope that Justin can come home soon, so we can start being a proper family.’
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