Mother’s delight at ‘miracle’ triplets after she defied doctors who advised her to abort two
A happy outcome for once — because a mother IGNORED NHS advice
A mother who was told by doctors to abort two of her babies when they discovered she was carrying triplets has defied medics to give birth to three healthy children. Lynn Seigenberg, 30, and her husband, Leon, had spent nine years struggling trying to conceive – only to be advised to abort two foetuses when they became pregnant after IVF treatment.
Doctors feared that the three babies would put strain on Lynn’s body – and could drain her body of energy, killing them all. But after spending years trying to become a mother – and already having suffered one miscarriage – Lynn insisted on keeping all her babies. And despite doctors’ fears her three babies were born perfectly healthy.
Mrs Seigenberg, from Swinton, Manchester, said: ‘I was over the moon when I found out I was pregnant. ‘But before long, I was facing every mother’s nightmare, when my doctor told me I should consider aborting my two identical twin boys. ‘I was torn between ensuring the safety of one child and risking the lives of all three. ‘But I knew in the end it had to be all or nothing – how can you expect a mother to choose which of her children lives or dies?’
Nursery nurse Lynn was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome after years of trying for a baby with husband Leon, 36, a CCTV operator. Doctors put her on medication to help increase her chances of conceiving – and although she did get pregnant once, she miscarried after a few weeks.
After eight years of trying, the couple were allowed two cycles of IVF on the NHS, due to Lynn’s condition at St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester. Lynn had two eggs implanted – and to the couple’s amazement, she fell pregnant straight away with identical twin boys and a girl.
Lynn said: ‘We had been warned that IVF often isn’t very successful, and we honestly didn’t hold out any hope for the first cycle. ‘But when I found out not only was I expecting one baby, but three, I was speechless. ‘It seemed like a dream come true – but the doctors didn’t agree.
‘Our consultant told us having identical twins and another baby was a very dangerous pregnancy. ‘She said my body probably wouldn’t cope with carrying three babies at once – and they would fight each other for food and energy.
‘She warned me I could end up with no babies and advised me to abort my twin boys. ‘But my mothering instinct had already kicked in – there was no way I was going to pick and choose which of my babies lived or died.
‘We were terrified all the way through the pregnancy. We didn’t buy anything for the babies, not even a baby grow, until a few days before I was due to give birth by caesarean section. ‘But amazingly, my pregnancy went perfectly, and I gave birth to three healthy children.’
At 33 weeks, Lynn gave birth to her twin boys, Logan and Ethan, and their sister Lexie, at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
Incredibly, Lexie and Ethan were allowed home after two weeks – and smallest twin Logan spent just 14 further days in hospital before being allowed home to join his brother and sister. Now 17 months old, the triplets have just started at nursery – and are no different from any other cheeky toddlers.
The mother-of-three added: ‘I know that I am incredibly lucky to have my babies. They’re inquisitive, happy and healthy. ‘They drive us mad at times, and it’s really hard work, but I wouldn’t change them for the world. ‘They’re a dream come true and I’ve finally got the family I always longed for. I can’t imagine life without any of them. ‘It just goes to show that anything is possible.’
British middle-class children disadvantaged by University admission reforms
Middle-class schoolchildren could be denied university places in favour of students with lower grades from poorly-performing schools under reforms to the application process.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) will include statistics about each applicant’s school on all forms from 2012. Each application for entry will show the average GCSE and A-level performance of the candidate’s school and the proportion of pupils in their neighbourhood who go on to higher education.
This way universities will be able to see how well a pupil is performing compared to other students from the same school and local area.
The proposals have been put forward by vice-chancellors who face being penalised if they fail to hit government targets for the proportions of students admitted from deprived families. It will enable elite institutions to make lower offers to students from poorly-performing schools who they believe have academic potential.
Universities must hit government targets in order to be able to raise fees to the maximum level of £9,000 from 2012.
However, critics have warned that it will penalise children who are educated privately. Helen Wright, headmistress of St Mary’s Calne, Wiltshire, and president of the Girls’ School Association, described the system as “morally wrong”. She told the Sunday Times: “This is too much of a broad brush approach and is not sensible. “In the end decisions will be based on guesswork based on stereotypes.” She said schools that had high grades were likely to be “teaching its pupils well”.
The proposals have been backed by Universities UK, the vice-chancellor’s association.
However, Graham Stuart, Conservative chairman of the education select committee, said that “hard-working youngsters” could have their results disregards “because of nakedly political interference”.
Tim Hands, master of Magdaean College school, Oxford warned that such statistics could not take into account factors such as private tuition and described the measurements as “crude”.
In a recent newsletter Ucas said: “For the 2012 application cycle, Ucas will be able to provide additional contextual data from publicly available data sets to those institutions who wish to use it. This is one of a number of shared services being developed by Ucas for the benefit of the Higher Education sector, and comes in response to a number of requests from institutions to provide such information.”
Many useless British degrees
Data from the Complete University Guide reveals a drop in students landing graduate jobs or places on more advanced postgraduate courses after finishing their degree. At most universities, some 64 per cent of students found decent jobs or further study, compared with 68.5 per cent two years earlier.
Graduate prospects were particularly hit at many former polytechnics and new universities amid rising competition for sought-after positions during the economic downturn.
Figures show just 45 per cent of students who left Bolton University in 2009 – the latest available data – secured graduate jobs or places on further courses, such as PhDs. It means more than half were either unemployed or found low-skilled jobs that were not linked to their degrees, such as shelf-stacking and working behind a bar.
According to figures, 53 per cent of students who left De Montfort in Leicester gained decent jobs or places on other courses, compared with 69 per cent a year earlier. Graduate prospects dropped from 71 per cent to 61 per cent at Bournemouth University, 67 per cent to 55.5 per cent at Leeds Metropolitan and 58.5 per cent to 49 per cent at London South Bank.
But other universities ensured more students found graduate jobs, often after offering courses in employability skills or better careers guidance.
This included Plymouth, Huddersfield and the University for the Creative Arts in London.
More students from Buckingham – a private university – graduated with a good job or place on another course, strengthening the Coalition’s claim that more students should consider studying with private providers.
A rather sweeping admission of ignorance
“The measurement of emissions has huge errors”. Is that how the science got to be “settled”?
A better monitoring network for greenhouses gases is needed to warn of significant changes and to keep countries that have agreed to cut their emissions honest, scientists said in papers published Monday.
“What we’re hoping to do is see if the warming is feeding the warming, particularly in the Arctic,” said Euan Nisbet, a specialist in methane emissions at the University of London. “Our monitoring network is very, very limited. We feel more observation is needed.”
Such measurement could warn of possible climate tipping points, scientists said in papers published by Britain’s science academy, the Royal Society.
The data also could be used to verify countries’ reporting of greenhouse gas emissions against targets under the present Kyoto Protocol and a possible successor after 2012.
The Earth’s climate in the past has changed in a relatively short period of time, warming rapidly about 12,000 years ago at the end of the most recent glacial period.
Scientists are not sure why that happened, and have warned of possible climate tipping points from manmade emissions. They are concerned, for example, that as Arctic permafrost melts it would allow plant matter to rot and vent methane, a greenhouse gas which could trigger more warming.
Nisbet said the earth last came out of a glacial period “in a matter of a decade or so,” referring to rapid warming followed by a more prolonged ice melt, and warned of serious consequences if that were to be repeated now.
A retreat of Arctic summer ice warming has been observed in recent years against a 30-year satellite record, shrinking to its lowest level in 2007 and coinciding with a spike in methane. “In 2007 the Arctic methane emissions appeared to increase very sharply, and then stabilized a bit later. The question is what were the causes of that,” Nisbet said.
An extra benefit of wider measurement would be an independent test of national reporting of greenhouse gas emissions. Under the Kyoto Protocol, nearly 40 industrialized countries report their emissions against targets from 2008-2012.
A particularly thorny issue in negotiations to agree a successor pact from 2013 is how far international inspectors might oversee emissions reporting. A network of stations may provide a technical answer. “We’re trying to verify the greenhouse gas emissions that are declared by the various countries,” Nisbet said. “The measurement of emissions has huge errors.”
One way to cross-check national reporting is to count all the sources of greenhouse gas emissions, from cars through power plant to cows. Another is to use an improved network of climate stations to measure greenhouse gases in the air and use prevailing winds to calculate where they come from.
Nisbet’s paper was one of more than 15 published in a special issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Monday, setting out key research questions to better understand the impact of greenhouse gases on the climate.
A replacement satellite is planned for 2013 after the previous “orbiting carbon observatory” crashed on launch in 2009.
‘Wear a headscarf or we will kill you’: How the ‘London Taliban’ is targeting women and gays in bid to impose sharia law
Women who do not wear headscarves are being threatened with violence and even death by Islamic extremists intent on imposing sharia law on parts of Britain, it was claimed today.
Other targets of the ‘Talibanesque thugs’, being investigated by police in the Tower Hamlets area of London, include homosexuals. Stickers have been plastered on public walls stating: ‘Gay free zone. Verily Allah is severe in punishment’.
Posters for H&M which feature women in bikinis and a racy poster for a Bollywood film have been defaced.
It is believed Muslim extremists are behind a spate of attacks being investigated by police, according to the Sunday Times.
An Asian woman who works in a pharmacy in east London was told to dress more modestly and wear a veil or the shop would be boycotted. When she went to the media to talk about the abuse she suffered, a man later entered the pharmacy and told her: ‘If you keep doing these things, we are going to kill you’.
The 31-year-old, who is not a practising Muslim, said she has since been told to take holiday by the pharmacy owners and now fears she may lose her job. She said: ‘Why should I wear a hijab (headscarf) or burqa? I haven’t done anything wrong.’
Other incidents reported include the placing of stickers across the white-minority borough which state it is a ‘gay-free zone’ and the daubing of paint on posters for clothing shop H&M featuring women in bikinis.
Ghaffar Hussain, of the anti-extremism thin tank the Quilliam Foundation, told The Sunday Times that the intimidation was the work of ‘Talibanesque thugs’. He added: ‘This minority think they have the right to impose their fringe interpretation of Islam on others.’
Three men have been charged with religiously-aggravated criminal damage in connection with some of the incidents, which have mirrored crude attempt at censorship in Birmingham.
Borough Commander of Tower Hamlets, Paul Rickett said: ‘I am saddened that there are a small minority of people who do not wish to respect the lifestyle choices of others. ‘I would like to reassure the people of Tower Hamlets that we are investigating these incidents.
‘At this stage there is no information to suggest any of the incidents are linked. Anyone found committing such criminal acts will face criminal proceedings. ‘We work closely with faith leaders in the community, the Tower Hamlets interfaith forum, our partner agencies and the local community to ensure that people feel safe in the borough.’
Khalid Mahmood, MP for Birmingham Perry Bar, said he had seen posters vandalised in Birmingham but was not aware of threats being made. He said: ‘I have seen posters defaced in Birmingham and it’s just complete nonsense. ‘If people choose to follow the religion they should be free to do so and we don’t want to go down the route that the French have done, but these people have to accept other people. ‘If it’s about the freedom to do what you want, others should have the freedom to do what they want to do.
‘It’s the actions of a very small minority, and in Birmingham we have not seen people threaten women who are not wearing the burqa – it someone were to do that the police should be informed.’
Firebrand Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary said that he was aware of individuals who would speak up if they saw a Muslim woman without a headscarf, but insisted they were only giving advice about their views of Islam. He said no threats would be made and described the allegations of threats of death as ‘completely ridiculous’. He said: ‘There are groups who propagate Islam, and if they see a Muslim woman without a hijab they may say “sister, it’s obligatory that you cover your hair”.
‘It’s an individual intervention to propagate Islam. For non-Muslims, they may point out to them that women are being exploited in the West. ‘It’s about telling people about the preference of covering up, but nobody’s going to say “you are going to be killed”.’
Tower Hamlets has a reputation for being a centre of Islamic extremism in London. Recently it was revealed Rich Dart, a middle class former BBC worker had converted to Islam and was living in Bow, east London in a £300,000 flat paid for by benefits.
Despite being unemployed, Mr Dart regularly attends Muslim rallies in which he was recently heard to say: ‘When the Taliban defeat the allies we will establish Sharia law and take the fight to the enemy.’
Before Christmas posters appeared in the borough claiming the religious festival was ‘evil’. The campaign’s organiser was 27-year-old Abu Rumaysah, who once called for Sharia Law in Britain at a press conference held by hate preacher leader Anjem Choudary, the leader of banned militant group Islam4UK.
Mr Rumaysah said: ‘Christmas is a lie and as Muslims it is our duty to attack it. ‘But our main attack is on the fruits of Christmas, things like alcohol abuse and promiscuity that increase during Christmas and all the other evils these lead to such as abortion, domestic violence and crime. ‘We hope that out campaign will make people realise that Islam is the only way to avoid this and convert.’
Niall Ferguson: ‘The left love being provoked by me … they think I’m a reactionary imperialist scumbag’
The historian has been living back in the UK for almost a year, the first time since leaving for the US in 2002, where he now teaches at Harvard. From the outside, it’s looked like quite a successful stay; his Channel 4 series, Civilization, was broadly well-received, and the accompanying book is another dollop of vintage Ferguson history, devoted to the superiority of western civilisation. While here he’s also been advising Michael Gove on the history curriculum in secondary schools, and now that the Tories, of whom he approves, are back in charge of the country, he must have found the political climate more to his tastes. But when I ask him for the single biggest change he’s observed since leaving Britain, he replies with a kind of theatrical despair,
“I think the situation in British universities has gone from being parlous to being catastrophic. When you look at where British universities are going, and where Harvard’s going, you’d have to really love other things about England to take the hit.”
The Glaswegian-born academic and presenter, 46, has been sending the left into fits of rage ever since he published Empire in 2003 – an elaborate cost-benefit analysis of the British empire, which concluded that it had, on the whole, been a good thing. The character of Irwin in Alan Bennett’s play, The History Boys – a pushy, contrarian teacher who becomes a TV historian – is modelled on Ferguson, and ideological sparring matches with his leftwing critics, one of whom branded his work “startlingly obscene”, have become something of a national sport. Rather than get into yet another one with him, I’m more interested to find out what he thinks about the things that are often said about him, so I ask if it’s true that he loves provoking the left.
“No, they love being provoked by me! Honestly, it makes them feel so much better about their lives to think that I’m a reactionary; it’s a substitute for thought. ‘Imperialist scumbag’ and all that. Oh dear, we’re back in a 1980s student union debate.” But didn’t Ferguson himself admit that his conversion to Thatcherism while a student at Oxford in the 80s was motivated chiefly by delight in taunting student union lefties?
“Well, of course, yes, it was partly that,” he concedes. “But that was the 80s, and I was young. I’m not a punk Tory any more, we have come a long way since then, it’s now 2011. I don’t really care about those people any more. The debate that I’m interested in having is with seriously smart people about how we design institutions in the 21st century that will genuinely address problems of poverty and educational underachievement. Now that’s an interesting debate to have, but very few people in this country are interested in having it.”
Warming to his theme, he cites one reviewer of Civilization who clearly hadn’t even read the book before attacking it. “You know what?” he says crossly. “There’s a lot of intellectual shoddiness in this country. My interest in my work now is not to wind up British lefties; I couldn’t care less about them, not really. I couldn’t care less about how they feel. So the problem is not that I like to wind them up. It’s that they like to be wound up by an imaginary rightwing historian who satisfies all their emotional needs.”
Let’s say then, I suggest, that he’s absolutely right; that the left has got itself into a tizz and accused him of all sorts of views he does not actually hold. He is forever insisting he is not rightwing – so could he offer some examples of his thinking which would demonstrate that he isn’t?
“Ask me not are you rightwing, but ask me are you a committed believer in individual freedom, the values of the enlightenment? Then, yeah, if being rightwing means believing Adam Smith was right, both in the Wealth of Nations and the Theory of Moral Sentiments, then I’m rightwing. If being rightwing is thinking that Karl Marx’s doctrine was a catastrophe for humanity, then I’m rightwing. If you think that it’s rightwing to say that the welfare state has trapped 10-20% of the population of western Europe in a dependency culture, an abyss of social failure, then I’m rightwing.”
He sounds as if he could quite easily be a member of David Cameron’s cabinet. “I’m very sympathetic to both David Cameron and George Osborne,” he agrees. “But we have to redefine this debate, this argument. I’m just constantly amazed by how far people remain trapped in the labelling of the 80s. In the 80s I was a Thatcherite, and we won on both issues, the economy and the cold war, and for a lot of people that must have hurt a lot because those arguments were very bitter, but the outcome was just clear. So when people call me rightwing I get a little pissed off, because it’s so anachronistic; it assumes there is some kind of choice.”
Ferguson’s politics don’t appear to rest on semantic definitions of rightwing, so much as a refusal to recognise the validity – or even possibility – of any alternative way of looking at the world. Such certainty presumably explains the other thing everyone always says about him – that he has an almost superhuman absence of self-doubt. But when I ask if this is true, he says: “Of course not!
One of the things that really amazes me is how many people would rather discuss style than substance – that I’m too arrogant, too self-assured. But what the media want from a public intellectual is someone who is absolutely certain in his views. When you are on Newsnight or Question Time, they want combative polarisation; they want a strong case, strongly put. And I do that – I can do that – because a certain intellectual discipline is involved. But as a teacher, my strategy is to encourage questioning. I’m the least authoritarian professor you’ll ever meet.”
Ferguson has produced 16 books and five TV series in the last 16 years, and sounds unmistakably proud of his workaholism, so I guess that he thinks work-life balance is basically for losers. “I think work-life balance is a phrase invented at business schools to make workaholics feel they’re doing something about their problem,” he agrees scornfully. “The truth is, there is no balance. You can’t strike a balance. You can’t write a book like Civilization on three hours a day.
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up — on his usual vastly “incorrect” themes of race, genes, IQ etc.