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Pregnancy & Birth

Beulah Koale's miracle babies

The actor’s delighted with his new role as doting dad.

By Ashleigh McEnaney
Before Beulah Koale became a father, he couldn’t imagine loving anyone more than his mother and his partner. But when the former Shortland Street star welcomed his precious twin boys into the world, his heart swelled with happiness.
“It was like being shot with love – I felt this intense electric current surge through my whole body,” beams the 25-year-old as he cradles his pint-sized newborns in his muscly arms. “I could do this forever. Now that both my sons are here, alive and together, I don’t take a moment for granted.”
Born more than three months premature at 28 weeks, it’s nothing short of a miracle that Beulah and 21-year-old Georgia Otene’s gorgeous wee lads Xavier Lyall and Isaac Pakira are now healthy, happy and thriving.
Only weeks before the boys’ dramatic arrival last December, the young parents were told their monochorionic diamniotic twins – identical twins who share the same placenta but are in separate amniotic sacs – were in grave danger.
A 20-week scan at North Shore Hospital showed that Isaac had stopped growing, with doctors informing the couple they needed to consider their options – either to pull their babies out early and risk both their lives or to sacrifice Isaac to give Xavier a fighting chance at survival.
“Those aren’t really options to a parent,” says Beulah, who played troubled teen Jared Afeaki on Shorty and acts alongside his former co-star Frankie Adams in the Kiwi movie One Thousand Ropes.
“We knew we were in for a tough ride, but to be told your son is slowly dying … We felt helpless.”
“I was an absolute mess,” adds Georgia. “They were talking about my baby dying inside me – I’d give birth to a living baby and a non-living baby. It was impossible to comprehend. I can’t even kill an ant without crying, so this was overwhelming.”
Fortunately, the scared and bewildered parents were referred to Auckland City Hospital, where their “fairy godmother” Dr Margie Harpham gave them hope.
She closely monitored Georgia’s bump with twice-weekly and then daily appointments until one day, near the 25-week mark, when the mum-to-be was told she’d need to stay in hospital.
“Beulah jokes that I’m secretly in love with Margie, but she changed my life,” says Georgia. “She said to me, ‘We are going to make sure you have two baby boys.’
“I stayed in hospital for three weeks and was hooked up to a monitor every day, morning and night.
Despite a difficult start, Beulah and Georgia’s gorgeous sons are now thriving.
“With healthy babies, the procedure usually takes about 20 minutes, but it took almost three hours with me as they could never find Isaac’s heartbeat. It was an emotional rollercoaster. I dreaded it every single day.”
Though hospital rules meant he couldn’t stay with Georgia overnight, Beulah vowed to be by her side as much as he could, only attending the odd audition or squeezing in a stress-releasing gym session.
He tells, “I was angry at the world for letting this happen to my boys and my partner, but the last thing I wanted was for Georgia to see me crumbling. While she was carrying our babies, I needed to be the pillar she could lean on. I had to be strong.”
Finally, on December 21, Georgia delivered both her boys via emergency Caesarean section. “When they pulled out Isaac, the fear was numbing,” says Beulah.
“He was so still and silent, and doctors rushed him straight to resuscitation, but when they pulled Xavier out, he was screaming.
“I didn’t know what to feel. I couldn’t be happy because as far as I knew, one of my sons could be dead. I remember running to that resuscitation room and watching the doctors bring Isaac back to life.”
Meet Xavier Lyall & Isaac Pakira Koale
Born: December 21, 2016
Weight: Xavier 1.1kg & Isaac 670g
Less than two kilos between them, Beulah’s boys were so tiny, “they didn’t even look human”, he says.
“Isaac looked like a little mouse and in comparison, Xavier, who’d been guzzling all the food, came out like a slightly fatter, hairy gorilla. I was like, ‘Babe, we’ve given birth to aliens!’”
The early birth meant Isaac and Xavier had underdeveloped lungs and couldn’t breathe without assistance. The boys spent their first three months hooked up to womb-like incubators in the hospital’s newborn intensive care unit.
“Parenting in front of so many people was daunting – initially, we felt too scared to touch the boys,” says Georgia.
Beulah adds, “But the intensive care team made us feel secure about handling them. We were incredibly lucky because we were being trained by the top doctors and nurses in the country – now we feel like super-parents!”
This year will continue to be big for the first-time father and Hollywood hopeful, whose performance alongside A-list comedienne Amy Schumer and Keisha Castle-Hughes in the upcoming drama Thank You for Your Service is already generating Oscar buzz.
However, being a good dad will be Beulah’s most important role.
“Most of the male role models in my life have failed me,” he explains. “It used to make me so angry, but since these boys came along, I feel so much lighter and I know exactly the kind of father I need to be.”

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