A Flower's Cove nurse helped raise these twins 60 years ago — and now they've been reunited

·4 min read

For nearly 60 years Helena Pittman wondered what happened to the twin babies who were dropped off at Flower's Cove hospital in the summer of 1960.

Now she finally has her answer.

Pittman, who was 18 at the time and working as a senior nurse's aide for the hospital on the Northern Peninsula, still remembers when a call to the medical facility said a woman had died while giving birth to twins at a hospital in St. Anthony.

Because the twins were the youngest of 15 children and born premature, their grieving father didn't have much ability to care for them, and it was up to the staff at Flower's Cove to look after the newborn girl and boy for the next nine months.

"It was very sad, it was sad for their mom, it was sad for their family," recalled Pittman, now living in Bird Cove.

It was such a beautiful feeling. My body was full of goosebumps. - Helena Pittman

"But we were happy to have them. When the babies came to us we met them at the door.… We watched them grow, we watched them smile. They were so happy and they were good quiet babies. They were just perfect."

Pittman said she had helped deliver many babies throughout the years but this was the first time the nurses would care for newborns night and day, month after month.

With an almost all-female staff who lived at the hospital, she said, everyone immediately became attached to their new guests.

"These little babies, they were vulnerable, they were in our care and it was up to us to be good to them and see that they got everything they needed … and we did," she said.

Submitted by Faye Campbell
Submitted by Faye Campbell

So when it came time to say goodbye nine months later, Pittman said, it left a bit of a hole.

"We were all heartbroken. We were happy for the family that they were getting their babies back, their siblings, happy for that dad, but we were heartbroken and it took us a long time to kind of get used to the idea that they weren't there anymore."

There were a few times after the twins went home that Pittman and other nurses checked on them but, as the way it goes, Pittman got busy and life moved on.

But she never forgot the twins and always wondered what happened to them and how they were doing. She would tell her friends about her experience in the hospital and what the twins had meant to her.

Luckily for her, her friends were listening.

Submitted by Faye Campbell
Submitted by Faye Campbell

Recently, one of Pittman's friends was at a gas station in Green Island Cove when she noticed a photograph of a large family on the wall and started asking some questions.

Shortly afterwards she reported back to Pittman that she had found the twin sister and had received some contact information.

Last Wednesday, Pittman unexpectedly got a knock on her front door, and opened it to see a man standing there.

"'An insurance seller, probably an insurance seller,' that's what I was thinking.Then he said, 'You worked at the hospital at Flower's Cove. We were the twins there.'"

"I said, 'Oh my God.… Come on in, come on in!' And we sat down at the table here and we talked and talked and talked and hugged. It was such a beautiful feeling. My body was full of goosebumps."

Submitted by Faye Campbell
Submitted by Faye Campbell

It was just the twin brother, Levi Diamond, who showed up at Pittman's house but they spoke about his sister, Faye Campbell, who now lives in Cook's Harbour.

Pittman has not been able to meet her yet but they are both anxious to do so.

"It's a wonderful feeling for sure to know that a stranger took you in and looked after you for nine months," Campbell told CBC News.

Campbell said it was strange growing up without a mother and she is grateful for the care they received in the hospital while her father was trying to grieve and run a large household.

"My dad was like a mom and a dad. Wherever he went I followed him," she said.

"My father, he was a great guy. You couldn't ask for a better man."

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