My twins, Henry and Olivia, were born on Sept. 23, 2013. They came into this world at the small hospital in my town at 27-weeks gestational age.
Henry was born after one hour of labor and weighed 2 lbs., 13 oz. Livvi was more stubborn and the doctors had to perform an emergency C-section. Her heart rate was 90 beats per minute and dropping fast. She came to us 20 minutes after her brother at 2 lbs., 5 oz.
Both of my beautiful babies started life breathing on their own but quickly became very tired and had to be put on ventilators. The nurses at my local hospital bagged the babies until Akron Children’s transport team arrived to get them.
At that moment our life in the NICU began. It was a roller coaster. Henry was our rock star. He dropped his weight to 2 lbs., 5 oz., and was only 11 ½ inches long. He had a brain bleed in his first week of life but fought through that.
He was only on a vent for a few days and then on CPAP for a few weeks. He thrived in the NICU under the care of the loving nurses and amazing doctors. Henry was able to come home after 67 days and 2 full weeks before his original due date.
Livvi had a much harder road. She suffered from a PDA (a hole in her heart) and at her lowest weight was only 1 lb., 14 oz. Her tiny, 11-inch body was so small that the NICU baby blankets were way too big for her so she was swaddled in a bandana.
We couldn’t hold her for 2 weeks and then only long enough to have her baptized, and then not again until the end of October. She was labeled the pretty, pretty princess by the NICU nurses because she was so beautiful and so demanding.
If Livvi didn’t have things her way she would stop her breathing and set off all her alarms. She was a fighter, and after 2 rounds of a very strong medication, the hole in her heart closed enough that she began to gain weight.
She took 2 months to get off of the vent and CPAP and another 6 weeks to learn to eat from a bottle. She was given to us after 104 days and only after we had taken a CPR class and learned to use the special monitor that would tell us if she had stopped breathing.
Today Henry and Livvi are happy and healthy 1 year olds. Henry has taken his first steps alone and Livvi is right behind him. Henry weighs 18 lbs. and Livvi is just behind him at 17 lbs. They smile and laugh all the time and make their dad, big sister and I grin at their actions.
We couldn’t have been more blessed than to have the staff at Akron Children’s Hospital taking care of our little miracles!