Even though she visited her doctor every 2 weeks and strictly followed their orders, she slowly started going into labor at 22 weeks.
After 2 weeks of bed rest, Alexis had an emergency C-section and delivered twins Charlee and Lennix in May 2013 at their local hospital.
“Becoming first-time parents at 24 weeks was a big deal,” Alexis says. “They were so little. It was overwhelming. Charlee was 1 lb., 1 oz., Lennix was 1 lb., 6 oz. To us, they were perfect. But our doctors told us over and over again that their chances of survival were very slim. We knew we had a long, roller-coaster journey ahead of us.”
The next 7 months presented some of the biggest challenges Alexis and her fiancée, Nick, would ever face. Both of their girls experienced several serious and life-threatening health issues and would undergo approximately 10 surgeries.
Lennix arrived at Akron Children’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in June for an emergency stomach surgery.
During the next several weeks, she underwent 3 more procedures to correct life-threatening conditions affecting her intestines, stomach and heart. They brought Charlee to Akron Children’s in August to be closer to her sister.
And while Lennix’s condition improved, Charlee needed to have a hole placed in her trachea that allowed her to breathe through a tube on her own.
Both girls needed a gastronomy tube (G-tube) to ensure they received enough fluid and nutrition. As Lennix continued to improve, Charlee experienced a serious setback when she contracted meningitis.
Later, doctors also discovered that she had a brain abscess that needed to be drained surgically.
“Time and time again, our little fighters pulled through,” says Alexis. “I knew that we had been blessed with 2 angels who wanted to be here.”
After 203 days in the NICU, Lennix was released. She joined her parents, who were staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Akron, as they waited for Charlee to be well enough to come home.
On Dec. 23, 2013, after 226 days in the NICU, Charlee joined her twin and her parents. Their family was finally whole.
Today, the girls are happy and healthy, with Charlee’s breathing tube scheduled to be removed in April.
“I thank God every day for the care we received at Akron Children’s Hospital as well as the wonderful people who work in the NICU, most of whom have become family,” says Alexis. “Without them, Nick and I wouldn’t be watching our girls do all the things they told us they’d never do – walk, play, talk and just be happy 2 year olds.”
Hear Alexis’ story and more like hers during the 16th annual “Have a Heart, Do Your Part” Radiothon broadcast live on 98.1 WKDD Feb. 12 – 14, 2015. Do your part to support radiothon.