May
12
2011

A teenage dad’s perspective on twins

My name is Keith.  Three years ago, I was finishing up my last year of high school, and I was your typical 18 year old and the most important things to me were working out, music and fast cars.  Then I met a girl, and we fell in love. I would have never that my goals, priorities and my whole life would be changed so quickly.  She got pregnant, and we were terrified as she was 16.  A few weeks later we found out it was twins and were even more terrified, but like everything in life we had to accept it and make the best of it.  Month after month, we went to the doctor, had ultrasounds and saw our precious little creatures wiggling around.  It was hard to believe they were actually babies. HUMANS.  Humans that I would be responsible for, but we couldn’t wait to meet them.

Since we were dealing with multiples, my girlfriend (who is now my wife) had to have a lot of ultrasounds.  At 23 weeks, we went in expecting another quick ultrasound and leave with some more pictures of our babies to add to our collection.  The ultrasound tech looked worried and went back to talk to the doctor.  He came in, asked if she had been
feeling any contractions and said that her cervix had shortened quite a bit.  He ordered her to stay on bedrest for that night and the following day (which happened to be Thanksgiving), and made an appointment for the day after. We followed all of his directions, came back the day after Thanksgiving and her cervix was even worse so they admitted her.  It was too late for a cerclage and too early to have the babies, so our goal was to keep them in as long as possible.

We spent a long (but not quite long enough) two months on the high risk OB floor of the hospital.  Samantha was a trooper, she never complained about the hundreds of IV’s and shots or the hours spent just laying there.  She was doing it for our babies.  Christmas came and went, we made sure to have a nice holiday despite the circumstances and we even decorated our hospital room with a tree, lights and garland.  Family came and spent the day with us and we ate a lot of food.  Except for Samantha, because she was gestational diabetic and had to stick to her diet.  Samantha had contractions here and there, so the doctors and nurses were taking all of the necessary precations to try and stop them.  She got put on magnesium and got a terb pump, along with a few other medications that I cannot remember the name of!  The magnesium made her feel constantly sick and the terbutiline made her jittery.  But once again, she never
complained, as this was for her babies.  We really had an awesome team of doctors and nurses, we got pretty close to most of them and still keep in contact and they took care of her perfectly.  We owe them for everything they have done that gave our kids a better chance at life.

Come January, we celebrated every week that passed by for that meant a better outcome for our babies.  On the morning of January 17th, I made a trip to GameStop to grab some entertainment.  When I came back, Samantha
was crying in pain.  She was having contractions, and nothing was stopping them.  The doctor came in to check her and she was 7cm dilated…it was time.  Our babies were coming, and it was 10 weeks too early.  We were terrified. 

They prepped her, brought her into the OR, I got suited up, and there we were, waiting to meet our children.  How tiny would they be?  Would they be able to breathe?  Would they be okay?  Then we heard her cry, our precious Lexi was here and she was gorgeous.  She was so tiny.  How could something so tiny be able to survive?  She was kicking and screaming and oh, that scream was like music to my ears.  Screaming was good.  Screaming meant breathing. Three minutes later, we were parents of two children. Benjamin was even smaller than Lexi, and not making as much noise, but he was just as beautiful.  He looked just like me.  They brought them over to clean up then brought them to us so Samantha could hold them, and then they were wisked away to the NICU.  I went with them, Samantha begged me to as she didn’t want them to be alone.  Up in the NICU, they seemed even smaller than they did five minutes ago.   After a closer look, my babies looked sick. They were so tiny, and so fragile.  They told me how much they weighed, she was 2lbs 14oz and he was 2lbs 5oz. Together, they were 5lbs 2oz of pure perfection.  Lexi needed help of a CPAP and Benji needed the ventilator, but we were confident that they would be off soon.  ‘Our babies are fighters”, we kept saying. Samantha was waiting to feel her legs before she could go see them, and then she got a fever and they told us she couldn’t go until it was gone.  So around 12am, she was more than eager to go to the NICU.  I wheeled her down to formally meet her children, and it was magical.  Her eyes lit up and like any mother, she was so proud of her babies, despite the machines and IV’s and monitors.

As the weeks went by, they got stronger. They got off oxygen at a week old and Lexi was eating at 3 weeks old like a champ.  Benji was having a bit more trouble with eating, but we helped him as much as we could.  I always made Samantha feed him in the NICU, because I didn’t want to hold him back. She knew how to feed him, she was a natural at it.  She was a natural mother.  She made it seem so easy.  Can you guess who’s a momma’s boy now?  Haha!  When they were about 3 weeks old, they had the routine head ultrasounds to check for bleeds, Benji’s came back perfect, but Lexi had a bleed, just a grade 1, but it caused a condition called PVL.  As the doctor was explaining to us what PVL was and how it would affect her, we were breaking down.  He said it could cause high muscle tone and a weak upper body and said it could lead to cerebral palsy.  He told us we won’t know what’s in store for her until she is older, and that is the hardest part…not knowing.   I’d rather know what to expect, but to have to wait and go through all of these scenarios in my head of what life could be like for my little girl, was torture.

While the twins were in the NICU, we stayed at the Ronald Mcdonald House Nashville. Let me just say how wonderful this organization is.  I don’t know how we would have survived the 8 weeks of their NICU stay without the love, support and hope we recieved from the people at the RMH.  I could never thank them enough.  Around March 3rd, the NICU was throwing around the idea of taking Lexi home, but not Benjamin.  He was still having trouble eating and was still having a few apnea spells.  They decided to give him a blood transfusion because his count was low, and that meant he couldn’t be fed for a whole 24 hours.  His nurse would sneak him sugar water because the poor thing was so hungry.  Who would have known, the next day he was a PRO with the bottle.  I guess we scared him into eating, because on March 8th we were able to take them home. 

That ride home was nerve racking.  I was scared to go too fast, nervous about what was in store that night and to top it all off I had the flu.  But we did it.  We got through the first week, then the first month, and  before we knew it we were celebrating their first birthday.  They are now 16 months old and CRAZY! Lexi has been recieving therapy since 10 months old.  She has PT, OT and play therapy multiple times per week and she is finally army crawling and can almost sit up by herself.  We will never give up hope on her we know she will walk.  And if, by any chance, she isn’t able to we will be there for her through it all.  We will change her diapers until we’re in diapers oursevles if we have to.  She is my daughter and she always will be.  She will always be my little girl.  Benjamin is walking (well, RUNNING!) all over now. He is a wild child and always has a smile on his face.  I believe he will be Lexi’s protector as he already takes on the “Nobody’s allowed to be mean to my sister except for ME!” role.  I feel bad for her when she starts dating, because between me and Benji, her boyfriends will be in for it. 

The past 2 years have been a journey.  Sometimes difficult, very joyous and a huge learning experience.  We’ve had our ups and downs but as a family, we have gotten through it.  I just joined the Army and will be leaving for basic training in October and my wife is a professional newborn/birth photographer (http://www.twolittlemonkeysphotography.com).  We both love our kids more than life itself, and while we hope to never go through the fear and heartbreak of having preemies, we do want more children someday.  If they are premature, we will get through it.  All we can do is hope for the best. Our children are fighters, not only the ones we are already blessed with, but any future children as well. It’s in their genes.

Small miracles, beautiful twins.

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About the Author: Keith

26 Comments + Add Comment

  • What a beautiful story, and what amazing, resilient and brave parents.

    • Hi there Dear, are you in fact visiting this web
      page regularly, if so afterward you will without doubt take
      fastidious experience.

  • What a great story! You are an amazing father! Those children are so lucky to have you as a daddy!

  • Thank you for this great article, as I sit here the tears are flowing. My son was born at 29 weeks and has a diagnoses of PVL, he is almost 6 months old,3 months adjusted and we are in the stage of the not knowing whether he will walk or not either. It is a stressful time, but no matter what we will always help and be there for him for whatever the situation is. He is our little miracle.

  • What a beautiful well written story! I too am the mother of a 30 weeker and I was terrified, sick to my stomach and crazy stressed the entire 8 weeks Aidan was in the hospital. I am now the mother to a crazy wild 23 month old and a two week old who after 15 weeks of bedrest came at full term. I am so amazed to hear how wonderfully your wife handled all of that because I know that I was not that calm or strong and I was 29 when Aidan was born and 31 with Noah.

    Your story is very insperational and it is parents like you that people should hear about having children at 16 not these spoiled brats on MTV.

    • Hello there! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from
      an established blog. Is it very hard to set up your own blog?
      I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about creating my own
      but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any tips or suggestions? Thanks

  • This was a very well written story. Thank you for sharing it. I met several very young men and women with premature babies or full terms in the NICU during our 3.5 mth stay and I always wondered how they’d fair after taking their children home. To see the younger parents struggle with the ailments and problems their kids were encountering was sometimes heartbreaking, but I could also see some of the outstanding parenting skills they were learning at a young age. To Tara, this is definitely the type of story I think the masses should see and learn about the realities of becoming pregnant, no matter what one’s age. The problems of premature deliveries and even the possibility of it happening are rarely discussed until you’re sitting in the midst of your very own, scary experience.

  • My daughter was born at 23 weeks, she does not have PVL or anything but she did not walk till she was around 18 months, each little miracle is so differnt from the other. I can’t imagine if I had to watch one walk and see the other struggle. You remind me of my 15 year old step son and how he sees his little sister. Love to see a good young man being a stand up father. Your family should be so proud of you.

    and they are both to cute!

  • Thank you for sharing your story!

  • I really enjoyed your story. My email is allbluezoo@yahoo.com . My youngest son was born at 30 weeks also in Nashville, but in Centennial and was later transfered to Vandy. My husband is in the Army as well. Good luck with your children they are precious!
    Best Wishes~ Heather

  • “We will change her diapers until we’re in diapers oursevles if we have to.”

    That line there just about melted my heart…

  • What an awesome story! Sounds like we were going thru the same things at the same time! I also found out at Thanksgiving that I was dilated and thinned and got put on bedrest….came back a few days later to find it was worse and hospitalized…..lived in the hospital until Miss Lilly just had to come out and meet us on Jan. 19th. She is now 16 months old also and is a wild woman! LOL! So glad to hear your babies are doing so well!

    • Hello! I’ve been reading your site for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Austin Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the great work!

  • I’m really glad I came across this. I was married and pregnant soon after at the age of 19 to a Marine it was hard on me then. Im amazed what an amazing young man you are your wife and children are very lucky. Good luck in bootcamp. The military offers amazing things for families. My husband has been a Marine for 8 yrs. Our son has speech problems and I’m amazed at the programs we have for us. God bless

  • What a fabulous story!! Our twin girls were born at 31 weeks and weighed 2lb 13oz and 2lb 15oz. They inspired me to start a website and facebook support page as there was initially very little social support for parents of preemies in NZ. Our girls will be 4yrs at the end of this month (May), and are absolutely perfect! We are very thankful that they have had no lasting effects from their early arrival.

    To date, I have still not put our birth story in writing and recently I have been thinking about it more and more, so that I can share it on my facebook support page http://www.facebook.com/beautbaby You have inspired me to “get on with it”… so thank you!!

  • I have so much love and respect for the strength of all the parents that have premature babies. I was pregnant with twins and I went through the whole thing being told that I probably wouldn’t make to 32 weeks, let alone get past there. A friend of mine was pregnant at the same time with twin boys and I watched as she went into labor at 31 1/2 weeks and was med-evacted off of the island we live on and to another that could help to keep her children alive. Everyday I got good news from her I was so excited, and everyday I got bad, I cried. But her strength gave me the determination to be alright whenever my boys wanted to come into this world, even if it was far to early for my liking. When I was finally 30 weeks pregnant in January of this year, I counted the days and went to bed every night praying they would stay in just one more day. And I got lucky! I managed to make it to 38 1/2 weeks with my beautiful boys before they realized I was pushing my luck and they did a c-section. I may not understand the feeling of watching a premature child struggle, but I understand the anxiety behind it. Again, you are all strong beautiful people, and having a premature baby just makes them all the more special to be here, because they just couldn’t wait to see your faces. Much love <3

  • My second son was only born 3 weeks early and he was 3lbs he was healthy had just a little oxygen over him for 24 hrs as a precaution and after I was healed from the emergency csection he came home with me. I could image having to leave without him!! Babies are so strong!!

  • I am so proud of you both. What a beautiful story.

    • Hello my family member! I want to say that this article is awesome, nice written and come with almost all vital infos.
      I would like to peer more posts like this .

  • I am so proud of you guys! I will put you all in my prays! My daughter was also a preemie born 8 weeks early but didn’t have to have oxygen. I am so thankful everyday for her.

  • Have you seen Taylor Swift in Nashville? Or Miley Cryus. I love them <3 . Long live cute little twins :))

  • Having twins can be a joy and a challenge. Conceiving twins is not a sure science, but there are a few things that you can do to increase your chances of having twins. Thanks.

  • Twin studies help disentangle the relative importance of environmental and genetic influences on individual traits and behaviors. Thanks.

    • Good day! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out
      and tell you I really enjoy reading your posts.

      Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics?
      Thanks for your time!

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