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.