So much to be grateful for

Mae never imagined that her twins, who spent the first part of their lives in incubators, would thrive like they have.

At 25 weeks’ gestation, I experienced a placental abruption and had to undergo an emergency caesarean section. Our twins, Makenna and Andrew, were born 15 weeks early on 11 July 2009. Makenna arrived into this world at 1lb 9oz and 12 and a half inches long, while Andrew was 1lb 10.7oz and 12 and a quarter inches long.

Makenna and Andrew underwent a type of heart surgery common to preemies and spent time under bilirubin lights due to jaundice. Both children were on ventilators, then CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), and graduated to the nasal cannula for supplemental oxygen.

As a result of their premature birth, the twins have retinopathy and chronic lung disease. Andrew has slight hearing loss and also had a grade 4 intracranial haemorrhage that eventually resolved itself over time.

Makenna came home after 110 days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and progressive care unit (PCU), and Andrew soon followed after a stay of 125 days. He remained on supplemental oxygen until May 2011 and has been diagnosed with asthma.

Today, my twins are 2 and a half years old. While they have mild developmental delays, they are active and healthy overall. You would never know how much they have endured in their short lives if you met them. We feel fortunate and blessed by the medical staff and medical technology that truly gave our babies a fighting chance at life.

Looking back at our NICU days, we have so much to be grateful for. I never imagined that my children, who lived the first part of their lives in incubators hooked up to monitors with wires covering their tiny bodies, would thrive like they have.