November 17th is World Prematurity Day, a day we remember, celebrate, and honor all babies born too soon. Today is a special day for me and my family as our twin boys, Cole and Camden, were born micro-preemies at 28 weeks, and are two of the 500k pre-term babies born each year in the U.S.
Today I wanted to share their story to help raise awareness.
After one miscarriage and one full year of trying to conceive, I found out I was pregnant the day after Christmas 2015 while my husband and I were visiting my family in Florida. I couldn’t believe my eyes when my husband showed me the positive pregnancy test. After many months of seeing only negative results, I was at the point where I couldn’t even look at a pregnancy test. Thrilled but weary, I took that little positive pregnancy test, wrapped it up in a small gift box and presented it to my parents as a missed Christmas gift from the day before. Boy, were they thrilled when they opened that box! But, I cautioned them not to get too excited after losing the first pregnancy.
We flew back to New York a few days later and had our first appointment on January 7th, 2016 where the doctor confirmed the pregnancy and gave us the surprise of our lives as she said, “Yes, you’re pregnant alright. There’s heartbeat number one and there’s number two. Congrats, you’re having TWINS!” I couldn’t believe my ears! I immediately turned to my husband who seemed to be in the same state of shock as me.
We were having twins!
Baby A & Baby B were due September 1, 2016.
My pregnancy had been amazing up until week 25 when we found out Baby B wasn’t growing and hadn’t grown in a month. I was advised to take it easy and come back in two weeks. At week 27, my husband and I went in for the follow up scan and we were told Baby B still hadn’t grown-- and that he was measuring six weeks behind. After we received that news, everything happened really quickly. Before I knew it, I was being whisked away to Labor & Delivery where they would prep me for an emergency C-Section. I was delivering that night.
I couldn’t believe it. Was this really happening? I’m only 27 weeks! I felt so good! Everything was going great! I knew it was too early to deliver and I was scared out of my mind. I couldn’t stop crying. I was an emotional mess. I wasn’t ready to meet these guys yet. I was terrified to meet them and was even more frightened at how small they were going to be. This wasn’t what I had pictured, this wasn’t supposed to happen. So. Many. Emotions.
While they were prepping me for the C-Section, the Neonatologist came in to explain what was happening. He let us know that at that hospital they had never seen this before, but they had a diagnosis for us, SIUGR – Severe Intrauterine Growth Restriction. Baby B’s placenta was faulty and he wasn’t getting the oxygen or nutrients needed to grow properly. He then explained the risks of having 27 weekers – he gave our Baby B a 50% rate of survival and if Baby B did survive he may have cerebral palsy, he may be blind amongst many other things. I didn’t really hear much more after he gave him a 50% chance of survival. I was so scared and I told the doctor that we were NOT leaving that hospital with only one baby.
I managed to dodge two C-Sections that night and was moved to strict in-hospital bed rest a few days later with lots of pokes, prodding, and daily scans. My amazing husband never left my side, slept on the L&D floor for four long nights, and was there for me every step of the way. I couldn’t have done it without him and his encouragement and support. He made me feel safe throughout the entire nightmare. His support and knowing that I had to be strong for my two boys were the only things that kept me going.
I was able to stay pregnant for another week and gave birth via C-section to two beautiful baby boys on June 13th, 2016 at 28 weeks 4 days. We knew both boys had a long NICU stay ahead of them but they were here and we were so happy.
Camden Thomas Mayr @ 1lb 5oz (Baby B)
Cole Marzell Mayr @ 2lbs 8oz (Baby A)
Day 9 – first time I was able to hold Cole (Baby A)! I was such a rookie and had no idea what I was doing.
Day 36 – Camden (Baby B) was finally stable enough for me to hold and we got in some good skin-to-skin time. It was a magical day. He was so tiny, he fit snugly in my sports bra!!
Day 52 – Our first family photo!
Day 67 – Cole’s Homecoming!
Day 102 – Camden’s Homecoming! Mommy was an emotional mess when he came through the door.
Day 103 – Our first (very early) morning together as a family of four.
And here they are today – 17 months (14 months adjusted) healthy and happy as can be!
Amanda is LH's Total Beauty Mama, wifey to her supportive hubs and a SAHM to twin baby boys. Amanda is a makeup artist (available for bridal & events!) and the secretary for Wish Upon a Wedding NY, a non-profit organization granting wedding "wishes" to couples facing terminal illness. For beauty questions or to book Amanda to look fab, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.