Kambry and Keeley Ewoldt hold the record for the most premature babies ever born. The twins who were born last November in Iowa City arrived four months early, meaning they were born after only 22 weeks of gestation compared to the average period which is 40 weeks.
The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics staff revealed they might be the most premature surviving babies ever delivered at their hospital.
They would be clearly among the top four or five earliest babies ever delivered here.
Dr. Jonathan Kelin, a neonatologist and medical director of the NICU at the hospital, explained:
We had one at 22 (weeks) and zero (days) and another at 22 and one, but neither were twins. For 22-week babies to survive, it’s incredibly rare. Nationally, survival is around 10 percent.
While still in the womb, the pair of twins were diagnosed with twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), a rare condition which happens in pregnancies where identical twins share the placenta.
Dr. Klein explained:
The disorder can be fatal for both twins because it creates an uneven blood flow between the babies. (TTTS) is also very rare. A lot of patients pass away before they are even born.
The doctors at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital disconnected the blood vessels of the twins with surgery, however, the condition still causes premature birth even after the treatment.
Jade Ewold from Dysart, Iowa, had been left in shock after her water broke on November 23, saying:
I was so mad and upset and scared. I was just praying the girls wouldn’t be born at home.
However, the ride to the hospital was quite a long one — one hour and fifteen minutes. It must’ve seemed even longer after the ambulance crew informed Jade that they didn’t have the necessary instruments to save the babies if they were born in the vehicle. But thankfully, the babies waited until they got to the hospital.
Wesley Ewoldt, the twins’ father said:
I’d never heard of babies being born this early. We didn’t have a lot of positive thoughts. They told us from the get-go this is going to be a roller-coaster ride.
Dr. Klein explained that there were many complications that would come with their early birth. First, their skin is so fragile at this point and could tear even at the softest touch. The twins’ eyelids didn’t form yet and their heart was the size of a thumbnail. The staff used respirators to give the girls ‘miniature puffs’ to help them keep breathing.
The 28-year-old mother said it’s overwhelming to even think about these things, adding:
So much goes into making sure these two little girls stay alive. They’ve beat all the odds against them so far. You just think of what they can be.
While the delivery was successful, the twins still have to stay at the neonatal intensive care until 29 March, which is their original due date. The mom and dad spend most of their time at the hospital with their girls, and sometimes they bring their two other children, Kollins, 3, and Koy, 5.
Jade gave birth to two little fighters. Wishing Kambry and Keeley a healthy life ahead.