CMN: Despite premature birth, twins able to make recovery
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Micro-preemies, or babies born earlier than 26 weeks, are the most premature of all babies and face a low percentage for survival.
But with constantly advancing technology in the neonatal intensive care unit, or the NICU, those statistics continue to improve.
And the Gill family, here in Lubbock, is thankful for that.
In 2015, Carly and Rajeev Gill and their sweet daughter, Sophee, were thrilled to add not one, but two precious new members to their happy family.
Carly was expecting twins, due at the end of March, 2016.
But in December of 2015, Carly started to feel extreme pain at her routine ultra sound.
"Then it sort of dawned on me that it was the same feelings when I was having contractions with Sophee," Carly Gill said. "So I, I didn't want to believe it because it was 24 weeks. It was too early."
As it turned out, Carly was in the right place at the right time. She was fully dilated, and nurses rushed her to labor and delivery.
Jeevan and Keeran Gill were delivered by emergency C-section on December 16, nearly four months before their due date.
Both boys weighed barely one pound, their eyes still fused shut.
"It was emotional. Because they were so small. Literally could fit in the palm of my hands. Skin was still translucent. It was just, it was very surreal," Rajeev Gill said.
The boys were immediately placed in high frequency ventilators to keep them breathing, and taken to NICU. Most doctors say babies born between 23 and 24 weeks are considered a "gray zone", and as Dr. Fortunato Perez explained, the risks were high.
"The survival rate in these twins they are 24 weeks is about 90 percent mortality rate. Only about ten percent chance for these twins to survive," Dr. Perez said.
While the thought of having micro-preemies never crossed Carly and Rajeev's mind, now they couldn't stop thinking about the potential complications.
"Usually the brain is the one is that is affected the most frequently...the second one is the eyes because they are so premature. And so they start kind of developing the wrong way," Perez said.
The first 48 hours in the NICU are the most critical as the babies are so fragile.
"That first time the phone rang, I almost lost it. It was just, oh my gosh they're going to tell me something terrible has happened," Carly Gill said.
The doctors and nurses cared for the Gill twins for 84 days in the NICU, closely watching for any problems. The boys were hooked up to monitors measuring their heart and breathing rates.
"Their biggest issue was their lungs weren't fully developed. And then they also both had to have main lines, and feeding tubes obviously," Rajeev Gill said, "and they were on oxygen…Probably the first two months I couldn't even, I wasn't allowed to touch them. Because they were worried about infection."
But after those 84 days, and despite all odds, Jeevan and Keeran Gill were determined to go home.
"Thankfully, I don't know how, I don't know why. These boys have just kept on shocking everybody," Carly Gill said.
Jeevan and Keeran came home still on oxygen and with their heart monitors. But one month later, the boys decided they were ready to breathe on their own.
"We just kept watching them. They had their heart rate monitors on and it was just what they needed," Carly Gill said. "It was like sometimes they will just tell you when they're ready. That was good day to get rid of the tubes and machines."
Now almost one and a half years old, doctors are blown away by the progress Jeevan and Keeran have made.
"I've been able to see Keeran and Jeevan every month or two since birth. And it's amazing to watch these boys grow. They were born at 24 weeks but they don't know it. So they have completely caught up on growth, we're working on catching up on development," Dr. Lesley Motheral, their pediatrician, said. "And so it's quite a miracle that they have surpassed all of my expectations."
Jeevan has had two laser eye surgeries, as micro-preemies face a chance of blindness if their capillaries don't grow straight.
But aside from their usual pediatrician appointments and yearly visits to the heart doctor, the boys now have a clean bill of health. Carly and Rajeev say they don't believe this would be possible if it weren't for the NICU at UMC.
"From the doctors to the nurses to the support staff. They treat you like family. Literally," Rajeev Gill said.
"They are extraordinary. And you know, it doesn't stop when you leave. We went and we took the boys back right before they turned one and you know, half the department came out to see them and love on them and will continue doing that. It's, they don't stop caring," Carly Gill said. "They truly love these little babies and want to keep up with them and want to see you know what they helped create. They wouldn't be here without their help,"
Now as Jeevan and Keeran continue to grow stronger, Carly and Rajeev are grateful to know they have a whole team of support behind them. The team who helped their twins survive the most difficult times.
"I think the end result speaks for itself. You know, you would not know they were born four months premature," Rajeev Gill said.
"They keep surprising us. Just, they are so much fun. They are sweet boys. We've gotten very, very lucky with their health and then just their little personalities. They're amazing," Carly Gill said.
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