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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Why We Walk Wednesday: The Turner Twins

This week, a mom of preemie girls shares why she will March for Babies
On October 9, I was transferred from Civista (now Charles Regional) to University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore by helicopter. I was just 23 weeks pregnant and having contractions. After a few weeks of bed rest, my twin girls were born at 26 weeks, 4 days. Abigail weighed 1 pound, 11 ounces. Elizabeth was 2 pounds, 4 ounces. They were micro preemies struggling to survive. 
At two weeks old, my husband and I got the horrible news that both girls had severe brain bleeds shortly after birth. It took my breath away, and I cried for a full day. All that the doctors could say about this devastating news was that we just had to give it time to see what damage it had caused. 

Abigail and Elizabeth were then transferred to Johns Hopkins to be followed by the Neuro team there. Abigail was transferred first, followed by Elizabeth two weeks later. I went back and forth between the two hospitals during those two weeks. It was a nightmare. 

During their 125 day NICU stay the girls suffered through numerous tests, labs, X-rays, MRI scans, ultrasounds, blood transfusions and even surgeries. They had to learn to breathe without being intubated, and they had to learn how to eat. Abigail came home with the assistance of oxygen and with a GTube. Elizabeth came home a few weeks later. My daughters had to fight to live, and they are amazing fighters. 
After four months in the NICU and three different hospital stays, I am happy to say the girls are now 15 months old and doing well. They love to look at books, play and dance. Each week, they receive physical and occupational therapy. They see numerous doctors and specialists, each for different reasons, but most importantly their doctors are pleased. There is no life like NICU life. It truly is a roller coaster. Every day you have no idea what is ahead of you. Your life stands still and time moves slowly.
I am thankful for all that the March of Dimes does for babies. My girls were so sick and small, and I know they are doing well today because of the amazing teams of doctors they had and because of the dedication and research funded by the March of Dimes.  
Why do I walk? I walk for my beautiful twin girls that were born at 26 weeks old and all the other babies born way too early. I also walk to support other parents of preemies, who know what it's like to ride on the horrific roller coaster that is the NICU.  

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