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Ava & Olivia's Story

 

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In Their Own Words:
Ava and Olivia's Parents
 

Tea for two.  It brings such a cute image to mind, especially when you are expecting twin girls like Sarah and her husband Brad.  But, when Sarah went into spontaneous, premature labor at just over 27 weeks, that happy image turned into more of a nightmare.

Sarah was rushed to WakeMed by ambulance.  She and Brad welcomed Ava and Olivia into the world with a mixture of love and fear in their hearts.  Ava weighed 1 pound 12 ounces and Olivia weighed just one ounce more.   They could fit in the palm of your hand!

The babies would then spend the next four months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where they received highly specialized care for the many difficulties they faced during their stay. 

"Life in the ICN was always two steps forward and one step back," recalls Sarah.  "We could never get too comfortable because we knew that tomorrow one of them may get an infection or have a bad breathing episode."

At the end of the journey in the NICU, Sarah notes that the girls' biggest hurdle was learning to eat.  "They had really bad reflux and refused to nurse or take a bottle," she says.  Their feeding issues led to their need for surgically placed gastrostomy tubes.  The pediatric specialists worked with Sarah and Brad, teaching them about tube feeding.  In hindsight, Sarah sees the gastrostomy tubes as a "blessing in disguise." In fact, the girls had them for more than two years!

Today, Ava and Olivia, who would once scream at the sight of a bottle and would refuse to drink from one, are now eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and enjoying those tea parties like typical 3-year-olds.

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