When Canadian Kayla Marie Ibarra went into labor at 22 weeks pregnant, doctors told her that her twins would ᴅ.ɪᴇ the day they were born. However, the mother refused to give up her babies, who eventually survived against all odds. They spent 115 days in the N.I.C.U before finally being able to go home to their families.
Kayla and her husband have been together since they were 18 and already had a son named Noah when she became pregnant again. They found out they were expecting twins in the sixth week when they went for an ultrasound.
“I cried my eyes out and my husband laughed.” Kayla said. “He and my mother already suspected that I was expecting twins, from how sick I was and how quickly my belly started to show. I couldn’t even comprehend it.”
Her pregnancy went smoothly until the 20th week, but then she felt that her ᴀᴍɴɪᴏᴛɪᴄ ꜰʟᴜɪᴅ had flowed. She was immediately rushed to the hospital, where they told her that her ᴀᴍɴɪᴏᴛɪᴄ ꜰʟᴜɪᴅ had not flowed but that she was classified as at ʀɪsᴋ, so she would have to have an ultrasound scan every two weeks. “But I didn’t even make it to the first ultrasound at 22 weeks because I went into labor at 21 weeks,” she said.
The doctor then told the mother: “The twins will be born today and they will ᴅ.ɪᴇ. Babies born this early simply do not survive. This is impossible.”
“I replied that I absolutely refused to give birth to them and then hold them in my arms until they died.” Kayla said. The doctor told her he wouldn’t let her see the twins or listen to their heartbeats because it was all a “waste of time”. Kayla was terribly angry, but all she could do was wait.
She was in labor for four full days, and during that time she kept begging for medicine, but her request was refused. On September 27, 2018, in the 22nd week of her pregnancy, hope finally dawned. A new doctor approached her and offered to transfer her to another hospital in London, Ontario, where they would deliver her.
“For the first time in four days, I felt a little bit of hope and victory,” Kayla said.
The twins were finally born at the hospital in Ontario – Luna weighed about 0.39 kilograms and Ema Rose 0.45 kilograms. Kayla said she had never seen babies so small. The first 40 days were the most difficult, during which they had to constantly fight for the lives of the babies, and the situation sometimes seemed hopeless. “Luna was very sick and we didn’t think she would survive. They had to resuscitate her four times, while Emma only once,” said the mother.
“But the day they were born, I saw in them that they could fight. Every single time they come back after being revived.”
The twins were finally allowed home after 115 days – at which time they should not have even been officially born.
Although they faced many challenges in the beginning and Kayla also suffered from ᴘᴏsᴛ-ᴛʀᴀᴜᴍᴀᴛɪᴄ sᴛʀᴇss ᴅɪsᴏʀᴅᴇʀ, everything turned out well in the end and the family found solace in their faith in God.
The twins are now 3 years old and have fully caught up with their peers. “It was approved that they would start school together with their peers based on their birthday. It is truly remarkable.” Kayla said. He also added that girls are especially brave and strong.
“Luna is full of sass, she inherited my personality, which is both fascinating and challenging. Rosie is very funny and we often tell her that she is actually Noah’s twin because they look so much alike.”
Kayla is now trying to stand up for the rights of premature babies and has also founded a non-profit organization called TwentyTwoMatters, which provides, among other things, medical articles and a world map of hospitals that mothers can safely go to as early as the 22nd week of pregnancy if they go into labor.
“In the case of babies born at 22 weeks, the decision about intervention should remain in the hands of the parents, not the hospital. 22 weeks does matter, and these children, my children, matter,” Kayla said, adding that they have already saved the lives of more than a hundred babies born at 22 weeks who would have been denied care because hospitals usually don’t keep them. Babies are considered viable before the 23rd week.