A delivery usually occurs between the 37th and 41st week of pregnancy.So last November, when Jade Ewoldt gave birth to twin girls after just 22 weeks of gestation, doctors didn’t give the two babies much of a chance of survival. And yet…
Dr. Jonathan Klein, a neonatologist and medical director at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, where the twins were born, said it was incredibly rare for babies born after 22 weeks to survive. “Nationally, the survival rate is 10%,” said the doctor. And when it comes to twins, that survival rate is even lower.
Sisters Keeley James and Kambry Lee Ewoldt were the youngest surviving premature babies born at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, according to the Associated Press.
Jade Ewoldt, the 28-year-old mom, said she couldn’t believe her eyes when she realized her water was breaking on November 23. “I was angry, upset, and scared. I could only pray that my daughters weren’t born at home,” the American explained. “It’s overwhelming when you think about these things. So much goes into making sure these two little girls stay alive.”
Jade was rushed to the hospital, and the 1h15 journey seemed endless. Fortunately, she did not give birth in the ambulance, as they were not equipped for such a situation.
The delivery was not without complications. The babies were the size of a dollar bill, the dad explained, with Keeley weighing 1 pound and Kambry born at just 13.4 ounces. Their skin was so fragile that it could tear at the slightest touch. Their eyelids weren’t formed yet, and their hearts were the size of a thumbnail.
And yet, today, the twins are alive and healthy. “So far, they have defied all odds against them,” said the mom. The twins must nevertheless remain in the neonatal intensive care unit until their initial delivery date, which is March 29. Keeley is now just over four pounds, and Kambry weighs nearly four pounds.
The twins’ story resembles that of Courtney Jackson, who was born at just 23 weeks in 2001. At birth, Jackson weighed just over a pound and had eight teaspoons of blood in her body. Doctors gave Jackson just a 50 percent chance of survival. Jackson is now a healthy high school senior preparing to graduate in May.