Survival Twins, Both Under 1 lb, Celebrate Emotional Moment in Caps and Gowns
Kimyah and DJ are among the youngest twins to survive a premature birth at the Cleveland Clinic. Born just 11 months ago at 22 weeks, they were so small that they could be held in an adult’s hand. Despite all the challenges, these little ones have shown incredible strength and are now sharing their story of resilience with the world.
The youngest premature twins to ever survive.
When Kimyah and DJ were born, they weighed less than a pound each and had to be rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit. Kimyah weighed just 12 oz., and DJ weighed 15 oz., when they were born at 22 weeks, according to the hospital. Back then, their chances of surviving were only 10% to 20%, and the possibility of developmental delays was uncertain.
It was another scary moment for their mom, Kimberly Thomas. She knew something was wrong when she started leaking amniotic fluid, which is supposed to protect the baby in the womb before birth, as the hospital explained. By the time she reached the hospital, she was already four centimeters dilated. “I was just scared,” she recalls.
Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic tried their best to stop Thomas’ labor because she was only halfway through her pregnancy with the twins. Dr. Firas Saker, the medical director of the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights, OH, said, “The odds of survival are very low” for babies born that early.
However, despite their efforts, Thomas went into labor, and Kimyah and DJ were born on Oct. 12, 2022, at just 22 weeks and one day. According to the nurses, “Kimyah was around the size of a soda can, and DJ was slightly larger.”
The family remembered what doctors had told them, with Damante Jackson, the twins’ father, recalling, “They said even if they do survive, it’s not likely they’d make it the first three days.” While Thomas confessed, “I felt like, I know they won’t remember it, but it was hard for them.”
A story of resilience
In their early months, Kimyah and DJ had to deal with quite a few challenges, like a collapsed lung and a brain bleed. But their family never gave up on them. Their mom showed incredible determination by staying with her babies every night in the NICU. For the first month, she couldn’t even hold them because their skin was so fragile.
“I would then go into the NICU just to talk to my babies,” she claims. “I don’t think there was one day I didn’t spend at least a few minutes with them.”
Dr. Saker thought that Kim’s active role played a crucial part in their growth and helped them “overcome their challenges.”
Despite all the difficulties, the family maintained a positive attitude and marked every little achievement, from Thanksgiving to baby showers. Finally, on February 27, after spending 138 days in the NICU, Kimyah and DJ were strong enough to go home, officially becoming the youngest surviving premature twins born at the Cleveland Clinic.
To celebrate this milestone, the nurses at Cleveland Clinic organized special photo sessions, with the twins wearing cute pink and blue caps and gowns for a graduation-style ceremony from the hospital. As the family left, the hospital staff lined the hallways, cheering them on in a heartwarming send-off.
On the other hand, their mom made sure to express her heartfelt thanks to everyone who stood by them and provided unwavering support. “Everybody came through, all the doctors who looked after them, and pretty much all the nurses who were there,” Thomas fondly remembered that special day.
“Kamyah and DJ are super active and just love exploring,” their mom added, highlighting that their journey taught her an important lesson, “Staying positive and keeping your focus on what you want is key.”
Stories like this remind us to believe in the wonder of life, especially when it comes to premature babies and the incredible strength of their parents.