TORONTO (LifeSiteNews) — The world’s youngest premature twins have just celebrated their first birthday, proving doctors wrong.
On March 4, the world’s most premature twins, Adiah and Adrial Nadarajah – born at 22 weeks and weighing only 330 g (0.72 lb) each – defied all odds when they celebrated their first birthday. Doctors had initially told their Ontario-based parents that the twins were “not viable” and had a “0% chance of survival.”
“The initial reaction was ‘I’m sorry for your loss, you’re going to lose these babies,’” the twins’ father, Kevin Nadarajah, told Guinness World Records.
“[Doctors told us] ‘they may come out any minute now, and there’s no possibility that they’re going to survive,’” he said.
“We were in shock,” said Shakina Rajendram, mother of the twins.
Rajendram, who had miscarried a previous pregnancy, was overjoyed when she learned that she was pregnant with twins. But on March 2, only 21 weeks and 5 days into her pregnancy and more than four months before the twins were due, she began bleeding and having contractions. The mother knew that something was wrong.
“The first thought on my mind [was] ‘Are we going to lose this pregnancy?’” said Nadarajah.
The couple rushed to a hospital, where, after only a brief checkup, doctors told them that their twins would not survive.
“The first thought that went to my mind was ‘No, not again,’ because three months before that we had just lost a baby in that very same hospital,” said Rajendram.
The mother said that the hospital told them that there was nothing they could do, and that all they could offer the devastated parents was what they called “comfort care.”
“They advised us that there was nothing they could do, and that the best the hospital could offer us was comfort care, meaning once the babies were born, they would take the babies and put them on my chest and Kevin’s chest and they would just wait for them to die,” Rajendram explained.
When an ultrasound taken a few hours later showed that the babies were still very much alive, with their hearts beating strongly, their parents were even more desperate to save them.
Then, they discovered TwentyTwoMatters, an organization dedicated to raising awareness for the viability of 21- and 22-week-old preterm babies. The couple contacted them, and the organization told them Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto would resuscitate the babies if they were born at 22 weeks. Overjoyed at this news, the following day, at 21 weeks and 6 days pregnant, Rajendram and her husband were admitted to Mount Sinai Hospital.
However, staff at the hospital told them that if the twins were born even minutes before they were exactly 22 weeks old, they would be left to die.
“At Mount [Sinai] Hospital the team informed us that if the babies were born that day it would be a ‘death sentence’ for them,” said Nadarajah, saying that the hospital told them that they did not have the capacity to resuscitate babies any younger than 22 weeks.
The hospital also urged the parents to consider not resuscitating the babies, even if they were born after 22 weeks. The parents adamantly refused.
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“We… insisted on the babies being given a chance to live,” said Rajendram.
As Christians, the couple said that they “were just clinging to our hope and faith and trusting in God.”
Rajendram said that although she was in a lot of pain and was bleeding, she knew that she had to “hold the babies in” until they reached 22 weeks.
“I knew that I had to hold the babies in because if I didn’t, they wouldn’t be alive,” she said.
Half an hour before midnight, Rajendram thought her water broke and she was devastated.
“I thought that this was it,” she said. “Because I was unable to keep the babies in, they were going to die and it’s going to be because of me.”
“I was just in tears, and I felt so distraught that I wasn’t able to hold the babies for just another half an hour.”
But it was only a false alarm.
“Miraculously, they said that my water had not broken yet,” Rajendram said. Finally falling asleep, she awoke 15 minutes after midnight on March 4. At that point, a mere 15 minutes after her babies had passed the 22-week mark, her water actually broke.
Their daughter, Adiah, arrived first, at 1:22 a.m., weighing 330 grams (0.72lbs), followed soon after by her brother, Adrial, at 1:45 a.m., who weighed 420 grams (0.92lbs). Together, the twins weighed only 750 grams (1.65lbs), the lightest and most premature twins ever born.
The struggle not yet over, both twins suffered from brain bleeding, sepsis, fluid management, and extremely delicate skin. Adrial also experienced further complications, developing an intestinal perforation which resulted in further infection throughout his whole body. Multiple times, doctors asked the parents if they could withdraw medical care, but they refused.
“We watched the babies almost die before our eyes many times,” Rajendram said.
After spending 12 hours a day with their children every day in the hospital, the twins were finally discharged – Adiah 161 days after birth, and Adrial following one week later.
Now, one year later, as their twins celebrate their first birthday, the grateful parents attribute their miraculous experience to the power of prayer.
“The babies were close to death so many times, and as people prayed, things would miraculously change,” said their mother.
While still seeing certain health specialists, the now 1-year-old twins are happy and smiling children, and according to their parents, are “doing great.”
The Nadarajah twins, while the youngest twins to both survive premature birth, are surpassed by Curtis Means from Alabama, who was prematurely born at 21 weeks. Although he also had a twin sister, she did not survive.
Youngest baby ever to survive premature birth at 21 weeks now thriving 16 months later