Premature twin babies born at 22 weeks, who were given a zero percent chance of survival, have overcome impossible odds and proved their doctors wrong. At the age of one, the toddlers are thriving and also hold the Guinness World Record title of “world’s most premature twins.”
When mom Shakina Rajendram of Ontario, Canada went into labor at 21 weeks and five days, she and her husband, Kevin Nadarajah, were devastated. Doctors said that their babies were “not viable.”
“When I went into labor, the babies were denied all life-sustaining measures at the hospital I was admitted to and almost left to die,” Shakina, who had suffered a miscarriage during her first pregnancy at the same hospital a few months prior, told Guinness World Records.
Shakina was only offered “comfort care,” meaning that after the birth, she would be able to hold her babies until they died. Kevin recalled a tearful, sleepless night during which he and his wife, both devout Christians, prayed for a miracle.
On the second day of labor, the couple’s hope was renewed when Shakina was transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, a facility that specializes in resuscitating 22-week-old babies. Nonetheless, Shakina and Kevin were forewarned that if the babies were born even moments before hitting the 22-week mark, they would not be saved.
Shakina had been bleeding heavily throughout the day, but still tried to hold her babies in. However, 30 minutes before midnight, on the eve of 22 weeks, she thought she felt her water break. She said, “I thought that this was it. They are gonna die, and it’s gonna be because of me.”
However, it was a false alarm. Twins Adiah Laelynn and Adrial Luka were born after midnight on March 4, 2022, just making it to 22 weeks gestation. Adiah was born 23 minutes before her brother weighing just 0.72 pounds (330 grams) and Adrial was born weighing 0.92 pounds (420 grams). At a combined weight of 1.65 pounds (750 grams), they were the lightest twins at birth ever.
Both were successfully resuscitated and rushed to the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where they remained for almost six months.
During those six months, the twins faced myriad complications including brain bleeds, sepsis, fluid management, and paper-thin skin. At two weeks, Adrial developed an intestinal perforation leading to a bloodstream infection and inflammation throughout his whole body. His skin suffered extensive peeling each time the catheter required redressing.
The twins’ parents watched both babies come close to death several times, but “as people prayed, things would miraculously change.”
Shakina and Kevin were determined that their twins would get a full chance at life despite being advised several times to withdraw care. They focused on Adiah and Adrial’s progress, spending up to 12 hours a day in the NICU holding their babies’ hands and singing to them.
After their long and trying battle, Adiah was discharged after 161 days in the NICU and Adrial followed seven days later. Both had their breathing and feeding tubes removed before going home.
For the incredible feat of surviving against impossible odds, the twins were recognized with a Guinness World Record born 126 days premature. They had broken the previous record of 125 days set by U.S.-born twins, Keeley and Kambry Ewoldt.
Now weighing 13.2 pounds (6 kgs), Adiah has been growing “really well.” She is meeting all the milestones for her “corrected age,” which is her chronological age minus the number of weeks early she was born.
Shakina said: “She’s an extremely happy and social baby, and smiles all day long. She is very chatty, and has ‘conversations’ with us and her toys for hours.”
Meanwhile, Adrial who has had two hospital admissions since his discharge for infections and respiratory issues is now bigger than his twin and is “progressing well.” He has been on oxygen support since his last visit to the hospital.
His mom describes him as “observant, attentive, and intelligent.” Just like his parents he also loves music.
The twins remain under the observation of a massive team of medical specialists. But having beaten the odds, they are surpassing everyone’s expectations as they grow and thrive.
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