That’s how much Kimyah Jackson weighed when she was born at Cleveland Clinic and her brother, DJ, weighed only 3 ounces more, according to hospital spokesperson Jenna Homrock. For parents Kimberly Thomas and Damante Jackson, they’ve been beating the odds from day 1.
“There was only a 10-20% chance they would survive and developmental delays were possible,” Homrock said. “At just 22 weeks they became the youngest surviving twins born at Cleveland Clinic.”
Just 22 weeks into her pregnancy, Kimberly got a weird feeling, so Damante rushed her to the hospital.
It was in that routine checkup that doctors confirmed stunning news: Kimberly was in labor, they couldn’t stop it, and it was time to deliver her children as soon as possible.
“It was pretty much Go time from there. Everyone rushed into the room in a matter of seconds,” said Kimberly.
After their mom, Kimberly delivered her babies, the babies had to be resuscitated and intubated.
“Kimberly spent every day and night in the NICU, unable to hold them for one month because their skin was too fragile,” Homrock added.
After 138 straight days of being cared for in the NICU, Doctors, nurses and medical staff said Kimyah and DJ were ready to go home with their parents.
Caregivers in Cleveland Clinic’s Children’s Hospital threw a graduation ceremony for the twins, complete with caps and gowns. Photos show the babies smiling and looking at each other after their four-and-a-half-month journey in the hospital.
“It will still be a few years before doctors can tell if the babies will experience any developmental delays,” Holbrook said, as the brother and sister are about to celebrate their first birthday. “The twins continue achieving their developmental milestones, gaining strength through their therapy sessions and exceeding expectations.”
“Along with medical advancements to care for premature babies, research shows centers that push the envelope consistently have more successful outcomes,” said Firas Saker, MD, the medical director of Cleveland Clinic Children’s Level III NICU at Hillcrest Hospital.
“If you asked me 10 years ago, resuscitation at less than 24 weeks gestation would not have been possible without the advanced technology and skillset we have today. We have a great team that’s been able to make a tremendous amount of progress.”
Kimberly said she was grateful for the care team who helped her babies be able to go home.
“So many of their doctors and nurses showed up. Even though this is their job, a lot of them built a connection with Kimyah and DJ,” Kimberly said. “They saw them from their most critical stages to where they are now. This was [the medical staff’s] time to have time with them before Kimyah and DJ left the hospital.”
“I didn’t see anybody as small as them. It made me want to give up, it made it harder. It made it seem like sometimes it’s impossible,” said Kimberly. “Just don’t give up. Give them a fighting chance.”
Both Kimberly and Damante had to take a lot of work off to care for their children.
Their family has set up a GoFundMe to help get them on their feet. To donate, click here.