Canadian twins Adiah and Adrial Nadarajah celebrated their first birthday on March 4 and, with it, the record of being the youngest and smallest premature twins to ever survive.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Ontario twins almost were denied life-saving medical care because they were so premature: If they had been born an hour earlier, doctors wouldn’t have tried to save their lives.
Now, they are thriving at home with their parents, Shakina Rajendram and Kevin Nadarajah, of Ajax.
“They were born smaller than the palm of our hands. People still don’t believe us when we tell them,” their mother, Shakina, said.
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Last year, Shakina said she began to bleed 21 weeks into her pregnancy, and doctors said she likely would go into premature labor and lose her twins because they weren’t viable, according to CNN.
“Even in that moment, as I was hearing those words come out of the doctor’s mouth, I could still feel the babies very much alive within me. And so for me, I just wasn’t able to comprehend how babies who felt very much alive within me could not be viable,” she said.
The couple went home and began to research options online. They found a specialty hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, that would try to save the twins as long as they were born at 22 weeks or later, and requested a transfer, according to the report.
Devout Christians, Shakina said she and her husband, Kevin, “prayed hard” and put their faith in God as they waited for the twins to arrive.
They did soon after 1 a.m. March 4, when she was exactly 22 weeks of pregnancy. Had they been born an hour earlier, the doctors would not have tried to save them, according to Guinness.
Here’s more from the world records organization:
Adiah and Adrial were born 126 days early, on 4 March 2022, breaking the previous record of 125 set by Keeley and Kambry Ewoldt (USA, b. 24 November 2018).
Weighing just 330 g (0.72 lb), baby girl Adiah was born 23 minutes before her brother, Adrial, who weighed 420 g (0.92 lb). At a combined 750 g (1.65 lb), they are the lightest twins at birth ever.
The twins spent months in the hospital and nearly died a few times, but their parents continued to hope and pray while insisting that doctors provide life-saving medical care.
“I had challenging feelings, conflicting feelings, seeing how tiny they were on one hand, feeling the joy of seeing two babies on the second hand. I was thinking, ‘how much pain they are in?’” Kevin remembered.
Here’s more from CNN:
Dr. Prakesh Shah, the pediatrician-in-chief at Mount Sinai Hospital, said he was straightforward with the couple about the challenges ahead for their twins. …
“At some stage, many of us would have felt that, ‘is this the right thing to do for these babies?’ These babies were in significant pain, distress, and their skin was peeling off. Even removing surgical tape would mean that their skin would peel off,” Shah told CNN.
But what their parents saw gave them hope.
“We could see through their skin. We could see their hearts beating,” Rajendram said.
Shah said medical technology has advanced so much that, just five years ago, the twins probably would not have survived.
“It’s allowing us to sustain these babies, helping keep oxygen in their bodies, the role of carbon dioxide, without causing lung injury,” the doctor told CNN.
In August, the twins left the hospital “with no breathing or feeding tubes,” their mother said. Adrial was hospitalized twice with infections since then, but today both twins are meeting the normal milestones for babies their age, she continued.
Kevin described his children as “miracles,” and the family hopes they will not be the record-holders for long. They want even more premature babies to be given a chance at life.
“We feel it’s very important to highlight that contrary to what was expected of them, our babies are happy, healthy, active babies who are breathing and feeding on their own, rolling over, babbling all the time, growing well, playing, and enjoying life as babies,” Shakina said.
Modern medical advances are enabling younger and smaller premature babies to survive and thrive. The smallest recorded surviving baby weighed less than 9 ounces at birth in California. The earliest known premature baby to survive outside the womb was born at 21 weeks and four days of pregnancy. In 2017, the journal Pediatrics highlighted the girl’s survival story.
Recent studies from Duke University and the New England Journal of Medicine have found that a growing percent of premature infants are surviving as early as 22 weeks of pregnancy. The research recently prompted the British Association of Medicine to issue new guidelines encouraging medical treatment for babies born at just 22 weeks of pregnancy. Previously, the guidelines did not recommend treatment until 24 weeks.
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