During a Mavericks-Kings playoff game in May 2002, sportswriter Jaime Aron got a computer message saying to call home right away. With his wife, Lori, already on bed rest while pregnant with twins, he knew it was serious.
Lori’s water had broken only 23 weeks into what’s supposed to be a 40-week pregnancy. The babies had barely reached the “brink of viability,” the earliest point doctors even try saving a newborn.
Doctors were able to slow Lori’s labor for about a day and a half. Then she started having trouble breathing. It turned out that the medicine that was holding off labor also was holding fluid in her lungs. Now her life was in jeopardy, too.
The twins were delivered during an emergency Cesarean section. Each weighed 18 ounces, less than some vending-machine soda bottles. Both were the size of Beanie Babies.
They had trouble taking their first breaths, prompting doctors to ask how hard they should try pumping oxygen into each child. It was an ominous start considering all the other obstacles their extreme prematurity presented. Their brains, lungs, eyes and ears were all prime areas of concern – if the boys could even make it home alive.
Lori and Jaime hadn’t even come up with names yet. They settled on Jacob Benjamin and Joshua Caleb in honor of Biblical heroes who overcame long odds.
On their third day, Josh had an operation to close a hole in his heart, a relatively common procedure made far more challenging by his tiny size.
Two days later, Jake’s abdomen was filling with blood. Doctors were so concerned that he wouldn’t make it that Lori and Jaime were allowed to touch him for the first time.
Jaime put his wedding band on Jake’s arm. It easily slid to his shoulder.
Jake outlasted an operation and several more during his 198-day stay at the Medical City NICU. Josh was there a total of 206 days. Both came home with feeding tubes in their bellies; Josh was hooked up to an oxygen tank.
Now they’re almost 5. Jake is a budding musician and Josh is quite the artist.
Other than some scars, they are typical thriving youngsters – as is their big brother, Zachary, himself a 36-weeker. But we all know they’re more than that.
They are true miracles and wonderful examples of the work being funded by the March of Dimes.