The Gibson Twins
“The Foundation has continued to supply the NICU with acquisitions of state-of-the-art imaging equipment, surgical devices and new furniture, thanks to more than $320,000 in donations from community events, grateful families and generous donors.”
Amelia is a blonde who was born in Illinois. Audrey, a brunette, was born five days later in Missouri. The girls met at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, where they were admitted to the same room. That was great for their parents, Kim and Adam Gibson, because Amelia and Audrey are twins who entered the world in a rare occurrence known as a “delayed interval delivery.” Delayed-interval twins are so uncommon that they are rarely seen, even in a regional referral center such as the Dana Brown Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon.
“This is certainly unusual. I have been a neonatologist since 1978, and I haven’t had any other experience with caring for delayed-interval twins with both doing so well,” says Akihiko Noguchi, M.D., MPH, one of the neonatologists who cared for the Gibson twins during their three-month stay.
Only 1.1 percent of births result in twins, and just 1.8 percent of twins are born more than an hour apart, so delayed-interval twins theoretically come along in 0.0198 percent of deliveries. “One of the doctors who took care of me at St. Mary’s Health Center said they see it, but they sure don’t see it that often,” says Kim, who experienced a trouble-free pregnancy until she reached its 23rd week. Then she went to a hospital emergency room for low blood pressure. The following week unusual pains took her to her obstetrician’s office. A week after that, Amelia decided she was ready to be born. Now.
“They whisked Amelia away to Cardinal Glennon in a helicopter. They waited a bit to make sure I didn’t deliver Audrey, and then they put me on a helicopter to St. Mary’s Health Center,” she says.
Kim was admitted to SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – St. Louis. The center specializes in highrisk deliveries. SSM Health Cardinal Glennon’s neonatologists staff its newborn nursery. “I was on medications, but I was still having contractions,” Kim says. “Adam was running back and forth between St. Mary’s and Cardinal Glennon, trying to be with our daughter and me at the same time. I got to wait five days before Audrey decided to come,” she says. That delay provided Audrey with a significant opportunity for additional growth. She tipped the scales at 2 pounds and 11 ounces, three-quarters of a pound more than Amelia weighed at birth. Audrey soon made a trip to SSM Health Cardinal Glennon, too. Her four-mile ride was completed in a ground ambulance.
The Gibsons appreciated the information they received from their doctors and nurses at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon. “They were always honest with us,” Adam says. “That is a great thing because you don’t want to be told things are going to be OK and then everything goes ‘bang!’”
“When I saw them for the first time, their chests were rising and falling. At that stage of development, their bones were not formed and their ribs were like cartilage,” Adam says. “But they needed no surgery. We were so lucky about that. Everything that did happen, the doctors and nurses told us it was normal. Of course, it doesn’t feel normal when it is happening to your child.”
“I couldn’t ask to be at a better hospital,” Kim adds. “The nursing staff really cared about us and our well-being. They cared for our daughters like their own. They are fantastic.”
The girls were quite chubby as the New Year began. Amelia had grown to a bit over 7 pounds and Audrey weighed 8 pounds.
“They are growing like weeds and filling out so much! Even through getting up several times in the middle of the night, it feels great to have the girls home with us,” Kim says. “Cardinal Glennon and the staff not only helped us during our three months there, they have helped us at home as well. They prepared us for everything we deal with on a day-to-day basis. Being home with them and knowing they are doing so well brings us the greatest joys!”
Adam and Kim Gibson holding Amelia and Audrey