Baby Reagan and her twin sister Mila were born 11 weeks premature by emergency c-section. Whilst Mila weighed 2lb 13oz, little Reagan was less than half her size, weighing just 1lb.
Doctors warned that Reagan would not make it to birth
The girls’ mum, Audrieanna Lambert, 33, said that doctors had issued dire warnings about Reagan during the pregnancy. During her antenatal check ups, doctors noticed that Reagan was not growing at the same rate as her sister.
By 20 weeks gestation, she was 18% smaller than her sister Mila and at 24 weeks, Audrieanna heard that Reagan’s size had decreased by fifty per cent. Doctors predicted that she would not live beyond the next two weeks. Audrieanna said that the doctors “were certain she wouldn’t make it because everything they knew medically told them she wouldn’t. I was devastated”.
Reagan’s heart still beating at 26 weeks
Against expectations, the 26-week scan showed that Reagan’s heart was still beating. Audrieanna was closely monitored from 27 weeks.
However, at 29 weeks, monitoring showed that Reagan’s umbilical cord flow was disrupted, meaning that she was at immediate risk of dying.
The girls were born at 16:33 on 10 December 2021 by emergency caesarean section. Mila weighed 2lb 13oz and her sister Reagan, just 1lb. Both babies needed specialist care and were transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) as soon as they were born.
Mila spent 45 days in hospital and then was able to go home in January 2022. Reagan had to spend another 3 months in hospital after her sister left. She recovered from sepsis and received multiple blood transfusions to help her growth.
“Fully developed despite how minuscule she was”
Audrieanna could only hold her little girls when they were five days old. She said “When I saw Reagan, she was so small she could fit in your hand. I knew she was going to be tiny, but she was still so much smaller than I had imagined”.
“Mila was three times the size. But Reagan was fully developed despite how minuscule she was. We were finally allowed to hold them when they were five days old”.
“It was magical, but they were so delicate and tiny”.
Both girls, 20 months old, are now thriving. Reagan is walking and talking and Mila is just a few steps ahead, running.
They still have quite a big size difference between them. Mila is wearing clothes from 12 – 18 months but little Reagan is still sporting outfits for three-month-olds. Audrieanna gets a lot of incredulous comments from strangers who cannot believe these sisters are twins.
“People are stunned to see Reagan walking – as she looks too small for a baby who can walk”, she said. When they see the two girls together, Mila looks about three times bigger than Reagan and towers over her.
Improving outcomes for premature babies
A study, ‘Mortality, In-Hospital Morbidity, Care Practices, and 2-Year Outcomes for Extremely Preterm Infants in the US, 2013-2018’, by Dr Edward F Bell of the University of Iowa, found that from 2013 to 2018, with infants born between 22 and 28 weeks gestation, “survival to discharge occurred in 78.3% and was significantly improved compared with a historical rate of 76.0% among infants born in 2008-2012”.
The study, which took place between 2013 and 2018, assessed 10,877 infants born between 22 and 28 weeks gestation in 19 academic medical centres across the US.
This means that almost four out of five extremely prematurely born babies survived and were able to be assessed at 22-26 months corrected age (22-26 months from their due date) for a number of health and functional outcomes.
Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said “These twin girls have overcome enormous challenges in their short lives. The medical advances that have supported Reagan and Mila are helping more and more premature babies survive and develop healthily”.
“These technological advances pose an ever-growing challenge to the UK abortion time limit as premature babies are surviving at earlier gestations. The UK government urgently needs to change its laws to reflect this”.