The rush of emotion can be powerful - excitement and joy, uncertainty and fear, relief and shock. When expecting parents learn they are having twins, their minds can whirl, simultaneously trying to process the words that the doctor had just uttered while rushing ahead to anticipate the consequences of this life-changing announcement.
Glenn and Carolyn Watters of Weston had such an experience in the Fall of 2003. But suddenly those emotions all turned to fear. On September 21, 2003, sixteen weeks prior to their due date, Carolyn gave birth to her twin sons, Benjamin and Bryan.
The reason for the early arrival of their sons was due to Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS), which occurs specifically in identical twins sharing the same placenta. Benjamin and Bryan shared not only the same placenta but some of the same circulation. This allowed the transfusion of blood from one twin to the other causing one baby to be small and anemic and the other large and overloaded with blood.
When born, Benjamin weighed a mere one pound three ounces. Sadly, he lived less than an hour. Bryan weighed slightly more at one pound eleven ounces. Because of his need for critical care, he was flown to Ministry Saint Joseph's Children's Hospital were he spent the next 94 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Bryan required specialized 24/7 medical care. He was intubated and closely monitored for two months. While in the NICU, Bryan had surgery to close a heart valve. He also had laser surgery on his eyes to address retinopathy due to prematurity.
On December 24, 2003, the Watters had an incredible Christmas present. They were able to bring Bryan home, weighing a whopping seven pounds, 14 ounces. At home he joined his three-year-old brother, Mitchell.
"I remember he was too small to fit in a premie sleeper," said Carolyn. "He was over five weeks old before he fit in one. Now, in honor of our sons' birthday, we send two boy sleepers and two girl sleepers to the NICU."
Today, Bryan is seven years old. He enjoys Tae Kwon Do and baseball. He is in the first grade at Weston Elementary.
"Our children are a gift," said Carolyn. "The kindness of others has changed our lives. After this stressful period of our life, we feel we have a special calling to be kind to others."