When Kristen Miller learned that she was pregnant with twins just a few months after marrying her high school sweetheart, Ian, she had no idea that this was going to be just the first of many surprises.
The Tennessee couple said that Kristen started off with an easy pregnancy, free of any complications, until she started feeling contractions during a church service when she was only 22 weeks along. By the time she made it home, her water had broken and the hysterical mom-to-be rushed to the hospital. Luckily, doctors were able to use a combination of drugs to prevent her from going into labor for another two weeks.
Kristen gave birth to their son, Micah, on Valentine's Day, four months before his due date. "Our goal, before he was born, was, 'we've got to make it to 24 [weeks]!' Sure enough, he made it to 24 and one day," Ian told WBIR.
However, Micah and his fraternal twin sister had separate amniotic sacs and placentas, which made them candidates for delayed interval delivery, when twins are born at different times. Because there are so many risks with premature births, doctors felt that it was best for baby Madelyn to stay in the womb for as long as possible, despite her brother's delivery.
"Just because we're having one [baby] doesn't mean we have to have the second or the third. But it's hard to find the person who's a really good candidate," said Dr. Kristina Shumard, a maternal fetal medicine obstetrician at University of Tennessee Medical. Not only are these delayed births extremely rare, but they typically only last from an hour to a week. Kristen was put on strict bed rest, without even being allowed to hold Micah, and as each day passed, they observed in awe as Madelyn grew bigger inside the womb.
The little girl made it an extra 38 days, which is one of the longest times on record at the hospital. She has since joined her brother in the neonatal intensive care unit, where they are expected to stay for at least another two months. "We feel so blessed to be here," added Kristen. "The only thing that's gotten me through this . . . is to say, 'God is in control.'"