DYSART, Iowa (KWWL) — For the Ewoldt family, the first birthday for their twin daughters, Keeley and Kambry, is more than just your average milestone.
The twins were born at only 22 weeks, making them the most premature twins to ever be born and survive. This has been verified with Guiness World Records. However, it was no easy journey.
“I prayed that night more than I ever had in my entire life,” said mom Jade Ewoldt when asked about the night the twins were born.
Neither girl weighed more than a pound at birth and each was only slightly bigger than a dollar bill.
Prior to their birth, the girls were diagnosed with a rare condition called Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, TTTS, which caused an imbalance of their blood supply.
“Essentially Kambry gave a lot of her healthy t cells to Keeley, and Keeley got sicker because of all the extra blood pumping to her heart,” said Jade.
The twins spent more than 4 months at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, where the twins mother says the success rate for premature babies like the girls is more than 6 times that of the national average. They were also the most premature twins to be born at the hospital.
However, while they are currently home with their family, the girls still face extra health concerns. Both of them are still currently on oxygen.
“They’re familiar with out germs,” said Jade. She spoke with us over video chat because of the girl’s weakened immune systems. She said the girls are getting stronger, but the fight to keep them healthy is a thorough one. Jade described the process her husband and the girl’s father, Wesley, undergoes everyday when he comes home from work.
“Right at the door, he has to change his clothes, take a shower, wash his hands, put on new clothes before even having contact or entrance to the house,” said Jade.
Over the summer, Kambry was slightly exposed to pollen and it landed her in the hospital.
On their first birthday Sunday, the girls are thriving. Jade talked about how different the girls were, saying their individual personalities are coming through as they start to explore the world.
“Their birthday presents are under the tree so they’ve been exploring that,” said Jade.
The girl’s have a dedicated following online with Keeley & Kambry’s Tribe, where they hope to educate the public on premature birth and TTTS. Jade credits a Facebook post she saw years ago for her own awareness.
“I was able to be educated and really proactive with my pregnancy, so I just felt doing that for someone else, just one person could see it and it could change the entire course of their pregnancy,” said Jade.
With the holidays well on their way, the family Elf on a Shelf reminds them of where they started, sporting the twins’ first diaper.
Jade says she’s just happy that the girls and their older siblings, Koy and Kollins, are able to be home this year rather than spending the holidays in the hospital.
You can continue to follow the girl’s journey on their Facebook page.