Born so small that even medical tape was dangerous, mother and father leaned on fervent prayer and hope because ‘we could see their beating hearts.’
(NCR) The triumphant story of twin babies still thriving a year after they were born just minutes into what doctors deem “a viable state” is happy news indeed.
Speaking to the mother Shakina Rajendram about her then-harrowing-now-hopeful story, she recounted going into labor at 21 weeks and 5 days during pregnancy, a gestational marker that the medical community deems “not viable.” Her heart shattered as she heard that her two darling babies would receive no rescuscitation, only to be delivered to die on her chest.
And she was in the same hospital where she had just lost a baby months before.
“I was being told that we would be losing both babies that very same day. It was really a shock, at first, you know; we didn’t know how to process that information, as we had, like I mentioned earlier, we lost another baby in the same location a few months before that,” Rajendram told the Register. “So it was just really overwhelming at that point. And we were shocked. We were deeply, deeply devastated. And we didn’t know what to do at that point.”
So as a Christian mother and father with a fierce faith and belief in the power of prayer, mom Shakina and dad Kevin stormed heaven, in order to carry the babies to the 22-week threshold, inviting family, friends, church and community to pray with them. Prayer warriors on social media from all over the world kept the babies and their parents in prayer, too.
Tweet This: Mom Shakina and dad Kevin stormed heaven with prayer to carry their twin babies to the 22-week threshold, inviting others to do the same.
“Despite our requests for more sustaining measures, we were just being met with nothing from all the doctors,” Shakina told the Register, adding, “We realized in that moment that what the doctors couldn’t do for us, God could do for us, and that the impossible could still happen, that we shouldn’t lose hope.”
Tweet This: “Despite our requests for more sustaining measures, we were just being met with nothing from all the doctors” mom of miracle premature twins
And it was in the middle of the night, while Shakina tried to sleep and her husband was up crying and praying for a way forward to save their babies, that a friend wrote them about an organization called 22 Matters, which works specifically to help parents in these moments of devastating distress.
As Shakina recalled to the Register: “And he immediately connected with Kayla, one of the cofounders of 22 Matters and told her about the situation that we were in and that we were told that there was no hope for the babies. Kayla immediately emphasized the importance of getting transferred to a hospital that would resuscitate babies.”
Just a few hours into the 22-week threshold, a tiny baby girl named Adiah Laelynn Nadarajah was born, weighing under 12 ounces. Adrial Luka Nadarajah, her brother, joined her 23 minutes later, weighing just under 15 ounces. Born the weight of a can of soda with skin so thin their organs were visible, the babies fit in the palm of their parents’ hands.
Shakina holds one of her babies during the many days inside the NICU/Courtesy photo via NCR
“They were the tiniest babies the hospital had ever seen, especially our daughter, Adiah. They had never seen a baby that small before,” Shakina said. “Initially, they had some trouble finding even a tube during her resuscitation. They finally managed to then just find a tube that just barely fit into her tiny mouth.”
Dr. Prakesh Shah, pediatrician-in-chief at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, explained to the Register, “Resuscitation before 22 weeks is very, very challenging,” due to the instruments necessary to sustain the baby’s life.
“It’s technically difficult. When I have to open the baby’s mouth and put a breathing pipe, the breathing pipe itself is two millimeters in size.To open and not cause any damage with these thin and fragile organs is challenging.”
Finding tubes to fit through tiny mouths and not hurt vital organs proved challenging
for Dr. Prakesh Shah/Courtesy photo via NCR
But he was proud to see these record-holding babies through all the challenges.
According to Guinness World Records, the pair are not only the most premature babies to be born, but also the lightest twins ever born. Previous titles for premature twins were held by the Ewoldt twins from Iowa, who were born at the gestational age of 22 weeks, 1 day.
Twins celebrating their first Valentine’s Day/Courtesy photos via NCR
Resuscitation was only the first of many hurdles, with the babies needing constant care; being so underdeveloped, survival at times seemed unlikely.
But Shakina never gave up hope, living in a state of perpetual prayer, even when doctors were advising them to give up.
“And every single time there was a critical moment where we were being asked to withdraw medical care from our babies, we prayed and, miraculously, something would improve, something would change drastically, where the doctors would come back to us and say that, ‘You know, we don’t know what it is, but your baby [is a fighter] …”
It also helped having a doctor that was up for the challenge. Despite the injury that even medical tape left on the two tiny bodies, Shah says offering this hope to parents with preemies is something that drives his own work.
Babies have a long road ahead but they are thriving/Courtesy photos via NCR
“I find that neonatal [cases are the] ones more exciting, challenging and rewarding, in the sense that these are the families who did not have [much of a chance] of taking a baby home,” Shah told the Register. “And now you’re giving them the hope of taking baby home, which is different than any other intensive care where things were fine. And suddenly something happens. Wow!”
Past tubes, tape and fragile skin, the parents only saw beating hearts.
“We constantly saw their strength; we constantly saw resilience … we never gave up on them. Because we would look at the babies and we would see the will to survive,” Shakina remarked to the Register.
Babies Adiah and Adrial are happy holding these Guinness records for now, but Shakina hopes that it will soon be broken, so more mothers will see their preemies survive.
Born together, friends forever, brother and sister are doing well/Courtesy photo via NCR
The babies just celebrated their 1st birthday, although in ‘preemie’ terms, they are still only 8 months old. The two darlings have a steep hill to climb in terms of growth and development, and weekly visits to certain specialists to assess “their hearts and their lungs are growing well, to look at the muscle movement and look at their skin,” Shakina said, but she is optimistic about their very bright futures:
“It is going to be a long road ahead with lots of follow ups, but doctors are always really amazed at how well they’re doing.”
Happy birthday, Adiah and Adrial!
Editor’s note: Alyssa Murphy is the Register’s Managing Editor of Digital Assets. Starting her career on the airwaves in San Francisco, she has worked in all facets of media. Alyssa enjoys writing and covering stories that inspire and uplift. Register readers may be familiar with her voice from EWTN radio’s Morning Glory. Alyssa currently lives in New Jersey just outside Manhattan with her husband Andrew and young daughter, Annabelle. Reprinted with permission from the National Catholic Register – www.ncregister.com.