ST. LOUIS - Pregnant with twins, Catie Scott began feeling something strange at just 22 weeks and six days of gestation. With some nudging from her mom, she went to the hospital to be checked and things moved very quickly from there.
“From zero to 100, things started to happen,” Scott said. “They put an IV in me, wheeled me up and explained that I was five centimeters dilated and my water bag was bulging out.”
Scott’s first twin, Madison, was born the next day, just 23 weeks gestation.
Dr. Heather Hall, MEDNAX-affiliated neonatologist at Mercy Children’s Hospital St. Louis, explained that babies born between 22 and 24 weeks are considered "periviable," or borderline of viability, due to complications and mortality rate. “While many of those babies won’t survive, some of them can survive,” she said. “We don’t go into it knowing which babies will survive, we have to look at each baby individually.”
Madison, barely 1 pound at birth, was intubated and faced many complications after her very early birth.
“Doctors say she is a fighter, she’s not giving up and still to this day every time she has road block she fights through it,” Scott said.
Steps were taken for Scott to maintain her pregnancy with Parker, the second twin, known as a delayed interval delivery. While not common, when a twin baby is born periviable doctors do what they can to hold the second baby in, giving additional hours, days and sometimes even weeks to continue development.
“I thought Parker would come within hours, but one day went by and then another,” Scott recalled. “Not knowing was the most frustrating part.”
Parker arrived 13 days after Madison was born and the difference in complications was tremendous. Madison health was so touch and go, Scott couldn’t hold her for 42 days. She’s had multiple surgeries and is still intubated.
With Parker, she came out crying, was intubated for a short time, transitioned to nose canula and has even taken a bottle. She has no serious health issues.
“The improvement happens day by day during those very early weeks of gestation,” Dr. Hall explained. “Every extra day in the womb allows for interventions that can improve the outcome of the baby and the chances of survival.”
Scott now looks back and is thankful for the extra time.
“When I was on bedrest waiting for Parker, selfishly, I was ready for her to come because I was getting ansty,” Scott recalled. “But now, I’m am so thankful I held her in every second longer.”
The girls are continuing to grow and improve day by day, showing their own personalities and allowing mom and dad to look forward to the fun challenges of having twins born on different days.
“Birthdays and other milestones,” Scott laughed. “It’s going to be fun. I already have to explain to everyone that I have twins but they are 13 days apart in age, so I’m sure I’ll do that the rest of their lives.”