Heartwarming, true story of twins Brielle and Kyrie Jackson, who were born twelve weeks before their due date.
After spending six months together in their mother’s womb, the twins were immediately separated after their birth because of standard hospital practice established in 1995 was to place preemie twins in separate incubators to reduce the risk of infection.
Nurse Gayle Kasparian tried everything she could think of to stabilize Brielle. She suctioned her breathing passages and turned up the oxygen flow to the incubator. Still Brielle squirmed and fussed as her oxygen intake plummeted and her heart rate soared.
Then Kasparian remembered something she had heard from a colleague. It was a procedure, common in parts of Europe but almost unheard of in this country, that called for double-bedding multiple-birth babies, especially preemies.
Kasparian's nurse manager, Susan Fitzback, was away at a conference, and the arrangement was unorthodox. But Kasparian decided to take the risk.
"Let me just try putting Brielle in with her sister to see if that helps," she said to the alarmed parents. "I don't know what else to do."
The Jacksons quickly gave the go-ahead, and Kasparian slipped the squirming baby into the incubator holding the sister she hadn't seen since birth. Then Kasparian and the Jacksons watched.
No sooner had the door of the incubator closed then Brielle snuggled up to Kyrie - and calmed right down. Within minutes Brielle's blood-oxygen readings were the best they had been since she was born. As she dozed, Kyrie wrapped her tiny arm around her smaller sibling.
By coincidence, the conference Fitzback was attending included a presentation on double-bedding. This is something I want to see happen at The Medical Center, she thought. But it might be hard making the change. On her return she was doing rounds when the nurse caring for the twins that morning said, "Sue, take a look in that isolette over there."
"I can't believe this," Fitzback said. "This is so beautiful."
"You mean, we can do it?" asked the nurse.
"Of course we can," Fitzback replied.
Today a handful of institutions around the country are adopting double-bedding, which seems to reduce the number of hospital days. The practice is growing quickly, even though the first scientific studies on it didn't begin until this past January.
But Heidi and Paul Jackson don't need any studies to know that double-bedding helped Brielle. She is thriving. In fact, now that the two girls are home, they still steep together - and still snuggle.
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