By Aanchal Singhal and Pallavi Singhal
One or two,
The desire for one,
Accidently led to two.
Not just sisters, or fraternal siblings,
But the first set of identical twins recorded in our family history.
Our parents anticipated for one,
But instead received two.
At 33 weeks we were ready to make our debut.
With a rush to enter this world,
we defied all odds
and set a chain of events,
who would have thought.
Our bond is unbreakable,
bringing along double joy and double the trouble.
Being a preemie came with uncertainties and unknowns,
but we braved through the storm head on.
As we remained in the NICU growing stronger each day,
the nurses showered us with love and helped us with our stay.
As preemies we are born fighters,
paving a path while teaching others.
Our preemie story is quite interesting and brings along a rollercoaster of emotions, so hop on, fasten your seatbelts and join us on this ride.
I guess our journey started the day our mom found out she was pregnant. Our mom’s pregnancy was full of complications as we were no easy set of twins to please. In fact, we gave our mom a lot of trouble while we were in utero. The main complication was caused by the fact that Aanchal was considered the donor twin. This means that all the nutrients that she was receiving was being handed down to Pallavi. As Aanchal shrunk, Pallavi grew healthier, and our mom was faced with a difficult situation at hand. Despite the Perinatologist and the high risk pregnancy team of doctors constantly pressurizing her to abort Aanchal, who according to them would not survive, our parents chose to keep us both and we are glad they made that decision! In essence it was a fight against time, because the longer my mom could keep us in, the better the chance of our survival would be. On the other hand, she had already started to dilate at 29 weeks! With all of the complications that followed, our mom did not give up on us. We were impatiently waiting to see the world and as a surprise we were born prematurely on July 2nd. We were born at 33 weeks and severely underweight. Aanchal was 1.5 pounds and Pallavi was 2 pounds. Immediately after birth we were rushed to the NICU and stayed in there for 18-22 days.
Even though we defied all odds of survival, we had our fair share of health scares. From being rushed to the ER with Croup, to receiving painful RSV shots, to frequent vision checkups and doctor appointments. Although these health issues were prevalent when were babies, Aanchal’s severely low birth weight has resulted in a variety of health problems like severe allergies and P.O.T.S (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). Pallavi suffers severe migraine and mild allergies. Even now we have our good days and our bad ones, but we continue to draw inspiration and seek motivation from each other. Life may have thrown a curveball at us, but we didn’t let that strike us out. We were two choices, either let our prematurity define us, or defy the odds and strive for success.
The winter break of 2018 will forever remain etched in our memory. We visited our cousins in Michigan and on a whim my parents took us to visit the hospital where we were born. We were ecstatic and did not know what to expect. Delighted we tagged along. We were given the wonderful opportunity to walk through the NICU and have a firsthand encounter with other premature babies! We were speechless when we saw the size of these babies and how the nurses carefully tended to them. A flood of emotions rushed though us as we felt like we were looking back in time. We started to relate to all the pictures that we had seen of our self and we gained a better understanding of what it really meant to be a preemie baby. Some neonates were present with underdeveloped limbs and needed special medical equipment. This was an enlightening moment for both of us because this cause is very close to our hearts. We had always wanted to become Engineers, but this experience allowed us to realize our passion for wanting to help other babies like us by pursuing a path in Biomedical Engineering. It is hard to comprehend the scope and scale of care that goes into tending to a premature baby. One can only grasp what it means until they are able to see and appreciate all the work that is done by the doctors and nurses in the NICU and by the parents/caregivers to ensure that that baby will grow strong and remain healthy. We were blessed with such an eye opening opportunity and we encourage all other preemie kids to give back to their Hospital/NICU in their own ways.
Thank you Aanchal and Pallavi Singhal for sharing your story! We would love to hear how you are doing in the coming years!
If you are interested in writing for Graham’s Foundation, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
See all that we offer preemie parents at www.grahamsfoundation.org