INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Drew twins weren’t expected to leave the NICU alive after battling a rare combination of conditions.
But on Tuesday, one baby got to head home, and doctors hope the other will soon, too.
Four months ago, Lena and Delaney Drew were fighting for their lives. They are monoamniotic monochorionic twins, meaning they shared the same amniotic sac and placenta in the womb, so one twin did not receive as many nutrients as the other, which can lead to developmental issues. It occurs in just 1% of twin pregnancies.
The twins also had twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, meaning they received unequal amounts of blood in the womb.
That combination is extremely rare, and when the girls were born, they faced a 50% survival rate.
“We didn’t know coming into this, just how fragile 24-weekers are,” Emma Drew said. “And we’ve kind of come to realize that we’re lucky that they both even made it and that they’re both doing as well as they are.”
This week, baby Lena donned her graduation cap and prepared to move into a world outside the hospital.
“One of the doctors said, ‘Go ahead and get the nursery ready,’ and I told him, I said, ‘It’s been ready for a while,'” Emma Drew said.
But Lena will graduate without her sister Delaney, who is expected to be released in December.
“It’s bittersweet,” Emma Drew said. “I mean, we wanted them both to come home at the same time, but as long as they’re both coming home, that’s what matters to us.”
Delaney has faced challenges, having to be intubated twice and struggling with lung issues.
“She’s grown and she’s gotten stronger and everything else,” Emma Drew said. “So we’re hoping maybe this time — third time’s the charm. Right? And that she’ll be able to come home without needing a (tracheotomy) this time.”
Doctors say the twins are going to be delayed developmentally but should catch up around age 2. After that, life should look pretty normal.
“Life in Evansville? Hopefully school and high school and prom and you know,” said Dr. David Boyle, a neonatalogist at Riley Hospital for Children.
The Drews just hope seeing their babies doing well and going home encourages other parents to keep hope.
“Stay strong,” Eric Drew said. “If you’re at Riley, Riley’s a great place and they’re going to take care of your kids, and they’re going to get them out of here healthy.”
The Drews say they’re hoping to bring Delaney home for Christmas.
Click here to learn more about the Drew family, from when we first met them.