‘God did a work in my body’, Versailles twins likely conceived weeks apart
“Baby B, as they called (him) in the womb, was considerably smaller, and they thought it was intrauterine growth restriction, which is basically failure to thrive in the womb,” said Randi. However, their midwife said that Baby B was still growing – he was just smaller than his twin. Randi said a specialist suggested she deliver the twins early – at 30 weeks, seven weeks before most twins are born.
“All other indicators were really good. The cord flow was good, the heart tones were good, the movement was good… So I was adamantly opposed to having them take them early, because … they said when you take the babies that early, sometimes you compromise the health of one to save the other…” she said.
Randi said after a great deal of prayer and research into “discordance” in twins, they decided to leave the matter to God. They already had two children – Luci, 9, and Tobias, 3 – but had lost four others to miscarriages and stillbirths. “I told Ben, ‘Our babies are different. We conceived them separately. I know this. There’s nothing wrong with this baby,’” she said.
On Aug. 10, Randi went into labor, and the fraternal twins were born in an operating room, rather than a delivery room, the following day. Carolyn Eve (7 pounds, 1 ounce) was delivered first, but Gideon Steel (3 pounds, 4 ounces) was a breach birth, and non-responsive when he was born 25 minutes later.
“Finally they got him breathing and crying and it was the best sound in the world, you know?” Randi said. Gideon spent a few days in the infant ICU unit, and both babies were home six days after their birth. A day later, they saw their pediatric nurse practitioner, who happens to be a teacher at the University of Kentucky’s College of Medicine.
“She hadn’t really seen them comparatively, because I was feeding him, so when she starts doing Gideon’s exam, she says, ‘Oh, wait – I’ve seen this before,’” Randi said. “She said, ‘These twins are two different gestational ages.’”
The nurse practitioner told Randi that Gideon was conceived three to four weeks after his “big” twin sister, a process called superfetation, which is common in some animals, but quite unusual in humans. According towww.pregnancycorner.com, “To characterize superfetation in humans as ‘rare’ would be to understate how unusual the phenomenon truly is. Only about ten cases of superfetation are documented in the medical literature, and experts are suspicious even of some of these documented cases.”
Randi said superfetation may happen more than medical experts realize, because a day or two difference in conception makes such cases hard to confirm. One thing is less hard to determine – multiple births are a family tradition. Randi’s father and his three siblings each have a set of grandbaby twins, a second cousin also has a matching set, and Ben’s uncle is a twin.
For the first few weeks after the Mjos twins were born, Gideon required feedings every two hours to prevent his blood sugar from dropping, perhaps fatally, Ben said. Graduating to a three-hour schedule was “great,” he added. During an interview at the home on High Street they closed on the day the twins were born, Randi said Carolyn and Gideon are doing fine, but Gideon will be a little brother for some time.
“At our two month check-up, Carolyn was in the 95th to 100th percentile in all her development, and Gideon was at the zero to 5th,” Randi said with a laugh. If you add those together, it’s 100 percent, Ben added. Their pediatric nurse practitioner said by the time the twins are two years old, and perhaps sooner, Gideon should be caught up, milestone-wise, Randi said.
“It will take awhile. She said, ‘Don’t expect him to roll over, crawl, walk on the same timeframe as your daughter,’” Randi said. Asked whether their different sizes will affect their relationship, Randi said she didn’t know, but she thought that Carolyn “would just kind of always be a protector.” Ben said the twins, especially Gideon, are happiest when they’re next to each other. Both had oral surgery to enable them to nurse better, and early on, Gideon was clearly uncomfortable when he wasn’t near Carolyn.
“His baseline for stress dropped way down when we started reuniting them again all the time,” Randi said. “When he would eat, he would get all tense and rigid…” Ben said.
“We feed them together, we let them sleep together, we rock them together. It’s like he became a different child,” Randi said. “He was like, ‘I’m OK. I’m OK.’”
Randi said waiting for the birth of their twins was difficult, and admitted that her confidence about Gideon’s eventual well-being might not have been backed up by science.
“God did a work in my body, and I know that, and nobody can convince me otherwise,” she said. “I’m a different person than the woman who lost all those (other) babies.”
Asked whether they’re out of the baby-making business, Ben, 39, chuckled and said, “We have four,” and Randi, 37, quickly added, “We’ll see. We just kind of feel like kids are the thing in life you’re never going to regret.