They’ve already beat the odds!
Mom Kimberly Thomas knew something was wrong when she began leaking amniotic fluid during her pregnancy, People.com reports. When she arrived at the Cleveland Clinic, doctors informed her that she was already four centimeters dilated. Before she knew it she was in labor, giving birth to her twins Kimyah and DJ, who were born at just 22 weeks. Both twins had to be resuscitated and intubated after their October 2022 delivery. They were rushed to the NICU — with Kimyah weighing just 12 oz and her brother DJ at 15 oz. Doctors at the time believed they had a 10% to 20% chance of survival at the time.
“Kimyah was around the size of a soda can, and DJ was slightly larger,” hospital officials said in a statement.
Thomas and the twins’ father, Damante Jackson, were terrified. They pleaded with doctors to do whatever they could for the twins as they headed to the Children’s Neonatal unit in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. Jackson recalls doctors telling them that even if the twins did survive, they likely wouldn’t “make it the first three days.”
“It was hard for them,” said Jackson.
Photo by Annie O’Neill / Cleveland Clinic
Still the parents remained optimistic, with Thomas spending every night in the NICU, even despite more medical obstacles. They continued to celebrate Thanksgiving and holidays and baby showers right there at the Cleveland Clinic. Medical director Dr. Firas Saker said their constant presence may have just saved the babies’ lives.
After 138 days, both Kimyah and DJ were ready to go home, making history as the youngest surviving premature twins born at the Cleveland Clinic. During their NICU graduation, the twins wore pink and blue caps and gowns, with family and staff filling the hallways in celebration of their survival. An emotional moment for everyone, Thomas and Jackson were finally able to take their children home.
Now Kimyah and DJ are almost one-year-olds. And while doctors are still monitoring for any developmental delays, the twins are doing great.
Thomas says she’s so grateful for her children, sharing with others the most valuable lesson she learned during that season in her life.
“Kimyah and DJ are very active and love exploring. You have to stay positive and focus on the outcome you want,” said Thomas.
Happy early birthday babies!
Photo by Annie O’Neill/Cleveland Clinic