When Jaxson and Grayson were born at 27 weeks, the struggling preemies had no hope of celebrating Christmas at home together.
But the next sentimental family holiday — Valentine’s Day — will find the family of four at home from Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine.
“My two ‘chunkers’ — both weigh more than 8 pounds — are doing well,” said Christian Reynolds, a kindergarten teacher and a twin herself. “They’re huge. They are the best Valentine’s Day present.”
The new mother said both are really happy babies, but Jaxson is “more on the chill, calm side” and Grayson is “a little more vocal — he wants to know what’s going on.”
The twins were at 27 weeks when the first-time mom realized they were coming and sought help. Doctors sent her to Baylor Grapevine for observation. Twenty-four hours later, on Oct. 3, the twins were born, three minutes apart. They were delivered by the family physician, Dr. Michael White.
The babies went into the neonatal intensive care unit at Baylor Grapevine because preterm babies typically have breathing and other issues, said Dr. Sherri Kappler, medical director of NICU.
“The biggest risk is undeveloped lungs,” Kappler said, adding that full-term is about 40 weeks.
Although the fraternal twins came early — Jaxson weighed a mere 2 pounds, 5 ounces, and Grayson weighed 2 pounds, 3 ounces — they were fairly healthy.
“These boys actually came out and cried,” Kappler said. “These were big babies. That is good.”
Grayson went home Dec. 11 to dad, Jacob, who coaches and teaches at Euless Junior High School, and mom, Christian, a kindergarten teacher at Wilshire Elementary School in Euless. Jaxson remained hospitalized through New Year’s Eve — one day after his due date.
The family — including both grandmothers and Christian’s twin sister Candace Baker — spent the holidays at Baylor Grapevine where the hospital looks after patients and their relatives with its family centered approach.
So, as they do for other patients, the staff celebrated the holidays with the Reynolds. Halloween featured costumes and treats for older children. For Christmas, Santa Claus stopped by.
“They made it our home away from home,” said Reynolds, who always “dreamed of kids.”
Staff and volunteers make sure each holiday at the hospital is festive for everyone, especially those going through an emotionally trying time.
The twins’ and other children’s isolettes were decorated with personalized holiday stockings. And on Thanksgiving, each youngster received a “turkey” keepsake made out of paper shaped like the child’s foot and sporting colored feathers.
“We took everything home, including pumpkins cutouts with their names on them,” Reynolds said. “My favorite was elephants made of the twins’ hands by a nurse for our jungle-themed hospital room.”
Staff are making paper hearts with cupids for Valentine’s Day.
Still, they always hope that some Valentines will not be given out because the patient has gone home healthy.
“That is the best outcome you can get,” said Kappler, who has held her post for nine years.
The doctor said the staff will miss the twins.
“These guys were so good,” she said. “They were such star babies.”