Birthday parties for the Antunes twins are going to be loads of fun! These Boston boys were born 24 days apart. Will that mean two birthday parties each year or one long festive celebration that lasts three weeks?
It’s not time yet to bake the cakes or light any candles but the birthdays of little Alexandre and Ronaldo Antunes will be cause for great celebration all in due time. These little guys started life in a most unusual way and aren’t even home from the hospital yet.
Their story starts when their mother, Lindalva DaSilva, now 35, met Ronaldo Antunes, 40, at a Brazilian restaurant in Boston. These Brazilian natives soon fell in love and DaSilva wanted to start a family. Antunes wasn’t quite so gung-ho. He already had two kids and thought that was enough. After a brief break-up, Antunes gave in. A baby would be OK. But just one.
DaSilva quickly became pregnant and the very first ultrasound revealed a surprise. Not just one. DaSilva was carrying twins. “She was so happy,” said Antunes that he started to cry.
Water breaks early
All went well until DaSilva’s water broke four months early. She was admitted to Tufts Medical Center, where measures were taken to stop labor and delay delivery but, after four days, Alexandre Antunes was born during the 24th week. As he was rushed off to a ventilator waiting in the NICU, DaSilva’s labor was easing on its own. She was given antibiotics to minimize any risk of infection that might jeopardize the remaining baby and was hospitalized with the hope delivery of the second twin could be delayed a while, giving the baby the best chance possible.
The delaying tactics worked. Hours went by. Days passed. Then weeks. Finally, 24 days after his twin brother was born, Ronaldo Antunes was born, too. He soon joined his brother in the NICU, where both boys are getting an abundance of love and attention.
By the time Ronaldo was born weighing 6 pounds, 13 ounces, brother Alexandre was just one pound behind. Both boys are breathing normally and starting to feed from bottle and breast. They are expected to go home shortly after their original pregnancy due date (June 18).
A delayed twin birth such as the Antunes twins is such a rarity there are no numbers to compare it to. Even more rare is that both twins survive, as the Antunes twins seem to be doing. In one rare study of the phenomenon, two large medical centers in Tennessee and Virginia documented only 14 delayed twin births between the two in 12 years. During that period, 96,922 babies were delivered at these two facilities.
Delayed twin births are possible only in fraternal twins, where each baby has its own amniotic sac and placenta. It is always a highly risky situation.
Their extremely premature births leave them at risk for developmental delays, with Alexandre facing the highest risks. For now, though, they are developing their own personalities — Alexandre hungry and feisty, Ronaldo mellow with a soft cry — and their parents are looking forward to taking their miracle babies home soon.
Source: “Twins born a month apart.” Tufts Medical Center News & Events. Tufts Medical Center. Jun 9, 2014. Web. Jun 25, 2014.