Meet our Heroes: Jack & Liam Kelsey
“After 78 days, it was really hard to say goodbye to the people who had done an incredible job taking care of Jack and Liam, but also instilled so much confidence in us that we could do it at home.”
5-year-old twins Jack and Liam Kelsey were born premature and experienced life-saving care in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Providence Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital.
“At 28 weeks in the middle of the night, I woke up and knew something was wrong,” Corrina Kelsey said. “I called our on-call doctor. And she said, ‘Get to Sacred Heart as soon as you can.’”
Doctors discovered that Corrina’s water broke with just Liam. They decided to try to stop the labor and keep the boys in her belly as long as possible. Corrina spent a few days on bedrest, not knowing how long the boys would wait to enter the world.
“I couldn't really think too far ahead because there was uncertainty, but there was still confidence that we were in the right place for this all to happen,” she said.
Jack and Liam were born in December at 29 weeks each weighing just over 2 pounds. They immediately went to the NICU and started intense treatment. The boys were kept alive in “giraffe beds”, specifically designed to keep premature babies warm and growing.
“You're sitting there and you're with your child, but you're not able to hold them or touch them because they need to be in that incubator growing,” Corinna said.
They needed extra breathing support and gained weight slower than typical premature babies. Respiratory therapy, enhanced nutrition plans and blood transfusions were crucial parts of their development. The Kelseys relied on their faith and trusted medical experts.
“You have really good days or really good hours, and then you'll have times when it's really intense and really scary and you just have to stay in that moment hoping that it’s going to get better in the next phase that you're in,” they said.
The boys spent Christmas and Valentine’s Day in the hospital. The nurses dressed them up and created ornaments with their hand and footprints. Those special moments gave Mike and Corrina hope that they would soon make their own memories as a family of four.
After 78 days, the Kelseys left the hospital and started a new chapter at home. It was emotional to leave the team that saved their babies.
“We came to appreciate so much: from the hospital’s level-4 NICU designation with specialized equipment for NICU babies, to the incredible nurses, doctors and specialists who supported us and our twins. Leaving the hospital on day 78 was emotional because of the care we received.”
Today Jack and Liam are active 5-year-old boys, who enjoy playing outside, searching for bugs and riding bikes.
Their parents say Jack's superpower is that he is empathetic, and Liam's superpower is that he is a good friend.