The Kosma Family
After a long and bumpy road to pregnancy, Chelsea and Kris Kosma were thrilled to find out that they were finally expecting… and it was with twin girls at that! They were happy, excited, joyful, and a little bit scared because they knew the struggles they had to get pregnant in the first place.
Trusting her Mother’s Intuition, Chelsea pushed for high risk prenatal consultations. This concern was well founded; and at her 18-week visit, complications were discovered that resulted in her being put on full time bed rest. Three weeks later, at the 21-week ultrasound, she was admitted to the hospital. Less than two weeks later, Chelsea and dad, Kris, came terrifyingly close to losing their girls during one scary night of preterm labor.
Throughout the night and into the next day, their family tried to comfort them as they met with neonatologists to discuss the slim chances that their girls would survive. Mom and Dad had to talk about, and try to understand, the severe complications that the girls would likely have. They so badly wanted to be parents but were forced to consider under what circumstances they would choose to resuscitate or let the babies go. Luck was on their side that day as that labor scare ended up being a false alarm.
Chelsea was able to stay pregnant for another five weeks--even having her baby shower in the hospital! After 10 difficult weeks of bedrest, Olivia and Ella were born at 28 weeks & 6 days. Olivia weighed 2 lbs., 13 oz., was pink and trying to cry. Ella’s delivery was much more difficult, weighing 2 lbs., 12 oz., and she was gray and limp. Her first APGAR score was 1, but after being intubated, the NICU team was able to assure them that they hadn’t lost her. The girls were rushed to the NICU.
Because Olivia and Ella were so ill, Chelsea was not initially able to hold her newborn babies. Only after a long and painful 24 hours could Chelsea hold the babies she had fought so long and so hard for. At six days in the NICU, Chelsea watched in amazement as Olivia lifted her head in her incubator only to find out later that it was probably in response to extreme pain from the her IV. Ella required breathing support as well as a blood transfusion. Ella’s shallow skin was so yellow compared to Olivia’s pink appearance, that it was easy to tell the twins apart at a glance.
At three weeks old, Olivia and Ella finally hit three pounds. They continued to grow and increase the size of their feedings. Finally, on their 26th day of life, Ella was able to come off of breathing support for good.
At 4 weeks old, Olivia and Ella graduated to the Continuing Care Nursery. At 5 weeks old, they were finally able to regulate their body temperatures enough to go from incubators to cribs. This allowed them to co-bed for a period of time until their monitors came off. They spent 52 days in the NICU at UMass Memorial before finally coming home in December 2012.
Today, Olivia and Ella are thriving, happy, smart six-year-olds because of the fantastic UMass NICU team and the March of Dimes’ scientific advances for premature babies. The girls' premature birth and NICU stay were not easy, but Mom & Dad are so grateful and so fortunate that the girls had no lasting complications.
Kris and Chelsea recognize that even with the hardships they faced, things could have turned out a lot worse. Without the continuous research that the March of Dimes has funded and the scientific advances developed, Olivia and Ella might not have made it. The Kosmas' partner with March of Dimes to help prevent other families from having to experience premature birth and to help tackle the biggest health threats to moms and babies.