Team Raylan and Westen
The Baldissero Story
On January 1st, 2013, the twins were born at 27 weeks gestation at Lourdes Hospital in Camden. Raylan, twin A, weighed 2 pounds, 12 ounces. Westen, twin B, weighed 2 pounds, 4 ounces. The twins were in incubators, intubated, had wires, IVs, and monitors all over the place, but all we saw were two little souls ready to meet the world with a full on fight for their lives. Raylan seemed to be getting comfortable with his incubator world. Westen had a different kind of disposition. He was feisty. Kicking all the time, tangling his wires and IVs, making his monitors alarm, and keeping his nurses on their feet. We quickly learned how grave our situation could be when Westen’s movement caused his ventilator to come lose. For the first time, Westen was able to breath on his own; however, it did not last long. His blood levels began to drop, his skin became transparent, and his usual feisty movement ceased to exist. It was at this point, the doctors decided to give Westen a blood transfusion. This decision saved his life. In the weeks and months that followed both boys progressed at a rate that was to be expected. My husband and I spent mornings, afternoons, and nights holding the boys for hours on our chests. We reached preemie milestones; decreasing pressured breaths, even if it was only by one digit, holding their own body temperature, and taking a bath without being wrapped in a towel. With each milestone we were closer to bringing the boys home and after 81 long days our little Westen came home and 5 days later our strong boy Raylan followed. This is why we participate in the March of Dimes. We are thankful for all the families before us that contributed their time and efforts to the March of Dimes, for we know our boys’ success was in part due to the research and technology that was funded before their births. By being here advocating for the March of Dimes we are advocating for those that are too tiny to advocate for themselves, and that is what keeps our experience alive; knowing that we can help those babies who, just like Raylan and Westen, seem so small, yet are so strong.