Four months before due date, siblings set world record for most premature twins

Photo by: Fallon Michael

Canadian twins faced breaking the record for being the most premature pair born, but their parents had to live with the fear that the pregnancy might end in tragedy.

Shakina Rajendram gave birth to Adiah and Adrial Nadarajah, 21 weeks and five days early, after waking during the night to intense pain. Rajendram and her husband, Kevin Nadarajah, feared that their pregnancy would be lost—a feeling which was all too familiar for the couple.

Only three months prior, the couple had lost their first pregnancy at the same hospital they were staying in this time, which made doctors’ expectations that the twins would not survive even more difficult to digest.

The pair had been told that their twins had “no possibility” of survival. Doctors on the scene said that they would have the opportunity to hold the babies during their final moments of life.

As doctors warned the couple, ultrasound testing continued to demonstrate the babies’ strong heartbeats and revealed that they were not in distress—and despite the doctors’ certainty, the pair remained hopeful. 

During the 21st week of Rajendram’s pregnancy, the parents’ request to be transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto was accepted. The hospital, which contains a specialist neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), had space available.

But even in the new hospital, doctors’ perspectives seemed equally grim. Doctors said that giving birth before 22 weeks of pregnancy would mean the babies could not survive, so Rajendram knew she would need to try to hold off until the 22nd week for the pregnancy to have any chance of success.

At 12:15 a.m. on her 154th day of pregnancy—the first day of the 22nd week—Rajendram went into labour.

The babies ultimately survived. According to doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital, if the birth had occurred even an hour earlier, the siblings might not have made it.

Adiah was born at a weight of 330 grams while Adrial was born at 420 grams—only slightly more than a can of soda.

After months of treatment—161 days for Adiah and 167 days for Adrial—the siblings went home for the first time. Adrial has since been hospitalized three more times due to infections, leading him to spend additional weeks in the hospital.

The babies, who regularly continue to experience specialist checkups and various types of therapy, have begun meeting milestones for babies that are born at full-term. The babies are feeding and maintaining oxygen normally without the need for any specialized equipment.

“They were perfect in every sense to us,” Rajendram told CNN. “People still don’t believe us when we tell them.”

While the couple is “amazed” that their twins hold the world record, they hope the record is broken as quickly as possible so that more babies can survive premature births.

“This journey has empowered us to advocate for the lives of other preterm infants like Adiah and Adriel, who would not be alive if the boundaries of viability had not been challenged by their health care team,” said Rajendram.

While the parents aren’t expecting their children to grow up with perfect health, they are committed to providing them the best life possible.

The babies have taken the record for the world’s most premature twins, as certified by Guinness World Records. The world record for the world’s most premature baby is held by Richard Scott William Hutchinson, who was born 131 days before his expected due date.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *