HUDSONVILLE, Mich.,– Ashley and Erik Prins call their energetic twin toddlers their “miracle babies”. Dylan and Austin, both 2, entered the world weighing a little over two pounds each.
“I’m amazed by them, they’ve overcome more than anything I’ve ever overcome,” Ashley told FOX 17 News. “They’re true miracles.”
Ashley learned early on in her pregnancy that she and her husband were having twins. But, a few weeks after hearing the happy news, they were blindsided by some bad news.
“Around 12 weeks we found out it was monoamniotic twins,” explained Ashley. “They were developing in the same amniotic sac. Normal twins have their own amniotic sac.”
Doctors told the couple the babies had just a 50/50 chance of surviving.
“It was certainly bittersweet,” said Erik. “It was very scary.”
At 29 weeks, Ashley delivered the identical twins by emergency C-section on December 19, 2010. The boys spent the next 60 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) suffering more complications. The tiny babies dealt with infections, small holes in their hearts and Acute Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, which causes blood to transfer from one twin to another immediately after birth.
“It’s such a roller coaster, not knowing if your babies are going to come home and if they’re going to be OK. But, there’s so much support,” said Ashley.
The Prins say that support came from the March of Dimes and its NICU family support program. The group, which fights to end premature birth and birth defects, also played a huge role in the twins beating the odds. Dylan and Austin benefited from more than 26 different areas of research and programs from the March of Dimes.
The twins are now happy and health toddlers, without any signs of the complications they faced as newborns.
Ashley volunteers with the March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program. This month, the whole family is also serving as the “ambassadors” of the Grand Rapids “March for Babies” on Saturday, April 27th.
“It’s wonderful when we get to tell these stories, sometimes complicated, somewhat heartbreaking, but we know the future is bright,” said Ginger Feldman, Executive Director of March of Dimes West Michigan.
To learn more about the March of Dimes and find a “March for Babies” near you, click here.