Twin born three times smaller than sister defies odds and is now 'thriving'

A twin born almost three times smaller than her sister has defied the odds after doctors were convinced she would die in the womb.

Tiny Reagan, now six months old, was born 11 weeks early weighing just 1lb, and was overshadowed by her twin Mila – who was 2lb 13oz.

Mum Audrieanna Lambert, 32, says it was a miracle Reagan was even alive after medics warned she wouldn’t survive the pregnancy.

Doctors at West Penn hospital, Pittsburgh, US, became worried at 20 weeks when they saw that Reagan had stopped growing.

Both twins were born following a C-section in December 2021 and taken immediately to the newborn intensive care unit.

Mila spent 45 days there before she was strong enough to come home.

However, Reagan was not so fortunate. She battled sepsis and had to wait 118 days before she could join her sister and family at home in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Thankfully, the twins are now both thriving but are still different sizes: Mila weighs 12lbs and Reagan 7lbs 5oz.

Audrieanna, a claims specialist, says: ‘When I saw them for the first time Reagan was so much smaller than I imagined.

‘The difference between them was crazy. Mila was almost three times the size. They don’t even look like twins they’re such different sizes.

‘I knew Reagan was going to be small but she was just so tiny. But they were both miracles and pulled through. Now they’re incredible.’

Following years of pregnancy struggles, Audrieanna and her 29-year-old husband Chase, a union labourer, were ecstatic to find out she was pregnant in June 2021 after their first round of IVF.

At six weeks, the couple were told they were expecting twins but that ‘Baby B’ – Reagan – was measuring small and it was possible they might lose her early on during the pregnancy.

‘We were told the gestational sac was measuring small and it was likely she would pass,’ Audrieanna recalls.

‘But at 15 weeks they reassured us and said that Reagan had caught up.

‘It was the best news.

‘Everything seemed fine with both of them and we were so excited to have two little girls.’

But at 20 weeks, Reagan was 18% smaller than her sister.

‘The doctors were not sure if she would make it at that point,’ Audrieanna explains.

‘But they kept monitoring us. I was just praying we wouldn’t lose her.

At 24 weeks, the couple were given the devastating news that Reagan was now 50% smaller and suffering issues with her cord flow. This is vital for the transfer of nutrients from the mother’s blood across the placenta to the foetus through the umbilical cord.

‘They told us that the next time I came for a scan in two weeks she would have passed,’ Audrieanna admits.

‘They were certain she wouldn’t make it because everything they knew medically told them she wouldn’t.

‘I was devastated.’

Amazingly, at the 26-week scan, doctors found that Reagan’s heart was still beating.

‘They were really shocked that she was still holding on,’ Audrieanna notes.

‘I was determined I would do everything I could for her to make it.’

At 27 weeks, Audrieanna was admitted to West Penn Hospital to be monitored.

The twins were born on December 10 2021, at 16.32pm, with Mila weighing 2lbs 13oz and Reagan at 16.33pm, weighing 1lbs exactly.

Their mum recalls: ‘I heard Mila’s nice little cry and they held her up for me so I knew she was ok but all I could hear from Reagan was a whimper.

‘It was like a kittens cry.

‘I was in a panic because I could hardly hear her and I didn’t get to see her before they took her away.’

Both twins were taken to NICU and Audrienna had to wait a few hours before seeing them.

‘When I saw Reagan she was so small she could fit in your hand,’ she explains.

‘I knew she was going to be tiny but she was still so much smaller than I had imagined. Mila was three times the size.

‘But Reagan was fully developed despite how minuscule she was. We were finally allowed to hold them when they were five days old.

‘It was magical but they were so delicate and tiny.’

When the twins were two weeks old the family were told Reagan had developed sepsis and was being transferred to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

‘She was so grey she looked dead,’ Audrieanna admits.

‘It was awful that twins had been torn apart.’

After four days, Mila transferred to the same hospital and the pair were able to battle to health together.

Mila recovered well and was strong enough to go home in January 2022, following 45 days in hospital.

Her twin sister spent another three months in hospital, receiving blood transfusions to help her grow – so she could finally come home in April 2022.

‘It was amazing to have them both home,’ Audrieanna says.

‘It’s been quite the journey. They still have a big size difference between them.

‘When I switch between holding Mila to Reagan I can really feel how much lighter she still is. They’re six months now and thriving and hitting all their milestones.

‘They’ve defied the odds.’

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