Twins Kassius and Keaton were born at just 30-weeks gestation. During the pregnancy, parents Krissy and Sam learned the boys were monochorionic/diamniotic identical twins, sharing a placenta, but not an amniotic sac. This put the boys at greater risk for significant complications. While Keaton received sufficient nutrients from the shared placenta, Kassius’ growth slowed and he became increasingly dependent on his brother’s heart to pump on his behalf.
Upon delivery, Kassius and Keaton both required mechanical ventilation, though Kassius’ medical needs were far more complex. Two months later, Keaton was admitted to Blythedale, still reliant on a nasal cannula for oxygen and a naso-gastric tube for feeding. While Keaton settled in at Blythedale, his brother underwent heart surgery to repair his aorta and prevent excess blood flow into his lungs. Keaton recovered beautifully at Blythedale, and was weaned from his supplemental oxygen and feeding tube. He was discharged home after just two weeks. Kassius, however, required more care. He was admitted to Blythedale at four-months old, fully dependent on a stationary ventilator and a naso-gastric tube for all feeding.
Following his admission, Kassius made incredible strides. He was successfully weaned to a portable ventilator, significantly improving the family’s quality of life. Kassius also began attending the Infant Program at Blythedale, where - under the loving care of his developmental specialists - he began meeting typical developmental milestones, such as grasping for toys and smiling at his caregivers. Many infants who spend a prolonged amount of time in a NICU arrive at Blythedale unaccustomed to being held and touched in a non-threatening way. It’s also typically the first time parents are able to provide hands-on care for their child.
We feared the unknown.
"We didn’t know how to approach certain things," said Sam. "Little by little we were trained how to handle our son’s sickness. Compared to where we were before and now, we’re confident."
Kassius’ devoted parents were fully committed to learning every aspect of his care, and quickly became comfortable performing tasks such as trach suctioning and tube feeding. Under the expert care of his pediatric pulmonologist and Blythedale’s nationally recognized ventilator weaning protocols, Kassius now only requires the need of supplemetal ventilation, and his parents were able to bring him home to join his brother.