Ameal and Jameal are amazing twin boys born at 24 weeks in 2014 who have an inspiring story of strength and perseverance. Read below as their mother, Tameka, shares their experience.
Let’s start from the beginning, can you tell us how you learned about the pregnancy with twins and your initial reaction?
I was actually heading to the doctor's appointment for a full checkup when I found out I was pregnant. At that point I thought it was just one child from taking a pregnancy test. Further along my pregnancy I had more testing or assessments done to know more about my pregnancy. I found out I was 14 weeks along, and that I was having twins. (Oh boy, I had the tears of joy and excitement!) I was already told I was at high risk at my very first checkup and was put on bed rest, which made things much more complicated and emotional.
When did you find out that things in the pregnancy were not going perfectly? Did you know you would have to spend time in the NICU?
At 18 weeks the pregnancy got stressful because my body didn’t agree with the pregnancy. I already started dilation which wasn't good at all. At 20 weeks my water broke, and everything went crazy. I was told the babies could be placed in NICU for early pregnancy. So, my emotions were all over the place. I was always worried about my babies coming early and possibly losing them in early miscarriage.
Can you share what you are comfortable with on the delivery of your babies?
At 24 weeks and 1 day I had serious contractions and pain at breakfast. I called all doctors, family, and friends because I was excited about the babies coming. I was placed in the delivery room getting ready to have the babies naturally. The doctors realized that one baby was ready (Jameal) and the other was in my ribs (Ameal). So, I had to have urgent surgery. I was very scared and nervous for the c-section. The babies were born at 12oz and 13oz on Dec 22, 2014.
I know the NICU is a roller-coaster of emotions what was the hardest day for you in the NICU?
After having the twins, Ameal and Jameal, and being in the NICU, I was placed in the ICU also with an e-coli infection. Things got more frustrating for me because I couldn't see the boys for about a week.
Tell us about your NICU nurses and doctors.
The NICU was very lovable and quiet and smelled like fresh new born babies. I was able to bond well with the nurses and trust doctors that were very generous to my babies. We definitely had the best care of nurses and doctors.
Since you have twins were you able to take the home at the same time? If not, what was it like taking one home and still having one in the hospital?
Jameal came home at 6 months after I had to spend time in a sleep study with him. He came home with a heart monitor, feeding tube, oxygen, and oxygen monitor. I was able to do my best to care for my son's medical attention. Ameal was still left in the hospital due to needing more medical attention. So, I was just going through my emotions knowing one son is home and the other one still in the hospital. I still tried to manage to taking care of both babies and try to get to two places at the same time. It was very hard making my rounds when both boys were separated.
What was the biggest challenge that you had to face for Jameal and Ameal when you went home?
Coming home from the hospital with a set of twin boys with medical needs. Both my babies needed nursing care which made me way more emotional, because I had to deal with different people I don't know in my home every day.
Ameal came home at 9 months with an oxygen ventilator, heart monitor, oxygen, feeding tube, and a tracheotomy. Jameal had only a few surgeries, but Ameal had 21 surgeries at this point, including heart, brain, throat, multiple stomach surgeries, small intestine, ear tubes. It wasn't easy battling this challenge, but I had no choice but to do it.
What therapies are Jameal and Ameal in now, how have you seen improvement for them?
Both boys are in speech in zoom at home once a week and every day in school. Physical therapy every day in school. OT every day in school. Feeding every day in school. They both also go to a behavior center for them being very active. So far they have had some very great improvements with growth so all the therapies do help.
How did you hear about Bee Mighty?
Well when I was in the hospital soon to be discharged there was a social worker in the hospital who wanted to tell me about Bee Mighty since my kids spent so much time in the NICU. She kept going on about how the good resources to help get any equipment for the children. After that I immediately wanted to sign up for any help for my babies.
What does a typical day with Jameal and Ameal look like now?
At this moment they are very energetic and active. They both always fight each other and can't stay away at all. They both love watching YouTube videos. I taught them how to ride a motor bike. They learned very fast, and they both love to be challenged. They love school and all the children in it. I can say they are doing so much better and are healthier today. I am so happy to have gone through this tragic challenging pregnancy because I got to see and perform so much nursing care that I had no intention of doing. I'm glad it was me, and it made me very strong and humble.
Any advice you would give another family going through the process? Anything that really helped you get through the experience?
I'm not good at giving any advice because I just had to go through it. I had no other options. I had to gain strength, stay positive and keep my mind strong. I had a lot of breakdowns and crying moments, but I was the only one to do it. I had to take care of the babies the best way that I could as a first-time mommy. I'm still going through this experience until my boys can be healthier children. We still go out for fun and exciting events but we usually we just stay home. I surround myself with great positive and supporting friends just to make it each and every day.