Collin and Keegan Crider’s first days of life may have been extremely rough, but you would never know it to look at them now at age six. Their journey to this point is a true testament to the family’s faith and the possibilities of modern medicine.
The twin boys, who had been conceived after the couple underwent fertility treatments, were born in December 2007 at just 24 weeks gestation. When Kelly began experiencing contractions, she was admitted to the High Risk Obstetrics/Antepartum Unit in the Margot Perot Center for Women and Infants at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. Just three days into her bed rest, the boys were born.
Each weighed in at a mere 1 pound, 9 ounces, so it was unclear whether Collin and Keegan would even survive ― let alone thrive. For more than three months, the brothers fought for their lives in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Texas Health Dallas. They endured heart and hernia surgeries, feeding tubes and brain scans, and they were kept alive by sophisticated medical equipment and lots of prayers. After their time in the NICU, the boys graduated to a one-month stay in the hospital’s Special Care Nursery, where they tackled the challenge of learning how to eat.
For parents Kelly and Chuck, keeping faith that the boys would overcome their obstacles was no easy feat. But instead of dwelling on the twins’ day-to-day issues, they chose to focus on important moments. A special Christmas card containing the boys’ tiny footprints as reindeer antlers—and others done for Valentine’s Day, Easter and Mother’s Day by Thao Nguyen and Naomi Noy, both Registered Nurses at Texas Health Dallas—remain treasured keepsakes even today. And the staging of the twins’ birth with help from the NICU staff provided a better first impression of the brothers for 3-year-old sister Kate.
“We wanted this experience to be as normal as possible for Kate in hopes she will always remember the event in a positive way and not as something scary,” Kelly said. “She was so excited to meet them at a point when they both weighed over six pounds and looked like healthy baby brothers.”
Another fond memory Kelly shared involved a family that had severely premature twin girls born about six weeks after Collin and Keegan. The two families became very close in the NICU, bonding through a shared experience that not many others could understand. The families are now dear friends.
On the one-year anniversary of Collin and Keegan’s birth, these memories and many others made during the family’s time in the NICU and Special Care Nursery spurred Kelly and Chuck to make a generous contribution to the NICU fund held by the Texas Health Resources Foundation. Kelly also gives back by volunteering on the committee for the Greer Garson Gala, which raises money for the Margot Perot Center.
“The care we received at Texas Health Dallas was exceptional in so many ways ― especially the personal attention and feeling of family we came to know throughout our stay,” Kelly said. “We wanted to contribute to our hospital and community in a way that would share how strongly we value the special moments we had at THD.”
To learn more about the Texas Health Resources Foundation or the Greer Garson Gala, visit TexasHealth.org/giving.