Kimyah and DJ Jackson prove you don’t have to be big to be strong. The twins were born on Oct. 12, 2022, at only 22 weeks and 1 day at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. With a typical pregnancy lasting about 40 weeks, these little ones arrived far sooner than their doctors or parents planned.
In fact, Kimyah and DJ were the youngest twins ever to survive a premature birth at the Cleveland Clinic Hillcrest Hospital. According to the hospital, the babies had only a 10% to 20% chance of survival.
“They said even if they do survive, it’s not likely they’d make it the first three days,” the twins’ father, Damante Jackson, told “Good Morning America.”
The babies were so tiny that the medical team’s stethoscopes were larger than their chests. Each of them was no bigger than a soda can.
“These were the smallest babies I had ever seen, much less taken care of,” Sara Perrin, a registered nurse in the clinic’s neonatal intensive care unit, said in the hospital’s blog post. “I had to learn how to adapt to their size while taking care of them. It was quite challenging.”
But the twins’ mother, Kimberly Thomas, believed her babies had a lot of fight in them and told the doctors she wanted them to do everything possible to help her little ones beat the odds.
Thomas stayed by the twins’ side throughout their 138-day stay in the NICU.
“Every morning I would get an update from the doctors on how they did overnight and what the plan was for the day,” Thomas explained in the Cleveland Clinic post. “I would then go into the NICU to just talk to my babies.”
With the doctors’ care, their parents’ love, and a lot of inner strength, Kimyah and DJ overcame setbacks like a collapsed lung (DJ) and a minor brain bleed (Kimyah) and got healthy enough for doctors to discharge them from the hospital.
On Sept. 17, the Cleveland Clinic shared a beautiful video showing many members of the twins’ medical team lining the hallway to give the family a special farewell celebration.
At 22 weeks, Kimyah and DJ became the youngest surviving premature twins born at Cleveland Clinic. Kimyah weighing 12 ounces, and DJ weighing 15 ounces. They spent 138 days in the #NICU. Their mom, Kimberly, and family never left their side.
— Cleveland Clinic (@ClevelandClinic) September 17, 2023
Mom and Dad keep the hospital updated on the twins’ progress.
“Kimyah and DJ are very active and love exploring,” Thomas shared with the hospital. “Thinking about everything they’ve been through, it was hard to imagine us ever getting to this point.”
Dr. Firas Saker, the medical director of Cleveland Clinic’s Level III NICU at Hillcrest Hospital, said the twins are “progressing well” and hitting developmental milestones. The medical team will continue to monitor the twins as they grow.
“It’s amazing to see the twins thriving,” Dr. Saker said. “It serves as a reminder to all of us here why we do what we do every day.”