Twins born early receive special care


Marlo and Garrett Williams with twins Ellison, left, and Braxton.


Monday, June 17, 2019


Thirty-two was the magic number for Marlo and Garrett Williams.

In September 2017, before their twins were born, Marlo Williams said she and her husband had been praying that she could carry them for at least 32 weeks, because that was the magic number when her doctors would consider letting her give birth at Nash UNC Health Care.

“It wasn’t an absolute guarantee,” Williams said. “But given the high level of care available for preemie babies at Nash UNC’s Special Care Nursery, unless there were unforeseen complications, it was very possible I could give birth here in Rocky Mount, which is what we really, really wanted.”

Williams made it to 33 weeks and on Sept. 19, 2017, she and her husband welcomed Eillison (at 3 lbs 15 oz) and Braxton (at 4 lbs 11oz) to the world at Nash UNC Health Care. A full-term pregnancy is usually 40 weeks.

The Nash Special Care Nursery is designed to care for babies who need close medical monitoring or specialized treatments and services. This includes comprehensive care for newborn babies born prematurely from 32 weeks gestation and up or infants with breathing problems and suspected infections at birth. Recovering extremely premature infants may also be transferred in from another neonatal intensive care unit to be closer to home.

With a strong focus on family centered care, administrators say the goal of the Nash Special Care Nursery is to involve parents and caregivers in the care of their infant from birth to home.

“They were small, but neither needed any invasive breathing or eating assistance,” Williams said. “Having the staff, technology and equipment available in the Special Care Nursery allowed us to keep them in the same town with us as they grew and progressed until we could take them home.”

Williams knew there was a chance that if the babies needed a higher level of care, they’d be taken to a hospital either in Greenville or Wake County. “We are so, so thankful that didn’t happen and we could all recuperate and get stronger, together at our local hospital,” she said.

Williams said many of those on the team of nurses and doctors that they got to know over the 31 days the twins stayed in the Nash Special Care Nursery are like family to them today.

“I still get teary when I talk about them, thinking about all they did for us and how much they loved on all four of us during that month,” Williams said. “I had had a C-section and I felt like they were taking care of me, too, in those first few weeks.”

Williams said the whole team spent hours teaching her and Garrett how to care for the babies and making sure they got to bond, just like parents and newborn babies at home.

“They put us at ease so we weren’t so afraid of something going wrong and went above the call of duty to keep us informed about everything,” she said.

The Nash Special Care Nursery offers care from specialists who hold advanced training in caring for infants. This team focuses on reviving and stabilizing critically ill babies and managing common newborn conditions. A neonatal care team may include:

■ Board-certified neonatologists

■ Neonatal nurse practitioners

■ Pediatricians

■ Neonatal nurses

There are 12 private rooms at the Nash Special Care Nursery with two sets of twin rooms.

Williams said she still stays in touch with one of the nurses, Tiffany Powell, and the lactation consultant Nitaya Mackey.

“That first month with our kiddos in the Special Care Nursery is something we’ll never forget. You definitely build a bond — those people were literally like part of our family,” Williams said.