A rare medical event took place at Tufts Medical Center in Massachusetts recently: a set of twins were born over three weeks apart.
The new baby boys are Alexandre and Ronaldo DaSilva. Their parents recall the fear they felt when Linda went into labor just five months into her pregnancy. Doctors unsuccessfully tried to stop her contractions, and a very premature Alexandre was born four days later.
“We were praying to hear his cry, and we did,” DaSilva said. “And it was a relief because we knew there was a 50% chance of not surviving.”
After Alexandre was placed in intensive care, doctors told the DaSilva couple they wanted to keep Ronaldo in Linda’s womb for as long as possible.
"I thought it was absurd," DaSilva recalled. “I said, 'I don't think -- I didn't know that was possible.'"
Sure enough, DaSilva managed to nurture Ronaldo inside of her for another 24 days. When he was born, he weighed one pound more than his brother.
Doctors say the separate births are remarkable not just because of the time in between them, but also because both premature babies are in good health.
"This was unique in many ways, including that both twins are doing well," said Sabrina Craigo, Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Tufts.
The record for the biggest gap between twin births is 87 days. The births took place in 2013, when one twin was born in June and the other in August.
Dr. Gina Geis, one of the doctors who delivered the DaSilva babies, says that when it comes to pregnancies, longer is always better.
"We try to tell moms be grateful for every day you're still pregnant and we can get you as far along as we possibly can," Dr. Geis said.