In the fall of 2013, Samara Sweig gave birth to twin girls, Tilly and Ivy, at just 28 weeks. During the many weeks that followed, specialists at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital cared for the twins around the clock in the KiDS of NYU Langone Foundation Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and tended to the needs of Samara and Louis, her husband. Today, Tilly and Ivy are thriving—and Samara participates in the Sala Family Advisory Council to pay forward her family’s transformational experience.
What was it like to give birth to twins at just 28 weeks?
Samara: It was frightening. There were so many unknowns and fears that came along with their birth. We didn’t know if they would be born alive, or if they would be able to breathe, because they were born so early and were so small. It was overwhelming and scary.
How did you manage this fear when Tilly and Ivy were brought to the NICU after they were born?
Samara: For the first 24 hours, I was really afraid to see them. But once I did, as any mother would feel, I wanted to do anything I could for them. In the NICU, babies have so many medical needs that parents can sometimes feel like bystanders. In time and with the help of the NICU staff, my husband and I learned of the different ways that we could participate in their care. I pumped around the clock so they could have Mamma’s milk. We provided them kangaroo care for hours every day. We talked to them, held their hands, and were eventually able to bottle-feed and change them.