Kate McGowan’s twins, Dylan and Elizabeth, were born in 2010 at 29 weeks. They each weighed just over 2 pounds. After 100 days in the NICU for Dylan and 80 for Elizabeth, the preemies went on to overcome incredible obstacles and are now almost 6 years old.
“It is amazing how far they have come,” McGowan told The Huffington Post.
During her time in the NICU with her twins, McGowan especially remembers Elizabeth learning how to eat and Dylan having multiple surgeries.
Almost six years later, Elizabeth is known to watch out for her brother, and Dylan has a knack for making friends with everyone who comes his way.
“Although his vocal cords did not work for the first year of his life due to prolonged intubation and severe reflux, he is now making up for lost time by talking nonstop and charming all that he meets,” McGowan told HuffPost.
While it was tough watching her babies fight to survive, McGowan and her family made it through thanks to all the love that surrounded them and the support of the medical staff.
“While the NICU time is never easy and it is a roller-coaster of good days and bad, it was our journey, and Dylan and Elizabeth’s beginning,” she said.
Spending the first days and even weeks of their children’s lives in the NICU is an experience that is all too familiar for parents of preemies, or babies born before 37 weeks gestation. Though premature birth declined between 2007 and 2014, 2015 showed a rise in early births. About 10 percent of babies in the U.S. were born early, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
November marks Prematurity Awareness Month, which is a time to celebrate those babies who fought for their lives. We asked our HuffPost Parents readers to send in photos of their preemies when they were born and photos of them now to show just how far they have come.
Here are those resilient preemies, then and now: