ROUND O, S.C. — When Jayden Segura was born at Trident Medical Center on Oct. 17, four months before her official due date, she weighed 14 ounces – barely more than a can of Coca-Cola.
Her whole body fit into a Ziploc bag. Her tiny hand covered only her father’s thumbnail.
Jayden couldn’t breathe or drink milk on her own. She needed heart surgery and almost died twice during those first few weeks.
“Every day was really, really difficult,” her mother said. “She had a lot of bad days. They could not explain how she made it.”
Doctors believe Jayden is one of the smallest babies ever born in South Carolina that has survived.
“I think it’s very, very remarkable,” said Dr. Jim Martin, the obstetrician who delivered her.
The way her parents tell it, Jayden’s fate was a lucky alignment of advanced maternal-fetal medicine, the power of prayer and good fortune – but this is only half the story.
Jayden has a fraternal twin, although they don’t share the same birthday – not even close. Jordyn Segura was delivered five weeks later on Nov. 22 at Medical University Hospital. She weighed less than 21/2 pounds when she was born.
In mid-October, during a trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn., for their 15th wedding anniversary, Amanda Segura said she started feeling like “something just wasn’t right.”
The 34-year-old was about 21 weeks pregnant then – a little more than halfway through the regular 40-week gestation period. Dr. John Podraza, a neonatologist who regularly works at President’s Hospital in Bethesda, Md., was filling in for a Trident neonatologist on vacation the night Jayden was born. He didn’t know she was so premature before he successfully resuscitated and intubated her.
“It was the smallest baby that ever survived that I have seen,” he said. “It was absolutely amazing. It’s life right there – happening in front of you.”
Later that day, Jayden was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit at Medical University Hospital, where she stayed for the next five months. Amanda said one of her hospital bills exceeded $800,000.
Meanwhile, Martin had another baby to contend with. Jordyn was still in the womb.
After Jordyn was born at Medical University Hospital on Nov. 22, she was also transferred to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. She was released on Jan. 25, almost two full months before her older twin sister.
Six months after their harrowing arrivals, the girls seem to be thriving at home in Colleton County.