Meet Thomas & Julia

Julia and Thomas were born on at 27 weeks. Julia weighed 2 pounds, 1 ounce, and Thomas weighed just 1 pound, 8 ounces. Their first months were filled with constant fear. At two weeks, Laura and Mike baptized the twins in the Sanford Children’s Boekelheide Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, because they weren’t sure if Thomas would survive the night.

Thomas’s first year was filled with nearly constant peril while Julia grew and matured at the rate she was supposed to.

“I don’t think I ever let myself believe that Thomas was going to come home,” Laura said.

After 12 weeks in the hospital, Julia was able to come home. The family, who had been living in Sioux Falls, moved back to their home in Jackson, Minnesota so Mike and Laura could return to work.

They left Thomas 90 miles away in the care of Sanford Children’s nurses and doctors who became his surrogate family.

“I don’t think we’d be where we are without them,” Laura said. “It’s pretty amazing to have that level of facility and doctors just an hour and a half from home.”

Around Christmas 2008, Thomas started to get better. He was stable for longer periods of time, and needed less help to breathe from the ventilator he had required since birth.

After 313 days in the Sanford Children’s Boekelheide NICU, Thomas came home.

Thomas and Julia have continued to surprise their family and team of doctors.

Julia hit most milestones at the same rate of children carried to full term, while Thomas developed slower. Most medical statistics said Thomas wouldn’t be able walk or talk, but he did both in his own time.

At 9 years old, Thomas still struggles with sensory difficulties and a communication disability. But Thomas gets to attend the third grade with his sister. Julia loves playing teacher and daycare, and Thomas has earned a spot playing the drums with the high school pep band!

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