KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Identical twin brothers are off to a very unusual start in life. One is in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, born extremely prematurely. The other is still in the womb and hopefully won't be born until January.
Baby Link weighed just 1 lb, 2 oz. when he was born 23 weeks into his mother's pregnancy. It's a gestational time considered to be on the cusp of viability. While Link has heart and lung issues, he is doing well considering his medical hurdles.
The tiny baby is an identical twin, and doctors originally expected to have both newborns in the NICU at EvergreenHealth Medical Center. But instead, brother Logan is still in their mother's womb.
"It's very surreal to be post partum and (pre) partum," mother Holli Gorveatt said. "Logan's good, so he's growing a lot and he's just kicking. He's got fluid, he can move around. He was stuck before."
"No contractions," added her husband Nick Gorveatt.
Dr. Martin Walker delivered Link, but first, he fixed a complication called Twin Twin Transfusion Syndrome. The babies shared a single placenta.
"It's rather like having two plants growing out of the same pot," explained Dr. Walker. "They send their umbilical cords down into the placenta, the 'roots' go out through the placenta, these are the blood vessels. And where they touch each other, they join together and they allow blood to flow freely between babies. All identical twins sharing a placenta have these connections. About 20% of them get into a situation where one baby gives the other baby more blood than he gets back. So you have a situation where one baby becomes anemic and weak from blood loss and the other baby becomes over stuffed with blood, bloated and goes into heart failure."
Dr. Walker was able to perform surgery, in utero, separating the babies blood vessels. It wound up saving their lives - twice. First, it solved the blood flow problem. And then, when Holli went into early labor a week later, the separation of the babies meant Link could be born and Logan could stay in.
"So far so good," Dr. Walker said of Holli. "She remains pregnant just about a week and a half since that procedure. And it's a real big week and a half for that baby that's in there. During that time the baby has grown, looks healthy."
Link is so fragile, his parents can't hold him. Their only contact is through the incubator where Link can reach out to touch he parent's finger, which dwarfs his tiny hands.
But they can be with him, celebrating his September birth while waiting for what they hope will be his twin brother's January birthday.
"I get emotional when I see him sometimes," Holli said. "Holding his hand, there's some times when it gets pretty tough in there. But you want to watch him and even sitting in the room with him is awesome."
Holli is on bed rest while awaiting Logan's birth. His due date is January 26, 2016, and while Holli might not go full term, that is the hope.
If the boys are born four months apart, Nick says they'll contact Guinness World Records. It might be the longest amount of time recorded between the births of twins. The delayed delivery is also particularly unusual since the boys are identical twins. Dr. Walker is only aware of it happening with fraternal twins in the past.
The Gorveatt's are from Ferndale in Whatcom County, so they face mounting bills with Holli on bed rest in Kirkland and two other young children who need childcare. If you would like to help, visit their gofundme page.