After a roller coaster pregnancy and scary complications, "miracle" babies Vince and Pauly Salmonese are finally home with their parents, Dana and Joe.
Just 13 weeks into her pregnancy, Dana Salmonese had a sonogram that revealed a rare and dangerous condition called twin to twin transfusion syndrome. The abnormality means that twins share a single placenta and one baby receives more blood flow than the other. She underwent a surgery that allowed the twins to be treated in the womb, but after being sent home on bedrest, her water broke at just 20 weeks.
"I thought I was giving birth to two babies that were not going to be able to get help and would have to die in my arms," Salmonese said. "And I was scared. It was the scariest moment, I think, of my life."
The coronavirus pandemic only complicated things: This all happened in Huntington, New York, in March 2020, when coronavirus was ravaging the tri-state area, so it was deemed too risky for her to stay in a hospital. Salmonese's husband, a firefighter, came into contact with COVID-19 patients in the course of his work and had to take extra precautions. Since Salmonese was on bedrest, her husband also had to manage childcare for their toddler, Gianna.
Salmonese said one of the most important things during this time was the support her friends and family gave her when she needed it most.
"It was all our friends with signs outside (the house) saying 'Dana, you can do this,' '#DanaStrong,"' she said. "It gave me courage."
Despite her water breaking at 20 weeks, the babies stayed put. At 28 weeks, Salmonese began having contractions and returned to the hospital on her doctor's advice. She spent a month in the hospital, finally delivering the boys via C-section at 31 weeks.
"I kept saying "It's mommy, it's mommy, I couldn't wait to meet you," she said.
While the boys were both rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), they were kept in separate rooms. Vince, the twin who had been getting more nutrients from the placenta, was sent home about a month before Pauly. It wasn't until Sept. 9 that both babies reunited without wires or tubes in the way.
"They were not supposed to live," Salmonese said. "They had a 10 percent chance to live and they did it. They fought through it ... our miracle baby fighters."