UAB Medicine News


Parents of Preemie Twins Reflect on UAB’s Care During a Trying Time

Nicholas and Amanda Sourvelis were ecstatic when they finally conceived after three-plus years of trying. Their second attempt at in vitro fertilization had given them a chance to fulfill their wish to become parents, but they soon learned that Amanda was carrying twins, which often entails complications such as premature delivery.

“We knew our delivery would be high-risk, so we did our research, and all signs pointed to UAB,” Nicholas says. “We knew they were on the forefront of research and development, and they only administer care that is supported by data.”

Although the couple underwent in vitro fertilization at another hospital, they weren’t comfortable delivering there, so they made the switch to UAB Medicine some 12 weeks after conception. Amanda’s care was overseen by Richard Davis, MD, a physician in the UAB Division of Maternal and Fetal Medicine.

‘The Best Fighting Chance’

Their choice of UAB came from a position of knowledge and education. Amanda worked as a labor and delivery nurse for nine years before switching to teaching, and today she’s a nursing instructor at Bevill State Community College. Nicholas teaches high school chemistry and physics.

“I felt like UAB had the best techniques and research-based care,” Amanda says. “We knew they had a fantastic NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), and we wanted to make sure our babies had the best fighting chance.”

Sailor Ann and Atlas Nicholas were born on Jan. 30, 2017, at 33 weeks and 4 days. They weighed 3 pounds, 5 ounces and 4 pounds, 12 ounces, respectively. Normal gestation time is about 40 weeks, or an average of 36 weeks for twins. The infants were delivered via C-section, due to a disparity in their sizes and because Amanda’s blood pressure was elevated just prior to delivery. “The NICU was awesome,” Amanda says.

Amanda and Nicholas cite multiple instances of staff at every stage of the process going the extra mile to deliver personalized care. In one such case, a nurse tending to Amanda during her recovery from the C-section took special care to help ensure that the twins had the benefit of breast milk. “One of the nurses was studying to be a lactation consultant, and she worked with me tirelessly to help my breast milk come in and get the babies started on breastfeeding,” Amanda says. “I’ve never seen nurses as compassionate as the ones we had.”

Family-Friendly Atmosphere

The twins spent 2 days in the NICU before graduating to the Continuing Care Nursery (CCN), where they stayed for 3 weeks. Atlas had some breathing trouble for a few hours following delivery and required IV fluids. Sailor’s weight wasn’t progressing normally. Both were jaundiced.

“We basically lived there for over 3 weeks, most of that time in the CCN, so the staff became like a part of our extended family,” Nicholas says. “We were immediately impressed by the facilities and the nursing staff especially. They not only took excellent care of our preemie twins, they were also very conscientious about our family’s needs and super supportive of our parental decisions. The CCN has a family-friendly atmosphere that allowed us to be with our children during this trying yet special time.”

The Sourvelis family resides about 30 miles away in in Jasper, so UAB wasn’t the most convenient choice – especially after Amanda required several hospitalizations for preeclampsia and other complications during the course of her pregnancy. She spent the better part of 2 weeks in the UAB Women & Infants Center prior to delivery.

“It was a little inconvenient but worth it,” Nicholas says. “The staff was so accommodating to our family and our visitors, and we always felt like we were in excellent hands. I remember my wife actually saying, ‘These nurses make me want to be a better nurse.’”

Click here to learn more about UAB Medicine Women & Infants Services.