GREENE COLUMN: Double dose of joy for local mom

B. Cleveland

Alison Cleveland is thankful for this upcoming Mother’s Day.

She will be at home with her husband, Eric, their 6-year-old daughter, Madison, and two recent additions — twin boys Braylin and Devin.

Cleveland had a difficult pregnancy, and the couple knows all too well what could have gone wrong as the boys came 6½ weeks early.

But things went right.

The baby boys are thriving — oblivious to the stress and sacrifices made to keep them from leaving the womb much too soon.

The twins came out “screaming like crazy,” on Feb. 20, Cleveland said. A great sound. Braylin, the oldest by one minute, weighed 4 pounds 14 ounces; Devin, 3 pounds, 6 ounces. Time of birth: 10:58 a.m. and 10:59 a.m.

But they were early. They were supposed to wait until April 7. Patience apparently was not one of their virtues.

But for Cleveland, it had to be. On Nov. 9, when she was at 18 weeks and threatening to go into labor, doctors put her on bed rest. She remained there until she gave birth.

Premature babies are a major reason for the state’s high infant mortality rate, doctors say. About 7.4 babies out of every 1,000 died before their first birthday. Minority infants died 2.5 times more often than white babies.

After more than three months on bed rest, Cleveland went in on Feb. 19 for her routine weekly checkup.

But doctors found she was having contractions. Several medications failed to stop them. When they determined one baby was breech, or facing the wrong way, a C-section had to be performed. Everyone was expecting the twins to have breathing problems, but they did not.

But at 6½ weeks early, they still had some growing to do. They spent 3½ weeks in East Cooper Hospital’s neonatal unit. Cleveland stayed there most of that time, too, to breast-feed.

Her husband would work 10-hour days, spend time at the hospital, then go back to work. Cleveland’s mother, Corine Horlback, was a tremendous help in caring for Madison.

Looking back, the whole ordeal was stressful but it was all worth it, said Cleveland, 29, of Summerville.

With her sons now at 10 pounds and 9 pounds, Cleveland, a financial investigator, is preparing to head back to work in two weeks. In a Feb. 11 column, she said she was waiting to meet her sons. “I finally got to see them, and they are amazing.”

Cleveland encourages other women to seek out prenatal care, take prenatal vitamins and eat lean protein, whole grains and fruits.

She thanks her doctors for their quick action in keeping her and her babies safe. A health-conscious woman, she believes her complications would have been far worse without prenatal care and steroids. As many celebrate Mother’s Day with dinner and flowers, Cleveland looks forward to family togetherness.

She will be happy to be at home with her family, and surely happy to be able to change a few diapers.