Who are YOU Walking For? The Story of Sena and Gunnar
Charlotte, North Carolina, April 16, 2013
When twins, Sena and Gunnar Everett were born at 26 weeks gestation, their parents Tony and Sharon were beyond stunned. “They were just so tiny, they didn’t look anything like babies,” stated Sharon. “It is shocking to babies like that. That certainly was not what we were expecting the first time we met our babies.”
Sharon had just reached 25 weeks of pregnancy when she fell and shattered her ankle. Her ankle injury was so severe it required reparative surgery. Sharon went into labor during surgery, ultimately resulting in the early delivery of her twins. She delivered 1 girl and 1 boy, Sena and Gunnar. Both babies weighed less than 3 pounds (2 pounds, 2 ounces and 2 pounds, 4 ounces).
At 2 weeks old, Gunnar underwent his first of many surgeries to correct issues with his heart and digestive system. His sister Sena encountered breathing issues due to a tumor in her throat. An issue that did not present until months after her birth.
“At one point, we had Gunnar in the NICU recovering from surgery and Sena in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the same time,” said Sharon. “When you’re in the NICU, it becomes such a big part of your life that you look back and can’t believe you made it through something so difficult.”
Sena was released from the hospital after more than 3 months in the NICU and a 3-day stay in the PICU. Gunnar followed his sister’s lead and was discharged after 150 days in the NICU.
Today, Gunnar and Sena are the proud older siblings to Thor, 2. Thor not only was born full term but weighed in at a whopping 9 and 1/2 pounds. The twins still receive therapy for some minor health issues but overall, “They are thriving 7 year olds,” stated their Mom. She went on to say, “They both love running and playing outside, reading, going to the beach and riding bikes. They love to do everything normal kids do.”
Undoubtedly Sharon and Tony’s first hand battle with prematurity is what ultimately led them to get involved with the March of Dimes.
“It’s so important for people to understand what prematurity means. The effects from prematurity can lead to life long issues. It’s not something that goes away after you leave the NICU,” she stated. “It’s a life threatening, horrible thing that we need to join the March of Dimes in helping to prevent.”
“You’re helping the most helpless, wonderful little human beings survive when you fundraise and walk in March for Babies. To me, there’s no one who deserves our help more than tiny little babies who were born too soon,” stated Sharon. “Everybody deserves the chance to have a full term baby and walking can help us accomplish that. Everybody has been touched by the March of Dimes, even if you had a healthy baby, so why not join the fight to end prematurity?”
Pictured: Gunnar shortly after birth.
Pictured: Sena at 2 pounds, 2 ounces.
Pictured: Gunnar and Sena today.
Pictured: Gunnar and Sena with their little brother, Thor and parents, Tony and Sharon.