"Riley Saved My Twin Babies' Lives"

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Anthony and Alainey Kovacs, Greenwood, Ind.

On June 13, 2000 at 8:17pm and 8:18pm, my children Anthony and Alainey Kovacs were born by an emergency cesarean section. Premature labor started at 20 weeks and with medication and bedrest at home, labor was controlled until 27 weeks. Anthony weighed only 2 lbs. 5 oz., and Alainey 2 lbs. 1 oz.

The twins were immediately placed on life support mechanical ventilators and rushed to the NICU. On June 14, my husband Brian and I decided to have the twins transferred to Riley Hospital for Children, and that’s where the real miracles began.

The twins were admitted to the Riley Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and assigned to a team of neonatologists and nurse practitioners. Their battle became very long with many ups and downs. The twins endured 30 days of mechanical ventilators, countless chest x-rays, blood draws as often as every two hours, blood infections, 9 blood transfusions, two platelet transfusions, head ultrasounds, abdominal ultrasounds, echo cardiograms, and many eye examines.

I vividly recall one very scary day. On day 10, Anthony started to reject the ventilator. I remember the Riley team working over his bedside trying to assist his breathing. At this time Anthony required a special high frequency jet ventilator due to his severe lung disease. I remember on this night escaping to a nearby small bathroom with light green tile walls. I placed my head against the cold wall and sobbed uncontrollably, asking God to please save my son. That night our priest arrived and decided to baptize the twins at their bedsides. Anthony responded well to the high frequency ventilator, and after four days he was placed back on the conventional ventilator.

Anthony and Alainey received incredible care in Module 2. We had incredible nurses (Phyllis and Libby to name a couple who were very special to us) and a team of doctors (including Dr. William Engle) and nurse practitioners (including Sherry and Cassie, who were very special to us). Everyone on the team always informed and educated us on what to expect next.
After 76 days of hospitalization, Anthony and Alainey came home to join our other daughters. Both kids came home on oxygen for six months and many medications. Our Riley Pulmonologist, Dr. Michelle Howenstine, suggested that we “quarantine” ourselves and the babies in the house due to RSV and flu season. Although this may sound awful, it actually was such a blessing to all of us to be home together. Dr. Howenstine followed the twins for their first seven years of life. She was incredible!

The twins are now 15-year-old student athletes at Center Grove High School. Both do well academically in school. Anthony is on the wrestling and track team and Alainey is on the volleyball team. As the mother of these two incredible miracles, I have found shedding happy tears many times over the years as I’ve watched the twins accomplish typical milestones (their first play, choir concert, athletic events, learning to walk, talk, read, etc.)

Riley Hospital saved my twin babies’ lives. I truly believe that without the incredible medical support of the Riley team, my children Anthony and Alainey would have very different outcomes from their extreme premature birth. I am grateful to everyone who donates to Riley so that more families and their children can have a chance at the very best medical outcomes.

Riley Hospital truly changes lives!

Lisa Kovacs

Lisa Kovacs lives in Greenwood, Ind. with her husband Brian and their four children. Lisa is the Director of Programs for Hands & Voices HQ, and was one of the founding board members of Indiana Hands &Voices. She serves on the; AAP EHDI QI Expert Group, Global Coalition for Hearing Health Board of Directors, and Vice Chair of the Indiana Department of Education Special Education Advisory Council. When not working, Lisa enjoys reading, running, watching her children participate in various sporting events, and spending time with her family.

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