Twins arrive early for Cal-Mum varsity football coach
This spring, Cal-Mum physical education teacher and varsity football coach John Walther chose “Family” as this fall season’s theme. At the time, he had no idea the word “family” would come to mean more than just football.
Walther and his wife Diana, a teacher at Byron-Bergen School, took a lot of jabs when they found out they were expecting twins — due date Oct. 19. The couple thought the biggest thing they had to worry about was if Diana went into labor on game night!
On Friday, July 13, that concern was no longer valid as the couple, while at a family reunion in the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina, rushed to a small country hospital where the twins were born 12 weeks early by emergency caesarean section.
They had visited the obstetrician and been give the green light before they decided to take the trip. Together with Diana’s parents, they drove in an RV. They arrived early the morning of the thirteenth. Diana later that day complained of a back ache.
“I shrugged it off as being 26 weeks pregnant with twins, no big deal,” she said.
But it was a big deal and later at bedtime, her water broke. She called back to her doctor’s office in Rochester but there was limited cell phone service in the Smokey Mountains.
“All I heard was, “You need to go see someone now,” and click, the call was cut off,” Diana explained.
John said it took them quite a while to drive out of the mountains and head to Wilkesboro, N.C. They arrived at the hospital at about 11:45 p.m. Two teams of doctors were called in for the surgery, one to care for the tiny babies, and another to care for Diana.
Ironically, the doctors were from Buffalo and New York City. The babies were delivered at 1:20 a.m. and 1:29 a.m. Isabella Grace weighed 1 lb. 14 ounces and Mason John weighed 2 pounds 1.8 ounces. They both cried when they came out, a very welcome sound to these young parents.
The babies were immediately transported to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Brenner Children’s Hospital. Diana checked out of the hospital the next morning and she and John traveled to Brenner to be with their babies.
One day runs right into another for the Walthers since the babies arrived. Isabella and Mason are continuing to slowly gain weight. Isabella is breathing without the ventilator but Mason remains on his.
There have been other complications but the important tests on their hearts and brains have all been normal. Mason weighs two pounds eight ounces and Isabella weighs two pounds one ounce.
“At this point it is an emotional roller coaster, lots of ups and downs. We are so thankful for all of the support back home from our family, friends and the community,” John said.
The reality is that what this couple thought would be a three-day vacation has turned out to be an indefinite one in Wake Forest, North Carolina. They are comfortable staying in the hospital’s Ronald MacDonald House where they are close to the babies, but it’s not home. Their parents live here in Buffalo and Dansville. They have flown down for a few days at a time to be supportive.
The stress of the situation is compounded by the fact they are so far from home, family and friends. The pediatricians say that the babies can be transported back to Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester when they are about six weeks old but the Walthers say the transport is very expensive and insurance won’t pay for it.
While the young parents focus on the health of their twin babies and their growing stronger, their friends and family members are putting their heads together to organize a fundraiser with the goal of raising enough money in the next several weeks to be able to transport the babies to Rochester.
The Walthers are overwhelmed by the support coming their way and everyone’s willingness to help. The word “FAMILY” now has a whole new meaning. Details about a fundraiser to Bring the Babies Home, will be coming soon. Inquiries can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.