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Meet Mathew & Keegan Thatcher

Our story starts in Rock Springs, Wyoming on August 2, 2021. After scheduling our induction date, my son Mathew James had a plan of his own.... my water broke. I was in complete shock and extremely scared. My husband, who had already left for work, rushed home while on the phone with the highway patrol telling them our situation.

He begged them not to pull him or us over as he was rushing to me to get me to the hospital for what we hoped to be a life flight to Utah where we had planned and prepared to have our twins. 

As we arrived at the hospital during a storm, we learned I was progressing too fast for it to be safe to fly me to Utah. Instant fear set in. After speaking with the nurses and doctor and begging them to let me keep my delivery plan, things started moving fast... within four hours of arriving at the hospital it was time to push. Luckily, there was no emergency C-section. 

Mathew James Thatcher was born 2:46 am, weighing 4 pounds, 9 ounces, and Keegan Allan Thatcher was born at 3:10 am weighing 4 pounds 8 ounces. They were born August 3, 2021, sharing a birthday with two grandfathers (mine and my husband's). NICU teams from Utah were on standby ready to take my 34-weekers to University of Utah Hospital

Keegan Thatcher, NICU Patient
Keegan Thatcher, NICU patient
Matthew Thatcher, NICU Patient
Keegan Thatcher, NICU patient

One of the saddest parts of our story was that my husband did not get to hold or even touch our little babies, but they let me hold their tiny hands before flying them to the U of U. My doctor in Wyoming was kind enough to let me travel only eight hours after giving birth to my miracles so that I could get to Utah to be with them! 

Trying to figure out who could go with me, stay with me, stay at home with our fur kids and manage everything was complicated. The U was kind enough to work with my family despite the COVID restrictions so that my mother could be with me while my husband managed things at home. We live over three hours away from the NICU.

As my mother and I arrived at the hospital I was filled with all kinds of feelings. Seeing my little boys all hooked up to machines was absolutely heartbreaking.

The nurses were giving us tons of information that was hard to take in. Keegan needed more help than Mathew. I had so much to learn and handle. Learning that Keegan wasn't stable enough to hold was heart shattering, but I was able to hold Mathew.

I was filled with guilt for holding one but not the other. 

Each day I went into the hospital spending as much time as I could. Four days later I was finally able to hold my sweet ‘Baby B,’ Keegan. They spent so much time on oxygen and a few days under the special lights.

Matthew and Keegan Thatcher, NICU Patients
Matthew and Keegan Thatcher in the NICU

Each day brought their own challenges and tears. I was learning how to be a momma to two little babies that needed extra care. There were so many kind nurses who comforted me during break downs because I simply wanted to take my babies home. 

I was away from everyone. My mother had to return home and my husband had to take care of our home and prepare for the boys' early arrival as we didn't have their room set up because we thought we had more time. 

One of the hardest parts for me personally was breastfeeding, I wanted to so desperately but wasn't producing and I couldn't get the boys to latch due to their preemie status, equipment, and also because they both have cleft lips. Slowly, the boys learned to breathe on their own and came off of oxygen. I learned to accept and come to terms with the fact that breastfeeding wasn't going to be possible (for now) and they learned to eat on their own. 

We had such amazing nurses who took special care of my boys, and learned how to help them the best ways possible. Twenty-eight days later my boys got to come home together, which isn't usually the case for twins, but the staff did everything they could knowing how difficult it was for us to have them separated. Today, the boys are eagerly waiting for surgery to correct their cleft palates and they are learning every day. 

They came home on oxygen for about a month but now they babble at us and the smile is worth every struggle. We enjoy our time as a family—fur siblings and all. We work closely with their doctor to meet milestones and watch them grow like weeds. 

Mathew & Keegan Thatcher, former NICU patients

Meet Our NICU Alumni

This is a special project that documents our NICU alumni. We are so grateful to watch these amazing young patients grow into their lives, despite a challenging start.