The Power Of Touch
It's amazing how much emotion can be conveyed in a simple touch. When you're down and out, something as simple as a hand on the shoulder, a hug or quietly holding hands can have a profound effect. And 20 years ago, a simple touch carried with it a huge miracle for twin sisters, Kyrie and Brielle.
The twins were born 12 weeks premature, weighing only about two pounds each. Doctors went to work immediately, trying to give these tiny babies every chance at surviving outside of the womb. They put each girl in her own incubator, in an attempt to keep them safe from cross-infection. Kyrie grew stronger, but Brielle went the other direction. She had difficulty breathing and wasn't gaining weight.
Brielle's condition worsened until it reached critical. Her oxygen level was dangerously low, and she lay gasping for breath as her little body turned blue. Her heart rate grew faster and faster, and try as they might, doctors couldn't seem to get her condition under control. Everyone was preparing for the worst.
Nurse Gayle Kasparian wasn't ready to give up. She asked for parental permission to try something that was against hospital regulations in the US, but was being practiced in Europe. With permission, she moved Kyrie into the same incubator, next to her struggling sister. What happened next made history that is still being talked about today.
Brielle snuggled closer to her sister, and a miracle took place. Almost instantly, Brielle's heart rate slowed to normal and she began to stabilize. Her oxygen levels, which had been dangerously low, leveled out and she began to breathe more easily. Photographer Chris Christo of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette just so happened to be at the hospital, and took the now famous photo of what's often called the "lifesaving hug" between the twin girls.
From there on out, Brielle continued to get better. Once the hospital released them, their parents continued to keep the girls in the same bed, even five years later.
The heartwarming photo was shared on the internet and was featured in Life magazine and Reader's Digest. But in addition to stirring hearts everywhere, the twin's story also had an impact on the medical field, giving new credence to the power of touch. The University of Massachusetts Memorial put roughly 100 sets of premature multiples (i.e. twins, triplets, etc.) into the same incubator, and not one single case of infection in the newborns was reported. "Kangaroo care" — a method of prolonged skin-to-skin contact with moms or primary caregivers — is used in many labor and delivery units these days.
As for the twins, they are now 20 years old and preparing to graduate from college. Naturally, they are still very close, and still embracing, saying that when one of them is sad, the other will give a hug.
And now that you know just how much power there is in touch, look around to see if you know someone who could use a hug!
For more proof that God works miracles, check out this story!