Kyla Grimes burst into tears when doctors told her she needed a Cesarean section three weeks before her twins were due.
“It was terrifying. I didn’t feel prepared,” she said.
She and her boyfriend, Lonny Matthews, had gone to Adventist Health — Sonora to get fluids after she experienced consistent contractions.
It was just hours before the new year, making Nova Skye Matthews, born at 12:54 a.m., the first baby of 2019. Her sister Luna Rae arrived three minutes later.
“My babies had other plans,” Grimes, 24, said Wednesday at Adventist Health. “It was scary, but it happened. They have to come out somehow and that was all I cared about.”
Nova Skye weighed four pounds and nine ounces; Luna Rae four pounds and 9.6 ounces. The babies were delivered by Dr. Cicely Chen.
The girls are fraternal twins, meaning they are not identical.
Grimes saw the girls briefly about four hours after birth because they were transported to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto for respiratory support services. Adventist Health - Sonora staff said twins and premature births have a higher risk of being transported to a hospital with respiratory support resources, but described the process as normal.
While sitting upright on a hospital bed on Wednesday, Grimes received a video call from her boyfriend, who had just arrived in Modesto.
“Oh,” Grimes said, and put her hand to her lips when the video lit up of Matthews holding Luna Rae while she fed from a bottle of formula. Nova lay in a birthing room infant warmer while a medical employee administered an ultrasound on her spine.
“I’m happy you're there,” Grimes said.
“Me, too,” Matthews responded.
It was her first time seeing Luna up close, Grimes said.
Luna was sent first to Modesto for more urgent treatment, and Grimes said she had been able to hold Nova briefly.
“They’re just so perfect. I thought, that’s just some human I made. It’s just so real. They have cute button noses like me, thank god,” she said.
Matthews, who was “supportive, excited and a little pale” on the night of the birth, said he was “teary-eyed” while holding his daughter.
There was no scheduled release date for the children yet from Doctors Medical Center, he said.
“I’ll be going straight there,” Grimes said, when released from the hospital, probably on Thursday.
Adventist Health - Sonora Interim Public Information Officer Beth Martin said multiple births are always considered high risk because they share space and nutrients in the womb.
Hospital staff presented Grimes with a gift basket.
There was one other baby born on Jan. 1, hospital staff said.
Grimes, who works at Lowe’s Home Improvement in Sonora with Matthews, said she was reassured about the health of twins and was “overwhelmed with joy” that she would be able to take them home soon.
“I feel great about it. I’m excited for everything that is to come,” she said. “When I think about it, I want to cry. It’s going to be an awesome journey for these little girls to go through these milestones together.”
Grimes said she moved to Tuolumne County from Maine in 2014 to be with her grandparents. Grimes has a 2-year-old daughter, Alice Marie Peladeau. Matthews has three adult daughters, she said.
The twins are their first children together.
Grimes said she was looking forward to her family being at home with one another, even though it might be a little crazy at the beginning.
Her daughter Alice had already met Nova, Grimes said, but has not completely registered that the girls were the newest members of the family.
“A few weeks before the birth she came up to me and put her hand on my stomach and said ‘please come out,’” Grimes said. “I’m excited to see all the girls together. I’m nervous because it’s overwhelming to think about two babies over one.”
Approximately 550 babies are born every year at Adventist Health - Sonora, but multiple births are rare. There were seven multiple births in 2016, nine multiple births in 2017 and six multiple births in 2018, hospital staff said.
Hospital staff said they could not remember any other time that twins were the first births of the year.