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Twins at St. Mary's Innovis were born to Rachel Johnson and Matt Sundblad (Tarin and Kindle), Justin and Tiffany Kirkevold (Brooklyn and Kylie) and Jerrod and Anna Fingalson (Camilla and Bianca).

Five sets of Twins born in three weeks at St. Mary's Innovis

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Five sets of Twins born in three weeks at St. Mary's Innovis
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Though statistics show the frequency of multiple births has been on the rise over the past couple of decades, the birth records at St. Mary's Innovis Health during late October-early November might still be cause for a double take.

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There were no fewer than five sets of twins -- including nine girls and one boy -- born at the Detroit Lakes hospital during the three-week period of Oct. 20-Nov. 10.

All were born of families that live in the Detroit Lakes area.

"We have had many twins born here, but never so many within such a short period of time," said Nancy Kinslow, the hospital's public relations coordinator.

"Five sets of twins in three weeks? That's pretty unusual," added Becky Aulden, obstetrics nurse manager at St. Mary's.

What makes the statistic even more unusual, Aulden continued, is that only one of those five multiple births could be considered premature -- taking place less than 38 weeks into the pregnancy.

"That doesn't happen all that often anymore," said Aulden, noting that the frequency of premature birth is much higher when multiple fetuses are involved. "To have four sets of twins born past 38 weeks is a great success."

Malaki and Macie

And even the pair of "preemies," born on Thursday, Oct. 29 to rural Detroit Lakes residents Katie and Job Aho, were only hospitalized for a week before they were sent home to live with their parents.

"They're a little bit stuffy right now -- they both have colds -- but other than that it's going good," said mom Katie on Monday evening.

Their doctor has recommended that Malaki and Macie remain at home until April -- "through the flu season," Katie said -- but that hasn't proved to be an impediment to their social life.

"My husband and I both have big families -- they have lots of visitors," Katie said with a laugh.

Though Malaki is his twin sister's elder by a full 60 seconds -- he was born at 11:16 a.m., his sister at 11:17 -- they were virtually identical in size.

"Malaki was 5 pounds 10 ounces., and 18½ inches ... Macie was 5 pounds, 8 ounces, and 18¼ inches," Katie said.

They've grown a bit since then, she added. "Macie is over nine pounds, and he (Malaki) is bigger than she is."

Though Malaki and Macie were the second set of twins born to the Ahos, it was still a bit of a struggle for Katie, who had to be on bed rest for six weeks prior to their birth.

"Other than that, it was all right, I guess," she said of the pregnancy.

The C-section birth itself was relatively uneventful, but because the Aho twins were five weeks premature, they were taken to Innovis Hospital in Fargo immediately after birth.

"Their lungs weren't fully developed, but they stayed for just a week and they came home," Katie said.

Sheyenne and Shayna The first of the five twin births at St. Mary's took place on Monday, Oct. 20. Parents Jeri Jasken and Jay Somdahl welcomed Sheyenne Rae and Shayna Aleese Somdahl to a family that already included two older siblings: Sister Tera, 14, and brother Beau, 2.

There were few complications to the C-section birth: Sheyenne and Shayna were both "absolutely healthy," said their proud mom Jeri.

"They had scheduled a C-section because of the position the babies were in," she said, noting that one of them was in a "breach" position --  feet instead of head downward -- and one was in a "transverse" position, or sideways.

"They (the hospital) were watching from week to week to see if they changed position, but they didn't," Jeri said.

Other than that, Jeri had few problems.

"I worked up until the day before the C-section," said Jasken, who is currently the director of Indian Child Welfare for the White Earth Band of Chippewa.

Though she admitted leaving her new daughters was hard at first, Jasken went back to work part-time on Dec. 1.

"They have been adjusting well," she said. "They're sleeping for three hours at a stretch at night now ... I'm hoping for the day they'll sleep through the night."

But for the time being, new parents Jay and Jeri are both surviving on about three hours of sleep a night.

"I've heard it gets better once they get to be about five months old," Jeri said.

But despite the lack of sleep, her new daughters are "an absolute joy," she added.

Camilla and Bianca

New mom Anna Fingalson had a slightly tougher time of it before she and husband Jerrod welcomed their daughters Camilla and Bianca into the world on Friday, Oct. 30.

The couple first found out they were expecting twins on Memorial Day -- after Anna fainted and Jerrod rushed her to the hospital.

"He thought I had died," Anna said with a smile, adding that he called 911 right away.

But instead of losing wife and baby in the same day, Jerrod found out he was going to have yet another addition to the family.

"It was both the worst and best day of my life," he said.

After Jerrod brought his wife to the hospital on Oct. 30, Anna was in labor for more than 20 hours before the twins were born -- by C-section.

"She had a fever, and wasn't dilating," said Jerrod.

"After all that, it was pretty disappointing (not to have a natural birth)," Anna admitted.

After the birth, Anna also suffered a hemorrhage, requiring surgery and a blood transfusion.

"It was horrible," Jerrod said. "A good result, but a horrible rite of passage."

Since then, however, it's been pretty much smooth sailing for the new family.

"I've got no complaints -- they've been perfect babies so far," said Jerrod.

"They're so wonderful," Anna added.

Bianca and Camilla Fingalson were born just one minute apart, at 7:14 and 7:15 a.m., respectively. Their birth weights were also virtually identical, with Bianca weighing in at 6 pounds, 14 ounces, and Camilla at 6 pounds, 13 ounces.

Tarin and Kindle

It was just one week later that Rachael Johnson and Matt Sundblad welcomed daughters Tarin and Kindle into the world, on Friday, Nov. 6.

Kindle was Tarin's elder by a full 11 minutes -- they were born at 4:33 and 4:44 a.m., respectively. Tarin was also slightly smaller than her twin. Kindle weighed 6 pounds, 32 ounces at birth, while Tarin was six pounds, 11 ounces.

"Everything went really, really good (with the birth)," said Rachael. "They did a nice job here."

The twins were welcomed by older sister, Tru, 4½. Though they are less than two months old, their parents have already noticed some distinct personality differences between the two.

"Kindle is completely laid back, and Tarin's a little more dramatic," said Rachael. (Tarin, however, has a thicker head of hair.)

For the time being, Rachael is staying home to take care of the twins, but hopes to go back to work "sometime after the new year."

Brooklyn and Kylie

It was just four days after the Sundblad twins were born, on Tuesday, Nov. 10, that Tiffany Helgeson and Justin Kerkevold welcomed a pair of beautiful girls as well.

Daughters Brooklyn and Kylie Kirkevold were born at 7:56 and 8:03 p.m., respectively. Brooklyn was 6 pounds, 8 ounces at birth, while younger sister Kylie weighed in at 5 pounds, 14 ounces.

Unlike the Sundblad twins, Brooklyn and Kylie have more similarities than differences so far, according to their father.

"They're really similar all the way through --they're both angry most of the time," said Justin jokingly. "They both wake up every 3 to 4 hours -- sometimes every 2 to 3 hours. It makes for long days at work."

"They're both better for me when I'm alone with them -- they're calmer during the day," said mom Tiffany with a smile.

The birth itself "was great," she said.

"It went perfect -- about as good as it could have gone," Justin added.

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Vicki Gerdes
Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 14 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as obituaries. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.
(218) 844-1454
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