One picture Brian Plourde posted to Facebook after his twins’ birth shows a small band that looks like a bracelet around newborn Cameron Paige’s tiny arm. The band is her father’s wedding ring.
Born 11 weeks premature to Adrienne Plourde at The Hospital of Central Connecticut (, Cameron was anemic and pale, weighing only 2 pounds 4.5 ounces at birth. Her identical twin, Olivia Reagan, was purple, weighing 2 pounds, 9.5 ounces. Both were in critical condition.
The babies spent the next 57 days in the hospital’s Level 3A Newborn Intensive Care Unit, which provides advanced care for premature babies or full-term newborns requiring special care. The NICU is part of HOCC’s Family BirthPlace.
To honor Cameron and Olivia – whose life-saving care at HOCC included a blood transfusion for Cameron — the hospital and Bristol Firefighters Local 773 are sponsoring a Tuesday, March 31 Red Cross blood drive from 1 to 6:30 p.m. at Hillside Community Church at 435 Broad St., Bristol. Parents Brian and Adrienne are Bristol firefighters.
“We are so thrilled to serve as a co-sponsor for the blood drive in honor of the Plourde girls,” said HOCC neonatologist Dr. Annmarie Golioto, chief of Pediatrics, and one of the twins’ caregivers at the hospital, in a press release from the hospital. “The generosity of our donors allows us to continue our life-saving work for other patients.”
“The Red Cross is thankful for generous volunteer blood donors who roll up their sleeves and give to be sure blood is available for patients like Cameron,” said Jeff Meyer, CEO, American Red Cross Connecticut and Massachusetts Blood Services Regions in the press release. “By hosting a blood drive in honor of Cameron and Olivia, the Plourde family is helping to ensure lifesaving blood is available for other families when they need it.”
Though classified high-risk since she was expecting twins, Adrienne Plourde’s pregnancy had been progressing smoothly. Then just past week 29, the release said, she went into labor Sept. 7, 2014, prompting an emergency Caesarean section. It was then the infants’ condition -– twin-to-twin transfusion — was discovered. Olivia, had received double the amount of blood and nutrients needed for her growth while her sister, Cameron, not enough. Stabilizing the infants’ breathing was priority number one after birth, says Golioto.
It was four hours after giving birth that Adrienne first saw her babies. “Olivia was still purple and Cameron was still grey,” she said, reported the press release. Cameron needed an emergency blood transfusion for her anemia while Olivia urgently needed her blood thinned with saline so oxygen could reach her organs. Twin-to-twin transfusion results in one twin’s blood becoming too thick and the other twin’s blood too thin. The condition compromised essential delivery of oxygen throughout both babies’ bodies. Blood for Cameron’s transfusion came from HOCC’s blood bank via donations.
“We realized how sick that they were and we realized in the first week we were going to tough it out with special care because we very well could have been visiting them in the cemetery,” said Adrienne, who traveled from Bristol daily to be with her babies and supply breast milk to help them grow stronger. Adrienne felt strongly about breast feeding, and HOCC, a Baby-Friendly designated hospital, stresses the importance and value of nursing babies.
The girls were finally discharged home on Nov. 2, 2014. “We’re just so happy they were in a facility that could have handled the problem and they did it quickly,” Adrienne said in the press release, noting the girls are doing “fantastic. They’re beautiful, little healthy girls.”
“We don’t take things for granted as much as we used to,” said Brian in the press release. “We knew that we were creating life and going to be parents but we didn’t know how fragile and blessed the experience would be.”
To make an appointment for the March 31 blood drive, log on to www.redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code #plourdestrong or call 1-800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767). You can also sign up for the blood drive via The Hospital of Central Connecticut Facebook page.