June 20, 2008— -- Erin Maynard of Winston-Salem, N.C., says she's a "little tired, but hanging in there" — a major feat, considering that her 5-foot-10-inch frame was carrying more than 23 pounds of baby just a few days ago.
Thirty-six-year-old Maynard gave birth Tuesday to what may be the second-heaviest set of American twins born in the past hundred years, weighing in at a combined 23 pounds, 1 ounce. As a testament to the babies' size, if laid end-to-end they would measure just over four feet in length.
Sean William emerged first at a healthy 10 pounds, 14 ounces. But his two-minutes-younger sister, Abigail Rose, dominated the womb at 12 pounds, 3 ounces.
Only two weeks earlier, an ultrasound had shown the babies at about nine pounds each — so neither parent had expected them to tip the scales as much as they did.
"It's kind of mindboggling," father Joey Maynard, 40, says. "I just can't wrap my head around it."
Doctors are equally perplexed. The babies, conceived without medical assistance, were delivered via Cesarean section at 38 weeks and three days into the pregnancy, just shy of the standard 40 weeks for a single baby.
Twins, however, are typically born closer to 35 weeks, says Jackie Mims, Maynard's obstetrician at Forsyth Medical Center.
But Mims says she gave no thought to delivering the babies any earlier.
"We had picked that date a long time ago," Mims says.
Maynard showed no signs of gestational diabetes or high blood pressure, and the babies were healthy and growing normally, despite the space-restrictions in the uterus.
Also, because Maynard didn't go into premature labor, as is often seen with twins, they went ahead with the scheduled delivery date.
"We wanted to go as long as possible to make sure they were cooked long enough," Joey Maynard says. "Apparently we overcooked them."
"These are the biggest twins I've ever seen," Mims says. "I think 'wow,' a few times, is what I said [after the delivery]."
Mims says she had thought that the babies might be large, given that Maynard had given birth to a 10-pound, 7-ounce son two years ago.
"She didn't eat anything extra, and we didn't give her super vitamins," Mims says.
She calls Erin Maynard a "terrific patient" who underwent frequent ultrasounds, exams and fetal monitoring, even attending appointments two to three times a week near the end of the pregnancy.
"I just listened to my body and my doctor and everything worked out," she says.
But there was a complication, albeit a minor one. "Her abdomen did stretch a lot," Mims says.
It ballooned nearly two feet from her pubic bone to her breastbone during the pregnancy. "She might have some trouble getting that to go back to normal size," Mims says.
And, as for the weight she put on, Maynard says she stopped counting, although Mims guesses the mother gained about 50 pounds.
"I didn't even want to know at the end," Maynard says. "It wasn't worth it to know how much weight had to come off."
Maynard will return home with her husband and their healthy twins soon.
Mims says it's lucky that the Maynards were able to avoid the complications that often accompany having twins — such as early delivery leading to issues like lung problems or bleeding in the brain.
Given the alternatives, Maynard says oversized infants are no huge problem in her book.
"For some reason, I grow big babies," she says. "I don't know why, I just do."