Little Lives Hanging in the Balance

Twenty-three weeks and three days into her pregnancy carrying twin boys, Becca Ingersoll started having contractions. Her and Josh’s little ones seemed determined to enter this world early, so Becca was admitted to Davis Hospital. The medical staff was able to stave off contractions for a few days, but then things rapidly spiraled out of control. Becca was going to give birth no matter what, and at just 24 weeks, their tiny babies would have only a 50% chance of survival, even with intensive treatment.

Josh, a senior developer at Clearlink, and his wife Becca had been trying for five years to get pregnant. They had gone through the emotional turmoil of four artificial inseminations — cycles of hope and crushing disappointment, which cost thousands of dollars. So when they finally got a positive pregnancy test, they were over the moon. And when they found out they were having twins, they couldn’t believe their luck. It seemed like the hardest part of their journey to start a family was behind them.

But the onset of preterm labor at 24 weeks is a traumatic experience, and for Josh and Becca, it was only the beginning of a wild, emotional ride into parenthood.

When doctors could no longer control Becca’s contractions, Josh and Becca had to quickly find another hospital for the twins’ delivery because Davis was only equipped to deal with one 24-week infant, not two.

They planned to go to the University of Utah Hospital, but it wasn’t taking on any new preemies. The Ingersolls’ doctor tried desperately to get them into a hospital within their insurance network to no avail. So in the end, Becca was emergency life-flighted to McKay-Dee Hospital, which is an excellent facility, but it’s also out-of-network.

The twins arrived on the night of Tuesday, January 10. Lincoln Dean was born first at 8:12 pm, weighing a mere 1lb, 10.5oz. Logan Atticus followed eight minutes later, equally tiny at 1lb, 9.8oz. Not yet built to deal with the world outside the womb, their battle for life began.

Lincoln Dean, 2 weeks old

Babies born at 24 weeks need a lot of help; their underdeveloped lungs need the assistance of a ventilator, they can’t maintain a stable body temperature on their own so have to live in an isolette, and their fragile immune systems will collapse under the slightest pressure. This means Josh and Becca have witnessed their sons undergo a raft of invasive medical procedures: having spinal fluid extracted via needle to test for meningitis, having tubes pushed through their noses for feeding, and so many IVs that Lincoln had to be moved to another hospital an hour away to have a central line inserted because staff at McKay-Dee could no longer find a suitable vein.

Then there is the constant worry. Josh and Becca’s babies are far from out of the woods, and there are always new challenges being thrown at them. Lincoln had a brain bleed, which can cause further complications and long-term damage. Both boys tested positive for Cytomegalovirus (CMV), a common virus that isn’t a big deal for most of us but can cause serious problems in young children, especially preemies. Among other things, the CMV diagnosis means Logan and Lincoln are at increased risk of hearing impairment and will frequently need hearing tests until adulthood.

On top of the worries for their sons’ health and futures, Josh and Becca are faced with the prospect of crippling medical bills for the care in an out-of-network hospital. The financial burden makes the already harrowing experience of having babies in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) even harder.

Becca reading “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” to Logan Atticus

Through the struggle and the heartache, though, Josh and Becca are clinging to every joyful moment. Each interaction with their miracle babies is a source of intense happiness. They love reading picture books to Logan and Lincoln every day, watching them grow, and even the everyday tasks of taking their temperatures or changing their miniature diapers are cherished events. Feeling the grasp of their babies’ tiny fingers or holding them skin-to-skin are indescribably precious experiences to Josh and Becca. Any victory, no matter how small, is a cause for celebration.

Another overwhelmingly positive aspect of their time in NICU has been the flood of support from fellow Clearlinkers, who are wholeheartedly embracing the first part of our culture statement: We care deeply about our people.

When Josh’s coworkers found out about his and Becca’s plight, they sprung into action as they would have for their own family members. Jess Hutton, Content Strategist, set up a YouCaring crowdfunding page, which has already raised over $4,000.

Britney Henline, Project Manager at Clearlink, Tyson Olcott, Communication Manager, Scott Anderson, Employee Development, and Sean McGinnis, EVP of Marketing, set up a plan that allowed Clearlinkers to turn their Motivosity dollars into real cash for the twins, adding another $3,000 to the growing pool of financial aid for the Ingersolls.

Josh with a few of the Clearlinkers who contributed to his family’s fundraising campaign.

Along with the monetary assistance, there has been an outpouring of emotional support from fellow Clearlinkers to bolster Josh and Becca’s spirits as they strive to stay strong for their boys. Words of encouragement to Josh in the hall at work and countless texts and Facebook comments letting him know that he and his family are in Clearlinkers’ thoughts. Josh’s boss, Nate Wixom, Marketing Technology Director, has told him time and time again that it is family that matters and not to sweat the small stuff. Every bit of kindness, compassion, and support we can send their way is making a difference. As Josh says, Clearlink is definitely the place to work if your kids are born four months early.

Logan and Lincoln are doing well at the moment, and they continue to progress. Logan has had his breathing tube removed, and Lincoln has been moved to a conventional ventilator, which is another big step forward. The weekend before last, the boys were well enough to be held by Josh and Becca. t, And Lincoln, who has been suffering from edema, has been opening his eyes more and more — a sure sign his condition is improving. The recent positive CMV tests represent yet another worry on the already huge pile, but Josh and Becca are taking it in their stride and say they are learning to loosen the reins and let the true master have control.

The Ingersolls still have many long days in NICU ahead of them; premature babies usually leave the hospital around their due date, so the Ingersoll twins probably won’t be going home until May. Very early premature babies like Logan and Lincoln may face health problems for the rest of their lives, so even once they’re home, their paths may take quite a different course from the ones most people imagine when they start a family.

At Clearlink, we pride ourselves on going beyond superficial work relationships and genuinely caring about our workmates. And it’s most important to express that care when someone is going through tough times. Josh, who has been with us for more than five years in the Marketing and Technology Department and has done a great deal for us, is in need of his fellow Clearlinkers’ support now more than ever, so please show him and his family how much you care by donating via the YouCaring page: https://www.youcaring.com/joshandbeccaingersoll-742620