First-time father waits for leave in Afghanistan while twin boys are delivered at Middlesboro ARH
Photo by Ray Welch Photography
While Private First Class Craig Lewis of the 82nd Aviation Combat Brigade, Charlie Company 2-82 AVN 1-17th Task Force Saber of the United States Army was serving his country on a mission in Afghanistan, wife and mom-to-be Megan Lewis was on a mission to get her husband to Bell County, Ky. before she delivered their twin sons.
“The Army had granted Craig leave to begin on March 21, but when my doctor said the twins would come earlier in the month, I knew I needed him here sooner,” shared Megan Lewis. “That’s when Dr. Nathan Mullins contacted the American Red Cross. He scheduled a date for me to be induced—March 12, and asked the Red Cross to assist in getting Craig’s leave moved up so he could be with me for the birth of our twin boys. Dr. Mullins was amazing; he went way beyond his job for me and my family.”
While Craig waited to hear word about his leave, Megan prepared for their reunion and the birth of their twins.
“My brother Primo who lives in Texas called and wanted to come and help me, so he flew to Lexington on March 5 and my friend Amber, whose fiancé is in Afghanistan with Craig, went with me to pick him up,” said Lewis. “We didn’t get back home until late that night, and though I was tired, I was also relieved that Primo was here to help me get everything ready.”
You can imagine Megan’s surprise when her water broke the next morning, sending her to Middlesboro ARH Hospital six days ahead of schedule.
“At first I was shocked, then excited that our babies were coming,” exclaimed Lewis.
During her 12 hours of labor, she and Craig shared countless phone and text messages. Though Craig could not be there for the birth of their sons, he talked to Megan and his boys over the phone as the time approached.
“Since Craig was deployed to Afghanistan last September, we have skyped over the computer as well as talked over the phone,” shared Lewis. “The twins know their Dad’s voice.”
At 6:14 p.m., the big event arrived when Nathan Mullins, MD, OB-GYN specialist, delivered Ezekiel Primo Lewis first then identical twin brother Michael-Ezrc Kylar Lewis. Ezekiel weighed 5 pounds and 10.9 ounces, and was 19 inches long; Michael weighed 5 pounds and 2.3 ounces and was 18 and one half inches long.
“Giving birth to my twin boys was wonderful and exhausting all at the same time,” shared Lewis. “I did it naturally—no ‘C section,’ and my friend Amber videotaped the twins being born so Craig wouldn’t miss out on the experience.”
As Megan lifted Michael from his basinet and gently placed him next to Ezekiel so they could be close, she bragged on Dr. Mullins and the nursing staff.
“Just look at my healthy babies; they are perfect,” exclaimed Lewis. “Dr. Mullins and the OB nurses are awesome! They took good care of me and my boys. I made the best decision when I chose him to deliver my twins.”
When asked why she chose Dr. Mullins, Lewis shared: “Last September after I moved to Bell County from Fort Bragg, Nc., I searched online for an OB doctor. Dr. Mullins and Middlesboro ARH Hospital had a very good rating, so I made an appointment. I’ll never forget that experience--Dr. Mullins did an ultrasound and told me I was having twins! Even though I had so many questions, he listened and explained everything, and made me feel comfortable and confident that he was the right doctor for me.”
Megan smiled lovingly at Ezekiel and Michael as she playfully touched their noses, pointing out that though they were identical twins she had noticed that their noses weren’t exactly identical---one had a slightly longer nose.
“When they were first born, I was having trouble telling them apart. Then I noticed a slight difference in their noses, and now I know which is which,” she explained.
After Megan delivered their twin sons, Private First Class Craig Lewis proudly shared the good news with his combat buddies and eagerly waited for his leave to begin.
On March 8, Private Lewis left Afghanistan and flew 7,280 miles, landing in Knoxville, Tn. on March 12.
Private Lewis shared: “Though I wish I could have been with Megan when our boys were born, it was an amazing moment at the airport when the car pulled up, the door opened and I finally saw my sons. My first thought was ‘they’re so itty-bitty,’ and then I was overwhelmed with the love I felt. Yes, I knew I would love them, but meeting them for the first time just confirmed that my family is the most important thing to me.”
Though Private Lewis has but a short time to spend with his family before he heads back to Afghanistan, he plans to make the most of every minute they have together.
“I want to hold my wife and sons close and make lots of memories,” shared Private Lewis.
Some may call it “living in the moment,” but according to Megan it’s a way of life for the army wife. “Craig has a job to do … his mission is to defend our country,” said Lewis. “When I became pregnant, my job was to take care of my babies and stay strong emotionally for them and for Craig. When he goes back to Afghanistan to complete his mission, I will continue mine…growing healthy sons and raising them to be proud of their Dad and their country.”
Middlesboro ARH Hospital is a 96-bed, acute-care facility known for its reputation of excellence as a patient-oriented and community-centered hospital. Middlesboro ARH is fully accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and is a member of the multi-hospital Appalachian Regional Healthcare system.
Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) system, is a not-for-profit health system serving 350,000 residents across Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia. Operating 10 hospitals, multi-specialty physician practices, home health agencies, HomeCare Stores and retail pharmacies, ARH is the largest provider of care and single largest employer in southeastern Kentucky and the third largest private employer in southern West Virginia.
The ARH system employs nearly 5,000 employees and has a network of more than 600 active and courtesy medical staff members representing various specialties. Firmly committed to its mission of improving the health and promoting the well-being of all people in Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia, in the past 12 months alone, ARH provided nearly $133 million in uncompensated care for the uninsured and underinsured.