Bobby and Clete Rodgers are typical 7-year old boys. They’re loud. They’re rowdy. They would play all night if you’d let them.
It’s amazing what they can do, considering how most medical professionals didn’t give them much of a chance to survive.
“I actually went into labor with them on my 30th birthday, which might sound exciting to most people, except they were 23 weeks at the time, so it was a scary time,” said their mom, Candie. “They managed to keep them growing another two weeks before they were born.”
Bobby and Clete were born on February 8, 2011, and were immediately rushed the intensive care unit. Bobby weighed 1 pound, 12 ounces and his brother weighed 2 pounds, 6 ounces.
Doctors were straightforward with the family.
“They were likely both not going to make it,” Candie’s husband, Matt, said they were told.
The twins survived after months of surgeries and hospital stays. Clete came home near his due date. Bobby remained under doctor care for six months.
Matt and Candie had mixed feelings about the children. Doctors told them shortly after they wed that conceiving naturally was not likely.
“Yeah, this wasn’t supposed to happen,” Matt said, recalling conversations with a fertility doctor after the couple decided to try alternative methods to conceive. “He explained the situation and said the chances of getting pregnant naturally do not exist.”
Four miscarriages added pain to the process.
The boys' birth was a miracle but it was also incredibly difficult. All of the turmoil cause Candie to dread her birth month. Every year when the calendar turned to January, it reminded her of what could have been for Bobby and Clete.
“And we were like, ‘Well, OK. Can we just skip my birthday this year?’” said Candie.
With virtually no chance to get pregnant again, Matt and Candie started considering adoption.
“Our hearts were there,” said Matt.
Imagine their surprise when the impossible became possible in 2017. Candie became pregnant naturally and couldn’t explain it.
Baby No. 3 was due Jan. 29 – two days after her birthday. The mixed emotions returned.
“I feel like I saw her through some bad times and I felt like every time she saw me I felt like I was always delivering not always the best news,” said Candie’s doctor, Rachelle Schwartz. “But, then finally at the end we did get to have that moment.”
Making it past the 25-week mark was a huge hurdle for Candie. Henry Shearer Rodgers was born Jan. 22 at 9 pounds, 1 ounce.
“Perfect," said Matt, holding his newborn. “It made us appreciate it more what we went through with the boys. It made our family more complete.
Januarys won't be so bad now in the Rodgers home. It is a home that’s loud and crazy and filled with boys. Candie and Matt consider them walking miracles that came at just the right time.
“It’s crazy how the timing worked out but totally welcomed,” said the happy mother. “I think it just shows how God works in your life.
“It’s the best birthday present we could have gotten.”
Henry was born at Bayfront Baby Place in St. Petersburg.