Cari Duff was incredibly grateful to celebrate her first Mother’s Day in May 2022 with her twin girls Audree and Ava. She could have never imagined nine months before that she would be spending this milestone in an apartment located 80 miles away from her home.
It took Cari and her husband Jordan several years to get pregnant, so when they learned they were pregnant with not only one, but two little girls they were elated. Cari was 24 weeks pregnant when she noticed one day that she hadn’t felt the twins moving as much and she started feeling some cramping. She knew something was wrong. By the time Cari and her husband got to the hospital her cervix was already dilated. Cari remembers being hooked up to IV’s, receiving injections, and measures to stop her labor, but despite their efforts the babies were born 13 hours later. Audree was 1 pound 6 ounces and sister Ava was 1 pound 13 ounces.
The girls were sent by Medflight to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, while Cari who had just had a C-section stayed behind. Thirty-six long and terrifying hours later Cari was released to be with her girls in Little Rock. Both girls had brain bleeds and many other complications because of being born too soon. It wasn’t clear if they would make it.
Cari heard about Goodness Village through another family in the NICU. She and her husband contacted Goodness Village through the website and within 24 hours they had an apartment. Each day was full of stress and worry but having a place to call home that was close to their girls, gave them one less thing to worry about.
Cari shared, “We were worried about the money at first. When you are a young couple going through the hardest time in your life, having your own space close to your kids and somewhere that feels like home when you can’t be home, it is life changing.” “In December, my husband and I both contracted COVID and had to quarantine. Goodness Village sent someone to pick up my breastmilk from the apartment and deliver it to the hospital so that my girls never had to use donor milk. Y’all have been great.”
The girls are now 9 months old. Ava has been discharged and stays with Cari and her husband in the Goodness Village apartment, while her sister Audree is still at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Cari feels safe with Ava in the apartment, “The apartment allows me to be near Audree and to also take Ava to her appointments. Ava doesn’t tolerate long car rides well; she is still on oxygen and a feeding tube.”
The young couple still has a long road ahead of them. Ava is expected to grow out of the need for the feeding tube and oxygen, but because of the severity of her brain bleed at birth she will have significant delays. Audree is expected to be in the hospital for another 6-12 months as the doctor’s work to get her off the ventilator and breathing normally on her own.
Cari says, “The apartment has saved us. It has taken away the stress of where we will stay, Goodness Village has been a godsend.”