EXCLUSIVE: Twins born 135 days apart

JOHNSON, Ark. (KNWA) — A Northwest Arkansas woman gave birth to twins born 135 days apart, being just a couple of days short of the world record.

I honestly just didn’t think I was gonna make it.

Erin Burrell-Shawver

“You’re having twins!” is the exciting news doctors told Erin Burrell-Shawver, but all of that took a turn for the worst.

“It was just a challenge, just everything was a battle,” she said.

When Shawver got pregnant with her twin boys, she suffered hyperemesis gravidarum, an extreme form of morning sickness that causes severe nausea and vomiting.

Constantly I kept thinking, Am I going to get through this? Am I going to survive?

Erin Burrell-Shawver

According to her OB/GYN, Doctor Michael Clouatre, Shawver’s morning sickness was the worst he’s ever seen.

“Everyone gets nausea and vomits, but not to the extent she did,” Dr. Clouatre said. “She was in the hospital and had long term IVs that she had with fluids at home every night just to survive.”

As if her pregnancy wasn’t already hard enough, at 18 weeks her water broke and she delivered her first son, Ethan.


All of a sudden, at about 18 weeks tragedy strikes and her water breaks.

Dr. Bernard Canzoneri, Maternal Fetal Medicine Physician

“We know that babies don’t really survive when they are born that early and unfortunately had to deliver the first twin which was really a terribly sad moment,” Dr. Canzoneri said. “In that sadness you’re thinking oh I’ve gotta think about the second twin, because if I don’t do anything the second twin is gonna come.”


Ethan didn’t survive, but the steps Dr. Canzoneri took next ended up saving her other son, Graham.

It’s probably one of the proudest moments that I’ve had in my career.

Dr. Bernard Canzoneri, Maternal Fetal Medicine Physician

Dr. Canzoneri quickly placed a cerclage, a stitch used to keep the cervix closed, and prevented Shawver from delivering the other twin.

“It was really a wonderful happy ending because she had all these tragedies and triumphs and we got the healthy baby in the end,” he said.

Now, after 135 days apart, Graham is here and is 100 percent healthy.

Truly this will be the only time I’ll ever see this, the odds we’re so stacked against her and you know praise God the baby was able to stay in.

Dr. Michael Clouatre, OB/GYN

According to Dr. Clouatre, they were able to save Graham because the twins were fraternal and not identical.

The twins were in separate amniotic sacs.

“If they had been in the same sac, there wouldn’t have been any hope,” Dr. Clouatre said.

Ethan’s placenta remained in Shawver’s body.

“It’s unbelievable because most of the time you can only keep the baby a couple of days or maybe a couple of weeks at most,” Dr. Canzoneri said. “For her to go that long and for him to be that grown and healthy is unbelievable.”

I am so glad to have been apart of it.

Dr. Bernard Canzoneri, Maternal Fetal Medicine Physician

According to Dr. Canzoneri, a pregnancy outcome like this doesn’t happen very often.

“It’s top 10 longest ones in the world,” he said. “The record is 154 days.”

Shawver said she wouldn’t be where she is today without all the people at Willow Creek Women’s Hospital.

“Honestly he’s a miracle,” Shawver said. “It was just a group effort and I’m just super grateful and thankful.”

On November 22, Graham turned three months old.

Being here now, I’m just like wow I can’t believe I went through all of that, I can’t believe I was even that tough to get through it.

Erin Burrell-Shawver