LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Even though young Brody Soukup and his twin brother Ryker are 14 months old, this Father's Day will be the first they will spend at home with their father Brandon.
"Be thankful for every day those little miracle babies are around," he said while playing with his kids.
How the young twins got here, playing and laughing with Brandon and mom Rachel, was, like Brandon said, a miracle.
During checkups after Rachel found out she was pregnant in September 2019. She was told something no parent wants to hear.
"They're basically like your smaller baby is probably not going to make it," Rachel said. "He's probably going to die, and then the larger baby could have a lot of problems associated with that, he may not make it either, so it was a very grim prognosis"
With the help of doctors, Rachel was referred to Children's Hospital Colorado from her home in Colorado.
Her high-risk pregnancy was caused by both twins sharing one placenta with one getting a smaller share of the nutrients so she had to be monitored daily.
Doctor Franklin Chow of Children's Hospital Colorado was there to monitor Rachel's condition and determine when the babies needed to come out.
"She needed to be watched very closely," he said, "we just have to try to buy as much time for this baby to grow as possible."
Then the pandemic hit.
Amid the pandemic and in an unfamiliar state, Rachel gave birth at 29 weeks to two baby boys, both around three pounds.
She had her mom by her side while Brandon was back in Nevada.
"Our hospital was like a military camp," Chow said, "it was secure and locked down."
The children were placed in the NICU to undergo surgeries and learn how to breathe, and months later Brandon was able to visit on Father's Day 2020.
"They had these little Father's Day outfits but they were massive on them", Brandon said, "almost shaking, and you hold them and they're just so tiny, but it was kind of that moment like, oh, it was weird because I had been a dad for like 4 months, but I hadn't like actually felt like a dad."
After 125 days in the NICU, Brody and Ryker were finally able to go home.
"Brody was always the bigger twin. He's starting to crawl, he's starting to stand up on things," Rachel said. "Ryker has always been a little bit behind but he's finally now sat up by himself which is really exciting"
As the boys grow up, Rachel and Brandon said they will continue to look at things with perspective.
"It's like that challenge in the moment with the baby, or that next developmental hurdle you're trying to get over," Brandon said, "but a year later you kinda look back. Now, our problems are Brody is crawling around and getting into everything"
On this Fathers Day, a year after meeting his kids, Brandon finally gets to celebrate at home with his family.
"For me, it's like a day of remembrance that you have these kids, they're in your life now, Brandon said. "You bless these kids. It's kind of a reset day, for me anyway, let's do another year of being a dad, lets be there for them, try to be a good person."