PROVO — To hear Lizzy Baird tell the tale, it's the most natural thing in the world.
It was around 6:30 p.m. on a Monday night when Baird, not quite 24 weeks into her pregnancy, started having contractions.
The Payson mother of four decided not to panic. She waited two hours until she decided it was time to go to the hospital. But as Baird sat on the toilet, she began to feel strange.
"This is definitely not the right feeling," she recalled, as she yelled for her husband, Jonathan.
He came right in time. As Baird stood up from the toilet, baby Cayden "kind of fell out of me," she said — and was caught by her husband.
Then, the contractions stopped.
That was when Baird grew confused. Because there was something else: She was pregnant with twins.
And it appeared the second baby wasn’t coming — at least not yet.
"I remember saying in the hospital 48 hours later, 'What do you mean I haven't had my other baby?'" Baird said in an interview on Thursday from her hospital room.
Doctors and nurses were surprised by the rare event, which is called a delayed interval delivery, or asynchronous delivery of twins.
Dr. Donna Dizon-Townson, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Utah Valley Hospital, said she has seen some cases in her 20-year career.
“It’s very rare," she said. "Extremely rare."
Doctors don't know why some women carrying twins give birth to the first baby and then stop having contractions. The world record for delayed-interval twins was set in Ireland in 2012 with twins born 87 days apart, according to the Irish Times.
But for all the excitement, it’s a “risky situation,” said Dizon-Townson. That’s because of the risk of infection to the mom and second baby due to her cervix being open.
After an ambulance brought Baird and Cayden to Mountain View Hospital in Payson, both were taken to Utah Valley Hospital so they could be monitored in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Given that younger brother Levi had not yet reached 24 weeks in the womb, doctors opted to try to keep him growing inside Baird's belly for as long as possible.
They would pump Baird with antibiotics, steroids and magnesium sulfate to help Levi develop faster and to ward off infection.
Meanwhile, they would continue to monitor Cayden, who weighed just 1 pound 6 ounces — his wide nose just a speck and his head the size of a clementine, Baird recalled.
The longer they waited, however, the more risk of infection would grow.
"You're walking a thin line because there are risks and benefits both ways," Dizon-Townson said.
"You never know how far you're going to get with that second baby," she added. "We just know things could turn or change at any time."
Doctors told Baird it might take as long as nine weeks. She and her husband settled in for a long hospital stay.
Suddenly, early in the morning on Wednesday, the contractions started again.
Baby Levi was born at 6:15 a.m. Wednesday, weighing 1 pound 15 ounces, with the same wide nose as his twin — 11 days apart.
Levi's hands are twice the size of Cayden's, his skin more smooth and sturdy, his body more plump, Baird noticed. Even now, although Levi is younger, Cayden looks smaller.
Along with Levi came Cayden's placenta and umbilical cord, which Baird hadn't delivered at the time she gave birth to Cayden.
"Up until yesterday morning, I had two placentas and two cords and only one baby," Baird laughed. "My body's been so confused these last few days."
Both babies are doing well, according to Baird. By March, Cayden and Levi will be able to leave the NICU and join their three older brothers and older sister at home.
Baird said she and her husband have felt an "overwhelming calm" throughout the experience despite the risks involved — from Cayden’s birth at home to his transport on Life Flight to the NICU to Levi’s unexpected birth 11 days later.
"As cliché as it sounds, this is what was supposed to happen," Baird said. "Cayden was just supposed to come early and he was supposed to be little. And whatever trials or handicaps that come because of it, that’s what he’s supposed to do."
"The whole time, it's been really peaceful," she added. "The Lord has a plan, and this is his plan. … The whole journey, every step of the way, has been a miracle."