(NBC) - Adam and Jayson Rugg are twins that celebrate birthdays two months apart. The unique story of their birth, and their lives since, is surprising their parents and their doctors.
"They are amazing," Kim Rugg said. "Jayson is my love bug and Adam is a destroyer."
Almost on cue, Adam comes running into the living room and dives on a Lincoln log house Jayson was building. Both boys start to giggle. They are, after all, 3-year-old boys.
The regular wrestling matches and occasional chaos of the house is something Kim and Darren Rugg will never take for granted. They are just glad the boys have each other, and thankful they have the boys.
It was May, 2006, when Kim went into premature labor. It was 15 weeks before her due date. Doctors at Presbyterian St. Luke's Hospital knew a baby born that early may not survive. They had no choice. They delivered Adam, but kept Jayson in the womb.
At the time, Dr. Jeff Hansen said, "Usually the first twin doesn't survive."
He was born weighing 1 pound, 9 ounces. He was in the neonatal intensive care (NICU) as Jayson got stronger day by day inside his Mother.
Darren Rugg said, "When they told us they could deliver one and keep the other one in, we just kind of looked at each other and said, 'You can do that? How do you do that?'"
Sixty-three days later, Jayson was born. The twins were reunited in a hospital crib. Another month went by before both boys were strong enough to go home. Doctors were curious to follow their progress because of the unique way they started their lives.
The medical procedure to deliver the babies separately had been done before but never with such a long period of time between the deliveries. Dr. Hansen said, "We've never had that before--a real life comparison--until now. It will be fascinating to follow their progress as they grow."
They would get to see, over time, how spending three months in the NICU compared to being in the natural environment of the womb.
At their first birthday, Adam and Jayson were almost identical in their weight and height. But Adam still had to use oxygen. He would need it for two years.
Darren said, "We had named the oxygen tank because it was always there." Kim added, "Yeah, we named it Leroy."
Now, at age three, Adam doesn't need his oxygen tank anymore. He runs circles around the house and loves to wrestle with his brother.
If fact, he now towers over Jayson.
Kim said, "It's very surprising having Adam who was 1 pound, 9 ounces when he was born and now he's a good 4 inches taller than Jayson. His hand and feet are so big I thought he's going to be 6 feet tall before he's nine." Darren said, "I know one day I'll have to look up to talk to him. It is incredible. It's not at all what we expected."
Kim added, "His doctors are amazed too. They can't believe it. I drove our physical therapist crazy asking if they were sure there was nothing wrong with Adam, and they would assure me over and over that nothing is wrong."
In the last three years, the Ruggs have gotten used to answering a lot of questions from other parents.
Kim said, "Sometimes they'll ask how far apart the boys are. They are thinking minutes. I always say they are 63 days apart and just wait for their response. You see in their mind clicking in."
Adam put his arm around Jayson and said, "He's my Bubba."
The boys don't like to be away from each other. Darren said, "They can't seem to be out of a room away from each other. If one of them leaves, the other one is looking for the other. If one is sleeping and one wakes up, the first thing they do is see if brother is there."
Their parents wonder if they are making up for the time they missed in the womb.
While their birthdays are more than 60 days apart, they are undeniably twins.
Kim Rugg said, "They have a connection--their own special twin connection. They are a joy."