Twins, Lisa (Wyatt) Nordin, left, Laura (Wyatt) Carlson, right, are shown with one of the more than 470 Barbie Dolls they and their family have donated to the Ronald McDonald House in Des Moines to be auctioned off. The twins and their family have donated the Barbie Dolls as a way to say thank you to the Ronald McDonald House for being there in 1985 after the twins were born eight-weeks premature.
By J.O. Parker
The popular Barbie movie has a much deeper meaning for twin sisters, Lisa (Wyatt) Nordin of Grinnell and Laura (Wyatt) Carlson of Champlin, Minn. and the Wyatt family.
The twins, who were born eight weeks premature on March 14, 1985, along with their mother, Sue, and an aunt, Linda Tish, recently donated more than 470 Barbie Dolls to benefit the Ronald McDonald House in Des Moines.
The Barbie Dolls are being auctioned off in lots during an on-going auction to benefit the Ronald McDonald House.
“I hope they can get enough money to buy another van at the Ronald McDonald House” said Lisa of the auction.
The twins mother, Sue, and her husband, Larry, learned in September 1984 that they were expecting their first child.
“I had terrible morning sickness, more like all day sickness,” recalled Sue. “My doctor did an ultrasound, and much to our surprise, I was pregnant with twins.”
Sue said the news came as a shock, since the girl’s father is a twin himself.
At the time, Sue was working at a local bank while pregnant with the twins. Her job required standing for long hours every day.
“I finally determined in February of 1985, that I needed to leave my job and go on bed rest for the duration of the pregnancy,” Sue said. “I was considered a “high risk” pregnancy, and our hometown hospital at that time was not considered prepared for us, so my care was transferred to an OB/GYN in Des Moines at Iowa Methodist Medical Center.”
The original due date for the twins was May 5, 1985.
“On March 14, 1985, while on the phone with my husband, who was in Florida for a convention, my water broke,” noted Sue. “I told him what happened, and that I would be fine, but he needed to get on the next plane home, because the twins were coming now!”
Luckily, Sue said, her parents, William and Lucille Tish, long-time owners of Tish TV, lived nearby, and they were able to drive her to the hospital to deliver the babies.
“We rushed to Des Moines and IMMC,” recalled Sue. “Dr. Rebecca Shaw did a vertical c-section to quickly remove the babies, while standing on a step stool to be able to reach them.”
Lisa was born first and weighed 4-pounds, 7 ounces and Laura was born two minutes later, weighing 4-pound, 3 ounces.
The babies were both taken immediately to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at Blanks Children’s Hospital and were put on oxygen/nitrogen mix and into an incubator. They spent nearly six weeks at Blanks.
Sue said her family and many wonderful friends from Grinnell Christian Church, took turns driving her daily from Grinnell to Des Moines, so that she could see and hold the girls and give them milk.
“I spent my whole day there with the fantastic nurses, and other mothers seeing their babies in the NICU,” said Sue.
Sue said she can’t remember who told her about the Ronald McDonald House, but when she learned that it was just down the street and within walking distance to Blanks, she couldn’t say no.
Sue and her mother checked in as soon as possible and from then on, were able to walk daily to see the girls and hold and feed them.
“The Ronald McDonald House was a true blessing, with a comfortable room, as well as food, games and TV,” Sue said. “I no longer had to worry about the stress of commuting two hours every day and could spend more time with my babies.”
When Lisa and Laura were under age 5, Sue and and the twin’s aunt, Linda Tish, decided to start purchasing Barbie Dolls to save them with the hope to give back to the Ronald McDonald House. Many of the dolls were purchased through a Barbie collector’s catalog with the oldest being from 1989 and the newest being in the early 2020s.
Lisa and Laura, now 38, grew up to become healthy, young women, who are now married and have successful careers. Lisa works for a psychologist in Grinnell and Laura works for a lawyer in Minnesota.
They are both looking forward to giving back through this auction and hopefully making a difference for others who utilize the Ronald McDonald House in Des Moines.
“It means so much,” said Lisa of the Ronald McDonald House. “We are so grateful that they were there for our family.”
To look at the auction offerings, visit https://live.classy.org/.../b0d23e51-b42d-4351-8ccf...
One of the Wyatt sisters in the NICU in March 1985.
One of the Wyatt sisters in the NICU in March 1985.
From left, the twins father, Larry Wyatt, is shown with Lisa (Wyatt) Nordin, Maggie Siwinski, RMH Volunteer Coordinator, and Maria Herera, RMH Special Events Coordinator, when they came to Grinnell to pick up the Barbie Doll donation.
The Wyatt kitchen in Grinnell was filled with plastic tubs of Barbie Dolls to be donated to the Ronald McDonald House in Des Moines. An on-going auction is underway to raise money for the RMH to hopefully purchase a second van.