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Dec. 31, 2017, is a New Year’s Eve Jerany Santiago will never forget. She unexpectedly delivered her twin girls, Ellie and Kylie, at home. Mom had found out only hours earlier that, not only was she pregnant but she was pregnant with twins.

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Firefighters Visit Premature Twins at INTEGRIS Children’s

Dec. 31, 2017, is a New Year’s Eve Jerany Santiago will never forget. She unexpectedly delivered her twin girls, Ellie and Kylie, at home. Mom had found out only hours earlier that, not only was she pregnant but she was pregnant with twins. The twins’ due date was unknown at the time; however, it was estimated by ultrasound that she was only five and a half months along.

Ellie weighed 650 grams and her sister, Kylie, weighed 760 grams. They came into the world at just 23 weeks gestation. Full-term babies are born closer to 36 weeks. Babies born this prematurely are not yet developed. Their lungs, their brains and their hearts are all still forming. The twins’ chance of survival was not good.

Engine 15B with the Oklahoma City Fire Department responded to the 911 call. They were the first to arrive on scene and actually helped deliver the second baby. All four firefighters took turns giving the infants chest compressions.

“They were so incredibly tiny and fragile looking. We knew we had to get them to the NICU right away,” remembers Captain Travis Fryrear. “One of our firefighters, Timothy Radford, held one of the babies in the ambulance.”

“It was a very cold night and we knew the babies needed to be kept as warm as possible so we wrapped them in blankets and the mother and I held them close to our bodies for additional warmth,” says Radford.

The babies were rushed to the emergency room at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center and quickly whisked away by the NICU staff at INTEGRIS Children’s. The firefighters left the hospital that night fearful the babies would not survive.

“It was touch and go for a while, it truly was,” says Kristi Cagle one of the neonatal nurse practitioners at INTEGRIS Children’s, the provider who responded to the emergency room the night the girls were born. “The girls both required intense resuscitation including artificial ventilation and blood pressure support.”

The girls are both now off oxygen, taking all their bottles by mouth, and weighing 6 pounds 7 ounces and 6 pounds 8 ounces, respectively. “We did our part, but I have no doubt that if it weren’t for those firefighters and their quick-thinking actions and compassion, neither baby would be alive today.”

The girls have spent more than 100 days in the NICU and are almost ready to go home. The girls’ mother and the INTEGRIS Children’s staff invited those same firefighters back up to the hospital to personally thank them for their service.

The special reunion took place on Wednesday with each firefighter taking turns holding the now healthy baby girls.

“I wanted to hug their necks and let them see my babies,” exclaims the mom. “I wanted them to see for themselves how great they are doing today and to tell them how grateful I am that they came to our rescue. That goes for the amazing staff at INTEGRIS, too. I get to take my babies home soon because I had a whole team of heroes on my side.” The twins will officially be discharged later in the week.