It sounds like one of those riddles we told as kids that seemed impossible to answer:
“One baby was born first, but the other has been alive longer. How is this possible?”
For the Ogg family, though, this is no riddle – it’s their life.
In 2010, David and Kate Ogg were excitedly awaiting the birth of their twins. But when Kate went into labor on March 25 at only 27 weeks, they grew concerned.
Kate gave birth to a boy and a girl. She and David were ecstatic. Just a few minutes later, though, doctors came back with some heartbreaking news.
They asked the parents if they had chosen a name for the boy yet. The Oggs said they had named him Jamie.
Then the doctors told them Jamie hadn’t made it. His lungs were underdeveloped, they said; he hadn’t been able to breathe.
Heartbroken, Kate asked if she could hold her son and say goodbye.
“I’d carried him inside me for only six months – not long enough – but I wanted to meet him, and to hold him, and for him to know us,” Kate recalled. “We’d resigned ourselves to the fact that we were going to lose him, and we were just trying to make the most of those last, precious moments.”
The doctors brought Jamie over to her and laid the tiny baby on her chest. Kate held her son, soaking in the only precious moments she would ever get with him…and then something miraculous happened.
“He suddenly gasped. Then he opened his eyes,” Kate recalled. “He was breathing and grabbing Dave’s finger.”
Doctors said the movements were just reflexive and not a sign of life, but Kate’s motherly intuition told her otherwise. She put some breastmilk on the tip of her finger and held it to Jamie’s lips. He eagerly sucked it up.
As Kate held him, Jamie seemed to get stronger and stronger. Finally, doctors admitted what they previously thought impossible: Jamie had survived.
“We feel so fortunate,” David said. “We’re the luckiest people in the world.”
Now, seven years later, Jamie and his twin sister Emily are doing great. There is no indication that the start of their lives was a rocky one.
Like most twins, the two share a very close bond. Never was that more evident than when their parents shared their incredible birth story with them for the first time.
“Emily burst into tears, she was really upset and she kept hugging Jamie,” they said.
The twins have since welcomed a little brother, Charlie, into their family.
Recognizing the power and importance of skin-to-skin contact, Kate says she told doctors to give her Charlie right after he was born. She held him for three-and-a-half hours.
Researchers have discovered that babies have a special set of nerves that are “exceedingly sensitive” to pleasant human touch. Skin-to-skin contact with their mothers releases oxytocin, which affects multiple areas of their brains and makes their heartbeat and breathing more regular.
This so-called “kangaroo care” can also help minimize pain for babies. Celeste Johnston, director of research at the McGill University School of Nursing in Montreal, discovered that even just 15 minutes of skin-to-skin contact can help reduce pain for babies. Whenever she has to perform a painful procedure, such as a heel stick, she makes sure the babies are held by their mothers first.
“I can’t do control groups (with no skin-to-skin contact) anymore,” she said, “because I don’t think it’s ethical.”
While medical professionals caution that holding a baby won’t necessarily bring them back from the dead, the evidence for the miraculous and healing powers of skin-to-skin contact is overwhelming.
Thanks to Kate’s motherly instincts and her determination to fight for her baby, little Jamie is with them today.
What a miracle!
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