CLEVELAND (WJW) -- A pop can, a key fob, a hamster, and a bowl of cereal each weigh 12 ounces.
That's how much Kimyah Jackson weighed when she was born at Cleveland Clinic. Her brother DJ weighed only 3 ounces more, according to hospital spokesperson Jenna Homrock.
"There was only a 10-20% chance they would survive and developmental delays were possible," Homrock said. "At just 22 weeks they became the youngest surviving twins born at Cleveland Clinic."
After their mom, Kimberly Thomas, delivered them, the babies had to be resuscitated and intubated. "Kimberly spent every day and night in the NICU, unable to hold them for one month because their skin was too fragile," Homrock added.
After 138 straight days of receiving care in the NICU, Kimyah and DJ were cleared to go home with their parents Kimberly and Damante Jackson.
Caregivers in Cleveland Clinic's Children's Hospital threw a graduation ceremony for the twins, complete with caps and gowns. Photos show the babies smiling and looking at each other after their four-and-a-half-month journey in the hospital.
"It will still be a few years before doctors can tell if the babies will experience any developmental delays," Holbrook said. The brother and sister are about to celebrate their first birthday. "The twins continue achieving their developmental milestones, gaining strength through their therapy sessions and exceeding expectations," she added.
“Along with medical advancements to care for premature babies, research shows centers that push the envelope consistently have more successful outcomes,” said Firas Saker, MD, the medical director of Cleveland Clinic Children's Level III NICU at Hillcrest Hospital.
“If you asked me 10 years ago, resuscitation at less than 24 weeks gestation would not have been possible without the advanced technology and skillset we have today. We have a great team that’s been able to make a tremendous amount of progress.”
Kimberly said she was grateful for the care team who helped her babies be able to go home.
“So many of their doctors and nurses showed up. Even though this is their job, a lot of them built a connection with Kimyah and DJ," Kimberly said. "They saw them from their most critical stages to where they are now. This was their time (medical staff) to have time with them before Kimyah and DJ left the hospital."