Triplet Preemies Home to Celebrate 1st Christmas | Loyola Medicine
Thursday, December 24, 2015

Triplet preemies home from hospital in time to celebrate their first Christmas

triplet preemies

Santiago family with twins Finn, Kyle and Ava set to arrive home in time for Christmas. 

MAYWOOD, Ill. – Triplets Finn, Kyle and Ava Santiago, who were born six weeks premature and underweight, went home from Loyola University Medical Center Dec. 24, just in time to celebrate their first Christmas.

From the moment they were born on Dec. 6, the babies were monitored around the clock at Loyola’s neonatal intensive care unit.

All three are as healthy as normal full-term, full-weight babies, said Jonathan Muraskas, MD, co-medical director of Loyola’s neonatal ICU.

Parents Brandon and Heather Santiago of Berkeley, Ill. say they are thrilled their family grew from three – they have a 3-year-old son, Liam – to six.

“We won the baby lottery,” said Mr. Santiago, a firefighter/paramedic. “We are so grateful that our entire family will be together for Christmas.”

Many premature triplets suffer serious complications and wind up with lifelong disabilities, including cerebral palsy, blindness, hearing loss and learning disabilities. But during their 18-day stay at Loyola, neither Finn, Kyle nor Ava experienced any serious complications or setbacks.

“Everything went very smoothly,” said Dr. Muraskas, who has treated more than 15,000 infants, including 400 sets of triplets, six sets of quadruplets, two sets of quintuplets and the world’s smallest surviving baby (birth weight 9.17 oz.).

Mrs. Santiago received her prenatal care from Loyola’s multidisciplinary maternal-fetal team, which includes doctors, sonographers, genetic counselors, pediatric subspecialists, perinatologists, neonatologists and nurses.

Multiple pregnancies pose risks for both the mother and her babies. Mrs. Santiago was closely monitored, and as her pregnancy progressed, she came in for weekly ultrasounds.

"It was a privilege to care for Heather in our high-risk clinic,” said Jean Goodman, MD, division director of Maternal/Fetal Medicine. “Heather was an active, dedicated participant in her care, helping us to achieve such a terrific outcome for her pregnancy".

Mrs. Santiago originally was scheduled to give birth by cesarean section on Dec. 21. But after she developed preeclampsia (high blood pressure), which put her at risk for stroke, kidney failure and other serious complications, her C-section was moved up to Dec. 6.

Finn (4 pounds, 2 oz.) was born first, followed by Kyle (4 lb., 14 oz.) and Ava, (3 lb., 14 oz.). They have grown to weigh 5 lb., 4 oz.; 5 lb., 10 oz.; and 4 lb., 12 oz., respectively.

The babies were monitored 24/7 for oxygen levels, heart rate, feeding problems, infections, and more. Finn had some minor breathing problems and was given supplemental oxygen, and all three babies needed feeding tubes at first. But now they all are eating and breathing on their own, and continue to gain weight.

“The care our babies received at Loyola is amazing,” Mrs. Santiago said. “We would not have wanted to be anywhere else.”

Loyola’s 50-bed neonatal ICU cares for the sickest babies, offering the latest technology, therapies and techniques. It serves as a national model for special protocols and practices in the care of premature infants.

Drs. Muraskas and Goodman have been named to Chicago magazine’s 2016 list of Chicago’s Top Doctors.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.