The Rescuing Hug

by in Brielle and Kyrie Jackson, Miracle Baby, Multiple Births, Premature Babies

The received this story by e-mail this morning and did some checking to see if it was true. I guess hugs do help the healing because it is true!

Heidi and Paul Jackson’s twin girls, Brielle and Kyrie, were born October 17, 1995, 12 weeks ahead of their due date. Standard hospital practice is to place preemie twins in separate incubators to reduce the risk of infection. that was done for the Jackson girls in the neonatal intensive care unit at The Medical Center of Central Massachusetts in Worcester.

Kyrie, the larger sister at two pounds, three ounces, quickly began gaining weight and calmly sleeping her newborn days away. But Brielle, who weighed only two pounds at birth, couldn’t keep up with her. She had breathing and heart-rate problems. The oxygen level in her blood was low, and her weight gain was slow.

Suddenly, on November 12, Brielle went into critical condition. She began gasping for breath, and her face and stick-thin arms and legs turned bluish-gray. Her heart rate was way up, and she got hiccups, a dangerous sign that her body was under stress. Her parents watched, terrified that she might die.

Nurse Gayle Kasparian tried everything she could think of to stabilize Brielle. She suctioned her breathing passages and turned up the oxygen flow to the incubator. Still Brielle squirmed and fussed as her oxygen intake plummeted and her heart rate soared.

Then Kasparian remembered something she had heard from a colleague. It was a procedure, common in parts of Europe but almost unheard of in this country, that called for double-bedding multiple-birth babies, especially preemies.

Kasparian’s nurse manager, Susan Fitzback, was away at a conference, and the arrangement was unorthodox. But Kasparian decided to take the risk.

“Let me just try putting Brielle in with her sister to see if that helps,” she said to the alarmed parents. “I don’t know what else to do.”

The Jacksons quickly gave the go-ahead, and Kasparian slipped the squirming baby into the incubator holding the sister she hadn’t seen since birth. Then Kasparian and the Jacksons watched.

No sooner had the door of the incubator closed then Brielle snuggled up to Kyrie – and calmed right down. Within minutes Brielle’s blood-oxygen readings were the best they had been since she was born. As she dozed, Kyrie wrapped her tiny arm around her smaller sibling.



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About the Author

SAHM of 2 boys and founder of, World Traveled Family and The World We Share. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!

Comments (4)

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  1. Shannon says:

    That picture is priceless! I do believe this because Joyce tells me that she has done it at times with twins 🙂

    Gotta love Joyce!

  2. Kerri says:

    This is a truly touching story! This is old and no one will probably see this comment but I got goosebumps when I read it; my memory ‘stinks’ and I needed to remember to look this up on snopes the next day (today) and this is something I did not forget to do (for once lol). I wonder if this nurse, Gayle Kasparian, realizes she is an angel and a hero!!! Brielle just might not have made it if it was not for Kasparian’s big heart and to think about something most of us would have been luck to consider. I might have thought Kyrie and Brielle were so ‘use’ to being tightly together in the womb, but I’m not so sure I would have thought that it would save Brielle’s life! I want to see update pictures so bad!!! I will keep looking ;o)

  3. Gramma says:

    Ky and Brie are in high school now; mirror images of each other–one left handed, one right. They are happy, HEALTHY, bright, and still each others’ best friend. They are part of a strong and loving family and can be found swimming or horseback riding most days!

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