AURORA, Ill. - There's a sweet outcome to what began as a bittersweet start to life. Twins from Aurora plan to celebrate their 16th birthday in a special way by making a very sentimental donation to the NICU they were born in.
Special 16th birthday celebration
Rachel and Hanna Friedenberger were born 100 days too soon. At birth they were given just a 10 percent chance of survival.
Now that they've beat the odds, they are giving a token of encouragement to other babies.
"You can't even imagine what that sight was like. My finger was as big as their legs, their heads were the size of a tangerine," Karri Friedenberger said.
Friedenberger remembers a time when her daughters Hanna and Rachel were just 2 pounds and 12 inches long.
"So at 25 weeks I was in labor. It was February 24th and the girls were born. There was no crying baby. There was a quiet 'it's a girl,' and then a second quiet 'it's a girl.' But there was no crying, there was no crying babies," she recalls.
The girls spent the next 12 weeks in the NICU at Advocate Lutheran General being monitored as their parents held out hope for a positive outcome.
"They not only cared for our girls, they cared for Kirk and I too," Friedenberger said. "They tried their level best to provide an environment for the girls that wasn't sterile. They would decorate their isolates with one week birthday signs, one month birthday signs."
From then to now is nothing short of a miracle. Because of all the support that was given to them, they now want to pay it forward. The twins along with family and friends are joining forces to make a 100 blankets for the babies in the NICU to represent their 100-day early arrival.
"And I thought that was like a cool idea and we just started like sending emails out and texting people about it. Then they said they would like to help," Hanna Friedenberger said.
"We're kind of learning how we're going to grow up soon and we should think about others and stuff and so I wanted to help give back to those that would eventually be able to see their kids grow up like our parents are going to see us grow up," Rachel Friedenberger said. "I want them to feel the same way, feel comfort."
They have already surpassed their 100 blanket goal but just keep on working. They will deliver the blankets to Advocate Lutheran General on their birthday, February 24th. ABC7 will be there to see it happen!
Have a story you want us to tell? Let us know who makes you "Chicago Proud" by clicking here and submitting your story idea.