MAYWOOD, Ill. (WLS) -- They came into this world a little prematurely, but Thursday a set of triplets in the western suburbs made it home from the hospital just in time for Christmas.
It was a happy homecoming for the Santiago family after its three newest members were released from the hospital to celebrate their first Christmas.
Parents Brandon and Heather could not be more thrilled.
"We won the baby lottery," Brandon Santiago said. "We're so happy to be here and happy that everybody's healthy."
The triplets, Ava, Finn, and Kyle were all born six weeks premature and underweight.
They left Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood Thursday this morning, just in time for the holidays.
Brandon Santiago is a Villa Park firefighter/paramedic who delivered nine babies on the job.
He and his wife were shocked to learn they were having three babies after unsuccessfully trying to give their 3-year-old son Liam a baby sister or brother.
"We never would have expected to have this many kids, but we feel so lucky that we do," Heather Santiago said.
The babies have been in the hospital's neo-natal ICU ever since their birth on December 6, and were delivered one minute apart by C-section after their mother developed preeclampsia, or high blood pressure.
"Over 50 percent or more with three babies or more will develop preeclampsia, as does delivering early," said Dr. Jean Goodman, Loyola University Medical Center.
Many premature triplets can suffer from serious complications and lifelong disabilities, but doctors say the Santiago babies are doing well.
"Triplets have an increased risk for developmental problems, but I am confident they are going to be completely normal," said Dr. Jonathan Muraskas.
Even though the triplets are just weeks old, their parents say their personalities are beginning to show.
"(Ava) seems like she's the strongest of all of them," Heather Santiago said. "Finn, he's easy going."
The family knows they have a daunting task ahead, but have enlisted family and friends to help.
They have had over 13,000 diapers and other baby supplies donated to them. They've even set up a Go Fund Me page for the triplets to help pay for hospital, daycare, and schooling down the road.