When Kate and David Ogg’s twins Jamie and Emily were born two minutes apart at 26 weeks, Emily began to wail but Jamie was silent.

“They were both born in their sac but Jamie didn’t make a noise when they tore it open. Emily let out a big wail,” Kate said.

Something was terribly wrong. “He stopped breathing and his heartbeat was nearly gone,” Kate said. “After 20 minutes they stopped working on him.”

The Oggs’ doctor sat down with them and asked if they had chosen a name for the baby. He told them there was nothing else they could do to save him. However, Kate refused to give up. “I saw him gasp but the doctor said it was no use,” she said. “I took Jamie off the doctor, asked everyone to leave. He was cold and I just wanted him to be warm.”

“We had tried for years to have kids and…I just wanted to cuddle him,” she said. “I unwrapped him and ordered my husband to take his shirt off and climb into the bed. I know it sounds stupid, but if he was still gasping there was still a sign of life so I wasn’t going to give up easily.”

The Oggs talked to their newborn son, encouraging him to live. “We were trying to entice him to stay,” Kate said. “We explained his name and that he had a twin that he had to look out for and how hard we tried to have him.”

And then, the miracle happened. “He suddenly gasped…then he opened his eyes,” Kate said. “He was breathing and grabbing Dave’s finger. If we had let the doctor walk out of the room with him, Jamie would have been dead.”

Now almost five, the twins only recently heard the story of their birth. “Emily burst into tears, she was really upset and she kept hugging Jamie,” Kate said. “They love to talk about when they were babies. They have a little brother Charlie who loves telling anyone who listens. He’ll say: ‘When I was born I was fat and the twins were skinny. Jamie was also dead but now he is alive.’”

Perhaps most amazingly, Jamie has not had any health issues resulting from his turbulent birth experience. “He is absolutely fine… the biggest concern they had was cerebral palsy because of the lack of oxygen but there’s been nothing,” Kate said. “It’s absolutely astounding. This whole experience makes you cherish them more.”

Because of their experience, the Oggs are working to raise money to help premature and/or sick newborns. Their online community, Jamie’s Gift, sends the funds they raise to the Miracle Babies Foundation.

David Ogg will be doing an Ironman triathlon in May to help raise money. “He will put his body through a gruelling 3.8km swim, 180km bike and a marathon,” Kate said.

As incredible as the story sounds, scientific evidence backs it up. Caroline Davey, chief executive of the premature baby charity Bliss, said, “Evidence shows that [skin-to-skin contact] can help to regulate the baby’s heartbeat, lower…stress levels and can play an important role in improving the positive outcomes for premature babies.”

Besides writing, R. McKinley loves reading (especially historical fiction and science books), playing piano and flute, being involved in politics and community, working out, enjoying nature, and hanging out with four wonderful cats.