San Pedro resident Susie Rabaca's fortune has shifted greatly in the two weeks since she last spoke to KTLA to issue a public plea for a life-saving bone-marrow donor.
Not only has she found a perfect match, but the mother of three is now a mother of five after giving birth to twins Ryan and Rainey on Thursday at the Kaiser Permanente hospital in East Los Angeles.
"It's a miracle," and a peak in her family's journey, which has also been marked by extreme lows, she said from her hospital bed Friday.
Rabaca was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, an aggressive form of cancer, a few months into her pregnancy. She then had to undergo chemotherapy, which put her pregnancy at high risk.
"They asked if I wanted to terminate the pregnancy, and of course I didn't," she said while cradling her two healthy newborns.
On top of that, doctors told Rabaca she needed a bone-marrow transplant to give her the best possible chance of survival. No one in her family was a perfect match, and finding one was especially difficult because she is biracial, both Caucasian and Latina.
She said she was disheartened when she turned to a worldwide registry of donors and none were compatible.
"It was 30 million people," she said. "Thirty million people, and no matches for me."
So Rabaca and the rest of her family partnered with Be The Match, an organization operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, to encourage people to register to donate bone marrow.
Thanks to their fierce campaigning, Rabaca's story spread and gained attention from the likes of country singer Carrie Underwood, who asked her Twitter followers, "who wants to save a life for Christmas?"
In a matter of weeks, tens of thousands of people had registered, Rabaca said.
Just days before she was to give birth, Rabaca got the good news: They'd found a perfect match.
Dr. Brianne Bimson, who treated Rabaca at Kaiser's Los Angeles Medical Center, said she was glad to see her patient triumph after fighting for so long.
"We've watched her go through a lot of blood transfusions, platelet transfusions, the chemo, losing her hair - at the same time growing two twins that are healthy at this point," Bimson said. "So I'm just really happy at this point."
Rabaca said she still has a tough road ahead.
Just after Christmas, she'll start the process of actually receiving the transplant. Then, she'll undergo and chemotherapy and be isolated from her twins for a month.
So, Rabaca said, she's soaking in the time she has now.
"It's the best feeling in the world, holding them," she said.
She still doesn't know who the potentially life-saving donor is, but said she hopes to meet them one day.