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heroes

These 1st responders are now godparents to a baby whose life they saved

When it came time to choose her daughter's godparents, Kitana Garrett immediately knew who she wanted to ask: Cody Hill and Jamie Roan, the first responders who saved her baby's life.

On Oct. 5, 2021, when she was just 25 weeks pregnant, Garrett suddenly went into labor while alone at her home in Columbia, Tennessee. She called 911, and one of the first people to show up was Hill, a firefighter with Columbia Fire & Rescue. He told Good Morning America he was "expecting the worst," and was relieved to see the baby — Za'myla Camilla Miracle Garrett — was alive and breathing.

He turned the home's heater on as high as it could go to keep the baby warm, and began performing CPR, using a bag valve mask to keep her breathing. Roan, a paramedic with Maury Regional Emergency Medical Services, then arrived and also did CPR. Everyone was "amazed" by the tiny newborn weighing just over one pound, and seeing her respond to their treatment gave them "a little hope and we got excited," Roan said.

In the ambulance, Roan spoke to Za'Myla, telling her, "Fight little girl," and she stayed by the baby's side at the hospital, keeping Garrett informed of her condition. Za'myla was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, where doctors said the quick actions of Hill and Roan during this critical time saved Za'myla's life.

Za'myla was released from the NICU after four months, and the entire time, Hill and Roan kept track of her progress, reading updates on Garrett's Facebook page. They collected donations of diapers, clothes, and other baby necessities, as well as gas cards to help Garrett and her partner with their long daily drives to visit Za'myla. Since she's been home, Garrett has taken Za'myla on regular trips to visit Hill and Roan, and in March, surprised both by asking them to be her baby's godparents.

Hill and Roan told GMA they were touched and honored by her request. "All I can say is thank you a million times because they are a blessing God has sent," Garrett said. "They didn't give up, so I feel like they will continue to do that later on in life [for Za'Myla]."