The twin boys, Duke Thomas and Ford Patrick, were born on June 27
The Indianapolis Colts center, 30, and his wife welcomed twin boys, sons Duke Thomas and Ford Patrick, on June 27, more than two months ahead of schedule, and when they weighed only two pounds each.
"After 85 days in the NICU and living in a rental home, we are finally reunited as a family," Emma tells PEOPLE in an exclusive statement.
"I still can't totally believe we are finally home as a family of four, but every time we see one of the boys, we are thankful for the journey that got them here," she adds.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
Ryan and Emma's IVF journey with their twins began when the couple decided to do a "fresh transfer" with embryos, rather than wait 7 to 8 weeks for genetic testing.
"This means that after the embryo is created, it matures and goes back into my body instead of being frozen with a sample sent to the testing lab," Emma says. "We knew that two had been transferred and were praying that at least one of them would stick."
After what she describes as the "longest ten days of our lives," Emma and Ryan learned that they were expecting.
"It felt like a dream, and after some first-trimester complications, I was sailing through my second trimester. I had my energy back, celebrated with the most beautiful baby shower, and was preparing for my second one in our hometown. I even traveled to D.C. to do some advocacy work to change the laws regarding stillbirths," Emma tells PEOPLE. "I felt like I was living a dream."
Some time after, Ryan and Emma were out of town for a destination wedding in Nashville. During the night of the event, Emma experienced several symptoms of pre-term labor and learned that there "was no safe way to get back" to their home base of Indianapolis.
"[I learned] that I would be giving birth in Nashville within days, if not hours," Emma says. "The doctors originally told us to plan on staying for six months in the NICU if deliveries went according to plan. This was not how I thought our miracle babies would come into this world, but Ryan and I surrendered completely in that moment and decided to trust God and the amazing medical team around us."
Their twins were eventually born, and they spent 85 days in the NICU. Emma and Ryan rented a home in the area to stay close to them, but Ryan had to go back to Indianapolis to start his season after the first month in the NICU.
"I didn't know how I would manage advocating for the boys by myself, pumping so they had breast milk exclusively, and being there as much as possible for skin-to-skin contact," Emma says. "It was hard. I cried often, and I still don't totally understand why this is part of our story, but our boys are safe, healthy and thriving."
Emma continues, "It would not have been possible without the amazing medical team at Ascension St. Thomas Midtown and, most importantly, the prayers and support of our families and friends."
"I’m also not sure how we would have made it home safely with our baby boys if it weren’t for the Irsay family and the Colts," she adds.
The couple's miracle babies come after a nearly two-year-long journey that included fertility struggles, in vitro fertilization and the death of daughter Mary Kate 19 weeks into Emma's pregnancy,
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.