Twins born at 23 weeks survive despite being 'too young to save'
ALBERT and Molly weren't meant to survive. Born four months premature, they're among the youngest babies to have lived having been delivered at such a young age.
Their mother, dental nurse Shona Jeffery, 27, went into labour at 22 weeks and six days.
Dolly weighed just 480g when she was born at 23 weeks and one day. Five days later Albert arrived, weighing 623g.
"They said there was nothing they could do for us"
Doctors at Darent Valley Hospital, Kent didn't have high hopes for such premature babies. Shona and the twins father, Darren Turrall, 24, were told their twins were too young to survive.
"They said there was nothing they could do for us and sorry that we had lost our babies as they was under the 23 weeks," Shona told The Sun.
"They had no facilities to help if they arrived. They would just pass them to us once they had been born and they then put us in a room for this to happen."
But despite her waters breaking and contractions beginning, Shona did not give birth.
As the clock struck midnight, Shona reached 23 weeks pregnant and doctors said they were willing to intervene with a slim chance the babies could live.
Shona was given steroids to help boost the twins' still-growing lungs and she was sent to Brighton Hospital.
But the trip was perilous, the couple being told that if they were born in the ambulance they would not survive.
"Thankfully, we made it there fine," Shona said.
One day later, two teams of specialists delivered Dolly. But shockingly, Shona's labour stopped. Doctors told her she may end up going full term with her second baby.
But five days later Albert was delivered naturally.
"That was when the real battle began. Watching them fighting for their life each day," Shona said.
"But every day they grew a little bit more and became a little bit stronger."
Both twins needed eye surgery and Dolly had an operation to fix a hole in her heart.
But Albert, the stronger of the twins came home first, followed by Dolly.
"Against the odds our little miracles have survived and shocked everyone and have come home," Darren said.
"Every doctor we have spoken to said we should count our lucky stars. They are just so precious to us."
Dr Asma Khalil, a spokesman for Tamba (Twins and Multiple Births Association), said: "The fact that these babies are now doing well is incredible.
"Twin pregnancies delivered at 23 weeks would have far poorer chances of survival compared to a singleton pregnancy.
"Of babies born at 23-24 weeks, only about 50 per cent would survive and 50 per cent of the survivors would have some sort of disability.
"It would be fair to say that in circumstances where twins are born this early, most doctors would be preparing the family for the worst.
"So the fact these babies are now doing well, months on, is incredible."
This article originally appeared on Kidspot and has been republished here with permission.