Rochelle and Patrick Bowen from Bristol, UK, were excited to become parents for the first time when they learned they would be having twins.
Sadly, Rochelle knew that something wasn’t quite right when she was about 12 weeks along. A trip to the doctor confirmed that one of the twins, Isla, wasn’t growing at the rate she should be.
Her growth was a week behind, which was especially worrisome so early in a pregnancy. Rochelle’s doctors told her that the twins would have to make it to at least 28 weeks if they were to survive.
At 26 weeks, the parents’ worst nightmare was realized when the couple was told that Isla had stopped growing and a decision would have to be made.
The couple were left with no choice but to undergo an emergency Cesarean section.
The twins were born on July 7, 2017, but they wouldn’t make it home for months to come.
Rochelle recalls she was “petrified of seeing them,” at first, due to their size. She said the twins looked “perfectly formed, just smaller.”
When the twins were born, Ava weighed 788 grams and tiny Isla weighed a mere 500 grams — barely over one pound each.
Amazingly, doctors had predicted Isla would be even smaller.
The combined weight of the twins is barely more than this bag of sugar. For reference, most newborns weigh over five pounds on their own.
Isla and Ava were officially the smallest twins born in the United Kingdom in 2017.
Isla and Ava both had to spend the first three months in the hospital.
The twins were too weak to breathe on their own and needed constant monitoring.
Isla continued to have problems with her heart, lungs, and eyes.
Eventually, Ava was able to go home after 99 days in the NICU. Isla would remain in the NICU for 13 more days.
The twins spent their entire time at the hospital, in a cot together.
Parents think Isla missed Ava when she left to go home, which helped her muster the strength to do the same.
Both babies are now home for the holidays, and Rochelle says that they are growing every day.
Their early complications have amazingly not shown any signs of long-term effects like brain bleeds or cerebral palsy.
Ava now weighs 8 lbs., 10 oz., while Isla has reached 6 lbs., 5 oz.
The parents are thrilled to have their little growing girls home.
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