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Image / Self / Real-life Stories

UK twins born at almost 23 weeks go home for the first time after 139 days in hospital


UK twins born at almost 23 weeks go home for the first time after 139 days in hospital

Born at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham on October 26, Harley Jean and Harry Phillip arrived at just 22 weeks and five days.

* Please note this article contains descriptions of one family’s emotional journey with their premature babies.*

Thought to be the UK’s youngest twins to survive, it’s been an unquestionably tough road to get them to where they are, but now 16 weeks old, they’ve made excellent progress over the past few months and mum, Jade Crane, even hopes that they’ll finally be able to bring them home soon.

Fondly referring to them as her “little fighters”, the siblings have lived up to that description on more than one occasion and have been treated in the neonatal unit since their birth. Going into labour much earlier than expected, Jade admitted that though she was “so scared”, a feeling of calm came over her at the time. “I had a sense of peace and I prayed for them to make it, for them to cry, to show signs of life, which they did,” she told the BBC

However, with Harley Jean weighing just 500 grams and Harry Phillip weighing 520 grams, doctors didn’t expect the twins to make it and the babies were put in the bereavement suite for parents. So far, they’ve had six operations between them, have suffered sepsis, eye problems, brain bleeds and lung bleeds but several months on and the Crane twins continue “surprising everyone”, as Jade puts it.

“We have got a little way to go still. They have shown their strength all the way through so I have got no doubt we’ll be bringing them home in the very near future,” she later added.

“The twins keep me going – if they can get through this, I can get through anything.But it is definitely a traumatic experience.”

A former mental health nurse and addiction counsellor herself, Jade lives in Derby with her husband Steve. “I’m just so proud of my babies,” she gushed. “They’re doing absolutely amazing. They’re doing all the things that we were told they wouldn’t do – they’re crying, they’re surviving.

“The doctors were saying the babies wouldn’t survive at this gestation. I was still two weeks away from what the UK classes as viable and the babies were given a 0% chance of survival.”

Doctors are not required to medically intervene with babies born prior to 24 weeks gestation as they are not considered to be viable, however, Queens Medical Hospital in Nottingham is a teaching hospital and doctors intervene with babies born 23 weeks and later. Jade was still 30 hours away from the 23-week mark, but doctors chose to intervene after her babies showed signs of life when born.

“It was only because I was at a teaching hospital and that the babies were born with signs of life that they chose to intervene medically. The doctors are amazed, they’re really rooting for us now. There’s not one surgeon in the hospital who hasn’t heard about our twins,” she commented in an earlier interview.

Together for 14 years, Jade and Steve had been trying to have children for 11 years – with eight cycles of IVF and several implantations of frozen embryos – before she finally got pregnant with Harry and Harley. Jade had also suffered an ectopic pregnancy before they decided to start IVF in 2010.

Deciding to share their journey with the public online, Jade has been keeping friends and family updated on the twin’s progress via an Instagram account called “twins22weeks”. Both twins are now home, not long after they’re original due date of February 24. Confirming that she and Steve are “doing great”, she’s absolutely sure that her miracle babies will “go down in medical history”. “I’m pretty sure they’ll be having one of the wards named after them because everyone is just amazed by them!”