A set of miracle IVF twins born three-and-a-half months premature were so tiny – doctors put them in BUBBLE WRAP to keep them warm.
Mia and Harrison Beckett-Longstaff were born at 26 weeks measuring just eight inches each, and were so underdeveloped they looked like “aliens”.
They were battered and bruised and neither was breathing – but miraculously, doctors managed to resuscitate them, despite their chance of survival being just 20 per cent.
The siblings were popped into plastic bags and swaddled in bubble wrap before being rushed to intensive care, where they stayed for almost three months.
Both had huge holes in their hearts, had suffered brain haemorrhages, endured blood transfusions and contracted deadly infections.
But now, six months on, the tiny twins are finally at home with parents AJ Beckett-Longstaff, 25, and Stacey Gray, 27 in Bridgwater, Somerset – and they’re thriving.
Amazed dad AJ said: “There was no crying when they were born. There was no movement.
“I was expecting them to look like normal babies, just a smaller version. But they didn’t come out looking like babies. They came out looking like aliens.”
“You could see through their skin and they both had really badly bruised bodies. They looked like those little gooey aliens you played with when you were a child.
“As soon as they were breathing, the doctors wrapped them in these little plastic bags, gave them little hats and put them in bubble wrap before taking them to intensive care.
“It was crazy. It was like seeing someone’s dinner in a sandwich bag, which zipped at the top. I just fell to bits.”
Full-time mum Stacey and AJ, who also have a seven-year-old daughter, Eloise, had been trying for children for more than a year with no luck, so they resorted to IVF.
On Christmas Eve 2014 they found out Stacey was expecting twins – but just 25 weeks into the pregnancy, she started bleeding heavily and suddenly went into labour.
After being examined by doctors, Stacey was rushed to Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, where she and AJ were told there was an 80 per cent chance the twins wouldn’t make it.
On May 12 this year, at 8.30am, she gave birth naturally to tiny Mia, who weighed just 2.1lbs, after a whole week of being in labour.
Doctors realised Stacey was suffering from a sepsis so Harrison was induced, and just 18 minutes later, at 8.48am, he was born, weighing just 2.2lbs.
Both of the twins had to be removed using forceps and neither was breathing when they were born – but miraculously, they managed to survive the birth.
AJ said: “When Stacey went into labour 25 weeks into the pregnancy we were devastated. We didn’t think there was any hope at all.
“Our consultant told us there was a 75-80 per cent chance they wouldn’t both make it.
“After seven days in labour, Stacey gave birth to Mia who wasn’t breathing.”
“They hooked all these machines up to her and after about 15 minutes, the doctor turned around and nodded at me and gave me the thumbs up.
“As he did that, they said Harrison had to come out too because Stacey had an infection. He wasn’t breathing either, but they managed to resuscitate him too.”
After the birth, AJ and Stacey were told the twins had a 40 per cent chance of survival, and after the first five days that went up to 50 per cent.
Mia and Harrison could not be touched for two days or held for two weeks.
At two and a half weeks old, Stacey and AJ had their tiny babies christened in the intensive care unit in a “lovely ceremony” with 15 guests.
And after five weeks, Mia was strong enough to be transferred to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, Somerset, closer to home – with Harrison joining her a week later.
Eventually, a few days before their August 14 due date, aged around three months old, they were allowed to come home.
But 24 hours later Stacey and AJ were forced to call and ambulance when Harrison stopped breathing, and he ended up spending another two weeks in intensive care.
Then, a week after he returned home, they both contracted a lung virus and had to go back into hospital for another week.
It is only now, six months on, that they are in a more stable condition, with Mia weighing 12.3lbs and Harrison weighing 10.13lbs.
Stacey, who was born 14 weeks prematurely herself, said: “It is so lovely to have them home. It’s amazing just seeing them smile.
“When we first brought them back, we were so nervous and every little thing would worry us.
“But now they are doing really well. We are so grateful to all the staff at Derriford and Musgrove Park – it’s amazing.”
AJ, who works at a travelling funfair, added: “Those first weeks were an absolute nightmare. We were living life by the hour, but now they’re doing really well.
“It just melts my heart. They have just started to notice each other in the last few days. They look at each other and smile. It’s the cutest thing.”
To donate to the Keep Me Close appeal which is fundraising for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Derriford Hospital, visit www.justgiving.com/Tracey-Clark6.