Teeny tiny twins George and Harrison Kent were born 15 weeks premature, with a combined weight of less than 3.5lbs. Despite everything that was stacked against them, they have defied the odds and have finally been allowed home, after five months spent in six different hospitals.
The boys suffered numerous health problems including twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, where one twin takes too much blood from the other during development.
Doctors feared that would not survive, but they've now gone home to Bocking, near Braintree, Essex, weighing 7lb, 11oz and 7lb 14oz. They were just 1lb, 9oz and 1lb, 12oz when they were born.
Mum Melanie, 25, says: "They are my little miracles. They will be strong little fighters."
Nursery nurse Melanie and her husband Stuart, 26, who is a British Gas engineer, discovered they were expecting identical twins in August.
But at 16 weeks, doctors said their boys were suffering twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, with Harrison taking too much blood from George, which could have stopped his brother growing.
Melanie underwent laser treatment to drain four litres of excess amniotic fluid from around George as, without the treatment, she could have lost both boys. She was also warned it could induce early labour.
Three days later, she began to give birth, and faced the difficult choice of either a natural birth, which the boys may not have survived, or a complicated Caesarean which could have made her infertile.
In the end, the boys were born naturally at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford. They were whisked away to different hospitals - George to Chertsey and Harrison to Luton and Dunstable - while Melanie remained at Broomfield with an infection.
She saw her babies two days later. Months of travelling miles between hospitals followed.
George, who was moved to Norfolk and Norwich Hospital a few days after his birth, had a tear in his small bowel but again beat the odds stacked against him.
Harrison - who was moved to the same hospital earlier this year - had necrotising enterocolitis; a gastrointestinal disease affecting the bowel which resulted in three quarters of his bowel being removed.
He also needed a stent fitted to close a duct on his heart at Great Ormond Street Hospital, and doctors feared the worst when he was struck down with group B streptococcus in March.
"His body was in complete shutdown but 24 hours later he was like a completely different baby," says Melanie.
Both twins also needed laser eye treatment at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, to save their central sight but have lost some of their periphery sight.
They have now been allowed home to Bocking, with George now weighing 7lb, 11oz and his brother 7lb, 14oz.
"George has always been quite laid back and he loves the attention," says Melanie.
"Harrison, when he was younger, absolutely couldn't stand anyone touching him. He used to fidget but now he always wants to be held. I don't know if it's because they are redheads, but they got a bit of a temper!"
Enjoy your babies Melanie and Stuart!
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