UK’s most premature twins born at 22 weeks celebrate 1st birthday with doctors and nurses

The UK’s most premature twins to survive – born at just 22 weeks and five days – will celebrate their first birthday this week.

Harley and Harry Crane will mark Wednesday’s milestone by returning for a reunion with the doctors and nurses who helped them pull through.

Parents Jade, 40, and Steve, 52, will deliver a birthday cake and 22 care packages to parents with babies in the intensive care unit at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, containing hand-knitted clothes and blankets and cards telling the twins’ story.

Jade said: “I made the care packages over the last two months with the help of my mum and my neighbour.

“We hope Harley and Harry’s story will give people hope, as there wasn’t a lot when I was looking for other people with babies of this kind of gestation period.”

Harry weighed 520g and Harley 500g when they were born, after the couple spent £50,000 and 11 years trying to become parents.

Former mental health nurse Jade said: “I had six miscarriages, as well as a couple of cycles where it was debatable if IVF had worked.

“My early miscarriages along the way meant I never had a baby bump and only had a 20-week scan with the twins, which wasfine.”

But with many hospitals only acting to save premature babies beyond 24 weeks, she and Steve knew it was touch and go.

Harry was discharged in March, at five months old, and the couple finally welcomed Harley home the following week, after 140 days.

The twins were given a “corrective age” so development milestones can be judged on their original due date.

Jade, of Heanor, Derbys, said: “It feels incredible to be parents.

“We couldn’t imagine being here this time last year. They’re meeting all the milestones of their corrective age, which is eight months, as that’s how old they’d be if they were born when they were due.

“We were told they’d probably have no quality of life but they’re the opposite – they couldn’t be happier.”

An Instagram account Jade started in hospital as a diary for family now serves as a reference for others in a similar position.

She said: “I would say to other parents with prem babies to hang on in there and have hope

“Keep your head in today and take it one day at a time. At times we took it one minute at a time.

“And reach out for support as there are others who understand.

“You can be living in the hospital surrounded by doctors and nurses and you can still feel very lonely.”