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Premature twins beat the odds and survive being born 17 weeks premature

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 9th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Two British baby boys have defied all odds and have survived being born 17 weeks prematurely. Harley and Archie Garthwaite were born in the 23rd week of the pregnancy, and after receiving post natal care, have been reunited with their family just in time for Christmas.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Little Harley Garthwaite has finally been reunited with his twin brother Archie at the family home in Hartlepool, Cleveland. Harley spent almost six months at the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton because his lungs were weaker than Archie's.

Their proud mom, 20-year-old Hayley Kennedy and their father Billy Garthwaite say they now feel "complete" that their family has been reunited. Harley has spent almost his entire life in the neo-natal ward while Archie was discharged from hospital in October, aged about four-months-old.

Born in their mother's 23rd week of the pregnancy made them one of the most premature sets of twins in the country to survive such a premature birth.
 
Both managed to survive in spite of the fact that both had holes in their tiny hearts. Archie underwent grueling open heart surgery at just two-weeks-old with Harley following two weeks later.

Medics also operated on both to correct bowel problems, performed laser treatment to stimulate their underdeveloped eyes and put them on ventilators and oxygen to help them to breathe.
Both remain on oxygen and their parents have to keep a supply of gas canisters with them, even when they go out in the stroller.

"It was absolutely fabulous bringing him home. I cried," Kennedy says. "It's just amazing to have them both together and we still can't believe we have them both after we thought we were going to lose them.

"It was just so emotional leaving the hospital after everything the staff has done for them. We can't thank them enough.

"We'd go to see him at the hospital for an hour or so and then have to go home. It was hard," Kennedy says.

Kennedy says her sons are much more content now they have been reunited and both wake up at exactly the same times for feedings.

"Archie sleeps so much better now Harley's home. He used to cry constantly, but now Harley's home he sleeps perfectly.

"They both get up every night at 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. for their bottles. I feel as though they know they're together, definitely."

The twins are getting bigger and stronger every day.

Survival rates for babies born between 22 and 25 weeks have risen overall since 1995. The survival of extremely premature babies has likewise increased, but the proportion of survivors with major complications has not changed.

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