Twins Harley and Harry Crane arrived home from the hospital this spring, months after doctors predicted that they had a “zero percent chance” of surviving.
The Mirror reports the twins were born prematurely at 22 weeks and five days of pregnancy and spent 140 days in the hospital. On March 14, their parents, Jade and Steve Crane, took their babies home for the first time.
“I’m so proud of my babies. They’re little fighters. 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,” their mother said.
Harley and Harry are believed to be the youngest premature twins ever to survive in the United Kingdom, and their lives are miracles in more ways than one.
For more than a decade, the Cranes struggled with infertility, and they lost three unborn babies to miscarriages before they became pregnant with Harley and Harry, according to the Liverpool Echo.
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Jade Crane said she worried throughout her pregnancy that she might lose the twins, too.
“I was so fearful of a miscarriage or something going wrong. I was still in disbelief when we got to 20 weeks …” she remembered. “The few bits of clothes that I did buy made me think that I better keep the tags on just in case. You just don’t want to let yourself believe.”
In late October, at 22 weeks of pregnancy, Jade Crane said she began leaking fluid and decided to go to the Queens Medical Hospital in Nottingham. There, her worries grew worse.
“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 zero percent chance of survival,” she remembered.
Abortions are legal for any reason up to 24 weeks in the United Kingdom, and some hospitals do not attempt to provide life-saving treatment to premature babies born before this point. A 2015 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that, although a growing number of premature infants are surviving at 22 weeks of pregnancy, some hospitals refuse to provide life-saving medical care based on assumptions about the babies’ future quality of life.
“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,” Jade Crane said.
Crane went into premature labor and gave birth to the twins on Oct. 26, 2021. When doctors saw Harley and Harry moving around and crying, they abandoned their previous predictions and decided to attempt to save their lives, their mother said.
Though the tiny infants struggled through multiple health problems as a result of their premature birth, they overcame them all and grew well enough to go home this month, their parents said.
“The absolutely stunning doctors, nurses and surgeons have all been part of the making of this moment. It’s hard to say goodbye to them but I hope I never see them again,” Steve Crane said.
More premature babies are surviving and thriving thanks to modern medicine. In November, Guinness World Records recognized an Alabama boy who was born at 21 weeks as the youngest premature baby to survive. Curtis Means was born weighing 14.8 ounces at 21 weeks and one day in July 2020. In 2017, the journal Pediatrics highlighted the story of another girl who survived after being born at 21 weeks and four days of pregnancy.
Twenty Two Matters keeps a running list of hospitals confirmed to have saved babies born at 21 weeks to 22 weeks of pregnancy.