Twin girls Amy and Katie Elliott of Ireland have not only beat those odds by being born 87 days apart, they now hold the Guinness World Record for the “longest interval between the birth of twins.” Before the Elliott girls, the record had been held by twins from Pennsylvania with birth dates 84 days apart.
The story of Amy and Kate’s birth is somewhat of a miracle itself. The UK’s Mirror reported that parents Chris and Maria Jones-Elliott were equally thrilled and worried about the abnormal arrival of their twin girls. “I call the girls our little miracles. As I held Amy for the first time I stroked my bump and prayed to God. I just wanted my girls to be together and safe and well, “ Maria said.
When her first twin daughter Amy arrived at exactly 24 weeks, which in many cases can be dangerous, the mom was understandably nervous about the health of both babies.
“Amy was fighting for life in an incubator and Katie was struggling to survive in my womb. It was the hardest three months of our lives. But Chris kept saying, ‘Where there’s life there’s hope.’” And he couldn’t have been closer to the truth.
After having her water break at 23 weeks and five days, Maria was told her babies might not make it. “The doctors told me there was very little hope of them [the babies] surviving as they were so premature,” she said. “Chris did everything he could to keep the faith. “I thank God Chris was by my side. I was sobbing and in shock but I refused to give up. I kept saying, ‘This is not going to happen — I’m not going to lose them.’ I willed my babies to fight for life.”
After a failed induction attempt to try to get Kate to come out, Maria decided to let nature take its course. “I made up my mind I wouldn’t leave hospital [sic] unless it was with both my girls. Even if it meant that I would have to lie in bed for the full three months I had left of my pregnancy — I would do whatever it took,” she said.
As Maria awaited Kate’s arrival, she also had to wait 5 weeks before she could even hold Amy. “She was so tiny I could barely feel her on my chest. She loved it. Her heartbeat stabilized as I held her. I couldn’t even speak. I kissed her head and held her.”
What happened next, was another miracle in itself. “I remember stroking my bump at the same time [as she held Amy], hoping for a miracle. Katie immediately reacted. She kicked and started moving, as if she knew. The second time I held Amy the following day she turned and put her head towards her sister inside the womb,” said Maria. It was like Kate was holding on to make sure her twin sister was healthy.
Finally at 36 weeks, Maria was induced again and within about an hour, she gave birth to Kate. “When they put Katie in my arms she smiled at me and the nurse said, ‘she’s fine.’ We both cried,” Maria remembered. After a couple of hours, the nurses reunited the twins by putting Kate’s cot next to her sister’s incubator. “The nurse took Katie and put her in the incubator, facing her sister as they slept and Amy immediately smiled. There was no doubt that they recognized each other,” said Maria.
The twins joined their older sister Olivia, 13, and brother Jack, 11. The best part? Each twin gets to have her own special birthday — Amy’s on June 1 and Katie’s on August 27 — but we’re pretty sure mom and dad won’t mind celebrating their little miracles by throwing two parties instead of one!