Astonishing Photos: Birth of Second Most Premature Twin Babies Ever to Survive

Lovely Photos Of Before And After Pregnancy

These jaw-dropping photos show the moment the second most premature babies ever to survive arrived into the world. Twin sisters Makayla and Makenzie Pope arrived at 22 weeks and three days, with doctors warning their mother Tracey Hernandez, from Durham in North Carolina, that they had zero chance of survival.

Astonishing snaps taken at their birth shows one of the infants still in their amniotic sac as they were delivered at Duke Universty Hospital in Durham on December 8 2019, with Makenzie weighing just 1 pound 1 ounce and Makalya arriving slightly heavier, at 1 pound 3 ounces. The little girls were born so prematurely that their skin was transparent, and their eyes were fused shut.

And despite the warnings from doctors, the baby sisters have thrived, with their excited parents set to take them home next month.

Their proud mum, Tracey Hernandez, 33, said: ‘When I went into labor they told me the survival rate for them was 0%. They said that babies born at less than 23 weeks just don’t make it.

Birth of Second Most Premature Twin Babies Ever to Survive

‘They were only able to help them survive because they both came out breathing on their own. If they had struggled to breathe the doctors said they wouldn’t have been able to resuscitate.

‘The moment I saw them gasping for air was the best moment of my life, it was such a relief.

‘When I first saw them I just thought ‘wow’. They were here and they are not even developed yet.

‘Their skin looked see through and they could fit in the palm of my hand.

Birth of Second Most Premature Twin Babies Ever to Survive

‘Everyone is just so shocked at how well they are doing and no one gave them a chance before they arrived.

‘I am so lucky and I know it’s an absolute miracle. I feel blessed.

‘They are a creation of God and I have watched them develop outside the womb.’

Makayla and Makenzie were born at 7.55pm and 8.04pm on December 8 2019, four months before their due date of April 9 this year.

Mother-of-three, Tracey, has said there is no explanation as to why the twins decided it was time to enter the world so soon.

Birth of Second Most Premature Twin Babies Ever to Survive

She recalls how she was out Christmas shopping on their premature arrival date when she started to feel ‘uncomfortable’.

Just a few hours later Tracey found herself in labor, 18 weeks early, and terrified the twins would be delivered stillborn.

She said: ‘I freaked out big time. I was sad to be honest, sad that I hadn’t prepared for them properly or had my baby shower and maternity shoot.

‘I was nervous and scared and just thought ‘is this really happening’.

‘I couldn’t believe I found myself there.

Birth of Second Most Premature Twin Babies Ever to Survive

‘But I do wish they had stayed inside for a little longer. We still don’t know if they will have issues further down the line.

‘If I could have prevented this 129 days in hospital then of course I would have done. It has been so hard for me to see them in a hospital bed with wires and tubes attached to them.

‘I feel a bit like my motherhood has been stripped, but it has been bittersweet and it has been worth it.’

When they were delivered after only 22 weeks and three days in the womb, the twins entered the history books as the world’s second most premature babies to ever survive.

According to Guinness World Records the most premature twins are Keeley and Kambry Ewoldt, from Iowa, who were born at a gestational age of 22 weeks 1 day, or 155 days, on November 24 2018.

The most premature baby ever recorded was born in Germany back in November 2010. Freida Mangold was born at 21 weeks and five days. She shares the world record with James Elgin Gill who was also born 128 days early in Ottawa, Canada in 1987.

Babies born at 22 weeks are at the threshold of viability, and in the United States, the survival rate for babies born so soon is 0-10%. Doctors at many hospitals leave babies born at 23 weeks or earlier to die as only a handful out of 100 such babies survive. Many that do are left with disabilities.

Birth of Second Most Premature Twin Babies Ever to Survive

Babies born before 22 weeks are thought to have almost no chance of surviving because their lungs, heart and brain are not sufficiently developed.

Tracey, who is a nurse and is engaged to the father of the twins, Anthony Pope, 29, says the survival of Makayla and Makenzie raises questions about how late doctors should be allowed to carry out abortions.

Currently North Carolina’s abortion law bans the termination of a fetus after 20 weeks except to save the life or health of the mother. Abortion is legal in all US states but individual states regulate or limit the use of abortion.

Tracey, who describes herself as pro-life, said: ‘My babies are proof that 22 weekers can survive if given the chance.

‘It’s not right that life is only viable at 23 weeks. Normally babies born before then are just written off and not given a chance to survive.

‘I just don’t agree with the abortion laws as they stand at all.My two babies came out alive and looked fully formed.

Birth of Second Most Premature Twin Babies Ever to Survive

‘Everyone is entitled to a choice but the legislation should be much lower.

‘Babies this small can survive and are a real life…the limit should be lower.’

Currently in the US a baby’s life is considered to be medically viable around 24 weeks, which is also the legal limit for abortion in the UK.

Many babies who are born so young have severe disabilities or illness but, aside from non-critical breathing problems caused by their under-developed lungs, Makayla and Makenzie should go on to make a full recovery.

Birth of Second Most Premature Twin Babies Ever to Survive

They are still in neonatal intensive care in hospital but doctors are hopeful of being able to send them home with mom, Tracey, dad, Anthony, a warehouse operative and their big sister, Jada, aged 8, next month.

After successfully overcoming the crucial first few weeks of their fragile lives Makayla and Makenzie are being taught how to breathe on their own and feed from a bottle.

Tracey said: ‘We are still in ICU but we do hope to go home soon. We’re going into transitional care soon which is the step before we can go home.

‘I couldn’t hold or kiss them for the first month of their lives, and that was really tough.

Birth of Second Most Premature Twin Babies Ever to Survive

‘It killed me inside but at least I knew my babies were getting stronger every day. I’ve had to watch them grow up inside a box in hospital.

‘It has been a long and draining journey so far but we are nearly there and the end is so close now.

‘They have both amazed me and they continue to amaze me.

‘They are a blessing and I am so proud to call myself their mom.’