Twin girls Esme and Iris Wilson born at 23 weeks and six days go home from Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital with mum Josie Wilson

Iris and Esme Wilson as they prepare to leave Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Shel

Iris and Esme Wilson as they prepare to leave Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Shellie Wall Photography - Credit: Archant

Two babies born at just 23 weeks and six days have come home from hospital with their mum for the first time.

From left, Esme and Iris Wilson, shortly after their birth Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

From left, Esme and Iris Wilson, shortly after their birth Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Courtesy NNUH - Credit: Archant

Esme and Iris Wilson were born more than 16 weeks early on December 16 and cared for by the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The twins spent 113 days in the unit and went home one day after their original due date of April 7.

Mother, Josie Wilson, from Norwich, said she was thrilled to finally be taking her 'little fighters' home.

Ms Wilson said: 'Seeing them for the first time in the incubator was surreal.

Dr Priya Muthukumar, consultant neonatologist. Picture: Archant Library

Dr Priya Muthukumar, consultant neonatologist. Picture: Archant Library - Credit: Archant


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'The girls were both so tiny; we knew we had to be prepared for a tough journey ahead and it was going to be down to the girls to fight through.'

Ms Wilson went to the hospital's delivery suite last December having felt uncomfortable.

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Upon examination, she was told that she was 5cm dilated and her babies were on their way.

Iris arrived first, weighing just 1lb 7oz (660g).

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: James Bass.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: James Bass. - Credit: Evening News � 2009

Fifteen minutes later, Esme was born weighing 1lb 6oz (630g). After a quick cuddle, the twins were transferred to the specialist services of the hospital's NICU for monitoring.

A 'wonderful day' for the hospital

The NICU at the hospital cares for babies requiring the most complex care, supervision and treatments including surgery.

Dr Priya Muthukumar, consultant neonatologist, was part of the team looking after Esme and Iris.

She said: 'This is a wonderful day for the family and our teams here at the hospital.

'Esme and Iris will be some of the shortest-gestation twins in the region to have been treated and successfully returned home.

'When babies are born this early, they can face huge challenges in terms of their healthy development and it is testament to the strength of the family, the hard work and expertise of our professionals and wider advances in neonatal care that we can celebrate this superb milestone.'

Dr Muthukumar said her team was humbled by the strength and determination Ms Wilson had shown, and were grateful to her for agreeing to take part in research studies in the unit.

Esme and Iris progressed well during their time on NICU, breastfeeding throughout.

Both girls were given a toy rabbit following their birth, at which time the rabbits were considerably larger.

They have now outgrown their cuddly companions with Esme and Iris now weighing 5lb 7oz and 5lb 4oz, respectively.

Heartfelt thanks

Ms Wilson said she wanted to give her heartfelt thanks to the hospital team.

She said: 'Everyone involved in the care of Esme and Iris has shown kindness and dedication, from the team who helped to deliver them, to the NICU staff who have been on this journey with us every step of the way.

'I'd like to offer them all my thanks.'

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