MIRACLE twins Archie and Harley Garthwaite – who were born over four months early – are celebrating their first birthdays.
The gorgeous pair came into the world a staggering 17 weeks early, and their parents and doctors believed they would not survive, or at least without any major disabilities.
But the duo have defied all the odds and reached their first milestone birthday, much to the utter delight and relief of their smitten mum and dad, Hayley Kennedy, 20, and Billy Garthwaite, 21.
In another twist to the twins’ remarkable story, they actually celebrate their birthday on different days having made their big arrival either side of midnight.
Hayley, of Irvine Road, Hartlepool, said: “We’re the proudest and luckiest mam and dad in the world.
“I just think it’s amazing,
“I look at them, and I can’t believe that they’re ours and that they’re here.
“This time last year when I’d had them, I honestly thought that I’m not going to have these two next year.
“I just thought that they wouldn’t survive.
“I’m so, so glad that they proved everyone wrong.”
She added: “This first year’s gone so fast, I can’t believe that they’re one!
“I’m not sad because obviously I’d rather be planning their birthday party than the alternative.
“It’s a success that they’re here, but at the same time I’m like ‘my little babies are growing up so fast!’”
Archie, who celebrated his birthday yesterday, weighed in at just 1lb 4oz while Harley – who turned one-year-old today – weighed 1lb 6oz.
The cuties have now piled on the weight due to their love of food, and Quaver crisps, and have reached 16lb and 13lb respectively.
And although the pair are not yet crawling, they can shuffle around the floor while lying on their backs.
Hayley said: “They’re proper little characters now.
“Archie is a little horror!
“He’s spoilt, and he wants to be picked up all the time.
“Harley, on the other hand, is laid back, and just gets on with it.”
She said: “When they’re lying on the floor, they talk to each other and mumble words, and are always laughing and smiling.
“They’re so jolly.”
Hayley says the twins, who had open heart surgery at just two weeks and a month old along with operations to correct bowel problems and underdeveloped eyes, have escaped their rare premature birth unscathed.
But Harley still has to have a constant supply of oxygen, which will eventually be reduced as he gets older.
The twins are celebrating their birthdays with a party and a bouncy castle at home on Saturday with family and friends.