The term "Irish twins," referring to siblings born within the same calendar year, could take on a whole new meaning after a couple in Waterford, Ireland, had two twin daughters born 87 days apart
Maria Jones-Elliot's water broke June 1, 2012, just 23 weeks into her pregnancy, leading to the premature birth of her daughter Amy. She was four months early and weighed just over a pound.
The other baby, named Katie, remained in the womb.
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"The doctors told me there was very little hope of them surviving as they were so premature," Jones-Elliot told the Daily Mirror.
"Amy was fighting for life in an incubator and Katie was struggling to survive in my womb," said Jones-Elliot. "It was the hardest three months of our lives. But Chris [the father] kept saying, 'Where there’s life there’s hope.'"
On Aug. 27, during her 36th week of pregnancy, physicians at Waterford Regional Hospital induced Jones-Elliot for a second time, giving way to Katie's birth about an hour later.
"For a baby delivered at 23 weeks to survive, is a huge achievement from everyone’s point of view," Dr. Sam Coulter Smith, chief of Dublin’s Rotunda Hospital and an expert in obstetrics and gynecology, told the Irish Times. "For a 23-week twin to survive is even bigger because twins often behave more prematurely than singleton babies. That really is right at the absolute border of viability."
Jones-Elliot and her husband Chris have two other children – Olivia, 13, and Jack, 11.
They were quick to label their newborns "little miracles."
"I call the girls our little miracles," Jones-Elliot said. "Usually you experience nothing but joy at the birth of a new baby, but it was so achingly bitter-sweet as both of their lives hung in the balance."
Jones-Elliot recalled reaching a breaking point during the painful process that strengthened her reserve, making her confident that both her daughters would survive the ordeal.
"I made up my mind I wouldn’t leave hospital unless it was with both my girls," Jones-Elliot told the Mirror. "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."
Guinness World Records spokesman Damian Field confirmed the record.
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"If the claim of 87 days between the birth of the twins is substantiated they will break the world record," he told the Mirror.
The previous record was 84 days between births, held by Peggy Lynn of Pennsylvania.
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