Amanda Thomas, 34, gave birth to twins Harper and Gunner, now one, almost three months prematurely at Monmouth medical centre in New Jersey.
Harper weighed a tiny 2lbs 10oz, whilst Gunner was just 2lbs 11oz.
” When I saw them for the first time they were all hooked up on wires and machines,” Amanda said.
Harper wasn’t growing or feeding properly so they thought it was something wrong with her intestines.
Instead they found she had a hole in her heart and she had to have surgery.
“It was terrifying, I just wanted them to survive.” She said.
Harper was taken to Columbia Hospital, New York, US, to have the hole stitched.
The pair spent weeks fighting for their lives in separate hospitals but their health gradually improved.
And when they were nearly a month old, their mom was able to cuddle the newborns for the first time.
The twins were reunited on January 12 and reached out to clutch each other’s hands as they were cradled by Amanda.
“Seeing them both there with lots of wires was too much to handle,” she said.
“That moment when they held hands was the moment it hit me that I had twins.
“It was the first time I was able to hold them both at the same time.
“When they went to hold hands, I realized these two have such a special bond and even a month apart from each other didn’t make them forget that bond.
Gunner was discharged on February 19 – a day before their original due date – but Harper had wasn’t able to go home until March 30, after spending 103 days in hospital and being fitted with a temporary feeding tube.
“I was so glad to have him home but at the same time it was horrible that Harper was still in hospital,” Amanda said.
Amanda and husband, Shawn, 36, a public works director, had struggled to conceive naturally so chose to try IVF and were ecstatic when they found out they were expecting twins after their first round having spent nearly thousands of dollars to do it.
The twins are now thriving and get on famously with each other, according to their mom.
“Harper especially went through a hard time and I am so grateful that they are both home and safe,” Amanda said.
“Their little personalities are now shining through.
“Harper is so sassy and Gunner is laid back – they are perfect.”
The pregnancy was going well until Amanda felt unwell at 27 weeks.
She was told by doctors at Monmouth medical centre that she had high blood pressure and they needed to keep her in for observation.
“I was miserable, and I just wanted my babies to be ok,” she said.
At 30 weeks Amanda’s waters broke and she had to be taken for a c-section to deliver the babies.
More than one year on, the twins are “doing amazingly”, according to their mom.
“They are a little delayed and have speech and physical therapy but they are incredible ”
“They are our little miracles”. Amanda said.