Bransholme mother's twins were born weighing 2lb ... now they're coming home
THEY were born more than three months early, fighting for their lives.
Tiny, vulnerable and each weighing less than 2lb, it was feared twins Ronni Mae and Lexi Rose Docherty would not survive.
But soon, the sisters are expected to be allowed home thanks to the care provided by staff at Hull And East Yorkshire Women And Children's Hospital.
It is a moment parents Paul Docherty and Claire Wingfield cannot wait for, as it will mean they can be together as a family at home for the first time.
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Claire, 30, said: "When I first saw them, I didn't think they would make it.
"It was so scary going in the room to see them.
"They didn't even look like babies when they were first born and you could almost see through their skin.
"But they are chunky now and, even though they are only 6lb, that is amazing compared with what they weighed before.
"The staff at the hospital saved our daughters' lives."
Claire, of Bransholme, began to experience stomach pains on June 10 and went to the women and children's hospital in Anlaby Road, west Hull.
Her babies were not due until September 26, but she was told she was 8cm dilated and the labour could only be delayed, not stopped.
For the next four days, Claire had to stay on a tilted bed and have steroids in an attempt to slow the labour down and allow the twins' lungs to develop as much as possible.
She gave birth to Lexi naturally at 9.03am on June 14. Lexi weighed just 1lb 8oz.
Claire was then taken to theatre, as she was struggling to deliver Ronni and it was thought she may need a Caesarean section.
But the baby girl was born breech at 9.36am, weighing 1lb 11oz.
The girls spent two months in the neonatal intensive care unit, receiving support to help them breathe.
However, Ronni needed extra help, as well as laser eye surgery, as it was feared she could be left blind without it.
Paul and Claire were unable to hold their daughters for three weeks but have visited them every day to be by their side.
Claire said she is counting down the days to taking her daughters home, with everything prepared for their arrival.
"I'm a bit nervous but excited," she said. "Everything is ready for them.
"It's going to be mayhem when they come home, but in a good way.
"It has been a rollercoaster, with so many ups and downs. But I can't wait for them to come home.
"It will definitely be worth the sleepless nights and I'm looking forward to the family meeting them for the first time."
Claire said the girls, who are not identical, have started to develop their own personalities.
"I think Ronni is going to be the feisty one because she keeps pulling Lexi's hair," she said.
"Lexi tries to eat Ronni's hands, so she is the hungry one."
As the couple prepare to begin family life together, Claire said she will never forget the hospital staff.
"They are amazing," she said. "You can't put into words how good they are. They have been fantastic with us and I would like to say a massive thank you to them."