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Australian mama Ann Le's daughters, Olivia and Zoe, spent 29 weeks in the womb together, sharing an amniotic sac and placenta. This is what's known as mono-chorionic mono-amniotic twinning, or "momo twins." It's a high-risk type of gestation and the twins needed to be born early via emergency cesarean section to save their lives.

After nearly 29 weeks growing together inside their mama, the girls were separated at birth, each 2-pound baby needing extensive treatment in the NICU.

After 27 days they finally reunited on their mama's chest, and as Le wrote in a now-viral Instagram post, "Zoe immediately went in for the hug."

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"Olivia was placed on my chest first, followed by Zoe who reached out her left arm in preparation to hug her sister," Le told TODAY Parents. "They both just laid on my chest and snuggled up to each other for a while. Everything was perfect — we finally felt like a family."

Seeing her girls back together has been a huge relief for Le, who gave birth in January after two weeks of being inpatient at the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne. The plan was for Le to stay in the hospital from 26 weeks until 32 weeks, following the standard of care for momo twin pregnancies, but the twins' hearts just couldn't wait that long.

"I so badly wanted the girls to get to the planned 32-week mark. We always knew they were going to premmie babies, but not this premmie (28 weeks + 5 days). We were excited to meet them but also devastated that they couldn't stay in for longer. But, as the doctor said, we could stretch it out for a couple more days, but this might cause the babies more distress and lead to a worse outcome," Le wrote on her blog.

And so the girls arrived early, and after nearly a month apart they are clearly happy to be back together.


"Life with babies in NICU is pretty damn hard. It's exhausting, stressful and always unpredictable. But when I look down and see these two, I forget about how difficult things are and realise [sic] just how lucky we are to have these two," Le wrote on Instagram.

It's pretty clear that the girls feel lucky to have each other, too. And although Le says NICU life is hard for her and her husband, Jason Poon, the couple is enjoying every minute with their reunited miracle twins.

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When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."

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