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."
"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.