Northern Ireland couple welcome six-week-old 'miracle' conjoined twins

  • The proud parents speak to UTV News reporter Judith Hill

A Northern Ireland couple who have welcomed conjoined twins have labelled their birth a 'miracle.'

Six-week-old twins Annabelle and Isabelle Bateson are joined from the chest to the pelvis.

The babies were born in March in London's University College Hospital.

They have separate hearts and share a liver, bladder and bowel, have one leg each and a shared fused leg.

Proud parents Hannah and Dan insist the twins have defied the odds at every stage.

The twins' mum says they "constantly hug each other".

The twins' mum Hannah says it is like Annabelle and Isabelle are always hugging each other. Credit: Family photo

"They're miracles. Miracle is the word we've used from the day we found out we were having them," Hannah said. "We got pregnant with the first cycle of our fertility treatment."

It has been a rollercoaster journey full of emotion and challenge for the Toomebridge family, who continually express how much their girls were wanted and loved.

Hannah said: "You maybe go to a scan worried that there's something wrong. I think a normal feeling is to feel very nervous going to a scan, especially first pregnancies but we were both committed to it."

The couple’s first scan revealed something was different about their pregnancy. Since then it’s been a constant set of unknown circumstances.

"You felt in limbo because we knew they were conjoined but we knew so little about the information about the extent of the conjoin," Hannah said.

Now, the family is preparing for the next challenge as surgery to begin the twins' separation is scheduled for next month.

"Their wee bodies are different. The girls will have prosthetic legs, they'll have one leg each and a prosthetic leg each."

She continued: "Our ideal world? We'll be coming back here for the next 18 years - which is a very scary thing to say but if we're coming back for the next 18 years, it means the girls survived."

Both parents have said the girls have been determined and proved everyone wrong so far.

"Long may it continue," Hannah added.