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Miracle twins (4) who defied odds to survive

Meet twins Alexandra and Taylor Hanley, who were born extremely prematurely but who have overcome serious complications to lead happy lives.

The twins, now aged four, from Celbridge in Kildare, were born at 28 weeks, with Alexandra weighing just 1lb 15oz.

Alexandra and Taylor, who weighed 2lb 15oz, are Mono-Mono twins, an extremely rare set of identical twins who share one amniotic sac, which can often result in one twin receiving more nourishment than the other.

Proud mum Andrea Dermody told the Herald of the horror moment when she was told that her babies might not pull through.

"You can see that Taylor is a little bit bigger than Alexandra because before they are born the smaller twin is at risk and we were told at 20 weeks that Alexandra more or less wouldn't survive," said Andrea.

However, Andrea and her husband Seamus refused to give up hope and Alexandra has now rewarded them for their faith and has grown into a "lovely, stubborn little girl", according to her mum.

Her mum has described the support that they received at the Coombe hospital as "fantastic" and something that has continued to this day.

"The support group for mothers and premature babies which meets once a month is a great support and it allows mothers who have babies in incubators to go down and see children running around.

"That gives you great hope that there's a chance you'll have a good outcome," said Andrea, who revisited the hospital's Intensive Care Unit for the first time since her girls left.

Andrea, Seamus and the twins were at launch of the Coombe Charity Calendar by Friends of the Coombe charity yesterday to raise funds to assist in the development of the Women and Infants University Hospital.