These breathtaking pictures capture the moment when Makayla and Makenzie Pope, twin sisters, were born prematurely at just 22 weeks and 3 days old, making them the second-most premature babies to survive. Despite doctors telling their mother, Tracey Hernandez from Durham in North Carolina, that her children had no chance of survival, the twins defied the odds. The images were taken on December 8, 2019, at Duke University Hospital in Durham and show one of the babies still in the amniotic sac, with Makenzie weighing only 1 pound 1 ounce and Makalya slightly heavier at 1 pound 3 ounces.
The newborn girls were born extremely prematurely, causing their skin to be translucent and their eyes to be closed shut. Tracey Hernandez, their mother, proudly shared that during her labor, the medical professionals informed her that the survival rate of the babies was zero percent. Babies born before 23 weeks are known to have a very low chance of survival.
Thankfully, the twins have exceeded the expectations of both doctors and family members despite initial warnings. Makayla and Makenzie were born on December 8, 2019, which was four months ahead of their due date of April 9, 2020. Tracey, who is a mother of three, stated that there is no clear reason why the twins decided to arrive early. She remembers feeling uneasy while out Christmas shopping on the day of their premature birth.
Tracey experienced labor 18 weeks earlier than expected, causing her to worry about the survival of her twins. Keeley and Kambry Ewoldt from Iowa hold the record for being born at the most premature age, according to Guinness World Records. They were born after just 155 days or 22 weeks and one day on November 24, 2018.
The record for the most premature baby ever delivered was set in November 2010 in Germany. Freida Mangold was born at just 21 weeks and 5 days old. This is a remarkable feat, as babies born at 22 weeks are considered to be on the threshold of viability. In the United States, the survival rate for babies born so early is between 0-10%. However, Freida and another baby, James Elgin Gill, who was born 128 days early in Canada in 1987, hold the global record. Makayla and Makenzie, two other premature babies, were able to overcome their initial health challenges and are now being taught basic skills like breathing and feeding from a bottle.