A PAIR of miracle twins born with rare birth defects are set to spend their first Christmas at home after overcoming major surgeries.

Parents Lindsay Rhodes and Stephen Hardiker, from Burnley, have praised the care twins April and Evie received from nurses, doctors and surgeons at Saint Mary’s Hospital and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

April and Evie were born at Burnley General Hospital in February nearly four months premature, both with the rare birth defect; Oesophageal Atresia (OA) with Tracheo-Oesophageal Fistula (TOF).

The defect, which can result in life-threatening problems such as choking and pneumonia if not treated quickly, meant the twins would not be able to swallow as the oesophagus is not connected.

Within hours of being born, April and Evie underwent life-saving surgery at Royal Manchester, led by consultant surgeons David Wilkinson and Nick Lansdale who operated on one baby each.

Following surgery, during which they were successfully fitted with a gastrostomy which meant they could be fed via a tube directly into their stomach, the twins were transferred to Saint Mary’s intensive care unit.

Following surgery, Evie’s health was very fragile and she spent 10 weeks on a ventilator whilst being cared for on NICU. She was resuscitated by the team multiple times and required very intensive nursing care, with her own nurse caring for her 24 hours a day.

For five months the parents lived onsite at Ronald McDonald House. April was discharged in June and lived there with Lindsay and Stephen until Evie was well enough to go home on July 20.

Lindsay and Stephen said: “The work that is carried out between the teams across both hospitals in amazing, and the nurses and surgical teams are incredible. I cannot thank them enough for their ongoing care and compassion throughout one of the most difficult times for us. They never gave up hope and the girls are now our little miracles.”

Mr Lansdale, consultant neonatal surgeon at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, said: “Oesophageal atresia affecting both twins is extremely rare. April and Evie’s surgery was made challenging by their tiny size at birth, with each twin’s oesophagus being approximately the diameter of a piece of spaghetti. Their outcomes are a tribute to the Manchester neonatal surgery multi-disciplinary teams and their family’s support.”

Lindsay and Stephen added: “To all of the nurses, doctors, surgeons and anaesthetists, we cannot thank you enough.”