Parents whose twins needed a lengthy hospital stay after they were born eight-and-a-half weeks early are excited for their first Christmas as one big family.
Dylan and Evan Goddard both weighed less than 4lbs when they were born at Worthing Hospital in April and were whisked away to the premature baby unit.
Now Jo, 33, and her husband Gareth are looking forward to the festive season at their home in Tarring Road with the twins and their older sister Megan after a stressful year.
Jo, who works for St Barnabas House, said: “Looking back to last Christmas when I had just found out I was having twins it is quite special to think this Christmas they are here and our family is complete.
“It’s lovely to see how far they have come. You wouldn’t know to look at them that they were early, they have caught up.”
While she is thrilled with their progress, Jo said it is still hard looking back at to when the twins were born so early.
She said: “In the back of my mind was this thought that I might not be taking one or both of them home.
“It still gets me. I still think how tiny they were.
“It is amazing to look back and think they made it.”
Jo was again keen to praise staff at Worthing Hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU).
She said: “We want to say how grateful to the NHS in general, but Worthing Hospital and baby unit were just fantastic.
“They told us ‘you can phone anytime for an update’.
“When you are going through it you really appreciate how hard they work.
“When we came home we still had weekly visited from on of the nurses.
Jo said staff were incredibly reassuring and helped get them through scary moments, including when there was a chance the twins had developed Necrotising Enterocolitis, a serious illness where gut tissue starts to die.
Now the twins are happy and healthy, to the delight of Jo and Gareth, 32.
Jo said: “We waited so long for them to start smiling and when they started they never stopped.”