The mother of twins who were conjoined at birth has said she did not think they would "get this far", as she prepared to celebrate their first birthday.
Rosie and Ruby Formosa, who were born joined at the abdomen and shared part of the intestine, needed an emergency operation to separate them. The identical twins, who celebrate their first birthday on Friday, underwent an operation at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital (Gosh) the day after they were born.
Despite being told that survival chances were low, the sisters are now doing well and are "very happy and bubbly", their mother Angela said.
She said: "It was quite a tough journey, really. It's quite emotional thinking back, thinking what we must have been going through at the time. It was really tough."
The 32-year-old said it was "heartbreaking" when doctors told her that the girls had a small chance of survival, adding: "Every time we went for a scan, we were worrying whether there was still going to be a heartbeat. They weren't making any plans to give birth to them. All of a sudden it was like 'OK - we need to make a plan because they're still here, they're going to arrive, so now we need to make plans and where we will deliver and where we will go'."
When asked if she thought the twins would make it to their first birthday she said: "No", adding: "When I was pregnant I couldn't see us getting this far. I was taking each day as it came. I am over the moon. It's so lovely seeing them doing normal things and being happy when you didn't even expect to have them."
She said she was planning to celebrate with the family on Saturday.
"They're crawling around, trying to stand up on all the furniture and they're playing with toys and taking toys off one another," Mrs Formosa added. "They're very bubbly, very happy, they are very determined - but we knew that from the start really. They've never really been apart so I don't know whether they're inseparable or not but they'll play independently and then they'll look for one another."
Mrs Formosa, from Bexleyheath, Kent, said she had a ''textbook'' pregnancy with her first daughter Lily, now aged five, so finding out the twins were joined was a ''shock''. Doctors discovered that the twins were conjoined when she was around 16 weeks pregnant. The girls were delivered by Caesarean section at 34 weeks at University College Hospital. Within a couple of hours of birth they were taken to Gosh for emergency surgery because of an intestinal blockage.
Consultant paediatric surgeon Ed Kiely, who was part of the team who operated on the girls, said: "We see perhaps one set of twins a year on average. They're not that rare but because of antenatal diagnosis they don't always get born." He said the hospital is "happy" with the progress the girls have made and is "delighted" they are now celebrating their first birthday.