A couple from Northern Ireland have welcomed ‘miraculous’ conjoined twins.
Hannah and Dan Bateson, from Toomebridge in Co Antrim, welcomed twin girls six weeks ago at London’s University College Hospital.
Adorably named Annabelle and Isabelle, they are joined from the chest to the pelvis.
They share a liver, bladder and bowel, one shared fused leg and one leg each as well as separate hearts.
Their proud parents say they have defied the odds.
"They're miracles,” mum Hannah told UTV news.
"Miracles the word we have used from the day we found out we were having them. We got pregnant with the first cycle of our fertility treatment. These are very long waited for wee girls.”
The couple’s journey to parenthood has been emotional and worrying.
Hannah and Dan found out at their 12-week scan that there was something different about their pregnancy.
"You maybe go to a scan worried that there's something wrong. I think a normal feeling is to feel very nervous going to a scan, especially first pregnancies but we were both committed to it,” Hannah said.
"You felt in limbo because we knew they were conjoined but we knew so little about the information about the extent of the conjoin.”
Hannah said giving birth to her daughters and hearing their first cries "was like the weight of the world had been lifted off your shoulders.
"It was relief and you felt that relief throughout the whole team. That relief was just unbelievable," she said.
The family is now preparing to face their next challenge with the twins set to undergo separation surgery next month
"Their wee bodies are different. The girls will have prosthetic legs, they'll have one leg each and a prosthetic leg each."
“We'll be coming back here [to the hospital in London] for the next 18 years,” Hannah continued.
“Which is a very scary thing to say but if we're coming back for the next 18 years, it means the girls survived."
Annabelle and Isabelle will need multiple surgeries all the way into their teenage years with their parents saying they are determined to help their girls live a healthy life.
Conjoined twins are extremely rare and only occur on average once in every 250,000 births.
The condition is caused by a single egg being fertilised and then splitting in two within the mother's womb.
However, the process of embryo separation is halted before it is totally complete, resulting in the development of a conjoined foetus.
Ireland witnesses the birth of conjoined twins on average once every five years.
It is estimated that about 70pc of conjoined twins born are likely to be female.
Tragically, about 40pc of all conjoined twins are stillborn.