The smallest twins born in Britain this year, who had a combined birth weight of a bag of sugar, have made a miraculous recovery and are home in time for Christmas.
Ava and Isla Bowen were born in July at 26 weeks, each weighing less than 2lbs. The twins were put on ventilators as they were too small to breath, and their parents Rochelle Bowen and Patrick Ward have described the past few months as a ‘rollercoaster’.
Yet much to their parents’ relief, both Ava and Isla are now home for their first Christmas. Mum Rochelle said – ‘It has been a long struggle for the two of them. At times we really didn’t think Isla would make it – but she did. I still can’t believe she’s here really. She’s amazing, she’s literally a miracle baby.’
Rochelle reports knowing things were wrong from her twelve weeks scan, where Isla’s development was behind her sisters. At 26 weeks, the couple were told Isla had stopped growing, and Rochelle was admitted to hospital for two-hourly monitoring, before having an emergency caesarean.
Rochelle and Patrick have praised the ‘unbelievable’ staff at Southmead Hospital for keeping their girls alive and well – Isla spent a total of 112 days in the NICU, with her twin sister Ava going home two weeks before her, after 99 days on the unit.
A latin baby name meaning greatest. It's been popular for boys for years, but is now being used as a girl's name too.
A cute, gender neutral baby name meaning 'defending men'.
Meaning 'free man', for years this has been a diminutive of Charles or Charlotte.
Traditionally a shorterned version of the name 'Andrew', this is now becoming a more popular choice for both sexes.
Latin, meaning ‘olive tree’. The UK’s most popular boys’ name in several recent years.
Sometimes, names that look or sound similar hang around for a while. In 2018, names that start with R- or Th- will be big winners for boys. We love Reggie, a cute name meaning 'counsel power'.
A Hebrew name meaning 'behold a son', another name set to be popular in 2018.
A cool-sounding baby name meaning 'divine gift'. Names beginning with Th- are set to be popular for boys this year and this is a cute choice.
Pronounced 'chee-AH-go', this unique baby name means 'supplanter' and is set to rise this year.
Greek, meaning ‘farmer’. Chosen by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their son, born in July 2013, and third in line to the throne. If you're looking for something a little different, how about Giorgio?
From the Hebrew John, meaning ‘God is gracious’. The UK’s most popular boys’ name for 14 years until fairly recently.
Old German, form of Henry, meaning ‘home ruler’. Famous Harrys include Prince Harry, Harry Potter and One Direction singer Harry Styles.
Hebrew, meaning ‘peaceful’. In the Bible, Noah is said to have built an ark to save two of every animal from a flood that covered the earth.
Hebrew, meaning ‘he who supplants’. Ancestor of the tribes of Israel in the Bible. Cute nicknames include Jacob, Jaco and Jago.
Old German, meaning ‘strong- willed warrior’. Famous Williams include Prince William, playwright William Shakespeare and rapper Will.i.am.
Old German, meaning ‘free man’. Popularised by Charles the Great (a.k.a. Charlemagne). Prince Charles is heir to the throne of England. Charles Dickens was one of the finest and most enduringly popular English authors.
Old German, meaning ‘home ruler’. There have been eight Kings of England named Henry, and in the unlikely event that Prince Harry found himself on the throne he would become Henry IX.
Arabic, meaning ‘praiseworthy’. Acknowledged as the prophet and founder of Islam. The name is extremely popular in large parts of the world. British runner Mo Farah is the Olympic and world record holder for the 5,000 and 10,000 metres.
As we approach 2020 (can you believe it?), keep an eye out for names from the Roaring Twenties. Tom looks set to have a revival, a cute traditional name meaning 'twin'.
First world war names look set to be popular again this year, so how about this cute baby name meaning 'grey'.
A lovely Irish baby name meaning 'fair or white' predicted to rise this year.
Meaning 'from Attica' this is a trendy name, popular with To Kill a Mockingbird fans.
Whilst there looks to be a spike in popularity for names that aren't technically human, such as Bear, if you're still looking for something more traditional, this cute baby name, meaning 'bear' has been around for years.
Meaning 'small hollow' this traditional Scottish name is growing in popularity.
A Greek name, meaning ‘industrious’. Famous Amelias include flying legend Amelia Earhart, and two Princess Amelias of Great Britain during the eighteenth century.
A Latin name, meaning ‘rival, eager’. Emily Dickinson is one of the most well- known poets of the nineteenth century. A very popular name choice in recent years.
A Latin name, meaning ‘olive’. Olivia has featured in the Top 10 names for girls in England for several years now, including at number one.
A German baby name, meaning ‘completely’. Now becoming a name in its own right, Ella is traditionally a shortened version of Eleanor, Elizabeth and Ellen.
Latin, meaning ‘like a bird’. Famous Avas' include Ava Gardner was an iconic American actress during the 1950s–1970s.
With a royal wedding on the cards, this beautiful name is predicted to grow in popularity. Originally a Welsh name meaning 'pearl'.
An Italian baby name meaning 'mine', set to rise in popularity this year.
A Hebrew baby name, meaning ‘He sees’. A popular name over several decades, cute alternatives include Jess and Jessie.
A Scotish Gaelic baby name meaning 'river', set to be popular in 2018.
2018 is set to be a royal year, with a wedding and royal baby number three on the way. Isabella, a Spanish name meaning 'pledged to God' definitely has the royal seal of approval.
A name with plenty of feminist connotations set to be popular in 2018, meaning 'noble'.
In 2018, names that end in - a or have a - v sound will dominate for girls. One of our favourite, more unique baby names following this pattern is Matilda, meaning 'battle mighty'. Cute nicknames include Tilly.
Following the trend mentioned above, Evelyn looks set to be popular. A beautiful name meaning 'wished for child'.
A botanical baby name that has risen in popularity since being chosen by Beyonce for her first child, Blue-Ivy.
Another feminist name set to rise this year, an old French name meaning 'work'.
Following the trend in baby names ending with an -a sound, this cute choice is a traditional Irish baby name meaning 'light'.
A more unique Latin baby name, meaning 'dawn'.
Another royal baby name to celebrate a royal year, with an elegant feel to it, this traditional name means 'victory'.
Never far from the top of most popular baby name lists, Emma does not seem to be going anywhere yet. A traditional name meaning 'universal'.
A Latin baby name meaning 'moon' that has been rising in popularity over the past few years. A cute choice for Harry Potter fans!