Mother and Baby

Britain’s smallest twins, whose COMBINED weight was the same as a bag of sugar, are home in time for Christmas

Section: Birth Stories
The sugar babes

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’.

The sugar babes

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.  

Read next: GP’s brand Peppa Pig as ‘enemy number one’ to the NHS 

Read next: The most popular baby names for 2018

Expand Image


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.
Expand Image


A cute, gender neutral baby name meaning 'defending men'.
Expand Image


Meaning 'free man', for years this has been a diminutive of Charles or Charlotte. 
Expand Image


Traditionally a shorterned version of the name 'Andrew', this is now becoming a more popular choice for both sexes.
Expand Image


Latin, meaning ‘olive tree’. The UK’s most popular boys’ name in several recent years.
Expand Image


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'. 
Expand Image


A Hebrew name meaning 'behold a son', another name set to be popular in 2018. 
Expand Image


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.
Expand Image


Pronounced 'chee-AH-go', this unique baby name means 'supplanter' and is set to rise this year. 
Muslim baby boy names Expand Image Muslim baby boy names


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? 
Expand Image


From the Hebrew John, meaning ‘God is gracious’. The UK’s most popular boys’ name for 14 years  until fairly recently.
Baby sleeping on back Expand Image Baby sleeping on back


Old German, form of Henry, meaning ‘home ruler’. Famous Harrys include Prince Harry, Harry Potter and One Direction singer Harry Styles.
Unusual boy names Expand Image Unusual boy names


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.
Birthday baby Expand Image Birthday baby


Hebrew, meaning ‘he who supplants’. Ancestor of the tribes of Israel in the Bible. Cute nicknames include Jacob, Jaco and Jago. 
Expand Image


Old German, meaning ‘strong- willed warrior’. Famous Williams include Prince William, playwright William Shakespeare and rapper
Expand Image


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.
Expand Image


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.
Expand Image


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.
Expand Image


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'. 
German baby boys names Expand Image German baby boys names


First world war names look set to be popular again this year, so how about this cute baby name meaning 'grey'. 
Baby development week three Expand Image Baby development week three


A lovely Irish baby name meaning 'fair or white' predicted to rise this year. 
Greek baby boy names Expand Image Greek baby boy names


Meaning 'from Attica' this is a trendy name, popular with To Kill a Mockingbird fans. 
Greek baby boy names Expand Image Greek baby boy names


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. 
Greek baby girl names Expand Image Greek baby girl names


Meaning 'small hollow' this traditional Scottish name is growing in popularity. 
Expand Image


A Greek name, meaning ‘industrious’. Famous Amelias include flying legend Amelia Earhart, and two Princess Amelias of Great Britain during the eighteenth century.
Expand Image


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.
Expand Image


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.
Expand Image


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.
Expand Image


Latin, meaning ‘like a bird’. Famous Avas' include Ava Gardner was an iconic American actress during the 1950s–1970s.
Expand Image


With a royal wedding on the cards, this beautiful name is predicted to grow in popularity. Originally a Welsh name meaning 'pearl'.
Expand Image


An Italian baby name meaning 'mine', set to rise in popularity this year. 
Expand Image


A Hebrew baby name, meaning ‘He sees’. A popular name over several decades, cute alternatives include Jess and Jessie.  
Expand Image


A Scotish Gaelic baby name meaning 'river', set to be popular in 2018. 
Expand Image


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. 
Expand Image


A name with plenty of feminist connotations set to be popular in 2018, meaning 'noble'.  
Expand Image


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. 
Expand Image


Following the trend mentioned above, Evelyn looks set to be popular. A beautiful name meaning 'wished for child'. 
Expand Image


A botanical baby name that has risen in popularity since being chosen by Beyonce for her first child, Blue-Ivy. 
Expand Image


Another feminist name set to rise this year, an old French name meaning 'work'. 
Expand Image


Following the trend in baby names ending with an -a sound, this cute choice is a traditional Irish baby name meaning 'light'. 
Expand Image


A more unique Latin baby name, meaning 'dawn'. 
Expand Image


Another royal baby name to celebrate a royal year, with an elegant feel to it, this traditional name means 'victory'.
Expand Image


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'.
Expand Image


A Latin baby name meaning 'moon' that has been rising in popularity over the past few years. A cute choice for Harry Potter fans!


Related Content

You May Also Like