MIRACLE twins Erin and Cora Trott defied all the odds to survive after they were born 14 weeks premature.

Weighing just 21 ounces and 18 ounces respectively, they were so tiny and fragile they could be held in the palm of a hand.

Parents Jo and Chris said it was a "rocky road" as they lurched from one crisis to the next.

"I was only just over 25 weeks into the pregnancy when labour started," said Jo. "I was convinced it was a false alarm but I was whipped into Southmead Hospital where they tried to delay things with drugs.

"As if all that wasn't bad enough, the baby care unit was so busy it had run out of incubators and I had to be transferred to another unit in Plymouth.

"The ambulance trip down to Derriford Hospital on a dark and stormy night was quite an experience."

Despite everything, Jo still believed it would eventually be a normal birth until investigations revealed the twins were locked together, chin to chin, allowing no movement.

"They couldn't find a second heart beat and realised that one baby was stopping the other from breathing," said Jo.

"I was rushed into theatre for an emergency Caesarian. It was touch and go. The surgeons told Chris they were confident of saving me - but not so sure about the girls."

Despite their miniscule size and some attendant problems, the twins were despatched back to Southmead after a week - but in two separate consignments.

"I travelled up with Cora but Erin was brought up separately the following day, which was also pretty upsetting," said Jo.

More weeks of worry followed as the infants underwent treatment to rectify heart duct problems before they came home to Tytherington on April 19 after 89 days in hospital.

Now seven months old, the twins are doing fine.

"Their development will have to be carefully monitored but they're basically fit and healthy and we feel so lucky," said Chris.

"We had fantastic care in both hospitals."

The couple wanted to do something to thank hospital staff for their care, dedication and expertise, so they held a social event with live music and an auction at their home in Tytherington.

Around 250 people attended and it raised £5,000, which will be shared between the two baby units.

Jo added: "We're going to split the money between the two baby units so they can buy whatever items they think will make a difference.

"We're keen to do something to help the next family who might have to go through what we did."

The months of trauma were exacerbated for the family by the deaths of Jo's grandmother and then her father.

"My dad came over from his home in Africa for his mother's funeral but then died from a heart attack aged 64," she said. "We're just so pleased he was able to see his baby granddaughters before he died."