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‘I never knew whether I’d take my two premature babies home’

The premature birth of twins Albie and Reuben set off four traumatic months as they struggled to survive and their parents fought to cope. Giulia Rhodes talks to the boys’ mother, Courtney Bryant, as this gruelling time finally ends

Holding a new baby for the first time is, for any parent, a very special moment. It was one for which Courtney Bryant and her partner, Daniel, had to wait five weeks.

Albie and Reuben, the couple’s twin boys, are two of the 60,000 babies – one in every 13 – born prematurely in the UK each year. When they were delivered on 6 August this year, 13 weeks too soon, they weighed only 750g (1lb 10oz) and 1.05kg (2lb 5oz) respectively. “They were smaller than my hand, so tiny, like little birds,” recalls Courtney. “They had to be rushed away. I barely saw them, let alone touched them.”

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