THIS is the magical moment a mother cuddled both her miracle twin boys for the very first time.
Having the chance to hold her battling sons – as her proud husband Dean looked on – was a thought Suzanne Parkin desperately clung to when the brothers were born three months early.
Bradley and Joshua, who were born 2Ib 7oz and 2Ib 14oz respectively, are still being kept under close supervision at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, but are closing in on the day they will be able to go home with their relieved parents.
And although they are being monitored in their incubators, the tubes coming from their tiny bodies are beginning to disappear.
Mrs Parkin, 28, of Barclay Avenue, South Shore, could not stop smiling as she held her sons alongside her husband Dean, 30.
She told The Gazette: “Getting to cuddle them like this is very special.
“I’ve held on to them separately but not like this and it’s the best feeling in the world because all I want to do is hold them.”
Mr Parkin, who works in advertising, added: “It’s really nice to see this moment and it’s times like this we will always think about.
“It’s very special and it’s the first time I’ve seen them all together like this - I’m just waiting for my turn.”
When the twins were born unexpectedly on November 12 the boys were immediately taken away from their parents to allow doctors to carry out urgent checks.
Joshua now weighs 3Ib 3oz and Bradley weighs 2Ib 13oz, but their parents described their road to recovery as a “rollercoaster”.
Bradley is still relying on an oxygen and only returned from an intensive care unit in Burnley on November 23.
Mrs Parkin, who was 27 weeks pregnant when she gave birth, added: “We were scared, worried and nervous about what would happen and hoped everything would be OK.
“It was a very hard and upsetting day when Bradley had to get transferred.
“It’s been very tough and there’s been a lot of upset but Dean has been my rock because he’s been worrying about the boys and looking after me.
“I had mixed emotions when I saw them for the first time but we were entering the unknown because they are our first children and we have to come into a ward to see them.”
Mr Parkin added: “We got a phone call telling us Bradley had to be transferred and we both went into panic stations because they are so little and fragile.
“It was awful because we both woke up to the things that could go wrong.
“We were told it was going to be a rollercoaster and it definitely has been.”
The parents say they are aware of the dangers their premature sons are still facing, but are looking forward to spending Christmas together as a family - even if it is in hospital.
Mrs Parkin added: “We are lucky because they were only born premature and they have no other issues.
“They are just going to grow up in here instead of at home, but we will still get to see them, and are looking to take them home on February 5.
“We want to have them home and for it to be me, Dean and the boys, but we will be coming in to see them on Christmas Day to give them their presents.”
Shelley Piper, neo-natal lead nurse at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, said it was amazing to witness the twins recovery.
She told The Gazette: “Twins being born at 27 weeks is very early.
“It’s going to be a rocky road and they can take two steps forward and one step back, and we have told the parents it isn’t going to be a smooth ride.
“It’s really rewarding to see them progress.
“It has taken them a while to take food and they started off with a tenth of a teaspoon, but they are now taking more food as they get bigger.”