When a baby is born at 24 weeks, he or she has about a 50% chance of survival, Boston.com notes—but survive little Alexandre Antunes did. "We were praying to hear his cry, and we did," mom Lindalva DaSilva tells WCVB. What made his situation even more incredible, however, was that he had a twin brother still in the womb. Ronaldo didn't enter the world until 24 days after Alexandre, but both are healthy and growing three months later, ABC News reports. DaSilva, 35, had hurried to the hospital when her water broke on Feb. 27, almost four months before her due date, the Boston Globe reports. "I knew I could lose the babies," she recalls.
After Alexandre was born at one pound, 10 ounces, her contractions faded—even though Ronaldo, along with Alexandre's umbilical cord and placenta, remained inside. Alexandre was placed in an incubator while Ronaldo continued to grow. "The mother is the best place for a preterm baby to develop unless there is evidence of infection," says an expert, but delayed twin deliveries are extremely rare and can only work with fraternal twins who don't share a placenta. At one point, Alexandre's umbilical cord "came out," says DaSilva, "but they just cleaned it and put it back inside." Finally, Ronaldo was born at three pounds, three ounces. "One twin was born in winter, and one was born in spring," DaSilva says. Both are now more than six pounds, and DaSilva and her husband, Ronaldo Antunes, are poised to take them home right around their original June 18 due date. (Also this month, an extremely rare set of "mono mono" twins went home.)