originally posted 11/2007
They say twins share a strong bond - but the one between Gabriel and Ieuan Jones was unbreakable.
When doctors found that Gabriel was weaker than his brother, with an enlarged heart,and believed he was going to die in the womb, his mother Rebecca Jones had to make a heartbreaking decision.
Doctors told her his death could cause his twin brother to die too before they were born, and that it would be better to end Gabriel's suffering sooner rather than later.
Thriving: Gabriel, right, with his twin brother Ieuan, is now a healthy 12lb 6oz at seven months
Mrs Jones decided to let doctors operate to terminate Gabriel's life.
Firstly they tried to sever his umbilical cord to cut off his blood supply, but the cord was too strong.
They then cut Mrs Jones's placenta in half so that when Gabriel died, it would not affect his twin brother.
But after the operation which was meant to end his life, tiny Gabriel had other ideas.
Although he weighed less than a pound, he put up such a fight for survival that doctors called him Rocky.
Astonishingly, he managed to carry on living in his mother's womb for another five weeks - until the babies were delivered by caesarean section.
Now he and Ieuan are back at home in Stoke, England - and are so close they are always holding each other's hand.
Mrs Jones, 35, a financial adviser whose husband Mark, 36, is a car salesman, said: "It really is a miracle. Doctors carried out an operation to let Gabriel die - yet he hung on.
"It was unbelievable."
"When I felt him kicking madly the morning after the operation, I suddenly knew that he was going to hang on.
"The doctors couldn't believe it when they could still hear his heartbeat the next morning."
Rebecca Jones: 'It's a miracle'
Mrs Jones learned she was expecting twins when she was ten weeks pregnant. She said: "When they told us we were over the moon."
But at her 20-week scan, doctors had some devastating news. One of the boys was half the size of his brother.
They didn't know what was causing it, but somehow he wasn't getting enough nutrients.
Then doctors said his heart was three times normal size and it was likely he would have a heart attack or a stroke in the womb.
Mrs Jones said: "They told us that if he died, it could be life threatening for his brother.
"We had to decide whether to end his life and let his brother live, or risk them both."
They said it would be impossible to keep him alive afterwards as he was so poorly.
It would be kinder to let him die in the womb with his brother by his side than to die alone after being born.
"That made my mind up for me. I wanted the best thing for him."
At Birmingham Women's Hospital, when Mrs Jones was 25 weeks pregnant, doctors tried to sever Gabriel's umbilical cord to cut off his blood supply and allow him to die.
But the cord was too thick, and they could not cut through it.
As a last resort they divided Mrs Jones's placenta so that when Gabriel died, it would allow Ieuan to survive. Mrs Jones said: "I put my hands on my stomach thinking of Gabriel. It was devastating. I had said my goodbyes."
But the next morning Mrs Jones felt Gabriel kicking. A scan showed his heart was still beating. She said: "No one could quite believe it."
Gabriel hung on, and his enlarged heart started to reduce in size. He also gained weight.
Mrs Jones said: "They thought it may be because the placenta had been divided. Inadvertently, it had evened out the distribution of nutrition between them, allowing Gabriel to survive.'
When Mrs Jones reached 31 weeks doctors carried out a caesarian to deliver the twins. Ieuan weighed 3lb 8oz and Gabriel 1lb 15oz. Both were kept in hospital, but since going home they have thrived. At seven months, Ieuan weighs 15lb and Gabriel 12lb 6oz.
Mrs Jones said: "The boys are so healthy, they have huge appetites too. Ieuan is the noisy one, while Gabriel is always laughing, it's like he's just so happy to be here.
"There is such a strong bond between them.
"They are always holding hands and if one cries, the other reaches out to comfort him."
"Doctors tried to break their bond in the womb, but they just proved it couldn't be broken."