As Freddie Roe lay struggling to breathe in the crucial moments after he was born, doctors were running out of options to save his life.
It was then that they turned to his twin sister Alice.
They took her from her mother’s arms and placed her next to her brother in his cot as he fought for survival.
Freddie stabilised soon after Alice was put in the cot with him. Pictured: The newborn twins after Alice came to Freddie’s rescue
Within minutes the twins cuddled up, mimicking their position in the womb – and the danger was over.
‘Freddie stabilised straight away, as soon as Alice was put in with him,’ said his mother Emma, 36.
‘It worked where every other treatment had failed. It was the best medicine that Freddie could have asked for. All he needed was the love of his twin sister.’
The twins were born in April 2015 at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester
Mrs Roe and her husband Jay, 44, had been trying to start a family for eight years, and had endured three rounds of IVF.
She became pregnant after the first round, but sadly lost the baby at 11 weeks, and the second attempt failed. Their third was a success, and this time the Manchester couple were told twins were on the way.
The babies arrived in April 2015 at St Mary’s Hospital in the city. Alice was in the best of health, but straight away, Freddie was struggling. ‘The nurses left me with Alice, but whisked Freddie away immediately as they needed to try to get him breathing,’ his mother said.
‘His heart rate had dropped too, and he was distressed.
‘It was awful to see him struggling so much. An hour later the doctors came to see me to explain that they still couldn’t stabilise him. They had tried everything but they needed extra help. They asked if they could borrow Alice for a while. They took her to Freddie’s cot and popped her in with him. She snuggled up to him and within minutes, his breathing levels started to stabilise.
Emma Rowe, 36, said: ‘The nurses left me with Alice, but whisked Freddie away immediately as they needed to try to get him breathing’
‘It was like a miracle … All his statistics stabilised, and his breathing regulated.’
After three days in hospital Freddie was well enough to go home with his sister. ‘They are now two and are closer than ever,’ Mrs Roe said. ‘They love playing doctors and nurses together. Alice will be the nurse, and Freddie the patient, and she tells him that she will make him better. It’s as if she knows that she did that when he was first born.’
Experts said there was no medical explanation behind the cuddle cure. Keith Reed of the Twins and Multiple Births Association said evidence suggested it could be helpful for twins, adding: ‘Placing them with the brother or sister they have matured with…in-utero would surely help calm the baby.