First born Matthew was only 2-pounds, 1-ounce. Emily was just 1-pound 11-ounces. They were hooked up to wires, too small and fragile even, for doll sized hospital gowns and preemie diapers. They weren't just premature, they were Micro Preemies.

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VIENNA, Va. (WUSA9) -- It's another ring off the countdown chain. Soon to be 1st graders Emily & Matthew McKinley are excited about the start of the new school year. They have their supplies and the backpacks are ready to go.

Lisa McKinley says, "We're holding off buying clothes because they just grow out of them so quickly." A happy dilemma for the McKinley Family considering where they were 6-years ago when the twins were born.

"The pregnancy was going fine, until it wasn't," adds Lisa McKinley.

She and husband Mark still don't know why it happened, but their babies were delivered 3-months ahead of her due date at 26-weeks.

Lisa McKinley says, "When my husband took me down to the NICU and I actually saw them in the isolette. It was like the wind was knocked out of me. I couldn't really speak; I just froze."

John M. North, MD, Medical Director, NICU, Inova Fairfax Hospital says, "Less than 2.2 pounds those would be what we consider to be micro preemies. It's not an official term but it's one that you see in the literature a lot.

About 50-thousand micro preemies are born each year. Although many extremely premature babies grow up with no long-term effects, Dr. North says they may face extra challenges for many years.

"The parents obviously are very invested in this and will continue to have their babies evaluated for many many years into school and through school because there are some things that will not show up early because the brain is not yet developed enough to need to do those things," adds Dr. North.

Emily spent 82 days in the hospital; Matthew was there for 100 days.

After spending nearly 3 months in the hospital, it was the day before Mother's Day when the family was finally together at home. Lisa knew then, things would be okay.

Lisa McKinley says, "I've been asked before do I believe in miracles. Yes, I do. Because I live with 2 of them."

The twins have met all of their developmental benchmarks, they are doing just fine.

The McKinley's credit the neonatal staff at Inova Fairfax Hospital. It is the first hospital in the nation to receive a Gold Seal of Approval for it's premature infant care.

Written by:
Andrea Roane, WUSA9.

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