NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Ashley and Chris Connor’s lives changed forever in February of 2021.

They found out they were having twins, their first daughters, and couldn’t have been more thrilled.

It was about a month later they realized something was wrong.

Their OBGYN told them the water ruptured, meaning there wasn’t any water around one of the babies.

It’s a rare complication called Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes.

“Pretty much, she told us it was going to end in miscarriage, and in her words, if the baby was being stubborn we would need to consider terminating the pregnancy. So as you can imagine, it was pretty tough for us to go through that,” Ashley said.

They were referred to the Oishei Children’s Hospital high risk clinic.

Ashley said for the first time they had some hope for a positive outcome thanks to doctors like Jamie Szczepanski.

“Everything else looked stable at that time and we weren’t having any concerns about her health or the health of the babies and they both expressed a strong hope of continuing with the pregnancy and held onto hope that both of their babies would ultimately do well,” said Szczepanski, a maternal fetal medicine physician.

Despite the risk, The Connors weren’t ready to give up.

“She just kept fighting and growing and the doctors didn’t know what to make of it she’s like, ‘oh she shouldn’t be growing, her heart shouldn’t still be beating,'” Chris said.

“As long as she was fighting we were gonna fight for her too and we were just grateful to have doctors who were willing to fight for her like we are,” Ashley said.

After many intense care visits, ultrasounds, and a month-long hospital stay, the girls were born three months early on June 21, 2021.

Abby and Olivia were just over two pounds each.

“The length of their body was the length of my hand and it was just very surreal knowing a baby that small could grow and survive,” said Ashley.

Both girls stayed in the NICU for about three months and were able to go home right around their due date.

While Olivia still sees a pulmonologist and both girls go for six month checkups, Ashley said they won’t have any long term effects from any of this.

“Everyone was shocked that that was the outcome. We were told there was no chance she was gonna make it,” she said. “From what we were told in the beginning that she would be in extraordinary pain all the time to now she’s out there playing with her sister just like any other baby, it’s unexplainable how it happened.”

“This is not our typical outcome in these situations most people who have their water break early on ultimately go on to deliver before the baby is old enough and big enough to survive,” said Dr. Szczepanski. “So while not the typical outcome, it was a wonderful outcome. We were very happy for them.”

Ashley and Chris said they can already see the different personalities coming out in the girls.

“Abby’s just a bowling ball, she wants to go through the wall already,” Chris said. “Olivia’s just a really happy baby, always smiling at everyone.”

“It’s interesting how their personalities carried over from before they were born. Abby was always doing summersaults and she’s still that way too and Olivia was always just hanging back, watching,” said Ashley.

Ashley and Chris’ daughters changed their lives forever and inspired them to never lose hope.

“Just wanna make sure they know how much everyone fought for them and how strong they were going through all of this and how proud we are of them and even when they don’t even know it how strong they were and hopefully they’ll carry that demeanor with them in the future too.”

The girls celebrate their first birthdays in less than two months.

Ashley and Chris have a family party planned at a local park.

They said it’s also a celebration of all they’ve been through as a family and making it further than they ever imagined possible.

Kayla Green is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.