Multiple Births

Another Set Of Mismatched Twins

Earlier this month I posted a story on a set of twins that were born a minute apart weighing 3.5 lbs and 1.2 lbs.

When Jake and Tom Armstrong were born it was hard to believe that they were twins, let alone identical.

Wombmates: Jake, left and Tom after the birth

Jake, who arrived first, weighed 5lb 2oz -four times heavier than the tiny 1lb 5oz boy who followed him.

The fact that Tom even survived until the birth was a miracle, as his placenta was not functioning properly and he was effectively starving.

The babies were delivered by emergency cesarean in December 2006.

Their mother Georgina Armstrong, 35, said: “Tom was such a tiny scrap, just lying in the doctor’s hand. He was showing barely any signs of life, and the doctors weren’t going to resuscitate him.

“But then he opened his tiny eyes, and that was a turning point. It showed that he was prepared to fight.”

The couple, who live in Winchester, Hampshire, had been overjoyed when Mrs Armstrong became pregnant in May 2006.

But a scan at nine weeks revealed that one twin was a week behind in growth. They were sent to the foetal medicine unit at the Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton, where doctors discovered that Tom’s placenta wasn’t working efficiently.

This is different to the recent case of mismatched twins in Australia where the babies were suffering from twin-to-twin transfusion.

The Armstrongs refused the selective termination they were offered.

Jake and Tom

I am so proud of these parents. Doctors recommend selective reduction all of the time citing that the outcome may not be favourable for the smaller baby.

This is the second story that I have personally covered with a positive outcome. That is not to say that every baby that is not developing as fast as their twin will be okay, just that good things could happen. I would rather try to have both of my children survive than reduce and not know what could have been…

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About the author

Lisa Arneill

Founder of Growing Your Baby and World Traveled Family. Canadian mom of 2 boys, photo addict, lover of bulldogs, and museumgoer. Always looking for our next vacation spot!


  • Found this piece when I Googled my boys out of curiosity.

    Thought I would update on Tom as the boys are now nearly 4.5 and will be starting school in September!
    Tom was clinically diagnosed with Russell Silver Syndrome just as he turned 2. He has remained small and is well below the 0.4th centile for weight (24lbs at 4yrs 4 mths) and just under the 0.4th centile for height. He eats very little solid food and his nutrition comes mainly from special high cal formula which he still has in bottles and all through the night. He has severe hearing loss and wears hearing aids, and also severe speech delay and delay in understanding too. He recently got his 1st pair of glasses for astigmatism. He has had several operations to correct a severe hypospadias and bifid scrotum and to bring his undescended testes down, and in the process it was discovered that the epididymis on both sides is severely deformed. He is most likely to be infertile.
    Despite everything he is a wonderful (sometimes challenging!) little boy who we wouldn’t be without.

  • sand my regards to both of ur twins n hugs for tom n the best for u to grown up ur twins xpcially tom..

    luv..nadea natalia

  • Hi,

    i was extremely surprised to read this story since mine is the exact same. Anthony was 5 lb 9 oz and jaxon was 1 lb 8 oz. i was just wondering if we could get in touch because my little baby is going to have to have the same surgeries as tom down the road. also, they are trying to give him shots to see how much testosterone he can produce on his own, but i dont know if i want to give them to him. if you could please get back to me that would be great. i am trying to find all of the help i can get.

    thank you,

    • Hi Lisa, so sorry…. only just seen this 3 years later!!
      How are your twins doing? Tom has been on growth hormone shots for 3 years now and has just about caught up with his twin, going from under the 0.4th centile to the 25th for height. He also had a gastrostomy nearly 2.5 years ago and is mainly tube fed through his button. His weight has gone from way way below the 0.4th centile to the 9th.
      He’s doing OK at school. He’s just turned 8 and has a reading age of over 11, but everything else he is rather behind his peers with. He has 26.5 hours worth of support at school.
      Hope all is going well with you 🙂

      • Thank you SO much for the update!! I also have a little one who is barely on the charts for height and weight so I know how challenging it can be. So glad he is getting the support at school. Hopefully that will help his keep up with his peers:)

      • Hello Ms. Armstrong. My name is Harriet Washington and I am a writer who is preparing a book that briefly discusses twin transfusion syndrome. I found photographs of your sons on the web and am writing to ask permission to us the photographs in my book. the book does not deal with the syndrome but I use it to illustrate some key medical information about twins in general.I would of course be happy to answer any questions in fact I would like to speak with you briefly if you are willing. My email address is Thank you for considering my request.

        • Hello… sorry, only 8 years late in replying! My babies didn’t have twin to twin transfusion syndrome.
          Did you use their picture?

  • So… update…. Jake and Tom are now 16. I’d love to say they’re doing really well but they’ve both got a neuroimmune condition called PANS (a dysregulated immune system causes horrific neuropsychiatric symptoms) so the last few years have been very difficult. PANS/PANDAS is rarely diagnosed and treated properly in the UK so the boys have suffered terribly. Now under a wonderful private immunologist, but as they remained untreated for so many years, it’s going to take a long time to get them close to ‘baseline’.

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