ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – One year ago, Carmen Martinez and her husband, Juan Hernandez were in a Hendrick Medical Center delivery room, praying for a the safe arrival of their daughters, Gabriella and Isabella. The twin girls were born 3 ½ months early and delivered three days apart.

ONE YEAR AGO: Abilene mom gives birth to identical twins three days apart

Baby Bella with KRBC microphone, and baby Gabby represents KTAB

KTAB/KRBC asked Hendrick delivery doctor, Dr. Len Tadvick, “Is this something that happens often?”

“Only one other time in my career,” Dr. Tadvick replied, “it’s very uncommon.”

At the time, the girls had about a 30% chance of survival, but as their parents attest, a lot can change in just one year.

Gabby was born March 7, 2022, and her sister, Bella on the 10th. The two birthdays are being celebrated together one year later, much to their parents’ delight.

Twins Bella and Gabby with parents, Juan and Carmen

“I mean, words can’t explain it. These are our girls,” said the twins’ dad, Juan Hernandez.

Mom, Carmen Martinez, told KTAB/KRBC, “It’s a challenge in itself, but we’re grateful that we’re here to have this challenge.”

With both girls now off oxygen assistance and looking much happier, their first birthday was able to be attended by family who had not yet met the twins. Carmen said Bella does still attend rehab sessions to work on her physical development.

“She (Gabby) is really kind, and this one’s (Bella) the mean one,” Hernandez joked.

Like many parents of newborns and multiples, these parents said they’ve lost quite a bit of sleep. However, the couple agrees that every hour lost has been worth it to have their girls home, healthy, and growing.

“They definitely do that, y’know, they definitely keep me up at night,” Martinez said with a chuckle and a smile. “But watching them in the NICU with tubes down their throats, we didn’t get to hear them cry, y’know, for a while. So, hearing them scream at each other and just laugh, is just amazing.”

Gabby and Bella’s days are now filled with little moments their parents call miracles. Oh, and many, many Dallas Cowboy’s outfits.

“We actually had family reach out, ‘make sure you put the girls in cowboys for good luck,'” shared Martinez.

Much of that family was surprised to hear they were having twins, but not for the reason you might think. Their birthday was attended by their cousins, Randy and Roy, who were the last set of twins born in the family more than 20 years ago.

Hernandez piped, “And then I have three sets of twins in my family.”

Even though Isabella was born on her dad’s birthday, March 10, he told KTAB/KRBC he is happy to give it up for her.