PARKERSBURG -- Hannah Jane Taylor is as active and curious as many 17-month-old toddlers.
She munches Cheerios, watches cartoons, and is constantly on the move checking out any unusual items in a room. You would never guess that her life began in such a fragile way.
"We've been through a lot but we've been blessed," said her mother, Brooke Taylor.
Hannah and her twin sister, Leah Lee Taylor, were born Nov. 17, 2011 at Charleston Area Medical Center's Women and Children's Hospital. Born 16 weeks early, Leah weighed 1 pound, 1 ounce and Hannah weighed 1 pound, 5 ounces.
Their parents, Brooke and Robert Taylor, remember every agonizing detail of the days their tiny daughters fought to survive.
Hannah had surgery for a perforated bowel when she was 6 days old. Three days later, her lung collapsed and a chest tube was inserted.
Leah's heart stopped twice within the first few days of life, and chest compressions got it pumping again. Then, on Nov. 26, it was impossible to get her heart rate up, and her parents held her for the last time as she slipped away.
Brooke did not like the hat in which tiny Leah was buried. But it was the only thing available for such a small infant.
Hannah was too little at the time to be dressed in pretty infant outfits, but she could wear a hat. Brooke taught herself to crochet tiny hats so Hannah would have pretty ones.
Hannah was in the neonatal intensive care unit for 117 days, and her mother crocheted countless hats to keep herself occupied. There were so many that she passed them along to the nursing staff for other premature babies.
She called them Hannah's Hats.