A YEAR ago, doctors were sure tiny Isabel MacIntyre would not survive.

Born prematurely with her twin Maxwell at 24 weeks, she weighed just 1lb 3oz, and lost her brother five weeks later.

But she’ll be celebrating her first birthday on Wednesday – and her mum Jolene MacIntyre is sure it was Max’s spirit which helped her beat all the odds.

Mrs MacIntyre, 33, of Quarry Road, Bayworth, near Abingdon, said: “She is a complete miracle. A year ago, I did not think this day would ever come.

“Now it has, things can only get better. She has come on leaps and bounds. Our little girl proves everyone wrong.”

When Mrs MacIntyre’s waters broke at 20 weeks, doctors offered her an abortion, warning the twins had only a 10 per cent chance of survival.

She refused, and when the tots were born four weeks later on May 5, 2009, they were so small they fitted into the palm of a hand.

Maxwell lost his battle to survive on June 9, but his parents are sure he continues to watch over his sister.

Mrs MacIntyre said: “Sometimes Isabel looks through me, smiling and giggling at nothing, and I think to myself: ‘Is Max there looking at her and she’s talking back to him?’I think he is her guardian angel. I’ve thought that since he passed away.

“Max gave up the fight to give her the chance to live, and she’s taken it with both hands.”

Doctors still do not know if Isabel will ever walk or talk, but her progress has been nothing short of amazing.

Mrs MacIntyre said: “With a bit of support she sits up, she has three meals a day and is hearing fine. She shouts, she blows raspberries, she giggles and she follows me around the room wherever I go.

“The other day she was looking at herself in the mirror, getting stressed because she was not doing what she wanted to do. She is a very happy baby. She is the best part of my life.”

Now her parents hope she will continue to prove medical experts wrong as she gets older.

Dad Iain, 35, who works at Tesco’s distribution centre in Didcot, said: “She has improved loads. In my eyes, she is just like a normal baby.

“She does what she wants to, and is everything we wanted. I hope she will be able to do a lot more as she gets older.”

On Wednesday, the family will throw Isabel a party at her home, with birthday cake and a family picnic.

And later this month, she will be christened at Trinity Church, Abingdon, by the same hospital chaplain who baptised Maxwell shortly before he died.