Twins are often a huge surprise, but it's even more astonishing to find out that the twins weren't conceived at the same time! A 12-week ultrasound revealed that one woman had conceived her in-utero babies 3 weeks apart! Read on to learn more about this extremely rare occurrence and to see the twins now.
Trouble Getting Pregnant
At the age of 39, Rebecca Roberts was struggling to get pregnant. She'd already had a daughter 15 years prior, but was ready to expand her family with partner Rhys Weaver.
Rebecca started taking fertility drugs in hopes that it would help along the process of conceiving. As a children's clothing designer, kids were Rebecca's life. With any hope, she'd be able to bring more into this world. Much to her and Rhys' relief, Rebecca became pregnant.
Everything Seemed Normal
The news elated Rebecca after it was confirmed with obstetrician David Walker that all was well with her bun in the oven. An ultrasound showed one healthy baby that would be due in October.
Regular ultrasounds are part of any pregnancy to ensure that the fetus is progressing swimmingly. After the first one went well, it was time for another one. Dr. Walker found that things were still progressing along great! It wasn't until the third ultrasound that something was off.
Worried Something Was Wrong
When Rebecca came in for her third ultrasound, the technician took a pause. Rebecca immediately jumped to the thought that something might be wrong. She had gone through so much already and was starting to worry that things might not be as bright as she'd hoped.
The technician notified Dr. Walker of what they saw, and even he couldn't believe it. The doctor started wondering to himself how he could have made this type of error.
A Second Twin!
The thing that the ultrasound technician and the doctor had discovered turned out not to be a problem at all! On the contrary, it was one of the most incredible surprises Rebecca had ever gotten in her life.
They showed the expecting mother on the ultrasound her first fetus, and then they pointed to another one! Rebecca was going to be having twins! The news made her happier than imaginable, but there was more.
Wondering How He Missed It
While Rebecca and Rhys were just happy to be welcoming two little ones into their home, Dr. Walker couldn't stop wondering how this had happened. He had seen countless pregnancies in his 25 years but couldn't put his finger on this one.
Being that Rebecca was on fertility drugs, it was even more likely that she would conceive twins. With that in mind, Dr. Walker would have been on the lookout for multiples, yet he still didn't see this coming.
Closely Monitoring The Pregnancy
Since Rebecca was in her late 30s and carrying twins, it would take very close observation to make sure that everything was going well. Anything that needed attention would have to be addressed right away.
Rebecca made it to her appointments regularly, and they were able to keep a close eye on the twins. While there wasn't anything urgent, the doctor did notice something that was off. One of the twins was much smaller than the other.
Rebecca had already feared that something was wrong when the ultrasound technician went quiet. Now the doctor was pointing out how small one of the twins was. While they worried it might be something of concern, the coming weeks explained what was happening.
As Dr. Walker continued to monitor the twins' growth, he noticed something incredible. They were consistently growing at a rate three weeks apart! He didn't notice the twin before because it hadn't been there for the first three weeks!
A Rare Occurrence
Dr. Walker discovered that what Rebecca was experiencing was a very rare occurrence called superfetation. It involves one pregnancy implanting after another has already happened.
In Rebecca's case, she and Rhys conceived a second child three weeks after conceiving their first. The reason superfetation is so uncommon is that the hormones that are released during the first pregnancy typically prevent another from occurring. It is more common among women who undergo IVF, but there are still only a few confirmed cases.
An Extraordinary Pregnancy
Dr. Walker told Good Morning America that he was relieved to find out that it wasn't his error that led to them finding out three months in that Rebecca was carrying two.
At the same time, he marveled at the extraordinary pregnancy, having never experienced a case of superfetation in his decades of practice. Rebecca was even more beside herself. She told Today that she was shaking so much that she nearly collapsed to the floor!
Was It The Fertility Drugs?
Dr. Walker explained that the fertility drugs that Rebecca was taking tend to cause the body to release two eggs at once. It would make sense that this could have occurred and one was fertilized separately from the other.
However, he isn't convinced that was the case since there's no way of proving that both eggs were released simultaneously. Plus, three weeks apart is a significant amount of time, especially given the hormonal changes that occur in early pregnancy.
Needing To Be Extra Careful
Pregnancies involving multiple babies have to be more closely monitored because they're higher risk. This was especially true with Rebecca's case of superfetation because the fetuses were so far apart in development.
According to Reuters, twin pregnancies are 10 times more likely to result in premature births before 32 weeks than singletons. Since the younger baby was already three weeks behind, it would be vital to elongate the pregnancy as long as possible for safety.
Everything Was Going Well Until...
As the months passed, Rebecca was happy to see that her pregnancy was moving along well. Dr. Walker knew all of the risks and intricacies involved, so he kept a close eye and held off on the idea of inducing labor for as long as possible.
Then something happened that required them to act fast. As Dr. Walker continued to watch the twins grow, he noticed that the younger one had seemed to plateau in her progress.
An Umbilical Cord Issue
After realizing that the younger twin was no longer growing as she should be, Dr. Walker did some investigating. He discovered that there was an issue with the umbilical cord that was attached to the younger twin.
As a result, she wasn't getting the necessary nutrients to continue developing. Fortunately, Rebecca was already at 33 weeks. While it was still a little early, enough time had passed to safety induce labor. It was time for Rebecca to meet her twins!
Meeting Noah And Rosalie
Though Rebecca was initially due in October, she arrived at the hospital in September so they could induce labor and bring out the twins! The older one was a boy, who Rebecca named Noah.
The younger baby was a girl named Rosalie. Noah weighed in at 4 pounds and 10 ounces, while little Rosalie was 2 pounds and 7 ounces. It was definitely clear from the start that Noah was the big brother to tiny Rosalie.
Needing Special Care
Though Noah looked quite robust compared to his little sister, he was born prematurely and needed to spend some time in the neonatal intensive care unit. Rosalie was almost half the size of her preemie brother and needed to go to a special hospital.
Seeing the twins split up was hard on Rebecca. She told Today, "It broke my heart when they were separated." Even more heart-wrenching was that Rosalie had to spend 95 days in the hospital before coming home.
Reunited And It Feels So Good!
While Rebecca's pregnancy and the months after giving birth were full of ups and downs, it was all well worth the rollercoaster ride of a journey. Noah and Rosalie did well with their special care and were at last able to reunite at home.
Rebecca told Today, "I remember holding both of them at the same time when they were reunited and thinking, 'This is a milestone in itself.'" The twins were definitely happy to be back together, too.
Though the twins are from a different egg, they still share a unique bond from being in the womb together. Rebecca shared that the twins love to hold hands and touch one another's faces.
They even have conversations with one another! Though the babies are at noticeably different stages in development as infants, those three weeks apart will seem like nothing later in life. Plus, they technically still have the same birthday.
Meant To Be
Rebecca is amazed at how beautiful it is to watch her little twins interacting with one another. She told Today that "Rosalie was meant to be," a sentiment obvious by her connection with her big brother.
Rebecca's firstborn, a teenager named Summer, is certainly happy to be a big sister, as well. The large age gap makes her a top contender for babysitting, at least for the next few years until she goes to college.
A Huge Social Media Following
Being that there have only been around a dozen cases of superfetation, Rebecca's story drew a ton of attention. She started an Instagram account specifically for the twins that tracks their entire journey from the pregnancy test onward.
The account has more than 67,000 followers who are inspired and moved by the heartwarming tale of the twins. The photos have thousands of likes and plenty of comments about how incredible the story is and how adorable the twins are.
Being that Rebecca is a children's clothing designer, you can bet that she's had a ton of fun dressing her little ones. She's made them adorable matching outfits, some that even have their names on them.
Rebecca also has plenty of friends in the business who are willing to gift her with some beautiful items. Her incredible story and huge following can't be bad for business, either. Through all of the challenges, Rebecca's superfetation has certainly paid off.