Birth Story: rare twins conceived three weeks apart

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Superfetation birth story

With their very obvious size difference, it’s hard to believe Noah and Rosalie are twins. That’s because they’re actually among the rarest twins in the world – conceived at different times.

Incredibly, Rebecca Roberts was already pregnant with baby Noah, when Rosalie was conceived. She’d had her first scan at seven weeks, showing just one baby, and another at 10 weeks – still just one baby. But at her 12 week ultrasound, things took an unbelievable turn. She was pregnant with twins, but one was much bigger than the other.

What lay ahead was a pregnancy of ups and downs, and the birth of miracle ‘double pregnancy’ twins.

Twins conceived three weeks apart

Mum falls pregnant while already pregnant

UK parents Rebecca Roberts and Rhys Weaver shared their remarkable story on Facebook, detailing their journey to parenthood.

“We were keen to shout our fantastic news to the world when I was pregnant, but things didn’t go quite to plan and we hit our fair few bumps and a little surprise thrown in for good measure. We found out we were pregnant in February, so no lockdown baby jokes there! And I was offered an early scan at seven weeks. Rhys was able to come to the scan too as the hospitals were still open to partners at that point.

“We saw our tiny little baby, just! It was so small and we were told we were expecting one baby. Yup just the one. I was also given another scan at 10 weeks to check everything was A OK and there was our little baby wriggling around.

“Fast forward a few weeks and I had my ‘12 week scan’. Unfortunately, Rhys wasn’t allowed in the hospital as lockdown had begun. It was at that point we found out we were expecting twins. That was amazing news, but things got even more amazing. It was very obvious that one twin was much bigger than the other.”

Superfetation birth story

Rebecca explained that there was a three-week size difference between the babies. Doctors couldn’t understand why, and she underwent multiple scans. The twin specialist then came to the conclusion that Rebecca must have ovulated again while already pregnant. “So basically I got pregnant whilst being pregnant!

It’s a totally rare phenomenon called superfetation.”

What is superfetation?
It’s a rare pregnancy occurrence that happens when hormonal changes during pregnancy don’t stop the release of eggs. It basically means ovulating twice in one month, and if you happen to have fallen pregnant during the first ovulation, it’s possible to fall pregnant again during the second ovulation.

The couple was sent to a specialist baby hospital in Bristol, where doctors wanted to investigate other possibilities.

“Ideas were that I had contracted some kind of virus, or that the baby had a chromosome problem which meant it would be very small. Our hearts broke into tiny pieces. It seemed like a never ending journey from that point of scans and measurements. But somehow the little baby always remained three weeks smaller than the bigger one, a consistent growth. That was enough evidence for other doctors to say there wasn’t anything wrong with this baby at all.

“Many times we were led to believe it could die. The whole second half of the pregnancy was a living nightmare. There was talks of doing an amino, we refused as we would love our babies no matter what.”

A rare twin birth

Double pregnancy

The twins were born at 33 weeks and six days. Noah weighing 4lb 10oz and Rosalie 2lb 7oz – almost half her brother’s size. Rebecca says her daughter’s umbilical cord had stopped working properly in the last few weeks of her pregnancy, so her growth was minimal towards the end.

While the couple had already endured so much, there was more to come.

“Then this was the beginning of a new type of hell for us. Our babies were born in Bath RUH but when only one day old, Rosalie was rushed to St Michael’s. She had got herself into a bit of trouble. It’s very hard for us to talk about, this is why we hadn’t announced the birth of the babies. We were worried we would lose her and didn’t know how to answer people’s questions if they knew they had been born.

Superfetation twins

“So we kept quiet for a while. They tested Rosalie for Edwards syndrome, we were sick with worry for five days waiting for the results. Rosalie was clear of any of the trisomy syndromes. They could not understand why she had been so small all the way through the pregnancy. She was then tested for a further chromosome check called a MicroArray test.

Once again Rosalie’s results came back clear. After two weeks Rosalie was transferred back to Bath NICU to be reunited with her brother Noah. Noah spent a total of three weeks and three days in the NICU. Rosalie spent 95 days there and came home a few days before Christmas.

Rare double pregnancy

“We were offered a new test to do with chromosomes and genetics, this test would hopefully be the answer to why Rosalie was always three weeks smaller than Noah. If nothing is found in these tests and everything was ruled out, there will be nothing to stop the doctors’ early diagnosis of superfetation.

“Guess what guys, last week we got Rosalies results back. These are the most in depth tests you can get called Exome sequencing, and once again she is clear.”

So it’s official – Noah and Rosalie are true super twins! For anyone who’s keen to follow their journey, they now have their very own Instagram account: roberts.supertwins.

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