Rebecca Roberts and her partner, Rhys Weaver, had been trying to conceive for years. So when the pair discovered they were getting not one but two babies — they were elated.
Roberts, who was on fertility medication, had her third ultrasound at 12 weeks pregnant when she learned there was a second baby.
“It was really, really shocking to be told there were two babies instead of one,” Roberts, 39, of Wiltshire, England, told “Good Morning America.” “Then they told me there was a three-week size difference between the two babies that the doctors couldn’t understand.”
The doctors were not sure what was going on with Roberts’ pregnancy as the occurrence is so rare that the actual number of times it has happened is unknown, according to Roberts’ doctor, David Walker, an OBGYN at Royal United Hospital in Bath.
Roberts’ pregnancy was diagnosed as superfetation, a phenomenon where a second, new pregnancy occurs during an initial pregnancy. In order for it to happen, eggs are released from the ovary on two separate occasions. They fertilize and then implant into the uterus, according to Walker.
“My initial reaction was how had I missed the second twin,” Walker said. “And following this [I] was slightly relieved that it was not my mistake but a quite extraordinary pregnancy.”
In Roberts’ case, her older twin measured three weeks older than the younger twin, believed to be one of the biggest age differences among known superfetation twins.
Roberts then learned how she was expecting a rare set of twins by herself due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“When I found out we were having twins, he was out in the parking lot,” Roberts said of her partner. “There was such a mixture of emotions.”
Roberts revealed how both she and Weaver struggled to discover any information online about superfetation as it is so rare. They were also informed by doctors that their younger twin, a girl they went on to name Rosalie, may not survive.
“What came after getting pregnant was just such incredible hard work,” said Roberts. “It wasn’t all happy and rainbows like you expect a pregnancy to be. It was quite scary.”
She went on, “With twins it’s scary already and then because of my age and the fact that they were conceived at different points, and then we were told that all the odds were against Rosalie.”
When Roberts was just 33 weeks pregnant, doctors induced labor as Rosalie had stopped growing properly due to a problem with her umbilical cord. She gave birth successfully last September to a son, Noah, who weighed 4 pounds, 10 ounces, and Rosalie, who weighed just 2 pounds, 7 ounces.
“She was only a 30-week gestation baby who hadn’t grown properly at the end,” Roberts said of Rosalie. “Her placenta never really grew properly.”
Rosalie proceeded to spend the next 95 days in the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU), while her brother Noah spent just over three weeks at a different NICU. The family was finally reunited just before Christmas, when Rosalie came home.
“They’re my super twins,” said Roberts. “Every day I look at them and think, ‘Wow, I’m so lucky.’”
“I wanted another child for years and years and years and I waited for the right guy to come along and then I met Rhys and we fell in love and we wanted a baby and we were trying for ages to have one and we couldn’t get pregnant,” she added. “Then we got pregnant and were blessed with two babies. It’s like, wow, this was worth waiting for.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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