39-year-old Rebecca Roberts was excited to welcome a baby into the world. But things took a wild turn when a sonogram revealed that Roberts had somehow become pregnant again. Here is her incredible story.
Rebecca & Rhys
Meet Rebecca Roberts and Rhys Weaver, a lovely couple from the town of Trowbridge, United Kingdom. When the lovebugs found out Rebecca was pregnant, they never predicted the wild ride that lay ahead.
At the time, Roberts was focused on growing her Etsy shop. The mother-to-be was quite creative. She made and sold clothes for both children and pets. Little did Roberts know, life as she knew it was about to change more than anyone could have ever expected.
But Rebecca's motherhood journey actually started long before the wild turn of events she and Rhys experienced. 14 years ago, Roberts welcomed her first daughter. The young girl was named Summer Grace and was brought up as an only child. Well, kind of.
Rebecca's other "baby," a pooch named Daisy, was like a furry sibling to Summer. And soon, the teen would become an older sister to another sibling - an actual human baby. But not before a puzzling and worrisome series of events led the family on the experience of a lifetime.
Another Baby on the Way
In February 2020, before most of the world went into lockdown, Roberts suspected she might be pregnant. The U.K.-native excitedly took an at-home pregnancy test and found out her hunch was correct: Rebecca had a bun in the oven. It wasn't long before they had the first scan.
"I was offered an early scan at seven weeks," the 39-year-old mom explained. "Rhys was able to come to the scan too, as hospitals were still open at that point. We saw our tiny, little baby. It was so small, and we were told we were expecting one baby."
The Doctor's Visit
A few weeks after the initial seven-week scan, Rebecca went back for a 10-week ultrasound. She was thrilled to see the little peanut inside of her already growing so much. Doctors warned Roberts that it was a "geriatric pregnancy" due to her age, and therefore came with certain risks.
But the parents-to-be were not scared by the intimidating label. They were simply too excited for what was growing inside of Rebecca to be discouraged by the potential risks. Roberts said that at this 10-week scan, she "fell in love" with the baby and felt "so lucky."
Her 12-Week Scan
The excited mom went to see the sonographer often, wanting to be as careful as possible during her "geriatric" pregnancy. So Rebecca went back for another visit a mere two weeks later. And that's when things started to get a bit confusing for everyone involved.
"Fast forward a few weeks, and I had my 12-week scan," Roberts recalled. "Unfortunately, Rhys wasn't allowed in the hospital as lockdown had begun." The expecting mom was alone when the sonographer noticed something strange during the ultrasound procedure.
Two in the Oven
After carefully checking, the sonographer announced a surprising update: Rebecca was pregnant with twins. "Nothing could've prepared me for this news," Roberts said. "It was only a few weeks before that I saw 1 little baby wiggling around." Rebecca wondered how they hadn't realized it earlier.
"What on earth had happened, how did they miss the other baby?!" she remembered thinking. "The sonographer was gobsmacked, I was gobsmacked." At 39 years old, she was about to become a mother to twins. What would Rhys, who was waiting cluelessly in the parking lot, say?
Telling Her Husband
Rebecca recalled being beyond surprised by the news. "It was a good job I was lying down, otherwise I would have been on the floor," she shared. Meanwhile, one significant person had no idea he was about to become a dad to not one but two babies. Roberts went outside to tell him.
"When I told Rhys, who wasn't allowed in with me due to corona, he didn't believe me," Rebecca explained. "It was only when I showed him the printout, and we could clearly see two babies we realized we were having twins." After sharing the news, Roberts had to go back inside the clinic.
Something Wasn't Right
"I actually felt like the moment wasn't real," Rebecca said. As she put it, she had "many emotions running through her." After telling Weaver that they were expecting twins, she went back for more scans because the sonographer had been unable to measure the new baby properly.
"The midwife was so intrigued with this shock and then what was to follow," Roberts remembered. But confusion and intrigue soon turned to worry as the medical staff realized that something wasn't right with baby number two: It was significantly smaller than the first.
The Babies Were Different Ages
While differences between twins are not completely uncommon, the contrast between the two babies was immense. "They could not understand what was going on and why the size difference was so big," Roberts explained. They worried that baby number two was unhealthy.
And then Rebecca received another shocking insight. "After multiple scans, the twin specialist at Bath Royal United Hospital came to the conclusion that I had ovulated again," she said. "So basically, I got pregnant whilst being pregnant." A phenomenon called "superfetation."
They Would Be Born Together
The specialist concluded that the siblings were significantly different because the second baby was actually three weeks younger than the first. This explained why the baby hadn't appeared in early scans. But Rebecca learned they would still be born at the same time.
"They will be treated like a normal DCDA twin pregnancy. It will just be a bit of a worry that T2 will be premature, though," Roberts explained. The official due date was October 30th. But while Rebecca thought she now understood the puzzling turn of events, this was only the beginning.
How Common Are Superfetation Twins
As soon as Rebecca got home after learning she wasn't carrying an average set of twins, she googled "superfetation." "We were told it was very, very rare, but we found out there were only a handful of other stories. There are just 13 documented cases in the world ever," Roberts said.
Asma Khalil, a professor of obstetrics, said it's "impossible to put an accurate figure on how many occur." Experts estimate there are about one or two cases a year. "It's rare because once someone falls pregnant, further ovulation... is suppressed, so it's very unlikely eggs will be released," Khalil explained.
Doctors Were in Disbelief
Superfetation is so uncommon that even after the diagnosis, other doctors doubted that Rebecca had actually gotten pregnant again. They ran endless tests on the baby. "It was like they were trying to prove that something was wrong," she recalled. "They were adamant it wasn't superfetation."
"There was talk of a virus, of chromosome problems like Edwards, cystic fibrosis, and other hugely stressful things. At one point, they were not sure if the baby would survive," Roberts continued. "Our world came crashing down; I couldn't enjoy my pregnancy at all. All the things you are supposed to enjoy were gone."
The Health Risks
Rebecca's pregnancy was already considered high-risk due to her age. Now, the long list of risks grew as she was carrying twins. On top of that, doctors worried about baby number two's development. "It's hard to comprehend the amount of uncertainty I felt back then when I was pregnant," Roberts said.
Twins are more likely to be born early, so having one that's 3 weeks younger than the other posed a serious threat. The parents and medical staff were concerned that the newborn would eventually have a low birth weight and trouble breathing, among other issues. Rebecca and Rhys had a decision to make.
Would They Discontinue the Pregnancy
The baby wasn't the only one at risk from the rare pregnancy. According to Healthline, carrying superfetation twins meant Rebecca was also more likely to experience complications. These included high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. But Roberts and Weaver always knew they wouldn't discontinue the pregnancy.
"If there was anything wrong, it wouldn't make us feel any different, we would still continue with the pregnancy of that twin," Rebecca proudly explained. "I love my babies so much, I will protect them for all their lives. The other twin is perfectly fine."
The Babies' Genders
After extensive tests, doctors couldn't find anything to explain the size difference other than superfetation. So as Rebecca and Rhys embraced the unexpected news that they would have two babies, they began getting the nursery ready and buying necessary supplies.
It seemed that the parents weren't done being surprised, as they chose not to learn the babies' genes. "I've only got neutral clothes for now as we are keeping their genders a surprise," Rebecca shared. "Maybe it's one of each! I really don't mind, I hope for healthy happy babies."
She Didn't Feel Baby #2
Rebecca's hope for two healthy babies began to falter when she began to feel baby number one inside the womb and not baby number two. "I could feel [Twin 1's] tiny kicks, but nothing from [Twin 2] yet," she said. Because the second child had an anterior placenta, Roberts rarely felt it.
"I do worry about T2 movements every day," Roberts shared at the time. "Maybe I'm just comparing it with T1 movements. I know T1 is bigger and a bit older, so kicks and movements will be more noticeable, but it makes me feel like T2 isn't moving that much." She soon had more cause for concern.
Something Was Wrong With Baby #2
Not long after figuring out why baby two was so small, Rebecca had her first meeting with a consultant obstetrician. The doctor specialized in caring for pregnant women. "How I'd love to say that everything went perfectly well and both twins are fine," she said after the appointment.
Sadly, that was not the case. Something was wrong with the second twin. "I'm waiting for an emergency appointment to see a specialist at a Fetal medical hospital," Roberts continued. "I've cried and cried, my face is sore. I just need answers now. I love my babies so much."
She Met a Fetal Specialist
A few days later, Rebecca was able to meet with the specialist at the fetal hospital. The expecting mom called it "one of the most nerve-wracking days" of her life. Fortunately, the problem with baby number two was not as severe as Robert's online surfing had indicated.
"So not good news, but it's not as bad as we were anticipating," Rebecca said. "The issue with the baby isn't fatal." But the worried mom still had to get more tests done. She also started having regular scans every two weeks under the care of the fetal hospital.
Just as the family was recovering from their most recent scare, they encountered another big bump in the road. A routine check-up showed that Twin 2's heartbeat was dipping. "I got sent straight over to the main hospital where they strapped me to an ECG for 2 hours," Rebecca recalled.
Doctors feared she'd have to go into early labor. They even discussed using steroids to mature the twins' lungs in case they were born in an emergency C-section. Fortunately, the baby's heartbeat eventually returned to normal, and Rebecca was able to return home.
Nearing Her Due Date
Rebecca's pregnancy journey turned out to be far from what she expected. It wasn't easy, as she and Rhys coped with the many difficulties they encountered. But with the due date inching closer, Roberts and Weaver maintained hope for a healthy delivery.
"We've made it to 32 weeks," Rebecca shared at the time on social media. "I hope my little ones stay in there a bit longer. My consultant says they could be here any day now!" Roberts hoped to make it to 34 weeks before delivering, but a medical emergency made that impossible.
Welcoming Noah & Rosalie
Shortly after sharing the update on Instagram, Rebecca had to go in for a C-section because there was an issue with Twin 2's umbilical cord. On September 17, 2020, baby boy Noah and baby girl Rosalie were born. Noah was at 33 weeks and 6 days, while Rosalie was 30 weeks and 6 days old.
The boy twin weighed 4 pounds, 10 ounces, and the girl weighed two pounds, 7 ounces. "Rosalie was considerably smaller than Noah," Rebecca said. "She looked extremely premature and spent the first 2 weeks of her life in a special baby hospital because she had gotten into a bit of trouble."
Rosalie Need Further Testing
While Noah stayed at the NICU in the hospital where they were delivered, Rosalie went to a specialized facility. Given the rare circumstances, doctors needed to run more tests. They wanted to rule out other things that could have caused Rosalie's small size.
The doctors ran countless genetic tests on the tiny newborn. "Nothing could have prepared us for the journey Rosalie was about to take, the heartbreak we had over and over watching her screaming and being poked and prodded," Rebecca said. They anxiously awaited the results.
Doctors warned the baby girl could have cystic fibrosis or Edward Syndrome, but the results proved otherwise. "Rosalie was clear of any abnormalities so that put that straight," Rebecca said. "The twin specialist is still convinced she was conceived later, and these babies really are miracles."
Noah and Rosalie truly were superfetation twins! But confirming what the parents long suspected didn't mean Rosalie was out of the danger zone. The baby's well-being was still at risk as she had been born at 30 weeks. The newborn twin required around-the-clock care and a special feeding routine.
In the NICU
After two weeks in the baby hospital, Rosalie was transferred to a regular NICU. Noah got to go home from the NICU after about 21 days, but his sister had to stay much longer. Having two babies in the hospital was certainly difficult for the new parents.
"The stress has been unreal. Back and forth to NICU every day, and sometimes I have been staying in to be with Rosalie," Rebecca shared at the time. "Traveling to 2 different hospitals was hard on everyone!" To top it off, the twins hardly got to bond since leaving the womb.
Their First Time Outside
The family got a special surprise during a visit to Rosalie once Noah had already been released from the NICU: the nurses said the parents and both twins could go for a walk around the hospital grounds. "I almost didn't believe [the nurse] at first," Roberts said.
She explained, "Rosalie was this tiny baby in an incubator, covered with wires and beeping. So how on earth would she or could she be able to go in a pram?" Thanks to portable equipment, Rosalie and Noah took their first stroll together in the fresh outdoors.
After spending a long 95 days in the NICU, Rosalie was finally healthy enough to come home. The baby girl joined the rest of her loving family a few days before Christmas. "Words can't explain how happy we are to have both the twins home," Rebecca told HuffPost UK.
She added, "Noah is really thriving, and so is Rosalie. She's growing well." Once they were both settled in and nearly at 4 months of age, Noah weighed 11 pounds, 14 ounces, while Rosalie was 6 pounds, 10 ounces. But another health scare meant Rosalie was soon back in the hospital.
Back in the Hospital
The tiny baby girl had a hernia and needed an emergency operation. "At first, the doctors thought her hernia was quite small," Roberts explained. "But during the operation, they found that it was very large, and she unfortunately also had another big hernia."
Thankfully, the worried mom was able to stay with Rosalie overnight despite the ongoing pandemic. "I couldn't bear not being able to look after her," Rebecca recalled as she imagined not being allowed to accompany her precious little girl. Thankfully, Rosalie went home after a night.
Reunited and It Feels So Good
Although Rosalie was "a bit sore" when she got home, the baby was soon smiling alongside her twin brother. "I'm so glad she won't remember this," Rebecca said of the emergency operation. "She's been through so much in her little life already." From the moment Rosalie first appeared in the ultrasound, she was a fighter.
"A friend said Rosalie is meant to be in this world. She fought all the way to be here," Roberts shared. Now both babies were once again home, hopefully for good this time around. As the twins grew more each day, their parents noticed how different they were from one another.
Their Developmental Differences
Rebecca discussed how mind-blowing the twins' size differences felt. "The weight difference between them is mental," she said. "You can easily move Rosalie around with one hand, but Noah you would need to hold him with both." The proud mama said that even the smallest nappies were "huge" on Rosalie.
But physical appearances weren't the only way in which the siblings differed. Since Rosalie was technically 3 weeks younger, despite being born on the same day as her brother, they reached developmental milestones at different times. Noah began babbling and showed motor skills before Rosalie.
The "Strangest" Miracle
Noah might've been a little ahead in his developmental milestones, but Rosalie wasn't too far behind. Most importantly, both babies were finally healthy. And as they grew, the twins became more aware of each other and started showing one another affection.
"It's the most strangest, amazing, miracle and it happened to us. I do feel very lucky," Rebecca said of having one of 14 recorded sets of superfetation twins. "My babies really are a miracle, and I want to tell the world." Their story continues, and you can follow it on the twins' Instagram page, @roberts.supertwins.