While giving birth to twins is relatively rare, accounting for just three percent of all pregnancies, one Alabama couple has beaten the odds twice, giving birth to two sets of twins in less than two years.
Britney and Frankie Alba welcomed sons Luca and Levi 17 months ago. The boys were a monochorionic diamniotic pregnancy, a rare condition in which the boys shared a placenta, but each had their own amniotic sac. “They were at increased risk of something called twin-twin transfusion syndrome, or when one baby essentially gets too much blood and nourishment, and the other one doesn’t,” explained Dr. Rachel Sinkey, an OB/GYN at the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB).
Thankfully, the boys arrived healthy and without complications.
Six months after Luca and Levi were born, Britney was pregnant again.
“We were like OK, we just had two, we can handle one more,” Britney told PEOPLE magazine.
“When they did the ultrasound they said there was one baby. [The technician] said ‘Let me double check, and she was like, ‘Oh my goodness … there’s two.’ And we start laughing because we think it’s a joke. And she’s like ‘No. I wouldn’t joke about this. There’s two,'” explained Britney.
“I was definitely in shock,” Frankie told Good Morning America. “But I was excited at the same time. They’re definitely a blessing.”
Soon after getting over their shock, the Albas learned that their preborn twin girls were monoamniotic-monochorionic (referred to as MoMo), which means they shared the same placenta, amniotic sac, and fluid. This is an even rarer condition, occurring in less than one percent of all births.
“It was already rare for there to be identical twins back to back, but particularly just my twins because MoMo twins make up 1% of all twin pregnancies. It’s very rare,” Britney said of what her doctors told them. “So just their pregnancy alone was rare. But then to have identical twin brothers right before them made it even more rare, so definitely a unique situation.”
While extremely rare, MoMo twins also result in a high-risk pregnancy.
“So with her girls, the MoMo twins that shared a placenta and a sac and were swimming in the same amniotic fluid, since they are essentially swimming in the same sac, their cords can become tangled in a knot, and unfortunately the rate of stillbirth in these twins is high,” said Dr. Sinkey.
In order to give her preborn girls the best chance possible for survival, Britney had to spend two months in the hospital for constant monitoring.
“It was nerve-wracking to think about the journey ahead of me and being away from my boys for several weeks,” Britney said. “But I knew I had a village at home and would be in great hands at UAB, which calmed my worries.”
The two girls, Lydia and Lindley, were born in October at 32 weeks gestation. While they did spend several weeks in the NICU, they were able to join their big brothers at home in December.
“Even on those nights where we feel like we want to pull our hair out, and none of our children want to sleep, we just have to remind ourselves how lucky and how blessed we are to be able to have these children,” Britney said.
Frankie added, “Life has definitely changed dramatically and very quickly but it’s a huge blessing for us and we are just looking forward to what the future holds with these babies because they’re special. We can’t see life without our babies.”
The couple also credits their community of friends and family for helping them, and their strong faith for getting them through.
“With each other and by the grace of God, we’re doing great,” Britney told the TODAY Show.
“We love Jesus, and all the glory and honor to the Lord,” added Frankie.
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