It’s normal for it to be a surprise, when expectant parents learn they’re having twins. But for UK mother Kelly Fairhurst and her partner Joshua Boundy, the news that they’d be having not one but two babies paled in comparison with the other big reveal at their 12-week ultrasound: Each of the fetuses was growing in a separate womb.
Fairhurst has a rare medical condition, that occurs in fewer than one in 3,000 women, called uterine didelphys.
“The uterus forms in utero by the fusion of two tubes,” Dr Nick Raine-Fenning, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, told Cosmopolitan UK. “The wall between the tubes breaks down in its lower aspect leaving one womb and one cervix whilst the upper parts stay separate and form the two Fallopian tubes.”
If something atypical happens during that process, a baby girl can be born with two separate tubes, and therefore two uteri and two cervixes.
In an interview with Today Parents, Fairhurst said, “My midwife looked at me and said, ‘In 30 years I’ve never seen anything like this.’”
Fairhurst’s doctors also told her that “it was a one in a 50 million chance for me to conceive twins in each womb,” she shared in an interview with British media outlet the Sun.
The pregnant mother-of-two has been told that the birth of her twin daughters may involved two separate labours, because the babies are growing in separate wombs. “It can cause problems, Professor Asma Khalil, an expert in obstetrics at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, South London, told the Sun.
“In one case one twin was delivered at 25 weeks and the other carried on until late in pregnancy.” The plan, if at all possible, is for Fairhurst to deliver by caesarean section, although she said her first two children’s births happened very fast, so her medical team is preparing for all eventualities.
Fairhurst’s doctors believe it’s most likely that she ovulated twice in one cycle to conceive the twins, and that they will be fraternal. However, in spite of the distinct wombs in which they’ve taken up residence, there is still a chance that the little girls will be identical twins.
Regardless, they will be extra special.
As Fairhurst told the Sun, “It makes you feel incredibly grateful that this has happened to you and you get to have two amazing babies.”
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