Getting pregnant after a long wait (and many difficulties) is a thrilling experience for both parents. It’s like being blessed by an angel with love just when you thought nothing could happen to make things right. Well, for one particular Australian couple, their angels did not only make them parents but also helped them make history!
Kate and Peter Hill were told way back in 2006 that they might never be able to have children. Kate was told that she had PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and was asked to undergo hormone therapy if she wanted to help kick start her ovulation process and increase her chances of getting pregnant. Luckily for her, the therapy worked, and when she finally got pregnant, she didn’t just get pregnant once but twice, with only a week apart between both pregnancies!
Yes, we know you’re scratching your head right now and wondering how on Earth is that possible? This is what makes Kate’s case is nothing short of a miracle. What happened to her is a very rare phenomenon that is termed as superfetation. Only ten other women all around the world have been reported to have had a pregnancy of this kind.
What is superfetation? Let us explain this with the help of an example. What happens when a woman gets pregnant is that her body starts preparing for it and consequently prevents the release of eggs from the ovaries into the uterus. Her body also releases pregnancy hormones so that a favorable environment can be created for the baby to grow. But Kate’s case was not ordinary, as her body did not stop producing eggs, and she ovulated despite getting pregnant already!
Kate said in interviews, “I had become pregnant, and my body had spontaneously released another egg, giving the embryos different gestational ages”.
And that showed in her ultrasound scan! The sizes of both the embryos were different with one smaller than the other. They even had different due dates of December 20th and 30th 2015, respectively.
What makes this more of a miracle is that Kate and her husband had unprotected sex once only. This means that Peter’s sperm survived in her system and fertilized both the eggs as and when they were released!
Kate’s doctor, Dr. Brad Armstrong of Greenslopes Private Hospital (based in Brisbane) was quite stunned by the news and wasn’t able to understand superfetation himself at first. He was quoted, “It was so rare that I could not find any literature in the medical review websites at all”.
Kate admits that it was only after her babies were born was she able to truly appreciate the miracle that happened to her. Her two little daughters, Charlotte and Olivia, share their birthday on the 29th of November each year. There was a considerable difference between the sizes of both the girls when they were born. Charlotte, being the younger of the two, weighed only 4.23 pounds, while Olivia weighed a healthier 5.46 pounds. Since both were born at a different stage of development, the newly blessed parents were scared at first for their younger one’s health.
The good news is that now both the babies are healthy and quite happy. The case of the Hills is also an example of fraternal twins that share no similarities. Even their blood groups are different! And that’s not all. Usually, fraternal twins are conceived with the help of two sperms and one single egg that splits. But in their case, it was only a single sperm that fertilized two eggs!
Medical science has not been able to explain this phenomenon yet, and we can’t stop admiring the miracle.
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