With four eager little kids under the age of two, Sean and Lisa Kelly anticipate a chaotic Christmas Day. On the other hand, the pair plans to take advantage of each and every chance. Their quads — the first set of identical twins to be born in Britain – are the children they never dreamed they’d have.
The two couples, Hannah and Jessica and Annabelle and Heidi were created on the third IVF effort and were born on December 27, 2009, against all chances, from two implanted embryos.
‘I feel lucky every time I look at them,’ said Mrs. Kelly, 36. ‘But Christmas is particularly emotional – this time two years ago I was pregnant and had no idea if they’d survive.’
Mrs. Kelly, of Billingham, Cleveland, who also has a ten-year-old son Cameron, admits she struggles to tell the girls apart, relying on their temperaments and, in one case, a freckle to identify them. Mrs. Kelly and her husband, an electrical designer from Billingham, Cleveland, had hoped for a sibling for their 10-year-old son Cameron. They spent £9,000 of their funds on reproductive treatment after failing to conceive naturally for the second time and were startled when doctors told them they were expecting quads.
Says Mrs. Kelly: “Two embryos had been placed back into my uterus but everyone was stunned when both of them grew into two sets of identical twins. Even doctors couldn’t believe it.’
But their joy was tainted when doctors explained quadruplet pregnancies are very rare and potentially very dangerous.
Despite all the odds, however, after a problem-free pregnancy the girls, born at 31.5 weeks were healthy. Identical twins Heidi and Annabelle each weighed 3Ib 3oz while twins Hannah and Jessica, who are also identical, weighed 2Ib 11oz and 2Ib 10oz respectively.