Claire's story

I had my daughter in 2004. She was conceived naturally after a few months of trying, so I naturally assumed the same would happen again. After a year of trying, my GP suspected I had endometriosis and I had a lap and dye (laparoscopy – where a tiny camera is inserted to examine the abdominal and uterine cavity, and hysterosalpingogram – an X-ray of the inside of the uterus and tubes, taken by injecting a dye into the womb). These showed nothing wrong.

In the meantime, my husband was found to have a low sperm count and we were advised that IVF was the only way forward.

My decision on embryo transfer

We had our first cycle and the night before the embryos were due to be transferred we had a lengthy discussion about how we didn’t want to risk twins and decided to have only one embryo transferred.

We got to the clinic and I changed my mind at the last minute and asked for 2 embryos to be put back. Unfortunately, this cycle was unsuccessful and I have never felt devastation like it. I had presumed as the ‘fault’ wasn’t mine, it would work straight away.

We were advised to wait 3 months before transferring our remaining 2 frozen embryos. However, the month after the IVF I became pregnant naturally, although I miscarried at 6 weeks. Nobody could give me an answer as to why this had happened and the doctors we consulted just suggested I had increasingly expensive blood tests.

In September 2007, we had our remaining 2 embryos thawed and only one survived. In some ways I was pleased because it avoided the whole twins debate again, but it also made the experience feel like there was even less chance of it working and I felt quite hopeless about the whole thing.

"I have to say that so far, the shock of having twins coupled with having a very uncomfortable pregnancy has made it very difficult to bond with the babies."

My experience of multiple pregnancy

We got our positive pregnancy test and were elated until we went for our first scan and they found it was twins! We naturally assumed they were identical as only one embryo had been transferred. However, at 23 weeks we found they were definitely non-identical as they are boy/girl twins. The only explanation I have been given is that I conceived naturally at the same time. Apparently there are only two other documented cases of this occurring.

I have to say that so far, the shock of having twins coupled with having a very uncomfortable pregnancy has made it very difficult to bond with the babies. I am only 29 weeks pregnant and finding it very difficult. In the grand scheme of things I am physically well, blood pressure is fine, iron levels are fine etc. But I developed symphysis pubis dysfunction (pain and inflammation of the joint where the two halves of the pelvic bones meet at the front) early on and this has had a massive impact on my mobility and my ability to care for my 3-year old daughter.

I know I should be grateful as so far I have had an uncomplicated pregnancy and my babies are growing well but carrying two babies is extremely hard work and not something I would ever have chosen.

"The thing is these babies were so desperately wanted, but nobody should underestimate how tough a twin pregnancy is."

Singleton pregnancy compared with multiple pregnancy

Having had a baby before I know what a fantastic experience pregnancy can be. I don't know whether my feelings this time are simply related to how bad I feel physically or the fact that Mother Nature played one hell of a trick on us, but there have been times when I have been concerned about developing depression.

The thing is these babies were so desperately wanted, but nobody should underestimate how tough a twin pregnancy is. Especially when it appears that the majority of midwifery services are geared towards singleton births. My antenatal clinic doesn’t have a specialist midwife and at times my care has been uncoordinated and incredibly disorganised.