Getting to know that you are pregnant with multiple babies such as twins, triplets, or more is best experienced than imagined.
You are said to have multiple births when you give birth to two or more babies from the same pregnancy.
A combination of factors including the widespread use of assisted reproductive techniques and advancing maternal age at conception is part of the reason why many women are having many babies at once these days.
Also, with the better care of preterm births, the number of multiple births has increased over the years both in Nigeria and internationally.
This was precisely what a Nigerian woman simply identified as Nneka went through when she found out that she was carrying more than one baby, after struggling with unexplained infertility for three years.
No official explanation or outright problem or challenge could be found as the cause of their fertility struggles.
Nneka and her husband, Emeka had always dreamt of having twins and actually entered into the fertility treatment process hoping for twins. But finding out that Nneka was pregnant with twins still came as a shock. The discovery both excited and scared them.
She was eight weeks pregnant when an ultrasound confirmed twin fetuses. At 14 weeks, another ultrasound revealed that the babies could be identical twins because they shared the same placenta.
The road to conception was not smooth. After trying unsuccessfully to conceive naturally, and realising that they were not getting any younger, Nneka and her husband got fed up with the barrage of tests, and they decided to take the next step. They opted for IVF as the last measure to tackle their unexplained infertility issue.
After a scheduled consultation at a reputable fertility centre in Lagos, they began the preliminary fertility testing in earnest. With mixed emotions, they started off with Intra Uterine Insemination as the first treatment.
But after two unsuccessful rounds, they opted to move forward with IVF. The egg retrieval came first, there were 10 eggs in all. Nneka was anxious throughout the process but felt satisfied with the number of eggs harvested. Then came the wait for confirmation whether the eggs fertilised.
Of the 10 eggs, four embryos made it to the blastocyst stage (a day five embryos) and the centre proceeded with the embryo transfer.
The specialist explained that transferring two embryos was the best bet as it was likely to minimise unexpected multiples, noting that IVF may give higher chance of multiples with blastocysts.
Before transfer, the blastocysts from the IVF cycle were graded and the ones with the highest quality were identified. In the end, two of the best-grade embryos were transferred, and the pregnancy test was positive. Nneka and Emeka were elated and were now well on their way to experiencing conception.
The centre advised that they cryopreserved the remaining for future use. The two-week wait for the pregnancy test result passed quickly. Nneka was home one Monday morning when she received news that her pregnancy test was positive. Her smile lit the room.
Weeks later when she had her first pregnancy ultrasound, Nneka held her breath as the physician looked at the screen. After a while, she announced that there were two babies. It was the best news she had ever heard. Her dream of giving birth to twins was about to come true.
She was placed on bed rest as they prepared for the arrival of the babies. Overall, she had an almost flawless pregnancy. At 36 weeks the doctor suggested she might have to undergo a cesarean section because scans showed that her babies were relatively large.
A couple of days before the 37th week of gestation, she had the C-section and welcomed her twin baby girls with indescribable joy. Her pregnancy was a success.