When we’re pregnant, we often anxiously await the milestones and news of the gender of our child, if it’s multiples, etc. In 2011, a United Kingdom woman gave birth to twins. What makes this so remarkable? This year, she is set to give birth to her second set of twins, making her the youngest person in the UK to give birth to two sets of twins.
Annie Gladstone, 21, gave birth to her first pair of twins, son Jayden and daughter Lillie in April 2011. Both Gladstone and fiance Rich Porter, 26, do not have a history of twins on either side of their families. They are flabbergasted at their amazing fertility. The full-time stay-at-home mom will turn 22 later on this fall and will become the youngest woman in Britain to deliver two sets of twins when the newest pair, twin girls, arrive on or around September 11.
Annie recalls the moment that the pair found out they were having twins for a second time,
“When the nurse told us we were shocked. You could have heard a pin drop. It took a minute for me to begin breathing, and Rich’s face went so pale. But after the initial shock, of course we are delighted. We’ve been told we’re having girls. They say your second baby is easier to cope with than your first, but since our first and second came at the same time, we’re hoping babies three and four are a breeze. As far as I know, I’m the youngest mum in Britain to have two sets of twins. I’m delighted.”
After Lillie and Jayden were born, Annie had longed to have more children, so when learning that she fell pregnant in January, she was very happy. However, the overjoyed parents will not know whether or not their girls are identical until the moment they are born. Annie laughs, “Rich and Jayden are definitely about to get very outnumbered at home.” Neither Gladstone or Porter come from large families, with Annie only having a younger sister and an older brother, and Rich having one older sister.
Gladstone says the couple was not using fertility treatment, saying, “Obviously when I fell pregnant at 17 we weren’t using fertility treatment, and I wasn’t this time either. I always wanted kids. We both did. But we never wanted a big family. Last year I said to Rich that I wanted another baby, and then we’d stop. I guess good things come in twos.” However, this time around, the pregnancy is beginning to wear on Annie.
The young woman suffers from chronic Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, or SPD. It is pelvic pain that is the result of carrying two babies at once. Towards the end of her pregnancy, Annie will have to use crutches to walk around, but believes that it is all worth the pain, saying,
“SPD is horrible. I’m in constant pain and it’s making looking after Jayden and Lillie so much harder. But it should go away once the babies are born, so I’ll have them to tire me out instead.”
When Rich found out he and Annie were expecting doubles again he was floored.
“It was a right shock when we were told Annie was carrying twins. My face dropped. At first, the doctor said they might be triplets, but thankfully that didn’t turn out to be the case. As long as they are healthy, that’s all that matters. I’ll always work as much and as hard as I can to support my family – I can’t understand why other fathers wouldn’t. I’m excited. I just hope we don’t have any more.”
The Royal College of Midwives acknowledges that Gladstone is the youngest woman in Britain to have two sets of twins in succession such as Annie is. Jacque Gerrard, the director for England at the RCM says,
“I have been a midwife for over 30 years and have never seen someone at such a young age have two sets of twins in succession like this. As a mother of twins myself I know what she is going through and I wish her well in her pregnancy. Women having twins and multiple births are monitored closely throughout the pregnancy particularly when it is a teenage pregnancy. The experience gained with her first set of twins will be helpful when she gives birth second time round. The important point is that she gets the right levels of support from the midwives and local maternity services throughout the pregnancy and also postnatally along with support from her partner and family. Midwives are very skilled at supporting women with multiple pregnancy but do so in partnership with obstetricians.”