21 February 2023

Faye and I married on 25 August 2018 and soon after that decided to have children. We both went to a clinic in London to have various initial tests carried out. I was happy for Faye to carry the child but we finally decided that I would. We struggled to find a suitable sperm donor as I am A-rhesus negative. My mum had me in a rhesus ward when I was born. I know that you can have injections if the sperm is from a positive blood group but we didn’t want any more intrusion, given that we would be having IVF. So we hunted for a suitable donor with the correct blood group. 

We found a suitable donor from America. We chose someone who had the same features as Faye - dark hair and dark eyes.

 So the sperm was imported (which we could track) and it went to Denmark and then to the UK. We then started treatment in March 2019 and had my eggs collected. I was worried that given my age, 38, I wouldn’t produce many eggs as I didn't have lots of follicles. But 15 were collected, 12 fertilised and 10 made it through to the suitable stage (blastocysts). The first transfer of the embryo didn’t work. We were incredibly saddened by this. I have short cycles of 23 days and suspect by having a fresh transfer that my body was getting ready for my period and that’s why the blastocyst didn’t implant. We used the free counselling from the clinic, got ourselves mentally ready and decided to try again.

This time, as the first transfer didn’t work, we decided to have two put in to increase our chances. I also started using an extremely strong drug that shut down my ovaries and was told it would almost certainly be successful if I used this method. To our pleasant surprise, at the seven-week scan, we saw two heartbeats. We were ecstatically happy with the news.  The pregnancy was okay for the beginning part but it took its toll on me. I was commuting to Harrow from south east London four days a week, working as a divorce lawyer. By the end, I had suspected gestational diabetes, bile in my blood, liver problems, kidney problems, pre-eclampsia (which turned into clampsia), reflux, sciatica and awful water retention. I was wheelchair-bound at the end.

As Boris announced the entire country was going into lockdown on 23 March 2020, we were celebrating having just given birth to the twins that morning. Just before 11am, we greeted Isla weighing 5lbs 14 and Quinn weighing 8lbs 10. We knew the sperm donor was 6ft 4 but just saw height as a positive. We hadn't thought about the implications with me then carrying two large babies. Quinn was born with two holes in his heart. One was in the membrane but closed almost instantly. The other is in the lower chamber of his heart, near the aortic valve. This has now almost closed, which is amazing news. They both are dairy intolerant, had reflux and Isla had awful colic for the first four months of her life. There was a lot of sick and crying. Feeding them during the night on my own (once Faye was back at work) was a struggle, as they had to be kept upright after each feed to prevent sickness. The early years were hard. All four of us were alone. Faye is a twin and we planned for her mum to move in with us and help out. We couldn't do that. We didn't see people for months. We struggled. But we're through it now. 

Boy and girl twins in the snow

The impact of Covid on us was very negative. After the twins were born, if we had any medical issues, we only went to the hospital in an emergency. Even then, we showered when we came home and we would leave food deliveries in the hallway for 48 hours and wipe everything down. It was stressful. But boy oh boy was it worth it. I wouldn't change a thing. We are stronger as a family. We managed to build an amazing bond during that time and great routines for the twins. We now both work from home with our jobs, which I didn't think would have been as possible before Covid. We are able to see Isla and Quinn every day. They are our life. They can be pickles but they make us smile and we are so proud of the amazing little people they are turning into. 

Having twins is difficult. Having twins during a global pandemic felt almost impossible. But I feel stronger as a person.

We have an amazing network of other twin parents and go-to twin groups. There's an amazing unity in the twin community that is very difficult to describe or put into words. It's wonderful.

Estella, Faye, Quinn and Isla in the swimming pool