Kelsey Hatcher and her husband Caleb, of Dora, Ala., learned they were expecting in the spring, but it wasn’t until a routine screening ultrasound that they found out the circumstances surrounding their super rare pregnancy.
Hatcher, 32, has long known that she was born with two uteri and two cervixes, as a result of a condition known as uterine didelphys.
And while the condition is rare enough on its own, the odds of becoming pregnant in each uterus at the same time is “one in a million,” according to Dr. Richard Davis, a maternal and fetal medicine specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Women & Infants Center, who spoke with ABC News.
Davis told NBC affiliate WVTM 13 that “maybe three per 1,000 women might” have a double cervix or double uterus.
“And then the probability of you having a twin in each horn is really crazy,” he continued.
“When I first found out, I was like, ‘I wonder if there’s anybody I can reach out to just to, you know, see what their experiences were,'” Hatcher told Good Morning America. “But I think I’ve only read of two other cases (in which) they’ve had (pregnancies) in completely separate uteruses, and no one that I’ve been able to reach out to.”
The discovery also comes as an additional shock to the Hatchers as their other three children — ages 7, 4 and 2 — were all single births.
Due to Hatcher’s unique position, her pregnancy is considered high-risk.
For now, both fetuses are growing as expected. But the tricky part will come when the babies are ready to make their way out into the world. Because they are each developing in separate wombs, there’s no guarantee that Hatcher’s labour contractions will start at the same time.
“So when she goes into labour, if she does, then we will have to monitor each uterus and see which one’s contracting, and if they’re doing sort of almost the same or they’re different,” Davis told WVTM, explaining that there’s a possibility the babies could be born days or even weeks apart.
The Washington Post reports that Hatcher’s doctors are keeping a close eye on her as she nears her due date. She is now 34 weeks pregnant and the fraternal twin girls — for lack of a better description — are due on Christmas Day.
Obstetrician Shweta Patel, one of the doctors overseeing Hatcher’s care, told the outlet that because they don’t have many other similar cases to reference, they are handling this pregnancy much like a twin pregnancy.
“This is such a rare thing that we don’t have a lot of guidance,” Patel said.
For now, Hatcher says their family is trying to figure out some of the logistics of having five kids. She and Caleb are saving up to buy a house with more bedrooms and shopping for vans that can hold five booster seats.
“If I let myself dwell on it too much, it can be overwhelming and scary,” Hatcher said. “But I just try to focus on the positive and know that I’m in the best of hands in our area, and things will turn out great.”