A young couple who were told they’d never conceive are celebrating their sons’ second birthday – after having two sets of twins in just 21 months.
Katherine McCulloch, 24, thought she was infertile due to a rare form of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which caused a build up of scar tissue.
She and her partner Aaron Tricker, 26, both from Ipswich, Suffolk, were astonished to learn she was pregnant with non-identical twins Brayden and Logan, who turned two on Monday.
But the couple described a second unexpected pregnancy as ‘an absolute miracle’ after also becoming parents to non-identical twin girls Rhea and Lyra in December last year.
The odds of having two sets of twins are 1 in 700,000 – but having two sets so close together is considered highly unusual.
Katherine said: ‘It is an absolute miracle. We can’t describe how lucky we feel to have a complete family after thinking we would never have any children.
‘I have always wanted children so I was heartbroken to think I would never become a mother.
‘To have one set of twins is incredible enough but to be blessed with two more children, and all within such a short period of time, is nothing short of amazing.’
Katherine and Aaron, 26, who met through friends seven years ago, had got used to the idea they would never have children after doctors told them she was infertile.
‘We spoke about having children but two years after we got together I went into hospital with pains in my stomach,’ said Katherine.
‘I was told I had PID which had caused scarring and left me unable to conceive.
PID is a common infection of the female upper genital tract, including the womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries, according to the NHS.
Symptoms include pain during sex, bleeding and heavy periods, while severe side effects include vomiting and fever.
It can be caused by and STD of by bacteria that live in the genital tract.
If the fallopian tubes are affected they can become scarred and narrowed, making it difficult for eggs to pass from the ovaries into the womb.
This increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy and can leave some women infertile.
‘I was devastated but we have big families so we tried to move past it and be thankful for the family we had.’
The couple stopped using contraception and over two years later, Katherine realised her period was late.
She immediately thought she might be pregnant and rushed to take a test – only to find her dream of becoming a mother was about to come true.
Katherine said: ‘I was never late coming on to my period so I just knew.
‘When I did the test and confirmed I was pregnant, I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t think it could be true.
‘Because of my medical history, they sent me for an early scan. That’s when they realised there were two heartbeats.
‘We were so happy. I was over the moon that I was giving Aaron the chance to be a father because I thought it was something I could never give him.’
Katherine’s pregnancy went smoothly and she gave birth to Brayden and Logan on March 20, 2015.
But despite having managed to fall pregnant with the boys, she was told it was very unlikely she would be able to conceive any other children.
To be safe, Katherine went on the pill but decided to have a month’s break after suffering from headaches thought to be triggered by the contraceptive.
She said: ‘I went on the pill because doctors advised me to but never in a million years did I think I’d ever have any more children.
‘When I came off it for a few weeks, I was complacent because I thought there was no way I’d get pregnant.
‘But when my period was late again, I just couldn’t believe it. I knew it had happened again.’
A pregnancy test confirmed Katherine was due to have another baby, despite her twin boys being just 13 months old.
She suffered a bleed and so doctors performed an early scan to check for signs of miscarriage.
This time, Katherine and Aaron, who both have a history of twins in their families, were told they were expecting just one baby.
That was until her 12-week scan when the midwife again picked up two heartbeats.
Katherine, who used to care for elderly people with dementia, said: ‘You couldn’t make it up.
‘I couldn’t believe that I was going from having no children, to two and then four in just a few months.
‘We were so happy to find out it was going to be girls the second time round.’
Rhea and Lyra were born on December 6, 2016, and like their older brothers, they are non-identical twins.
Aaron, a full-time kitchen worktop fitter, said: ‘It’s all been a bit of a shock to be honest.
‘But once we got our heads around it, it’s been great. I love having them all so close together and it’s over and done with now.
‘It’s quite an experience and I try to spend as much time as possible with them all when I’m not at work but they’re quite a handful.
‘It’s lovely to walk through the door and have my ready made family there waiting though, it’s something I never thought we would have.’
After the whirlwind pregnancies, the couple have decided enough is enough and the don’t plan to have any more children.
Katherine said: ‘It’s a lot of work but it’s very rewarding.
‘It’s nice to do it all in one go and get the hard work out of the way.
‘Although they’re all close as brothers and sisters, each of the twins have their own unique bond which is so special to see.
‘They’re so special to me, they’re my everything.
‘Our families joke that we should try and get pregnant again to see if we could make it a third set of twins but it’s a complete no-no as it would probably happen!’