Alabama woman pregnant with two uteruses gives birth to healthy twins

When Kelsey Hatcher gave birth to her baby last week, she smiled and cried as doctors cheered and clapped. But after the Alabama doctors handed over the newborn to Hatcher a few minutes later, they went back to work.

There was another baby to be born.

Hatcher was pregnant with two fetuses in separate uteruses, which occurs in one in a million pregnancies, her doctors said. After doctors planned for seven months for a pregnancy they never witnessed, they delivered healthy Hatcher babies last week.

Roxy, who developed in Hatcher’s right uterus, was born on Tuesday. The next morning, Rebel was delivered by C-section from Hatcher’s left uterus.

Hatcher and her fraternal twins returned to their home in Dora, Ala., on Friday and spent their first Christmas together.

“Never in our wildest dreams could we have planned pregnancy and birth this way; but bringing our two healthy baby girls into this world safely has always been the goal,” Hatcher, 32, said in a statement on the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Hospital website. “… It seems fitting that they have two birthdays though. They both had their own ‘houses,’ and now they both have their own unique birth stories.”

Shweta Patel, Hatcher’s obstetrician at UAB, told The Washington Post that the babies’ births filled the room with “excitement and happiness.”

“It was a sigh of relief that everyone was doing so well after the birth,” Patel said.

Hatcher was born with uterine didelphis, a rare condition that creates two uterine cavities. The disorder increased Hatcher’s chances of miscarriages and premature births, but she and her husband, Caleb, had two daughters and a son who were born without complications.

In March, Hatcher unexpectedly became pregnant. She and Caleb had hoped they could handle raising four children, but they would soon learn there would be a fifth.

In May, a nurse found fetuses in both of Hatcher’s uteruses on an ultrasound. Hatcher said laughing in disbelief.

She started feeling both fetuses kicking around 16 weeks into the pregnancy. Doctors told her the babies could be hours, days or weeks away.

Although Hatcher didn’t know how the pregnancy would go, she and Caleb decided to name the babies that start with R, the same letter their other children’s names start with.

Hatcher wanted to have both babies before Christmas so her family could spend the holiday together. Although Hatcher’s original due date was December 22, her doctors moved the date up in hopes of reaching their goal.

When the couple drove to UAB on Tuesday, Hatcher worried about potential problems, such as the babies taking a long time to be delivered, she said in an interview released by the hospital.

At UAB, doctors gave her pitocin, a labor-inducing drug, to induce contractions in both uteruses. Doctors monitor both fetuses via ultrasound to determine which baby should be born first. Although Patel said the hospital is staffing the operating room, similar to a traditional twin pregnancy, more nurses than usual observe each uterus.

The doctors noticed that the fetus in the right uterus was further forward. A few hours later, Roxy, who weighed 7 pounds 7 ounces, was born at 7:45 p.m.

“We knew our time wasn’t up,” Patel said, “and we still had more work to do.”

Minutes later, doctors watched the other fetus as Hatcher nursed Roxy. Hatcher told doctors she would wait a while to deliver both babies naturally. In her hospital room, Hatcher lay on her side with a yoga ball — shaped like a peanut — between her legs, holding them off the bed in hopes of inducing labor.

But Patel said the fetus in the left uterus wasn’t dropping into Hatcher’s pelvis, so the doctor suggested a C-section.

In the morning, the Hatchers returned to the operating room. The doctors weren’t sure what to do with Roxy, so they brought her into the delivery room in a bassinet.

When Rebel was born at 6:10 a.m., weighing 7 pounds, 3½ ounces, Patel said there was more cheering, clapping and crying. Patel said she carried Rebel over Roxi’s crib so the sisters could meet.

“It was our first moment where it was just the four of us together and we really got to breathe that in,” Hatcher said in an interview released by the hospital.

After Hatcher returned to her recovery room, she held the babies together for the first time, Patel said. When Hatcher puts Roxy and Rebel next to each other, she said, they move closer and touch.

“There’s that connection there,” Hatcher said in the hospital interview. “How strong it will be as they grow up we’ll see, but they definitely have a connection.”

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