THEY were shocked to discover they were having twins. But at their 20-week scan, Jennifer Ashwood and Andrew House were left lost for words.
After learning that she was carrying her children in TWO different wombs, Poppy and Piran House were delivered at 34 weeks to parents Jennifer Ashwood and Andrew House.
Remarkably, she became pregnant with twins when one egg was released into each uterus – and they were both successfully fertilised at the same time.
Doctors told the family the chances of having twins in this way was one-in-500 million.
The mum-of-three said: “To have the double uterus is rare in itself but to have an egg in both, then for those to be fertilised, and for both eggs to be in the right part – it’s a miracle. “It is ridiculously rare.
“The odds were stacked against us but it all worked out. “You think you know your body well, but it turns out you might not.”
Jennifer was even more shocked, having already given birth to her daughter Millie, now eight. That pregnancy was straightforward, giving away no clues of her rare condition. “My body has surprised me this time,” she admitted.
“I have two separate uterine cavities joined by one cervix. “Everything else is the same, I have two Fallopian tubes, one each side, with an ovary each.”
The condition is caused by an abnormality when Jennifer was in the womb. Rather than looking like a regular womb, Jennifer’s is heart-shaped, with with two sections stemming from one cervix. It makes it no harder for a woman to conceive, but does increase the risk of miscarriage or premature birth slightly.
In most cases women with the condition will only carry one baby, in one uterus. Jennifer, however, ovulated and discharged two eggs, one from each Fallopian tube, during her typical monthly cycle. Both were fertilized and stayed in their own uterine compartments.
Piran was born first at 5lb 10oz, with Poppy born minutes later weighing 5lb 3oz. At Jennifer’s request, doctors even snapped a picture of her uterus during surgery so she could see what it looked like. The two uteruses are readily seen, with one being noticeably smaller than the other.
“They had their own uterus, their own amniotic sacks, and their own placentas,” she said. “They said it was realistically like having two single pregnancies at the same time.”
“They thought they were going to have to do an incision in each one to get them out, but they made one and managed to get the little boy out. “They were just about to start on the other one, but she managed to kick her little foot through.” Jennifer was allowed home after five days, while the twins stayed in hospital for two weeks, having jaundice treatment and feeding support.