The Smith twins are a blessing and an incredible anomaly. Not only did their embryo have a slim chance of splitting to create twins, but — even though they are identical — they were born on different days, and in different months.
Courtney and Ken Smith of Stanhope became pregnant with the girls after two years of infertility, several rounds of basic fertility treatment, and, finally, in vitro fertilization and a single embryo transfer.
“We were aware of the risks associated with twins, so we planned to only transfer a single embryo,” Courtney said. “Well, God laughed and gave us twins anyway. Lucky us!”
The doctor had said chances of an embryo splitting were less than one percent.
“In the meantime, my husband and I purchased a house,” Courtney said. “But the seller was difficult, and we weren’t able to close until about 15 days before I ended up giving birth. Thank goodness for family who stepped in and helped us get it done.”
The pregnancy was uncomplicated until about 32 weeks in, when Courtney started to develop symptoms of preeclampsia.
“My legs and feet became so swollen I could barely stand or walk,” she said. “My blood pressure started to get high. These symptoms may have been due to moving so late in the pregnancy and doing too much to try to prepare the house while also emptying out our old apartment.”
At 36 weeks, her obstetrician decided labor needed to be induced.
“After a long wait, I managed to give birth vaginally at Chilton Hospital, but hemorrhaged and needed a transfusion of seven bags of blood after the birth,” said Courtney. “It took about seven hours to get the blood back in me, but the hardest part was being unable to hold the babies as they were whisked away shortly after the birth to be treated.”
Reunited at last
The twins have different birth months (and birthstones): Rebekah Faith was born at 11:49 p.m. on Wednesday, March 31, at four pounds, nine ounces. Charlotte Grace was born at 12:06 a.m. on Thursday, April 1, at six pounds.
“Rebekah is named after the biblical character Rebekah who went through infertility and ended up having twins, so we decided to name the firstborn Rebekah to symbolize the end of our battle with infertility,” Cortney said.
The babies needed to stay in the special care nursery at Chilton Medical Center because of their difficulty in learning how to eat. They needed feeding tubes for a while because they weren’t able to eat enough on their own.
Charlotte was able to come home a week after she was born, but Rebekah remained in the hospital learning to maintain her body temperature. On Sunday, April 18, she was able to go home.
“If she got too cold, her energy is spent trying to stay warm and she won’t eat,” Courtney said. “Each night my husband and I rotated to drive and visit her during one of her feeds.”
Now, at last, the entire Smith family is together. The miracle is reflected in the girls’ middle names, Faith and Grace.
An added bonus for the girls is that, although they are identical, each has her very own, very special, individual birthday.
“Rebekah is named after the biblical character Rebekah who went through infertility and ended up having twins, so we decided to name the firstborn Rebekah to symbolize the end of our battle with infertility.” Courtney Smith