After getting the go-ahead from the therapists and a clean bill of health from the doctors, they did embryo transfers and Jennifer got pregnant with twin girls. “I had already carried my own twins, so I knew the challenges [of being pregnant with multiples], and was ready for them,” she recounts. As with her own pregnancy, she ended up on restricted bed rest, but luckily had a flexible enough job as a university clinician that she could work a lot from home.
Only this time, Jennifer was a lot more anxious, feeling that it was her responsibility to keep the girls healthy. “It was like taking care of someone else’s kids — you don’t want to do anything that could cause any damage,” she says. Just as she had been with her own pregnancy, she was cautious of her health, and sure to take breaks and stay off her feet when she felt rundown.
Jennifer’s pregnancy brought the friends even closer. “We just felt really bonded to each other, like family,” she says. “As I was getting bigger, Sarah would come over and take my kids out for the day. We were there for each other.” Still, despite the close friendship, Sarah and her husband insisted on doing everything by the book. “They wanted to pay me, and I kept refusing, because I wasn’t doing it for the money,” Jennifer recalls. “But ultimately, it was what they felt they needed to do, I think because it made them feel that it was more fair.
At 35 weeks, Jennifer’s water broke and she went straight to the hospital for a c-section. During delivery, Sarah was in the operating room, snapping pictures. “It was really surreal and kind of crazy. I was shaking from the epidural and physiologically overwhelmed, but the babies were healthy, which was such a relief,” she says. She says it was very easy for her to hand the little girls to their parents, because she knew she would be in their lives forever.
Five years later, Jennifer is still incredibly close to the healthy twin girls she carried in her belly for almost nine months. “They consider me an aunt, and my kids are like cousins to them,” she says. “And in a way, I’m kind of like a Grandma because I get to spoil them and enjoy them and then give them back.” In the end, the twin girls weren’t just a blessing for Sarah — they were a gift to Jennifer and her family too.
*Name changed for clarity. “Sarah’s” name is also Jennifer.
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