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The proud parents of naturally-conceived identical twins were blessed twice over when they became parents to a second set of identical twins just 13 months after welcoming their first.
Twenty-seven-year-old elementary school teacher Britney Gilbert Alba, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and her husband, firefighter Frankie Alba, 25, were thrilled to discover they were expecting identical twin boys. Rare monochorionic-diamniotic twins, Luka and Levi, had two different amniotic sacs but shared the same placenta.
Due to this, they were at increased risk for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) where one baby gets more blood and nourishment than the other. Luckily, Luka and Levi were born without complications, and ecstatic parents Britney and Frankie’s wish to add to their family came true quicker than expected when Britney conceived again six months later.
“We were like, ‘Okay, we just had two, we can handle one more,’” Britney told the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)’s news outlet, UAB News. “When we did the ultrasound, they said there was one baby … then she starts looking and she was like, ‘Oh my goodness, there’s two!’”
Beyond the rarity of back-to-back identical twin births, the girls were extremely rare monochorionic-monoamniotic or “MoMo” twins, meaning they shared both the same placenta and amniotic sac.
In August 2022, Britney shared her extraordinary news on Facebook with the pregnancy announcement,
“We prayed for a miracle, and God gave us two!” a letter board read.
Since Britney was expecting MoMo twins, her pregnancy was considered more high-risk than other twin pregnancies due to the potential of cord entanglement.
“When the babies become viable (24 weeks) the risk of cord entanglement increases,” she wrote. “In order to closely monitor our baby girls, I will be admitted to the hospital at UAB in two weeks where I will stay until the babies are delivered between 32 and 34 weeks.”
Britney was admitted to UAB at 25 weeks for a two-month stay. She and Frankie asked their family to pray for their unborn babies’ wellness, for her strength in spending so long away from her infants at home, and for Frankie as he balanced work, childcare, and traveling back and forth to Birmingham to visit Britney.
“We have the most amazing village around, and I know that everything is going to work out exactly how it is meant to,” Britney wrote. “Two things we are absolutely certain of: 1. Our baby girls are not statistics, 2. Our God is in control, and He is always faithful.”
Throughout her hospital stay, Britney had to spend a lot of alone time in UAB, but said that the team took her in and “became family.”
“It was not an easy journey, but we’re lucky to have had the team and resources at UAB to get us through everything,” she said.
After strict hospital supervision toward the end of her pregnancy, Britney gave birth to Lydia and Lynlee at 32 weeks gestation in UAB Women and Infants Center on Oct. 25, 2022, via planned cesarean section. The girls were then admitted to UAB Regional Newborn Care Unit for continued care.
Lydia and Lynlee received expert care after the birth and went from strength to strength. The twin girls were discharged on Dec. 7, two weeks before their original due date.
Dr. Rachel Sinkey, UAB OB/GYN, said that there is sadly a high rate of stillbirths associated with MoMo twins. “MoMo twins are rare, and sometimes both twins do not make it,” she said. “I think the team-based care approach at UAB between maternal-fetal specialists, genetic counselors, nurses, and NICU team greatly helped the outcome. From beginning to end, Britney and the girls have defied all odds.”
Each set of twins–Luka and Levi, and Lydia and Lynlee–share a unique bond. According to Britney her boys only started sleeping through the night once they shared a nursery, and her girls are happiest when they are holding hands.
As Britney and Frankie adjust to life as a family of six, the busy mom says her bouncing brood attracts a lot of attention in public in their four-seater stroller.
“People gawk at us,” she told Today Parents. “I used to get stopped all the time when it was just Luka and Levi; you know, people asking, ‘Are they twins?’ Now it’s like a circus. Everyone wants to get a look.”