She may have been dealt some shocking news but that didn't stop her from trying to have a baby like she'd always wanted. And she did — four of them!
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on September 26, 2019. It has since been updated.
At age 16, Lauren Cotter was given shocking news from doctors after she went to them for a solution to her agonizing menstrual cramps. What she believed to be the condition called Polycystic Ovarian Condition, which was the cause of her pain, actually turned out to be something far rarer.
Otherwise called double uterus, the rare condition Lauren had is called uterine didelphys which occurs in one in about every 2,000 women, according to Scientific American. And it happens when the uterus doesn't fuse properly in the fetus while in the womb, thus creating two uteruses. A woman with two uteruses may also have two cervixes (openings to the vagina) and two vaginas, according to Nationwide's Children. And one of the consequences of this condition is an increased risk of miscarriage or premature labor.
Doctors had warned Lauren that the condition may impact her ability to carry and deliver a child, due to the reduced size of her wombs and cervixes, according to the Daily Mail. And the mom-of-four claims that having this condition has in no way affected her physical relationship with her policeman husband, Ben, 33, whom she met and fell in love with at age 17. Lauren, having been open with him about this issue, said that he was not bothered by it, reported Mirror UK. "From quite early, on Ben and I discussed having children and it was clear that he really wanted to be a dad," she said to the news outlet.
“I knew I had to be open and honest and tell him that might not be a possibility for me. Luckily he wasn't bothered. We talked it through and agreed that there was more than one way to have a baby if you wanted it badly enough. But actually, we have found it easy to fall pregnant – I am not sure why, or if it has anything to do with my two vaginas," she continued.
Recalling the time she was diagnosed with it, the primary school teacher says, "I can’t remember much about the diagnosis, but I remember hearing PCOS mentioned quite a few times. Up until the ultrasound, there were no signs that I was any different to anyone else.”
A couple of months after the results, the mother underwent laser surgery to remove the dividing wall between her two vaginas, which enabled her to enjoy a normal love life. "I didn’t think much about it at the time. All I remember is being told I was going to need surgery to give me a normal life later down the line - but they didn't go into any specifics," she said.
Then at 17, she met Ben and within no time, the couple got married in Melbourne in 2012. They had an intense desire to become parents and hence the newlyweds started trying for a baby a year after tying the knot which to their surprise was a success.
"We decided to give it a go, and just see what happened. We knew it might be a bumpy road and tried not to get our hopes up too much. Just a month after we started trying, I bought a stack of pregnancy tests and started taking them weekly. Then one morning, I had a test to hand, and there on the stick was a very, very, faint blue line. I couldn't be sure, so I took a test each morning that week, and each day the line got darker and darker until I was sure - we were pregnant," she said.
Clearly, while fertility was no issue, she was informed that miscarriages and stillbirths were still a possibility since her wombs were half the average size. Additionally, she would have to go through early cesarean section procedure.
Beating all the odds that were stacked against her, Lauren became pregnant with her first child, Amelie, 5, at the age of 28, before getting pregnant with her son, Harvey, 3, two years later. Both their deliveries via cesarean section were smooth. And then came the "miracle" twins Maya and Evie, who were conceived while she was fitted with the contraceptive implant.
Because of the dangers of carrying twins with this condition, doctors kept a strict eye on the mom. They put her on strict bed rest from 19 weeks onward and she recalled, "My doctor was very honest and said he couldn’t know how the pregnancy was going to play out."
Then little Maya and Evie were delivered via c-section in June last year. However, Evie had to be rushed to intensive care just hours after their arrival because she had been struggling to breathe. Undergoing keyhole surgery at just five days old due to the fact that she was born with her intestines in the chest cavity, her parents were told she only had a 50% chance of survival.
And then the miracle happened. She recovered completely and was in her new home with her siblings after just three weeks. Now, the family of six is happier than ever. "Ben and I are one super fertile couple, and now we’re happy with things just as they are," Lauren said, reported Mirror UK. And the twins are at the center of their "crazy, hectic and amazing" life.