A mother has revealed how she got pregnant while she was already pregnant – conceiving her two daughters five days apart.
Odalis and Antonio Martinez, of San Pablo, California, were overjoyed when they found out they were expecting a baby in November 2020, after being left heartbroken by a miscarriage a few months previously.
But the best was yet to come when the 25-year-old discovered during her first scan that she was actually expecting two babies – conceived at different times during the same week.
The incredibly rare phenomenon is known as superfetation and is when a second, new pregnancy occurs during an initial pregnancy – and can occur days or weeks after the first one.
The full-time-mother said it felt like a ‘miracle’ to have daughters Lilo and Imelda Martinez-Atoyac arrive but admits that the pair look so similar that her and Antonio have mistaken them for one another.
In fact, the duo look so alike that Odalis says she tells people they are twins rather than having to explain the truth.
Odalis, 25, and Antonio Martinez, of San Pablo, California, welcomed two daughters, Imelda and Lilo on 10 August 2021. Odalis revealed she became pregnant with one of her daughters while she was already expecting the first one
The incredibly rare phenomenon is known as superfetation and is when a second, new pregnancy occurs during an initial pregnancy – and can occur days or weeks after the first one
Odalis said: ‘I got pregnant while I was already pregnant.
‘I just say that they’re twins but after reading a lot of articles I know that they’re technically not twins but it’s just confusing for people so I just tell them like “Yeah, they’re twins.”
‘They’re technically not even identical but everyone thinks that they are. They definitely look a lot alike.
‘Sometimes me and my husband, well more my husband, will get them mixed up with each other.
The mother-of-two reveals it is easier to tell people that Lilo and Imedla, six months, are twins, instead of explaining she got pregnant while already pregnant
Lilo and Imelda were conceived five days apart, Odalis revealed. She found out the girls were conceived mere days apart during her first ultrasound
‘Antonio will have a baby for an hour and be like “Oh Lilo” this and that and I’m like “You have Imelda” and he will be say “What?” and I’m just there laughing because he was like “Oh my God for a whole hour I thought I had Lilo”.
‘I usually don’t get them mixed up anymore, just because I’m with them 24/7 so I feel like I can tell them apart pretty easily, but a lot of people get them mixed up.’
Odalis and Antonio, who currently works as a counsellor, married in early 2020 and dreamed of starting their own family.
She fell pregnant but discovered she had miscarried during their 12 week check-up in July 2020.
A few months later the couple decided to try again, and she fell pregnant that same month.
Odalis said: ‘I was extremely happy that the pregnancy test was positive and we were on our pregnancy journey again.
‘I felt really lucky. I know a lot of people that have been trying to conceive and just haven’t been able to so that was also a fear of mine, but thankfully that wasn’t our case and I fell pregnant really quickly.
The happy couple, who suffered a miscarriage in July 2020, were delighted with the news that Odalis was carrying two babies instead of one and now dote on both their daughters
Odalis and Antonio admitted they felt scared at the beginning of the mother-of-two’s pregnancy. They set up a beautiful pregnancy shoot for her, right
WHAT IS SUPERFETATION? THE RARE CONDITION THAT CAUSES A PREGNANT WOMEN TO CONCEIVE
Superfetation is the rare phenomenon when a woman becomes pregnant with another child while already pregnant.
This occurs when an egg is fertilized by sperm and implants itself in the womb for a second time just days or weeks after the process happened for the first time.
It is extremely rare, with only a few cases ever reported in medical literature. Medics have identified superfetation in the UK, Italy and Canada.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy usually block three key processes required to become pregnant again:
- Ovulation: Body stops releasing eggs from the ovaries during the menstrual cycle
- Fertilization: Body creates a mucus barrier in the cervix that blocks sperm from fertilizing any extra eggs that are released
- Implantation: The hormones required for a fertilized egg to stick to the womb are not usually released when a woman is already pregnant
The tiny chance of these three processes happening in one person means almost all superfetation cases recorded have been in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF).
During this fertility treatment, a fertilized egg is transferred into a woman’s womb. Superfetation can occur if a woman is already pregnant, or becomes pregnant naturally in the days or weeks after this treatment.
Superfetation is tricky to diagnose, as the presence of two fetuses in the womb is usually assumed to be twins. The main feature of superfetation is the two fetuses are growing at different rates.
But there are other more common reasons for two babies growing at different rates.
Superfetation can increase the risk of complications for the younger baby, as it is at higher risk of being born prematurely.
Babies born through superfetation are often considered twins, as they are often born on the same day. However, they are not officially twins.
Twins are either identical — when a single egg splits in two after being fertilized.
Meanwhile, non-identical twins occur when two separate eggs are released from an ovary at the same time, are fertilized by different sperm and implanted into the womb.
‘I felt really really happy and also scared because of the miscarriage. It was pretty terrifying throughout my whole pregnancy not knowing if that was going to be the outcome again.
‘Hoping for the best but knowing there’s always a possibility that things might not go as planned.
‘The month that we conceived – and before we even knew that I was pregnant with two babies – Antonio and I had gone to the park to work out.
‘He was shooting basketballs and said “OK, if I shoot this basket and I make it, you have twins. Just kidding”.
‘And he made it and I was like, “Haha, very funny”.’
Odalis went into her first ultrasound alone because 31-year-old Antonio had to wait outside due to Covid regulations.
Odalis said: ‘I was just so scared that they were going to tell me, “Oh, there’s no heartbeat”, so I was so anxious the whole time I was texting Antonio: “I’m so scared”.
‘The doctor comes in and I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for anything and when she found the first baby and the heartbeat I was crying with so much happiness.
‘And then she started going back and forth and I was wondering why – my mind just went to the worst-case scenario because of the traumatic experience that we had.
‘That’s when she told me that she had found another baby that also had a heartbeat.
‘I was just crying with happiness. I felt like the first baby that we had lost was in the room with me and saying it was going to be ok.
‘When you go to the first ultrasound they check everything and around the day that you actually conceived the baby, and that’s when she told me that they were conceived five days apart, which I didn’t even know could happen.’
An exact date of conception can be determined by looking at the size of the fetus and comparing it to the same pattern of growth in other pregnancies.
Fetus grow quickly, which is how ultrasound can determine how old they are, and how a specialist could have told Imelda and Lilo were not conceived at the same time.
The mother-of-two said her due date was set in the middle – two days after one baby would have been 40 weeks and two days before the other one would have been 40 weeks.
The babies arrived on August 10 2021 and Lilo, who was conceived first was also born first weighing 6lbs 12oz. Imelda then followed, weighing 7lbs 3oz.
Odalis said: ‘I feel like it’s some sort of miracle that I experienced this double pregnancy. Because of our first experience, it made everything during this pregnancy feel so much more special and magical.
‘Just how easy I was able to conceive, and knowing that I had two babies, I just felt like there was so much light after such a dark place. It was the best surprise ever.
‘It was a really beautiful moment to finally be able to hold them in my arms.
‘When I held them and knew that they were ok, I can’t even explain the feeling. I love my family and my husband, but I had just never experienced a love and happiness like that.’
Sister sister! Lilo and Imelda are inseparable. They are literally one of a million, with only a handful of superfetation cases recorded in medical history
Double the love! The two sisters are filling their parents with joy. Odalis admitted it is easier to tell people they are twins rather than explain she got pregnant while already pregnant
Partners in crime! Odalis admitted she was scared to be told she had suffered a miscarriage when she showed up to her first ultrasound
The sisters look so similar that dad Antonio has admitted he sometimes confuses them. But Odalis knows how to tell them apart
The mother-of-two, 25, at home left, and in Paris, right, said her two daughters brought ‘light after such a dark place’
The babies arrived on August 10 2021 and Lilo, who was conceived first was also born first weighing 6lbs 12oz. Imelda then followed, weighing 7lbs 3oz. They are now happy six-months-old
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk