After struggling through three years of fertility treatments, Jeffery and Sheryl McGowen were blessed with identical twins. Twice.
Sheryl McGowen gave birth to two sets of identical twins via caesarean section at the Women’s Hospital of Texas in Houston on Monday.
The first twins born are named Jacob and Jacoby, and the second two were named Justin and Jason. The four brothers, who were about 10 weeks early, weigh between 3 pounds, 4 ounces and 2 pounds, 5 ounces.
“I’m still waking up every morning and touching those little wristbands just to check if it’s still real,” said Jeffery McGowen, a deputy with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
All four were still on ventilators on Wednesday, but were otherwise healthy and expected to come off the breathing machines on Friday, their father said. Their mother, 35, is doing well, he said.
The odds of two pairs of identical being born during the same pregnancy are about one out of 11 million, the McGowens’ doctors told them.
The four babies came from two eggs that divided. Each set of twins looks different from the other set.
The McGowens underwent years of fertility drug treatments, which doctors have credited with an upsurge of multiple births in recent years, before finally trying in vitro fertilization.
Doctors implanted two eggs, which is normal to increase the chances of success. But both eggs were fertilized.
“We started off with twins. Two weeks later we had an ultrasound, and they told us one of the eggs had split,” Jeffery McGowen, 34, said.
In November, a doctor specializing in high-risk pregnancies took another look and told the McGowens they were going to have two sets of twins.
“I was shocked, amazed and I really didn’t know what to say at that time,” Jeffery McGowen told Reuters.
The McGowens kept the news secret until Christmas Day, when they shared it with their families.
Finances are going to be tight, McGowen said.
“We’re going from a two-income family to one income, and now we have six instead of two,” he said. “But I have faith we’ll be provided for.”
Revision date: June 14, 2011
Last revised: by Amalia K. Gagarina, M.S., R.D.