By Josh Saunders
A same sex couple who overcame fertility issues to miraculously both become pregnant at the same time have given birth two days apart.
Anna and Renee McInarnay, 35 and 36, from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA, both underwent IVF treatment, never believing a conception could be a ‘real possibility’.
They feared they would not be able to have children due to their age, which gave them a 38% IVF success rate, and for Renee a lower chance due to having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
But when they received a phone call to reveal that Anna was pregnant, they had a surprise – Renee who only produced one egg for fertilisation was also carrying a child too.
They believed it to be a ‘miracle’ and went onto attend birthing classes together, even initially planning to welcome their little ones into the world on the same day.
But the loved-up couple, who have been together for 18 years, decided to give birth separately after complications meant they would need c-sections after long labours.
On Saturday (Oct 13) Emma Reese was born weighing 7lb 13oz, followed by Avonlea Grace, 7lb 1oz, a mere two days seven hours and 48 minutes later.
Anna, a teacher, said: “Before, Renee and I never knew if we could have children of our own, but then we had a miraculous outcome and it feels amazing.
“The labour was complicated, we had a real fear about both of the girls getting here, so now it feels like we are living in a dream.
“It was our doctor’s suggestion that we not to go into labour on the same day, so that we could both be there for each other and hold one another’s hands.
“We were both able to remember, participate in and are able to say we were there for both of our daughters’ births.
“One of the favourite parts from my birth was during particularly painful contractions, when Renee pulled up Emma and said, ‘Look here is Emma and why you are doing this’ and that was all I needed.
“I couldn’t be more grateful for having a good doctor that listened, it made a really beautiful outcome for Renee and I, ensuring we were all healthy and safe the whole time.
“We hope our daughters will be really close, they have been sleeping next to one another and are calm when they are together.
“They listened to both of our voices for their entire lives.
“When we were pregnant, we prayed every day, spoke and sang to them, so when they came out it felt right to put them together.
“There has been a giant lack of sleep occurring, but it’s overset by joy, happiness and lots of relief.”
Online the couple have been critiqued for being pregnant at the same time despite never expecting they would both conceive, in real life they have received positive feedback and well wishes.
They both decided to undergo IVF at the same time fearing it could be Renee’s last chance at motherhood and, also doubting the likelihood of either of them falling pregnant.
Anna said: “We ovulated on the same day, which was pretty miraculous, when they checked I had three eggs and Renee had one.
“We decided to both try for a baby knowing the chances were very low, we didn’t know if Renee would get the chance to conceive again.
“We decided that with more eggs between us we stood a better chance but didn’t think we could be pregnant at the same time.
“Even the doctors thought it was such a little chance of happening for us both and on our first time, the odds and statistics were so low it didn’t seem like a real possibility.”
They were overwhelmed when they received a call two weeks later to reveal not one, but two babies were on the way.
Anna said: “Why they said, ‘Anna you’re pregnant’ we were screaming and shouting.
“They asked us, ‘Are you sitting down?’ and I thought they were going to say I was carrying twins but then they told us Renee was pregnant too and we both burst into tears.
“We just wanted for one of us to have a child, I’m 35 and my wife is 36, so we didn’t expect this miracle at all.
“We feel extremely gracious that it happened to us, but it wasn’t something where we thought ‘Let’s get pregnant together.’”
They documented their pregnancy online, with photographer Ginny Sims, 33, snapping them together.
She said: “I had such a great time photographing Anna and Renee. Spending time with them, you can really see the love they have for each other shine through, and that joy is contagious.
“What I loved most about photographing Anna and Renee is that their love always shines through.
“Listening to them chatter and joke between pictures and hearing them talk to their daughters – you just know that this family is full of love.
“Capturing even a small part of that is something really special.”
The couple admit that their birthing classes weren’t used to same sex couples, let alone two pregnant mothers-to-be, but embraced them with open arms.
Anna added: “We would laugh when they said, ‘Would all of the fathers…’ and we had to decide who wanted to be the ‘father’ each time.
“It was a positive experience though and most of the breathing tricks they taught us, I used a lot in labour, it was a pretty good thing going to those classes.”
The couple can’t wait to enjoy their baby moon together now they have been joined by Avonlea Grace and Emma Reese, who were born weighing 7lb 1oz and 7lb 13oz.
Anna said: “More often than not, we have been so fortunate to receive support and love, and people wishing us and our daughters well.
“That’s all we encounter day to day. We only get hate online from the internet trolls and what have you. From our community and the people that know us, it’s all love.
“It’s been incredible, we hoped for one baby but now we have a little family, we could never have dreamed of this outcome.”
Fully aware of their own fortunate circumstances around being able to have children, the couple want to offer hope and their hearts to other families struggling to conceive.
Anna added: “The fortune we have had has laid heavily on our hearts, it’s not lost us that we had this amazing opportunity.
“We want everyone trying to have a family to know that our hearts are with them.
“We had an amazing experience where some people struggle for years and years.
“Anyone who wants a family should be able to have a family through any means they can do.”