After experiencing miscarriages, identical twins Jalynne Crawford and Janelle Leopoldo were thrilled to discover last year that they were both pregnant with baby boys. On June 18, the twins welcomed their babies just a few hours apart at the same hospital. The babies were even delivered by the same doctor.
While the twins don't live near each other (Crawford lives in Arizona; Leopoldo is in California), they were just four days apart in their pregnancies. And, given that they both had to have scheduled C-sections (they each had C-sections in the past), their doctors said they could schedule their births together if they didn't go into labor before the delivery date.
"Our parents never missed a grandchild birth and this was number 10 and 11, and so we wanted to keep that special tradition alive for us and them," Crawford tells SELF. "We both made it to 39 weeks [and] the deliveries went well for both of us." She gave birth to a baby boy named Bryson Ryder at 1:29 P.M., and Leopoldo gave birth to baby Jace Alan at 4:07 P.M.
Crawford and Leopoldo decided that Crawford should give birth first, which she says was for few reasons: She was born two minutes before her sister, she was four days ahead of her sister (pregnancy-wise), and her husband (San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford) only gets three days paternity leave due to his baseball schedule, so going first would give him a few extra hours with their new baby.
"After I delivered, I was in the recovery room," Crawford says. "When Janelle delivered, they wheeled her back to the OR, [but] immediately following her birth they wheeled our beds next to each other so we could see one another and our babies. This was a day she and I will never forget."
But this is far from the first thing the twins have done together during these pregnancies. They shared a birth announcement and did a photo shoot together, celebrating their pregnancies. "From 16 weeks (4 months) pregnant, we went to every doctor appointment together," Crawford says. "We both had great pregnancies and shared many moments together during this time with our families and children."
Crawford says it's "literally a dream come true to both be pregnant together, even better delivering together." During their hospital stay, the twins were put in recovery rooms near each other. "During our stay, as soon as we could stand up following surgery, we were in each other’s rooms constantly sharing the experience together," Crawford says. "It was so special to be able to be there with my twin and nephew for their birth at the same time as mine. This is my last baby and he completed our family."
Original report (April 2, 2018):
Going through a miscarriage can take a physical and emotional toll. Luckily, most women go on to become pregnant and have healthy babies afterward, but the experience can be incredibly intense, emotional, and even life-changing.
Jalynne Crawford knows all about the difficulties of miscarriage—she and her twin sister Janelle Leopoldo went through them at the same time. Crawford, who says she and her twin always wanted to be pregnant together, tells SELF that she had two miscarriages in a row, one of which coincided with her twin's pregnancy loss. "We kept telling each other, 'It’s God’s plan,'" she says. "'Maybe this is his way of getting us pregnant together like we’ve always wanted. We’ve got to be patient and accept the journey.'"
Now, both women are more than halfway through healthy pregnancies, and their due dates are only four days apart. Crawford, who has three children with her husband, San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, recently shared photos on Instagram from a pregnancy shoot that the sisters did together, and was candid about their journey in the comments.
“When we both lost babies we said maybe we need to be patient and God has his plans to have us pregnant together! It was true!” she wrote.
Crawford tells SELF that she wanted to share the photos and her story because “the journey of pregnancy isn’t easy.”
“Miscarriage and infertility…I don’t think it’s talked about a lot,” she says. “I thought it would be helpful if we could reach someone who [is] going through this to know not to give up. This happens to a lot of women.”
Crawford says she and her twin cried when they found out they were both pregnant. “We kept texting each other pictures of the positive pregnancy test sticks,” she says. Both sisters are due in June and are expecting boys, and Crawford says they spend a lot of time talking about their pregnancies. “We touch each other’s tummies,” she says. “It’s so fun because we’re so close in the gestational period that everything is happening at the same time.”
Leopoldo agrees. “I think it is something really special that you can’t even describe in words," she tells SELF. "We have dreamt of being pregnant together for years. After many struggles of getting pregnant, I’m just grateful to be sharing the experience with my best friend."
Crawford says that she and Leopoldo may both have to have C-sections. If they do, the sisters hope the babies can be delivered on the same day.
Unfortunately miscarriages happen, and probably more often than you’d think.
Somewhere between 10 and 25 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Pregnancy Association.
About half of those miscarriages are caused by chromosomal abnormalities. The sperm and egg each have 23 chromosomes, which get matched up when your egg is fertilized, ACOG explains. If the matching doesn’t perfectly pair up, the egg will end up with an abnormal amount of chromosomes. Then, the egg won’t be able to develop normally and the pregnancy can be lost.
This kind of situation is in no way the fault of the mother, Christine Greves, M.D., a board-certified ob/gyn at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, tells SELF. So there's no reason to feel guilty or blame yourself.
Some people are at a higher risk for miscarriage due to genetics, but it's complicated.
If any of your immediate family members have had a miscarriage, that won't necessarily raise your risk for a miscarriage, Dr. Greves says. But if you have a family history of recurrent miscarriages—defined as two or more consecutive miscarriages)—you may be at a greater risk, Jessica Shepherd, M.D., a minimally-invasive gynecologist at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, tells SELF. Only about 1 percent of women experience recurrent (aka repeated) miscarriages.
Chromosomal abnormalities can cause both one-time miscarriages and recurrent miscarriages. Recurrent miscarriages may also be linked to a number of genetic health conditions, Dr. Shepherd says. For instance, some hereditary blood disorders can cause thrombophilia, a condition in which the blood doesn't coagulate properly. That can increase your risk for blood clots, miscarriage, and other pregnancy complications (such as preeclampsia).
Other conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder, and diabetes can increase your risk for miscarriages and can run in families, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
If you're trying to become pregnant and an immediate family member has had recurrent miscarriages, let your doctor know, Dr. Shepherd says. That doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to go through the same thing, she notes, but you may be at an increased risk. Your doctor may also want to rule out any possible underlying health conditions that could affect miscarriage risk.
The road to growing a family is not always completely smooth sailing, and that's OK. “It’s so important for women to understand that everyone has their own journey, and sometimes becoming a mom isn’t easy,” Crawford says, pointing out that all three of her sisters have had miscarriages. And even though she’s been really sick during this pregnancy, she shares, she’s “just grateful” to have a healthy pregnancy. “Every day I feel so thankful to be pregnant,” she says. “I know it’s our last one so I’m just soaking it up.”