updated 26 Mar 2013, 12:21
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Sat, Dec 26, 2009
Mind Your Body, The Straits Times
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Newborn twins are the best Christmas present

Christmas arrived early for the Richards family this year.

Mrs Lavani Richards, 37, who gave birth to twins two months earlier, said: "They're the best Christmas present ever. They're a miracle."

The twins, Alfie Sean Richards and Maya Sunshine Richards, were conceived via in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).

Mr Scott Richards, 37, said of the conception: "I couldn't believe it. I was very happy and we shed a lot of tears."

The couple had been trying for children unsuccessfully for at least two years.

In 2007, they decided to undergo IVF and saw gynaecologist Suresh Nair.

Mr Richards said: "If you've been married for seven years and you have no children but you want them, it can be a strain on both parties in the relationship. It's difficult to look around and see couples with children and not think, "Why can't we be lucky enough to have kids?

The first IVF attempt was unsuccessful but the couple took it in their stride.

Mr Richards said: "We weren't that disappointed.

Dr Nair said we would be very lucky if we had a child on our first IVF attempt.

"Our expectations were managed well."

They tried IVF again earlier this year and this time the Richards got lucky. Their joy was fraught with anxiety.

Throughout her pregnancy, Mrs Richards had to inject herself with drugs every week to ensure her womb was strong enough to carry twins.

When she was three months pregnant, she experienced spotting, which is a small amount of blood that discharges through the vagina.

She was terrified that she had miscarried and was admitted into hospital for three days.

Although the doctors found nothing wrong with her or her babies, they put her on strict bed rest.

She was not allowed to exercise or perform strenuous activities for the rest of her pregnancy.

Beyond the usual aches and pains associated with pregnancy, Mrs Richards also endured severe mood swings and felt angry, teary and overwhelmed most of the time.

In the end, the Richards were rewarded with twins, who were born premature at 33 weeks but healthy.

They paid between $15,000 and $18,000 for the first cycle of IVF and between $25,000 and $30,000 for the second.

Mr Richards said: "We started on IVF because we thought we weren't lucky enough to have babies. Along the way, we realised there are a lot of people like us. Some people are uncomfortable talking about IVF but, at the end of the day, our having two bundles of joy is the most important thing."

This article was first published in Mind Your Body, The Straits Times.

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