Parents Frankie and Britney Alba of Tuscaloosa, Alabama were ecstatic when they welcomed identical twin boys Luka and Levi in 2021.
Six months later she sent a message to OB/GYN stating, “I think I might be pregnant.” Though it was a bit too soon after the birth of the boys, the parents were happy to have what they thought would be another child.
Instead, they were having another set of twins! While Frankie and Britney reveled in the wonderful experience, the 27-year-old elementary school teacher was referred to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine to monitor the condition of the twins.
An ultrasound confirmed the second set of twins when Britney and her 25-year-old firefighter husband went for a medical check-up. When the technician pointed out two babies, the two cracked up.
Britney said, “And we start laughing because we think it’s a joke. And she’s like, ‘No. I wouldn’t joke about this. There’s two.’” She would soon find out that she was having a high-risk pregnancy and would be referred to the University of Alabama at Birmingham to care for the twins.
Luka and Levi are monochorionic/diamniotic (Mo-Di) twins, identical twins that share a placenta but have two separate amniotic sacs. This type of twin pregnancy only occurs in three to four out of every 1,000 pregnancies.
The second set of twins, however, both girls, were monochorionic/monoamniotic — also known as MoMo twins. A single fertilized egg results in MoMo twins – identical twins sharing a common placenta and amniotic sac.
This incredibly rare condition affects fewer than 1% of all births in the U.S. Britney soon posted the information on Facebook and asked for prayers that there would be no problems in the pregnancy.
Pregnancies with MoMo wins are more complicated due to the lack of space within the shared amniotic sac. These risks include cord entanglement, cord compression, and unequal blood flow between the two babies.
Dr. Rachel Sinkey, an assistant professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, said, “While extremely rare, MoMo twin pregnancies have a high risk of fetal complications. They share everything except umbilical cords, which can easily become entangled in a single sac. Unfortunately, there is a high rate of stillbirths associated with MoMo twins.”
When she was 25 weeks along with the twin girls, Britney was admitted to the High-Risk Obstetrics Unit of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She stayed there for over 50 days.
She shared, “It was nerve-wracking to think about the journey ahead of me and being away from my boys for several weeks. But I knew I had a village at home and would be in great hands at UAB, which calmed my worries.”
Britney safely delivered Lydia and Lynlee Alba on October 25, 2022, at 32 weeks. The twins stayed for a month at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Regional Newborn Care Unit.
They were discharged two weeks before their original due date on December 7, just in time for the holidays.
The Alba family household is more than happy to have two sets of babies, who were both conceived without reproductive assistance.
Britney shared, “Before it was like ‘how are we going to have two babies,’ and now it’s like ‘two babies, that’s nothing.’ It sounds like work but we love it. It’s just become a new normal and it’s good.”
People tend to make a fuss when the Alba family goes out, but they don’t mind. Britney shared, “People gawk at us when we’re out in public. I used to get stopped all the time when it was just Luka and Levi — you know, people asking, ‘Are they twins?’ Now it’s like a circus. Everyone wants to get a look!”
The parents admit that having twins – and two sets at that! – has been a magical experience. “Yes, they’re super cute but they also share a unique bond,” Britney said.
She noted that Luka and Levi only started sleeping through the night after they started sharing a nursery. “With Lynlee and Lydia, they’re most at peace when they’re holding hands or touching,” she added.
Britney recalled her high-risk pregnancy, stating, “They would monitor their heart rates multiple times a day and every time they would check, I would hold my breath, waiting to hear two heart beats. It was very scary — but I had the best care.”
Delivery is always by cesarean section with MoMO twins due to the risk of cord entanglement and the girls were delivered by the excellent team at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Women and Infants Center. Britney added, “You know, it’s funny, I wasn’t scared. I remember thinking, ‘OK! Round two.’”
With Lynlee and Lydia, Britney and Frankie now feel that their family is complete. “When we had all four, it felt right. It was home,” the young mom noted.
The adorable foursome now enjoys going for rides in their four-seater stroller. View their story in the video by the University of Alabama at Birmingham below: