When Liliya Konovalova found out she was pregnant, she knew her case was special because she was having twins. By the time she gave birth to her newborns—11 weeks apart—she’d experienced what experts say is a one-in-50 million birth.
That’s because Konovalova, a 29-year-old Kazakhstani woman, has two separate uteruses, a condition known as uterus didelphys. She was diagnosed during her first pregnancy with her eldest daughter, now age 7. But it wasn’t until her second pregnancy with the twins that she discovered how complicated her experience could get.
When Konovalova went into preterm labor with her daughter back in May, she was only 25 weeks along, just barely at the point where a baby can survive outside of the womb. Doctors were eager for her brother, who was gestating in a separate uterus, to hang in there a little bit longer.
“I was so worried about the life of my premature baby,” Konovalova told the Mirror Online. “But our doctors were great. What they did was a miracle. They showed themselves to be real professionals.”
Her daughter Liya was born on May 24, weighing just 1lbs 13oz and spent her first month in the NICU. It wasn’t until 87 days later that her son Maxim was born on August 9th weighing 6lbs 6 oz.
“My son was in no rush to come out into the world,” Konovalova joked.
Both newborns are safe and healthy today. And they’ll have a really cool story to tell their future friends about their extremely rare birth.
According to Scientific American, about one in 2,000 women have uterus didelphys (though they might never realize it if they don’t become pregnant). But only one in 25,000 women with a double uterus gets pregnant with twins, one to each uterus. Which means the odds of any given woman getting pregnant and growing two babies in separate wombs is one in 50 million—an almost miniscule chance. It was the first documented case to happen in Konovalova’s native Kazakhstan.