Holiday fling gave me TWINS!
Here's beautiful Monica once again, this time appearing down under! I wrote her story for Australia's That's Life magazine about how she thought she would never have children - and how a holiday romance changed everything! Now a mum-of-twins, she incredibly reveals how the TWO wishes she made at Rome's Trevi Fountain for a baby have BOTH come true!
"I lay on the bed while being scanned and turned to my friend Anita, who gave me a reassuring look. Then the doctor said: ‘You have very few follicles.’
‘What does that mean?’ I said.
‘I’m afraid you have little chance of conceiving,’ he said.
I nodded as I took in the news. It only confirmed what I’d already guessed. I was 40 and over the hill.
I’d split up with men in the past because they hadn’t wanted children but when I’d met my ex, I thought my luck had changed. I made it clear from the beginning that I’d wanted a family and he told me he felt the same. But as time went on he changed his mind, leaving me devastated.
We went our separate ways and in true Bridget Jones style, I moved in with my mum. Now, with the news about my declining fertility, I realised that my dream of being a mother was well and truly over.
‘Don’t worry,’ Anita said. ‘We can go on that Mediterranean cruise I told you about and just have some fun.’
I’d known Anita for 20 years and if anyone knew how to have a good time, it was her.
‘OK, let’s do it,’ I said.
We booked our trip and I counted down the days until it was finally time to go. As I boarded the ship, I decided a break away was just what I needed.
Next day, Anita and I were sunbathing on the deck in our bikinis, discussing my new life plan.
‘I don’t need kids,’ I said. ‘I can just spoil my niece and nephews.’
‘We can go on nights out, weekends away and travel the world together,’ Anita said.
‘And when we’re older, we can look after each other,’ I said.
We both laughed. But deep down, I couldn’t ignore my desire to be a mother.
The ship docked in Rome and we spent the day strolling around the city, admiring the architecture and its history.
Then we arrived at the Trevi Fountain, one of the most famous fountains in the world.
‘I need to make a wish but don’t have any change,’ I said.
‘Here you go,’ Anita said.
She handed me two euros and filmed me as I tossed them into the water like all the other tourists were doing, using my right hand to throw it over my left shoulder…
Please let me have a baby.
‘Oh no, I don’t think it went in,’ I said. ‘Do you have any more money?’
Anita rolled her eyes.
‘Here you go,’ she said. ‘That’s my ice cream money you know!’
‘Thank you,’ I said.
Once again, Anita filmed me as I threw two coins over my shoulder…
Please let me have a baby.
This time I saw them hit the water and gave Anita the thumbs up. Then we carried on sightseeing until it was time to board the ship.
Days later, I was in our cabin about to go for dinner.
‘You’re not going like that,’ Anita said.
I looked down at the outfit I’d been wearing all day.
‘Why not?’ I said.
‘At least have a shower,’ she said.
‘I can’t be bothered,’ I replied.
Anita shot me a look and I trudged to the bathroom for a quick wash. Then I slipped into a red off-the-shoulder dress and did my hair and make-up.
‘Much better,’ Anita said.
I was glad I’d made an effort when after our three-course meal, we got talking to two men we’d met earlier in the trip. We had already spent a few evenings together, chatting, having dinner and playing board games.
At the bar, the drinks and conversation flowed between me and one of the men. I couldn’t ignore the spark of attraction and that night, we had sex.
Soon our two-week cruise was over. But I hadn’t been home long when I started feeling funny. I felt dizzy, like I was still at sea.
I searched my symptoms online and rang Anita.
‘I think I’ve got post-motion sickness,’ I said.
‘That’s strange, I feel alright,’ she said.
When the queasiness didn’t subside, another thought crossed my mind.
Was I pregnant?
I recalled what the fertility doctor had said and decided I was being ridiculous, but bought a test anyway just to rule it out.
Later, I did it and waited in the bathroom staring at the stick, until a second pink link appeared.
It was faint, but it was there.
‘Oh my god,’ I muttered.
My post-motion sickness was morning sickness.
I was pregnant!
I thought back to the night me and my holiday romance had got together. We’d had one too many drinks - the reason we hadn’t used contraception - which I knew was foolish but at the same time, I was thrilled to know I had a life growing inside me.
I just hoped the baby was OK.
I went to a private scan with a friend and we stayed quiet while the sonographer scanned me. He told me I was eight weeks gone and then turned the screen around.
‘Here’s your baby,’ he said.
I smiled at the grainy black and white blob.
Then the sonographer moved the wand slightly.
‘And here’s the other one,’ he said.
‘You’re joking,’ I said.
‘Nope,’ he replied.
Suddenly my friend burst into tears.
‘Monica’s always wanted kids,’ she sobbed.
Then the nurse started crying too while I lay still, my eyes widening in shock as I took everything in.
I wasn’t just going to be a mum, I was going to be a mum of two!
After I’d left the clinic, I texted Anita my scan photo.
I’m having twins, I wrote.
She rang me straightaway and screeched down the phone.
‘I can’t believe it,’ she said.
‘My wish at the fountain came true,’ I said. ‘Both of them.’
‘I own those babies,’ Anita joked. ‘Those four euros you spent on your wishes were mine!’
I laughed and said: ‘I’ll pay you back.’
I told the father of the babies the news and despite us not being in a relationship, he was very good about it and said he would support me.
When I told my family, their faces were a picture.
Over the following months, I suffered with the usual symptoms including sickness and varicose veins. But nothing could take away the happiness I felt being pregnant.
I reasoned it was easier without a man around too. I had the bed to myself and as I curled up on the sofa each night in my pyjamas, I didn’t have to think about anyone else but myself.
At 16 weeks, I discovered I was having two girls and started stocking up on the essentials. I filled a cupboard with towers of nappies and bought matching cots and moses baskets.
I couldn’t wait for my Trevi twins to arrive.
At 37 weeks I was classed as full-term and induced. But when one of my placentas ruptured, I was rushed into theatre for an emergency C-section.
Moments later, my non-identical twin girls were born, weighing 5lbs 5oz each. I named them Athena and Luna.
When I held both babies in my arms, it felt surreal. I gazed at their matching thick, dark hair and couldn’t stop smiling.
They were perfect.
Two days later, I turned 42 and I didn’t want for anything. I already had the best birthday presents I could ask for.
Back home in Kent, life became a whirl of nappy changes, constant feeds and interrupted sleep – or often no sleep at all!
Now I still can’t get over how my life has taken a complete U-turn. Not long ago I’d broken up with my partner, was told I was practically infertile and was getting ready to spend the rest of my life alone. Now I’m starting a brand new chapter with my beautiful twin girls.
Becoming a mother hasn’t worked out the way I always imagined it would and I know there will be tough times ahead being a single mum. But I have a lot of love to give to Athena and Luna, now six months old.
I’m so grateful to Anita for giving me her money to throw in the fountain and for encouraging me to make an effort that fateful night. She helped make my wish – or wishes - come true. Something she won’t let me forget in a hurry!"
By Julia Sidwell