West Side couple Kirsten and John Abernethy recently had their second set of identical twin girls – adding to the first pair that were born almost five years ago.
Kaylee Jo and Vaila Mae were born on 15th November in Aberdeen. Kaylee is the oldest by one minute, being born at six minutes after midnight, but Vaila Mae is actually heavier, weighing in at 4lb 12oz compared with Kaylee Jo’s 4lb 9oz.
Like their older sisters Carlene Robina and Alicia Maryanne, the twins were delivered by Caesarean section and are now said to be “doing good, gaining weight and feeding well”.
The chance of having one set of identical twins is said to be one in 250; that of having two sets is about one in 62,500. There are even a few triple sets of identical twins in the same family – but not in Shetland.
Kirsten told The Shetland Times: “It is just amazing, I cannot believe it. It was a bit of a major shock when we heard that we were having twins the first time – it was even more of a shock when we heard we were having twins the second time.
“I’m just blyde they are healthy and home before Christmas.”
Unlike the first time around, when Kirsten suffered from pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure, meaning she was in Aberdeen after 29 weeks of pregnancy, there were no serious health problems this time.
Kaylee and Vaila were due on Boxing Day, but would have had to have been delivered at 38 weeks on 2nd December anyway, but chose, like their sisters, to arrive at 34 weeks.
Kirsten was flown to Aberdeen by air ambulance in the early hours of 14th November after her waters broke and she was rushed first to the Gilbert Bain. After the operation, the girls were kept in the neo-natal unit for two weeks to work on their feeding.
Kirsten was grateful for the presence of the unit and the efforts of hospital staff and all her and John’s families, who looked after Carlene and Alicia while their parents were south, and tried to maintain a routine for the young ones.
The two sets of twins first met up when the younger sisters were flown back to Shetland on 2nd December.
“That’s when the big sisters met the peerie sisters. The big two are fairly excited about it,” said Kirsten. “They have been a big help and come running with nappies, wipes and getting the bottle out.”
The birth of the second set of twins was remarkably similar to that of their older sisters on 11th February, 2009. Both sets were six weeks early and more or less the same size as their younger siblings when born – Carlene was 4lb 10oz and Alicia was 3lb 9oz. They were in the same ward and in the same spot in the neo-natal clinic.
The family are now back in their new house at Staneydale which is a far cry from the circumstances the first twins came home to – the old house next door is far smaller and more cramped, with none of the mod-cons of the new dwelling.
Kirsten said that she and John, who is a plant operator at Sullom Voe, have no plans for more bairns, but, “you never know, the next ones may be twin boys.”