Dressed up as lovely little Santas and gurgling away like good ’uns… here are the four greatest Christmas gifts mum Carla Crozier could have dreamed of.
After two ʜᴇᴀʀᴛʙʀᴇᴀᴋɪɴɢ ᴍɪsᴄᴀʀʀɪᴀɢᴇs and several failed cycles of IVF, Carla and Paul Crozier knew it was their last chance to complete their family. The couple, who had wiped out their savings trying for a little brother or sister for daughter Darcie, took out an £8,000 loan for one last roll of the dice at fertility treatment.
Carla said: “We had absolutely no money, so we had to get a ʟᴏᴀɴ of £8,000. This was our last chance. If it failed, we were going to accept not being able to add to our family.”
But to their surprise, the couple got four times what they bargained for after conceiving quadruplets. Making their story even more unique, is that Carla and Paul’s babies are two sets of identical twins. This type of pregnancy is so rare, there is a one in 70 million chance of it happening.
In total, the couple have endured nine ᴛʀᴀᴜᴍᴀᴛɪᴄ years of negative pregnancy tests and ᴍɪsᴄᴀʀʀɪᴀɢᴇs in their quest for a family. Darcie came along in 2013 thanks to fertility treatment available on the National Health Service, but only after five years of trying to conceive naturally.
The couple then embarked on three years of ʜᴇᴀʀᴛᴀᴄʜᴇ trying for another baby using frozen embryos from the IVF cycle that produced their daughter. Carla fell pregnant after treatment in January 2015, but ʟᴏsᴛ the baby at five weeks.
But Carla and Paul were not ready to give up on the dream of adding to their family. After a year they decided to try one last time. The couple from Grays, Essex, borrowed £5,500 from family and friends to fund fertility treatment abroad, flying to a clinic in Cyprus, where IVF is cheaper. But ᴛʀᴀɢᴇᴅʏ struck again that September when a scan at eight weeks revealed the baby had no ʜᴇᴀʀᴛʙᴇᴀᴛ.
Dᴇᴠᴀsᴛᴀᴛᴇᴅ, it was another 12 months before she and her husband, a builder, would summon up the strength to give it their ‘last go’. They took out an £8,000 loan and embarked on a healthier lifestyle to maximise their chances of success, eating well, cutting out alcohol completely and each going to the gym five times a week. On September, the pregnancy test came back positive.
They were completely floored when they were told there were three. After wrapping their heads around the life-changing news, they went back for the 12 week scan and were told there was actually four ʜᴇᴀʀᴛʙᴇᴀᴛs. They then found out they were expecting two sets of identical twins. The couples two transferred embryos had both implanted and split.
However, the joy was also accompanied by anxiety when doctors warned that the chances of all four sᴜʀᴠɪᴠɪɴɢ were low. Despite the ʀɪsᴋs, the couple was determined to keep all four children.
The quadruplets ᴀʀʀɪᴠᴇᴅ 12 weeks early on March 27 the day after Mother’s Day. Isla Amelie was first at 4.10am at 2lb 4oz, followed at one-minute intervals by Demi May, at 2lb 7oz, Alyse Jade at 2lb 4oz and Milla Leigh, at 2lb 9oz.
Carla was delighted – yet, understandably, a little apprehensive too. She said: “Before they arrived, I worried that I wouldn’t have enough love for four babies. But my love for each of them is overwhelming.”
“Darcie also adores them. She gets so excited when they do something new and is brilliant at making them laugh. She will pull a silly face and they will giggle at her. It’s so lovely to watch.”
As for Paul, when he’s not helping Carla with nappy changes and feeds, he is busy extending the family’s three-bedroom home in Grays, Essex, to create a playroom. And the couple have also had to fork out on an eight-seater minibus for family days out.