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Andrea and Mark Rivas didn't know if their dream of becoming parents would ever come true. Now five years later, their emotional and unconventional journey is something that makes their jaws drop.
"It's nice to look back at everything we went through and see our family," Andrea told TODAY.com.
Early in their marriage, the couple struggled to conceive. They suffered through one miscarriage before turning to in vitro fertilization. In 2012, they welcomed a beautiful set of twins, Conor and Avery.
While going through IVF, they formed an inseparable bond with another couple, Sandi and Philip Palmisano, who were trying to have kids too.
The Palmisanos went through four IVF cycles. All of them failed. Sandi and Philip’s hope of becoming parents was looking dim, until Andrea offered to help.
“I just kind of blurted out, ‘I’ll carry for you! I can do it,’” Andrea said.
In February 2014, Emma Lee and Grayson were born.
“Every morning I go up and get them in the nursery and their smiling and it’s like Christmas morning every morning,” Sandi told TODAY.com.
Life was getting back to normal for Andrea and Mark. They settled into a new home and began a few renovation projects, until suddenly everything was put on hold.
“I started feeling sick,” Andrea remembers. “It’s not common for me unless, I am pregnant.”
Even though doctors told her she couldn’t have kids naturally, Mark picked up a pregnancy test just to be safe.
“Immediately it came back positive,” Andrea said.
The couple went in for their ultra sound and saw the same technician who performed the previous ultra sounds for them.
“She said ‘Oh the baby looks great! Just relax guys, there’s just one this time.’” Andrea remembers.
The technician looked again. Andrea was pregnant with twins! Husband Mark couldn't believe it. He almost fell out of his chair.
This would be Andrea's third twin pregnancy in a five-year period.
They were overwhelmed with emotions. On one hand, the Rivas were excited to finally conceive naturally, but the couple had some concerns.
One of the babies was very small on the ultra sound and the doctor wasn't sure if she would survive. Could Andrea's body bare a third twin pregnancy? And with 2 toddlers already, would they be able to handle another set of twins?
Andrea immediately called best friend Sandi to tell her the news.
"It did not surprise me!" Sandi told TODAY.com. "She brings blessings two at a time!"
Thirty-seen weeks later, the Rivas were back at the hospital.
Andrea gave birth to healthy twin girls, Leah and Elyse.
“My goal every day is to make sure everybody is fed and everybody is changed,” a glowing Andrea told TODAY.com. “Anything extra is a bonus. I call mark and say ‘I unloaded the dishwasher!”
When both the Rivas and Palmisanos look back on their road to parenthood, they admit the heartbreak was the hardest part, but the end result was worth it.
They hope their story helps give hope and inspiration to other couples trying to have a family.
“Never surrender when you continue to fail no matter what happens,” Sandi said.
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