NEW YORK - Kimberly Alarcon will have an extra-special Mother’s Day this year after recently giving birth to twin girls — who were the New York mother’s third consecutive set of twins conceived naturally.
Alarcon, 37, and her husband, John, 43, welcomed fraternal twin girls Kenzy and Kenzley on April 25 at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, New York.
They left the hospital on Wednesday evening, eager for the newborns to join their older siblings: Brittney, 17, Sarah, 13, Hunter, 10, twins Zachary and Zoey, 6, and twins Oliver and Olivia, 4. The couple is also fostering a nephew named King, who is 3.
"(The kids) couldn’t jump on me like they normally would, but you know, it was nice. They were so excited," Kimberly Alarcon said of the older kids meeting their new sisters upon their return home from the hospital.
Kimberly said the couple had never planned to have such a big family. In fact, they "never planned anything."
"We were done at three singles," she said, chuckling.
And so, the first set of twins came as a shock. And three years later, another set of twins came. The family bought a house and thought they were done having kids — until, well, they found out the third set of multiples were on the way.
"It was shocking because, to be honest with you, we never planned," Kimberly said. "Shocking every time. It was a shocker."
In the United States, the overall rate of twins for all races is around 31 per 1,000 live births, or about 3%, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the main factor that increases the chances of having multiples is the use of infertility treatment, other factors can increase the chances as well — including race, age, heredity and a person who has had twins before.
Naturally, it’s estimated that twins occur in about one in 250 pregnancies, or about a 0.4% chance, which is what happened for the Alarcon family. Multiple times.
Dr. Angela Silber, chief of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Westchester Medical Center who helped care for Kimberly, has been in practice for more than 20 years and said three consecutive twins is a first for her.
"It’s not uncommon to see someone who’s had infertility treatments to have triplets or two sets of twins, but somebody that did not have infertility treatments at all, like Kimberly, and to have three sets of twins back-to-back, is very uncommon," Silber stressed.
Kimberly has delivered all of her children at Westchester Medical Center and some doctors and nurses have become "like family."
"Being pregnant, when you go to a hospital... you’re scared," Kimberly said, particularly noting her experience with her first child. "But the nurses, they’re amazing. It’s like family. Especially as many times as I’ve been in there."
The staff at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, New York, are pictured with Kimberly Alarcon and her newborn twins Kenzy and Kenzley. (Photo: Provided)
Silber noted how Kimberly has had high-risk pregnancies, which take more appointments and more interactions with medical providers.
"Not only the nurses on the postpartum unit know her, but doctors in our Westchester maternal-fetal medicine team do know her and have a very strong bond, actually," Silber said.
Loss, and other pregnancy challenges
For Kimberly, this pregnancy brought its fair share of emotional and physical challenges. Kenzy and Kenzley were triplets, and one was lost earlier in the pregnancy. On top of grief, Kimberly also suffered from high blood pressure, had to undergo oral surgeries, and fell and broke her ankle. Her basement even flooded — twice.
"I felt like I was pregnant for a year straight," she recalled. "And it was stuff happening one after another. I’m just grateful that we made it. I just thank God. That’s all I can do."
Her advice for others dealing with loss and other stressful challenges during pregnancy? "Push the pride away."
"Just take the help, you need it. If they’re offering — and if they don’t offer — ask. Take the help," she continued. "We’re not always super-mom... You’re not going to be perfect, you’re going to mess up and do things that are wrong. Breathe, take it one day at a time and you’re going to get through it."
Kimberly said she has leaned on family, church friends and even the nurses during particularly hard moments of her pregnancies.
Life with a big family
Kimberly herself grew up in a big family. Her mother had 10 biological children and adopted eight more. Life with that many siblings was "hectic" and "always comical" — while everyone always pitched in to help whenever something needed to get done. "It was a loving house," Kimberly recalled.
Her extended family also had multiples. Kimberly’s aunt on her father’s side had three sets of twins and one set of triplets.
Meanwhile, John Alarcon has just one brother (who, funny enough, also has a set of twin boys).
Kimberly said having kids wasn’t always on her radar, but since the couple has grown their family — it’s changed her life for the better.
"All my kids are a blessing, no matter how many, and they’re not perfect kids. We’re not the perfect family. We have good days and bad days. We argue, we have miscommunications, but we’re a family," she said.
She continued, "My kids are my world. My kids changed me and made me who I am. Everything that I do, I do for my kids."
This story was reported from Cincinnati.