Imagine being told twice that you are expecting twins and having a total of six kids. Oh, and running your own business as well.
This is the life of 42-year-old Kate Ball from Leeds, who shares six children with her husband, 39-year-old Matt.
The couple only intended to have a maximum of three children, but now they have two sets of twins 20 months apart, in addition to Alfie, 11, and Grace, 9.
The couple welcomed non-identical twins Emily and Olivia, now five years old, in October 2016 and Poppy and Amelia, now three years old, in June 2018.
Kate and Matt's plans for a baby
Matt and I have always desired to have three children. First, we had a boy, Alfie, followed by a girl, Grace, and most people said, "You've done it, you have a boy and a girl; surely you'll stop now?"
We always wanted three children, and in an attempt to have three, I had a missed miscarriage after Grace.
We determined that a break for recuperation was necessary. When we tried again, twins were the result. It felt like a gift, given that we had lost a child and received two as compensation.
Then the number increased to four. We wanted to put that child in the middle seat of the car, but we had to buy a new vehicle because the old one was too small.
Lifestyle with four kids
Alfie and Grace were in school when we had our first set of twins, so I was able to spend time with the infants during the school day and gain experience managing twins. It was not my first time caring for infants, so I felt confident in my mothering abilities.
Having the four of them was incredibly hectic. We were required to be out and about with the babies when they were very young, performing the school run and transporting the older two to their activities.
Again expecting twins!
Both sets of twins are separated by 20 months, so Emily and Olivia were approximately 11 months old when I became pregnant again.
I had vaginal births for all of my children. I had my waters broken for both sets of twins, and they were born at 37 weeks, which is ideal for twins because a high percentage are born prematurely.
Emily and Olivia, our first set of twins, weighed approximately five pounds each, did not require assistance, and were discharged within two days.
Poppy and Amelia were somewhat dissimilar. We believe that Amelia's placenta had stopped growing because she weighed only three pounds while Poppy weighed five. She had to receive special care for five or six days, but thankfully she was fine. Poppy was considerably larger than Amelia as a baby, and she still is.
Life with two sets of identical twins
After the births of Poppy and Amelia, life became chaotic!
With the children, the nanny and I were like a double act. During the first twelve weeks with Poppy and Amelia, I was constantly feeding, so I required assistance. But I did not have overnight help; she worked with us from 9am to 5pm until the girls were nearly one year old.