TYING the knot in matching gowns, tiaras and hairstyles, lookalike lovers Anna Jones and Kirsty Cox were the picture of happiness
But, a shadow of sadness marred the joy of the new Mrs and Mrs – they both dreamed of being a mum and feared it could never happen for them.
Anna, 28, and Kirsty, 23, loved caring for their little nieces and nephews but, unable to afford expensive fertility treatment, knew they would never be parents themselves.
Until Anna’s sister Lorraine mentioned their plight to her hairdresser, Brian – and he agreed to help create their family.
With a sperm donor miraculously in place, the grateful couple decided to take it turns to try for a baby – expecting a long wait.
But to their amazement Anna and Kirsty got pregnant within two weeks of each other, and gave birth just five days apart.
Kirsty had daughter Scarlett-Marie, and then Anna produced son, Alfie.
Now the pair are proud parents to two babies who are often mistaken for twins.
Beaming, Anna told the Mirror: “We are overjoyed. We’ve now got the perfect family although this time last year we thought we’d never have children of our own.
“Brian has given us a wonderful gift and we are so grateful to him. It was a chance in a million that my sister’s hairdresser was thinking of becoming a sperm donor.
“And the chances of Kirsty and I both getting pregnant at the first attempt must be pretty remote too!”
Anna and Kirsty, who live in Gloucester, had been together for six years but became civil partners in June 2010.
Anna says: “It was the happiest day of our lives. But once we were married it brought home how much we wanted to be parents.
“Every time my sisters’ children came to stay I’d tuck them into bed thinking, ‘I wish we could have a little one of our own’.
“We weren’t able to afford fertility clinics and knew we could be on the NHS waiting list for years.
“We knew we’d make great parents, but told ourselves it probably wouldn’t happen and just had to accept it.”
And that was that until sister Lorraine went to have her hair done and opened up to Brian.
Anna recalls: “Kirsty and I were watching TV when she got a text from Lorraine saying she’d found us a donor.
“I thought Lorraine was just having us on and said, ‘Oh yeah?’ very sarcastically.”
But moments later Anna’s phone rang. Anna says: “Lorraine told me her hairdresser was gay and understood how difficult it was for couples like us.”
A week later Brian called round for tea.
Anna says: “He asked us loads of questions. Then he said we were lovely people and deserved the chance to be parents.
“He didn’t want payment and he was happy to have no involvement in the child’s life if that’s what we wanted, so we knew there was no ulterior motive.”
After a few more meetings and Brian proving he was in good health, the threesome agreed to start trying for a baby.
But there was one problem.
Anna explains: “We both wanted to experience carrying a child and giving birth. So we decided it was fairest to take it in turns until one of us got pregnant.”
The couple went online to learn how to artificially inseminate themselves using the donated sperm and a syringe, but when Brian arrived on the day were all nervous.
Anna says: “We were giggling and kept chatting because we felt uncomfortable. But then I said, ‘Right, shall we get on with it?’
“I handed Brian a plastic beaker we’d bought especially for the job and Kirsty and I went into the bedroom and waited.”
Later, after they thanked Brian and he left, the couple agreed that Kirsty would go first and Anna did the insemination. Anna goes on: “Afterwards Kirsty lay on the floor with her feet up against the wall because we read that would increase the chances. I just thought this is never going to work.”
A couple of weeks later Brian visited again for Anna. Then, a few days later Kirsty’s period was late.
A first pregnancy test was negative, but the next day she did it again and was thrilled to find she was pregnant.
Anna recalls: “We were jumping around the kitchen with joy. We simply couldn’t believe this had happened on our first attempt.”
Then two weeks later Anna started to get bad cramps. She says: “Kirsty kept joking that I was pregnant. But I thought ‘There’s no way.’
“But when my period didn’t arrive I did a test too. Positive.
“We were in shock. I sent Brian a text telling him the news. He replied ‘Congratulations. I’m so happy for both of you’.
“When I went with Kirsty for her first scan the midwife thought we were sisters because we look so much alike.”
And being pregnant together really strengthened their relationship. Anna says:
“We got to feel each other’s bump when the babies started to kick. And it brought us even closer as a couple.” When Kirsty’s due date came and went they grew anxious.
Anna says: “I kept telling her to hurry up because I was due soon.”
Anna and Kirsty wanted to be there for each other when the babies were born. But they became worried when the midwife told them they might go into labour at the same time.
Anna recalls: “She said because we were two women living together our hormones were probably in sync.”
At 16 days overdue, Kirsty went into hospital to be induced. Anna was by her side. Anna says: “She was squeezing my hand and I could feel my baby kicking. I was telling her to push but I felt scared because that was going to be me soon.” After 16 hours in labour, Kirsty gave birth to Scarlett-Marie.
Anna says: “I held her and was laughing hard because she had little pursed lips just like Kirsty.”
Kirsty and Scarlett-Marie were kept in hospital for a couple of days before they could return to their home where Brian showed up at the front door with a huge bouquet of flowers in his hand.
But later that day Anna started getting pains and the next day they were back at the hospital.
Anna recalls: “This time around it was Kirsty holding my hand and telling me to breathe in and out.” After 48 hours in labour, Anna gave birth to her baby, Alfie. Anna says: “It was just absolutely amazing. Two babies born just five days apart.”
Scarlett is now 11 weeks old and Alfie is just over 10 weeks.
Anna says: “We are loving every minute of being parents. We love watching them lying together and cooing to each other. It’s totally beautiful to see the bond between them.
“And Brian visits the children almost every week. He is happy to be called Daddy, if that’s what we want.
“When the children are older we will tell them that they were his amazing gift to us. We are just so grateful he helped us both become mums.”
Brian’s name has been changed to preserve his anonymity.
Article: 23rd January 2012 www.mirror.co.uk
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