When Andrea and Mark Rivas struggled to conceive children early in their marriage, they never could have expected that, at some point down the road, they’d have a large family. After suffering a devastating miscarriage, they attempted to try to get pregnant again and, after two years with no successful outcome, they turned to in-vitro fertilization.
Thankfully, that was successful and, in 2012, the couple welcomed fraternal twins they named Conor and Avery.
Their story doesn’t end there, however, and their fertility journey took a very interesting turn. While they were in the midst of IVF, they formed a friendship with another couple, Sandi and Philip Palmisano, who had also turned to IVF after years of infertility.
The Palmisanos went through four rounds of treatments without any success and then the Rivases made a very selfless offer to the couple — Andrea offered to be their surrogate. She explained to the Today show: “I just kind of blurted out, ‘I’ll carry for you! I can do it.’”
Sandi and Philip were floored by the generous offer and accepted. Since they were already close friends with the couple, Sandi and Philip closely participated in the pregnancy and were there at the ultrasound gender reveal.
Remarkably enough, Andrea was again pregnant with twins! The families welcomed Grayson and Emma Lee to the Palmisano family in February 2014, with Sandi at Andrea’s side during the delivery.
Sandi told the Today show: “Every morning I go up and get them in the nursery and they’re smiling and it’s like Christmas morning every morning.”
Following the birth, the families got into the groove of their busy lives and continued to stay connected. Andrea was able to provide plenty of support to Sandi on how to deal with the demands of twins.
Then Andrea found out she was pregnant again, telling Today: “I started feeling sick. It’s not common for me unless, I am pregnant.” She noted that the pregnancy test confirmed it, noting, “Immediately it came back positive.”
When they went for their ultrasound appointment, Andrea explained that the technician said, “’Oh the baby looks great! Just relax guys, there’s just one this time.’”
Not so fast, it turned out, as the technician then spotted a second baby — Andrea was pregnant with twins again!
Amazingly, this was Andrea’s third twin pregnancy in a five-year period. There were some concerns with this pregnancy, however, as one of the babies was very small and the doctor worried if she would survive.
Then there was the concern of bringing twins into their busy lives, as their twins were now toddlers.
Andrea shared the news with Sandi, who remarked, “It did not surprise me! She brings blessings two at a time!” When it came time, the Rivas were at the hospital when their friends welcomed their twin girls, who they named Leah and Elyse.
Life became very busy, indeed, but Andrea had the perfect outlook, noting: “My goal every day is to make sure everybody is fed and everybody is changed. Anything extra is a bonus. I call mark and say ‘I unloaded the dishwasher!’”
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