The Story Behind These Moms Breastfeeding Their 'Twin-Blings' Together Is Simply Incredible

Jaci and Kelly Pfeiffer co-nursing
Benzel Photography

When Kelly and Jaci Pfeiffer married in 2016, they knew right away that they wanted to have children together; they just never expected their path to parenthood to take quite so many turns. And now, thanks to one powerful photo of the couple that's been going viral, their unique story is inspiring thousands.

  • Because Kelly already had three sons from a previous relationship, it was decided that Jaci would carry their child and use donor sperm to conceive.

    But neither of the women were prepared for what a grueling and heartbreaking process that would be.

    Speaking with CafeMom, they run through what it took to finally get pregnant after struggling with infertility -- and the numbers are truly daunting. 

    There were five intrauterine inseminations done at home and two at the doctor's office. One  hysterosalpingogram (an X-ray procedure that looks at your uterus and fallopian tubes), two saline sonograms, two polyp removals, and 15 fresh inseminations. There were four IVF consultations, 18 monitoring appointments, and four egg retrievals, followed by two fresh embryo transfers and three frozen embryo transfers.

    In total, there were 58 eggs retrieved, dozens of preimplantation genetic screenings, one chemical pregnancy, and some 377 injections.

    "It’s a strange thing to prepare a place in your heart for a baby that never comes," they later wrote in a joint essay for Love What Matters. "For almost three years, every month ended the same -- with negative tests, broken hearts, and empty arms. We spent every penny we had trying to bring a baby home with nothing to show for our investment, and the more money we spent, the more it felt like our dream would never be a reality."

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  • But after 2 years and 9 months -- and countless "BFNs" (big fat negatives) -- the couple decided to have Kelly try to carry the baby.

    To their shock and surprise, it finally happened -- they were pregnant!

    "It was surreal when we found out Kelly was pregnant," Jaci says. "We had wanted this for so long. It was hard to believe that it was actually happening."

  • What made the pregnancy even more special was that the Pfeiffers weren't just expecting one baby but two!

    And get this: Kelly says that when she flew from Florida to New York to do the transfer, she decided at the last minute to transfer in one of her own frozen embryos and one of Jacis, just to up their chances. 

    To her surprise, both embryos implanted, which means that she was carrying one biological child of her own and one of Jaci's. The resulting babies weren't just twins but "twin-blings" -- biological half-siblings who'd be born at the same time. 

    How incredible is that?

  • The babies -- one boy, and one girl -- were born on May 14. But their "twin-bling" status wouldn't be the only incredible part of their story.

    That's because Jaci decided early on that she wanted to try induced lactation to help share the load of breastfeeding duties with Kelly but also to form an even closer bond with the babies.

    "We heard about induced lactation while researching our options for starting a family," Kelly tells CafeMom, "but then a friend of mine who used a surrogate to have her daughter was able to successfully induce lactation and we followed her journey."

  • Though rare, and typically practiced by adoptive parents, induced lactation is possible, with some work and good planning.

    Kelly and Jaci say they joined a Facebook group devoted to the practice, which not only gave them a supportive place to ask questions but also opened their eyes to the small yet growing group of people out there who were going through the same process.

    Then came the prep work, which Jaci says involved taking a birth control pill with estrogen from October to March, as well as a medicine called domperidone beginning in January. Before she knew it, Jaci was producing breast milk -- and pumping around the clock.

  • By the time their babies arrived, both Kelly and Jaci were more than ready for them.

    So were Kelly's three sons, who she says were "so excited" to learn they were getting twin siblings, and have been really helpful since the babies were born. 

    Jackson arrived first, at 4:28 p.m. weighing 6 lbs., 14 oz., while Ella came just a few minutes later at 4:31 p.m., weighing 5 lbs., 6 oz.

    Their family was finally complete; and the fact that Jaci could take part in the twins' feedings made the experience of becoming a mother even more special.

  • In fact, Jaci was actually the first one to breastfeed the twins in the recovery room after delivery, and says "it was an incredible feeling."

    Photos of the birth were captured at the hospital by photographer Melissa Benzel of Benzel Photography. And soon after, Benzel also photographed the new moms at home, breastfeeding in tandem. The photos, which were shared on Facebook June 10, have since gone viral -- in part because their story is so compelling, and in part because it couldn't come at a more poignant time, considering June is Pride Month.

    "What a beautiful family with an amazing story," wrote one Facebook user. "I’m so thankful to see co-nursing families sharing their stories to share the information with others. When I first started looking into it 5 years ago, there wasn’t nearly as much information as there is today."

    "This is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen," wrote another. "100% shared emotions and love."

  • "The public reaction has been overwhelmingly positive," says Jaci, adding that many people didn't even know induced lactation was possible.

    Ultimately, the Pfeiffers hope that their story inspires other same-sex couples by letting them know that they have more options than they might think when it comes to how they create their families.

    "We also hope that more people realize that inducing lactation is possible, and that it’s a way that they can fully participate in feeding their child(ren)," says Jaci. "No matter how the baby came to them."