In March 2006, the process of impregnating Karen with Kelly and Dege's baby began. The families went to a New York fertility clinic. "First we had to go through medical tests, which determined the course for the in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure," says Kelly.
Then Kelly and Karen had to get shots to synchronize their cycles and take drugs to prepare for retrieval and the transfer. "It was emotionally hard—you have no control, but we knew it was only a month, so that was that," Kelly shares.
When Karen went in for the doctor to transfer Kelly and Dege's embryos, Kelly watched Karen's kids for the day. "When the doctor was implanting them, I told the doctor, 'I have a request: could they have a boy and a girl?'" laughs Karen.
The Russells and Holmeses decided to transfer only two embryos. "There was a concern about multiples, because we would never do a selective reduction," shares Kelly. In case both embryos took and one split and created a pair of identical twins, it would still be a manageable number of multiples.
"Getting started, I didn't realize how many times [IVF] could take," says Karen. "Something inside me knew it would just take this one time." If the first round of IVF didn't result in a pregnancy, the couples agreed to try only twice.
So when the call came through that the first round had been successful and Karen was pregnant, the two couples went out to dinner that night to celebrate. They soon found out that their celebration should be doubled: On August 26, the doctor told them that Karen was carrying twins. They already had been wondering about this possibility because Karen's hCG levels were so high, but the good news was confirmed with an ultrasound.