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DOUBLE THE LOVE: My dad gave me twins!

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Angela’s father gave her the greatest gift of all. Here, Angela Retchless, 37, from Brisbane, Qld, shares the story in her own words.

‘The chances are very high that you won’t ever have children,’ my doctor said at a check-up. ‘It would be too dangerous for you, and the baby.’

I was only 16, but I’d always imagined that one day I’d be a mother.

Glancing over at my mum, Julie, I could tell she was heartbroken for me too.

I’d been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease aged nine. Over time, my kidney function would get so bad, I’d go on dialysis, and eventually need a transplant.

Bugger him! I thought, staring down the doctor. I will have kids one day…

‘You can have one of my kidneys, Angie,’ my dad, Leon, promised.

Then, at a music festival when I was 23, I ran into a bloke I’d met briefly at my 18th birthday party.

‘Is your name Angie?’ Luke, then 24, asked me. ‘I remember your smile.’

Falling for each other quickly, I broke the news to Luke that doctors said I’d probably never be a mum.

‘If we can’t have kids, we can’t have kids,’ he shrugged. ‘As long as I have you.’

Deep down though, I knew he wanted to be a dad.

One way or another, we will be parents! I decided.

Five months in, Luke proposed, and we got married on our three-year anniversary.

Me and Dad on my wedding day.
Me and Dad on my wedding day. (Credit: Supplied)

‘When are you going to have babies?’ people asked.

I didn’t talk about my condition much, so besides my nearest and dearest, no-one knew our situation.

Still, it was distressing to be asked when I knew the odds were stacked
against us.

About a year after we were married, my doctors gave us the green light to try IVF.

Then, my kidney function dropped to 40 per cent.

‘It’ll be too much pressure on your kidneys,’ my renal specialist said.

Cross that off the list, I thought, devastated.

A year on, when surrogacy became legal in Queensland, my best friend, Amanda, made a generous offer.

‘I’ll be your surrogate,’ she told me.

But that would mean IVF to retrieve my eggs, and with my kidney function hovering at just 20 per cent now, it was out of the question.

My head throbbed constantly and I woke up exhausted. To make sure
I had enough energy to go to work on a Monday, I’d have to spend all Sunday resting.

‘If you don’t get a transplant, you’ll be on dialysis by the end of the year,’ my specialist said.

Thankfully, Dad was a match and nine months later, we were in hospital, ready for our ops.

‘I love you,’ I told Dad, as he was wheeled in first.

When I came to, Luke was by my side.

‘Is Dad okay?’ I asked, groggily.

‘He’s fine,’ my hubby said.

In fact, before long, my tough as nails dad was wheeled to my side, looking proud as punch.

Me and Dad in hospital.
Me and Dad in hospital. (Credit: Supplied)

‘The doctors say it’s a big, strong kidney,’ he boasted.

The 12-month recovery was tough. But almost instantly, with Dad’s kidney inside me, I felt better.

Before, I didn’t have the energy to go to the gym at all – now I was working out four times a week! And Luke and I were able to go on lovely weekends away.

Three years after my transplant, we were ready to try IVF again. I knew the clinic would ask if there was a chance I was expecting, so just in case, I did a home pregnancy test.

What?! I thought, shocked, as two pink lines appeared.

That can’t be right, I decided, going outside to hang up some washing.

Walking back inside, I half expected the lines to have disappeared.

But they hadn’t…

Luke wasn’t even home. I’d never have done a test without him if I’d thought there was a chance it could be positive!

When he walked in 20 minutes later, I was bawling.

‘Are you okay?’ he asked, worried.

‘I’ve got a baby in my belly!’ I sobbed even harder.

Doing two more tests, together, both came up positive too! After eight years of trying, we’d fallen pregnant naturally.

Our families were thrilled.

But, the real surprise came at our 13-week scan.

As the sonographer slid the wand over my belly, I could see two little moon-like shapes on the screen.

‘There’s two, isn’t there?’ I asked.

‘Yes, you’re having twins,’ she said.

We couldn’t believe it.

Monitored carefully, I had a dream pregnancy.

Then, at 31 weeks along, our boys Wyatt and Morgan were born via emergency caesarean.

Weighing 1600 grams and 1039 grams respectively, they were tiny but perfect.

Dad, me and the boys.
Dad, me and the boys. (Credit: Supplied)

Now three-and-a-half, they’re the best of mates.

Wyatt is sensitive and quiet like me, while boisterous Morgan gets into mischief just like his daddy!

Morgan, Wyatt, me and Luke.
Morgan, Wyatt, me and Luke. (Credit: Supplied)

Each year on our transplant anniversary, Dad and I have a special outing for coffee and cake to celebrate.

I’ll never stop thanking Dad for the gift he gave me.

Without his kidney, my body wouldn’t have been able to sustain a pregnancy.

He gave Luke and me our beautiful twins!

Not everyone is as lucky as me though. So, please, if you haven’t already, register to be an organ donor, and let your family know your wishes.

You might not just save a life – you could help create it too!

For info on organ donation: donatelife.gov.au (Aus) or donor.co.nz (NZ).

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