Sharks player Ross Geldenhuys and his wife Madelein thought they’d never be able to have children.
After Madelein (37) was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in 2012, they endured the heartache of two miscarriages and almost gave up hope of having a family.
But now Madelein and Ross (35), from Umhlanga in KwaZulu-Natal, have four beautiful children - and Madelein’s grateful they never gave up on their dream.
After trying and failing to conceive the couple tried hormonal therapy.
“The hormonal treatments we used cost a lot of money, but I eventually fell pregnant and it was the best feeling ever,” Madelein tells YOU.
“It was amazing to hear the heart beat for the first time. Finally we were going to be parents. But sadly, at my eight-week scan, the gynaecologist said he was truly sorry to inform us that there was no more heartbeat and I had lost the baby.
"That was in 2012, the year before our eldest son, Jetley (5) was born," she said.
This didn’t mark the end of her struggle. She miscarried again in 2013, a year before welcoming son Viggo (3).
She describes her miscarriages as emotionally draining experiences. “It was quite tough because I wanted kids so badly,” she says.
“I tried to keep myself occupied with positive and happy thoughts and just tried to make the negatives outweigh the positives in my life. You never forget, but it does get easier.”
Not long after Viggo’s birth Madelein was overjoyed to discover she was expecting again. And this time it was twins!
“I found out I was pregnant with the twins at six weeks of pregnancy. They were in two different sacs and non-identical.”
But when she went for her second scan the doctor could hear only one heartbeat.
“They call it ‘vanishing twin syndrome’, when one of the twins disappears into the uterus and a miscarriage occurs,” Madelein explains.
While she was grateful one of her little ones was still alive, the news came as a shock to the mom.
But when the time came for her third scan, doctors detected two heartbeats – and Ross and Madelein were over the moon. A doctor explained that one of the twins may have been hiding behind the other, which caused them to go undetected by the scans.
“It was quite a risky pregnancy, especially since our girls were monochorionic-diamniotic (MoDi) twins, which meant they were identical and in two amniotic sacs but sharing one placenta,” Madelein says.
“At around 30 weeks my gynaecologist noticed that the membrane that separates the two babies had torn and they were now no longer MoDi, but rather MoMo [monoamniotic-monochorionic twins], which meant they shared one placenta and one sac.”
At 32 weeks, on 5 August 2017, Madelein had a C-section and welcomed Kenzi and Roxy (now 11 months) into the world.
“The boys love their baby sisters so much and are very protective of them,” the proud mom says.
“Before the little girls were even born Jetley, who was four at the time, drew a family portrait at daycare and included a drawing of two little sisters – all before we even knew I was pregnant. A short while later, I was so excited and surprised to find out about the baby girls.”
The happy mom describes her twins as “two happy, busy girls” who bring a lot of joy to their family.
Madelein has a final message of hope for women who’ve suffered miscarriages.
“Going through that ordeal is such a tough time! Try to be positive and live a happy and healthy life. Cry your cries – it’s good for you, but try to be more happy than sad.
“You don’t want to let life pass you by and it’s important never to give up hope.”