As I walked my daughter Devora to her chuppah, her wedding canopy, my mind slipped back twenty-two years to my visit to the pre-natal clinic six months before her birth.

I was due for a routine ultrasound scan and as I clambered onto the bed, feeling even more tired than usual, I was thinking about what life would be like with four children. Our other children - a boy and two girls - were seven, four-and-a-half, and two, and I knew I would have my hands full. But we had always wanted a large family and were delighted that with G‑d's help, our wish was being fulfilled.

She started moving the machine around faster, obviously agitatedThe technician smeared some of the gooey gel and started moving the probe around my stomach. I never really understand the weird shapes and bumps on the screen but as long as the technician sees that everything is alright, I'm happy.

I waited for the usual comments of "Oh, look! There's a hand and there's a leg and there's another hand…"

But the technician was silent.

She started moving the machine around faster, obviously agitated about something.

"What's the matter?" I asked.

She looked at me curiously, but still said nothing.

"Why were you sent here?" she asked suddenly.

"For a routine ultrasound. Why?"

She was moving it about backwards and forwards, round and round.

"Then they didn't tell you anything?"

"Tell me what?"

Again, she ignored my question, slipping and sliding the probe over my bulging stomach, breathing harder as the moments passed.

"How many children do you have?"

By now, my heart was pounding and I could barely breathe. Whatever it was she wasn't telling me could only be bad news.

"Three – but why, what is it?"

"Three – oh my gosh. I've never had to break this news to anyone before. And they never even warned you?"

Maybe the baby's missing limbs, I thoughtBy then I was practically suffocating with fear. I started praying and saying Psalms for the strength to bear whatever it was that I was about to hear. Visions of my friend with her Downs Syndrome child appeared before me – could I cope as well as she did, would I have the patience she had?

I breathed hard and tried to say as calmly as I could, "Please tell me what it is – it's OK. What is the problem with my baby? What can you see? Please just tell me."

"I don't know if I'm allowed to tell you. It's not really my job."

I thought I would scream, but I knew hysteria wouldn't help.

"Just tell me. It's okay. I can take it. I'm perfectly able to cope with whatever the problem is," I said, mustering all the strength I had and praying hard for more.

Maybe the baby's missing limbs, I thought. I remembered when I was a child, seeing the photographs of the "Thalidomide children" as they became known – horrifically deformed because of an anti-nausea drug their mothers had been prescribed.

"There are two babies in there!" she almost-whispered.

Two, I thought, two sick or deformed babies. My mind was spinning. Maybe even conjoined twins?

"What's the matter with the babies?"

She turned to look at me for the first time. "There are two babies in there. You're expecting twins. And you already have three children. Oh, what will you do?" she groaned.

"But what's the matter with the babies?" I tried to stop myself from shouting.

"Nothing's the matter with them – but there are two of them. You'll have five children. How on earth will you manage?"

"You mean they're healthy? I'm expecting two healthy babies?"

She looked at me as though I was crazy. "Yes, they're healthy. But there are two of them, don't you understand?"

I was expecting not one, but two perfect, healthy babiesI burst into tears. Tears of relief and gratitude to the Almighty. A few seconds ago I had been praying for the strength to cope with a, possibly, severely handicapped child. Now I was told that I was expecting not one, but two perfect, healthy babies. So our family would be growing faster than we'd thought – but compared to what I'd been imagining just a few seconds before – this was like winning the jackpot.

As the tears of happiness coursed down my cheeks, the technician, convinced that I was hysterical at the news, rushed off to find a social worker to help me come to terms with the "terrible" discovery.

As Devora circled her groom and then stood next to him, her twin sister Tamara looked on with joy and happiness shining in her eyes. And I could only think back to the day that changed, in thirty seconds, from what would be some expectant mother's nightmare to the happiest day of my life.