Adriana and Robert Potter

Elmhurst parents Adriana and Robert Potter play at home with their 2-year-old twins Matteus and Anabella, who were conceived through in vitro fertilization. The couple is now expecting a second set of twins. (Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune)

A month after Anabella and Matteus Potter were born in 2009, their parents, Adriana and Robert, agreed to disagree on what to do with two other embryos created in the same petri dish as their twins.

Grateful for the in vitro fertilization that enabled the Elmhurst couple to become parents, Adriana Potter, 38, believed donating the embryos to advance reproductive technology or treat debilitating diseases would be the most life-affirming choice. Robert Potter, 44, imagined having more children or donating the embryos for another couple to do the same.

Anabella and Matteus made up their parents' minds. Watching the brother and sister blossom into beautiful toddlers compelled them to have both embryos implanted last November.

Adriana Potter used to think that when life was too good to be true, her happiness could come to a halt at any moment. She credits the support of the couple's Methodist congregation for teaching her to accept the surprises that life has to offer, both good and bad.

But what happened next affirmed her faith even more.

Though an ultrasound showed that only one of the thawed embryos had survived in her womb, a nurse heard two heartbeats during a follow-up appointment. The surviving embryo had split, and the couple is expecting identical twins this coming summer.

"How can I not say it's God?" Adriana Potter said. "This womb was made to carry twins."

Even though anything can happen during the first trimester of a pregnancy, the couple has wasted no time telling friends, family and colleagues. Adriana Potter believes in inviting others to share in the joy right away. Thanks to her renewed faith, she is no longer afraid to be happy.

Growing their family

Adriana Potter never pictured herself a Methodist. Raised Roman Catholic in Brazil, she didn't know Methodists existed. Then she met Robert Potter. They married in November 2000.

When the couple bought their west suburban bungalow, they joined Elmhurst First United Methodist Church.

Eager to fill the upstairs bedrooms, the couple began to think about children. But they faced difficulty getting pregnant. A series of tests found that the couple would need help from science.

It took two attempts at in vitro fertilization. On the second try, four embryos were produced. In February 2009, the Potters chose to place two embryos in Adriana's womb and freeze the others in case the second attempt failed or the pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage. Anabella and Matteus were born in October 2009.

When the bill for storage arrived four months later, Adriana and Robert were too overwhelmed to decide the fate of the other embryos. They postponed their decision and paid the $300 fee.

Knowing the invoice was in the mail in January 2011, they weighed the issue again. Adriana Potter made a doctor's appointment to explore getting pregnant again, but canceled it. She refused to let a few hundred dollars force a decision she wasn't ready to make.

By October, she went back to work part-time as a physical therapist, and the twins started attending church day care five days a week. Life had become more manageable and motherhood more enjoyable. Adriana Potter told her husband she didn't want to share the embryos after all. She was ready to grow their family.

"We want to have a slightly larger family if possible, but the main thing is we want to give them a chance," Robert Potter said. "The reason was for the babies, not about us or giving them to someone else. ... I care about the babies. That's what matters."

Maturing faith

Doctors performed the implantation procedure on a Sunday when the couple normally would have been in church.