February 13, 2008 04:30 PM

With her fraternal twin daughters Eden and Savannah turning 1 on Feb. 20, Marcia Cross is recalling all the ways she struggled to have children.

“In my early 40s, I considered adoption, and I tried getting pregnant on my own through a sperm donor, but neither worked out,” the Desperate Housewives star, now 45, tells Health magazine for its new issue.

Pregnancy was a top priority after she married stockbroker Tom Mahoney in June 2006. “We decided to skip our honeymoon and try in vitro after the wedding. I had already been through infertility treatments. It’s very, very difficult to get pregnant in your 40s. It’s costly and tough on your body and your relationship.”

Then the fun really began – finding out that she was going to have twins. “I was terrified,” she admits. “As a mother, being outnumbered is scary.”

So was her nausea, to say nothing of her cravings. “You would think it’d be fun, but it wasn’t. I was up at 2 in the morning eating steak!”

Complications Ensue

Matters became serious during Cross’s pregnancy. “I started having contractions at 28 weeks and had to go on bed rest for two months. I was constantly worried that the babies would be born premature,” she said. “Then, in January, my eyesight started going, and I gained 12 lbs. in one week.”

Both, she said, “are symptoms of preeclampsia, a complication that is life-threatening for mother and baby.”

Admitting she was scared, Cross says, “Within 12 hours of being diagnosed – at 35 weeks – I had a C-section.”

The end result, two healthy girls, was “amazing,” she says. “I’d go through it all again. I don’t want to, but I would.”

And as for keeping her marriage intact now that there are children involved (“I don’t think I’ll have any more kids, but I’m not 100 percent sure we won’t adopt,” she says), Cross also reveals, “If Tom and I are lucky, we try and have a date night.”

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