March 11, 2010 changed our lives in a way we never imagined. Not only was it the same day my grandfather passed away, but it was also the same day we learned that our third pregnancy was about about to produce 2 babies. That’s right, we were put on notice that our one last baby we planned to have before I turned 35, was indeed, going to be our last TWO babies. Thus, growing our family of 4 into 6 in a matter of a few short months. I’m not going to lie, I cried for about a month after learning this news. For many reasons, but mainly because I was scared. It was about to rock my world. Change everything I knew about being a mother, and a human being functioning on this planet. No more coffee with the girls. No more meeting my husband for cocktails in the middle of the week after work. No more full time job outside the house. No more traveling. No more anything! I had convinced myself being a mother of 4, let alone a set of twins, was going to be a house-arrest punishment until they left for college.
Further more, I knew absolutely nothing about twins. When I was younger and my friends and I would talk about how many kids we would want, at least 1 to 2 of them would say that they really hoped for twins. Those words never came out of mouth. In fact, I couldn’t understand for the life of me why they would want more than one baby at a time. During those times, I knew I wanted many children. Four was my strive for, but I would settle for two. My husband and I convinced ourselves that three was the new two, so we decided to go for it. And, I had been known to say, if it wasn’t for having to have a c-section every time, I would have gone for 4 kids, but instead, I would settle for three not wanting to undergo major surgery for a fourth time. God took me literally, and granted my childhood wish of having four babies, and was lucky enough to only have three c-sections.
I joke, but deep down inside, and even now, three and half years later, I know I am blessed. Beyond control. I could never express the amount of gratitude I have for being given the life experience of conceiving, carrying, birthing and raising twins. I also love that my family gets to experience in this unique opportunity as well. Sounds like a marketing scheme, I know, but truly, what a way to add abundance to your life. When my husband and I were told about the twins, it had already been 9 weeks into my pregnancy. At the ultra-sound, the pictures showed two eggs, with their own amniotic sack and placenta, thriving. At that point, there was no way to tell how these little creatures came into existence. My naivety forced me to believe they were fraternal since they had separate sacks and placentas. This seemed logical to me. Come to find out, this is not necessarily true. The safest way to carry twins is for them to have their own, completely separate, amniotic sack and placenta, however, it is often not the case. And, in this instance, it doesn’t always mean the twins are automatically fraternal. There is still a 20-25% chance the twins can be identical.
As you can see, there was a lot of uncertainty happening during our pregnancy. As we got further along, we made the decision to determine the sex of the babies. Having twins was surprise enough, we needed to have something that felt tangible in all of this. Haha- if only that was the case. At 20 weeks, our OB/GYN who confirmed the sex of our other two children said, “Baby A 100% boy, Baby B 80% sure its a girl.” We were elated! How fantastic that we would have two boys and two girls. My daughter would have a sister, and my son a younger brother. Over the moon we were, until we went for the official ultra-sound to measure the babies and confirm their sex. The announcement that both babies would be boys put us into an even further tailspin. We just were not prepared, it seemed, during this entire pregnancy.
Even amongst the chaos, there were some beautiful moments. Shortly after the discovery of twins, I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a condition causing extreme, persistent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy that can lead to dehydration. I was hospitalized for three days. Once out of the hospital, however, my pregnancy was very healthy. In fact, I carried my boys until they were 37 weeks. At which this time, the only reason to deliver them was that they had grown too big and there was just no more room for them to cohabitate in a safe environment. At birth, they weighed 6.5lbs and 6lbs, and did not have to spend anytime in the NICU. Also, upon discovering Baby B was in fact, a boy, my husband and I made the decision right away to name him Hugh, after my grandfather. I always think my grandpa was giving my Baby B a “high-5” that day, one leaving heaven, and the other on his way up. The personalty of Baby B has suited his namesake perfectly.
Going back to my lack of knowledge about twins, I still couldn’t understand how all of this could have happened. There are twins in our family, on both my husband’s side and mine. But, the relations were distant, nothing immediate. For the record, our twins were spontaneous, if you couldn’t tell by now, nothing to enhance our chances of conceiving, at least not intentionally. The other doozy- fraternal twins can be hereditary, but identical twins are nature’s “oops”. Being the realist that I am, I needed to make some sort of sense of all of this. The first thing that came to mind was the fact that I had been using an IUD (intrauterine device) since my daughter was born, 4 years ago. Out of curiosity, I Googled, “Mirena and multiple births,”. The results were astonishing. Apparently, this is a thing. Of course, I’m not saying if you want twins to have your IUD removed and try to conceive right away. In fact, I had been told the complete opposite, starting with, I shouldn’t use an IUD unless I wasn’t planning on having anymore babies. Or, that it could take up to a year to conceive once the IUD was removed. Apparently, God not only works in mysterious ways, but he also has a great sense of humor.
In case you are like me, and know almost nothing about twins, here are some interesting tidbits: (information courtesy of Wikipedia.com)
- Zygosity: the degree of identity in genome twins
- Dizygotic = Fraternal
- Monozygotic = Identical
- There are 5 common variations of twinning:
- The three most common variations are all dizygotic (fraternal):
- Male–female twins are the most common result, 50 percent of dizygotic twins and the most common grouping of twins.
- Female–female dizygotic twins (sometimes called “sororal twins”)
- Male–male dizygotic twins
- The three most common variations are all dizygotic (fraternal):
- The other two variations are monozygotic (“identical”) twins:
- Female–female monozygotic twins
- Male–male monozygotic twins (less common)
It is not a super important thing for us to know if our twins were identical or fraternal. Of course, we are asked like 1,000 times a day. And, truthfully, the only real reason we would want to know would be for medical reasons or issues that might come up in the future. As of now, they are very healthy, intelligent, thriving little 3-year old boys. But alas, curiosity got the best of us. From several trusted recommendations, we went online to a genetics lab and had a DNA swab test kit sent out to us via snail mail. Before bed time, and the next morning before they ate breakfast, I took the cotton swabs determined for each boy, swiped the inside of their cheeks as directed, placed them in the test tube, and sent them on their way. Now, this company claims their results are 99.9% accurate. I’m the kind of person who bought 5 different brands of pregnancy tests to make sure one was not faulty or to confirm their accuracy. But, I’m trusting my instincts on this one, and in turn, trust the company I used. Two weeks later, the results are in…
Crazy exciting isn’t it? Well, it is for us. Admittedly, this does bring about some sense of satisfaction to know our boys are identical. And, to know the instance of having identical twin boys, who incubated in their own amniotic sack and placentas, and born at a healthy weight is pretty rare, confirms that these guys were our own little miracles. An absolutely amazing event to happen in our lives. Thanks for taking the journey with us!
You can follow along with us on Instagram search for #Twincapades.