Friday Funny: Happiness is Two Babies

These babies are two things that make me intoxicated on life! Here is a little glimpse into our world and the joy they bring us. We hope they’ll shower you with a bit of happiness today 🙂

During my pregnancy with twins I was incredibly sick and more uncomfortable, from the pain and pressure of having two growing human beings inside of me, than I have ever been. It was a very difficult pregnancy for me. I was also very stressed out knowing I was going to have to homeschool my oldest son, care for my pre-school son, while caring for two infants.

I had never dreamed of twins as a young girl or wanted twins. In fact, when I was pregnant with my first son, my mom remarked, “Oh, I saw twins today, wouldn’t it be fun if you had twins?”

To which I answered, “No! Are you crazy? I know how much work one baby is. I don’t know why anyone would want twins!” But God is funny, he didn’t give me twins during that pregnancy, or my next one, but on my third pregnancy. Twins plus two older boys to care for. I didn’t know if I could do it.

But despite my trepidation, our family gets along pretty well. I feel so blessed to have these two sweet happy boys in my life! As always, God knew just what he was doing and blessed our family even when we didn’t necessarily see it as that at first. It’s been a busy 14 months, and they don’t let me sleep much, but Dylan and Elliot have been my most happy, laid-back babies. I can’t imagine having one without the other.

Identical or Fraternal? How to know

Dylan and Elliot – 1 day old

So, you’re having/had twins and you want to know whether they’re identical or fraternal. You’d think it would be a simple question to answer in these days of advanced medical technology, right? Nope.

We found out we were having twins in November 2010. We were told at the very first ultrasound that they were probably fraternal because they had separate sacs and placentas. In fact, after they were born the hospital pediatrician said that they were FOR SURE fraternal because they had separate placentas. However, they look so much alike, and eventually curiosity got the best of us. We ordered a DNA test and found out they are actually identical.

So, how do you know?

Fraternal vs. Identical

Fraternal twins, or more accurately dizygotic twins, are the result of two eggs each being fertilized by different sperm. Fraternal twins are no more related to one another than any other siblings, except they shared mommy’s womb at the same time.

Identical twins, or more accurately monozygotic twins, are the result of one egg being fertilized with one sperm and then splitting in two. Identical twins share the exact same nuclear DNA.

You know they are fraternal if…

1. They are different genders. Obviously, a boy and a girl can’t be identical.

2. They have different blood types. Two distinct blood types can’t be identical. Doctors will test their blood types after they are born as a standard test in most hospitals.

You know they are identical if…

1. They are sharing the same sac. Sharing an amnionic sac means a fertilized egg split relatively late after fertilization.

2. They are sharing a placenta. Fraternal twins almost never share a placenta. Keep in mind, it may be hard to tell the difference between a single placenta and two placentas that have fused together. More often than not, identical twins will split late enough to share a placenta but early enough to have separate sacs.

It is inconclusive if…

1. They are the same gender.

2. They have the same blood type.

3. There are two placentas. All fraternal twins have two placentas, but about 25-30% of identical twins split early enough to have separate sacs and placentas as well.

4. They look alike. Even fraternal twins can look strikingly similar. (Ever heard of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen? They look identical, but they aren’t.)

3. They look different. Identical twins can look different at birth due to environmental factors in the womb.

DNA Testing

The only way to be sure about your twins is DNA testing. Many companies provide this, usually using a quick and painless cheek swab. Prenatal testing such as amniocentesis can also provide this DNA information.

We’re having TWO BABIES?!

Baby A and Baby B – 8 weeks, 6 days

Early in October of 2011 I was thrilled to see a positive pregnancy test. It worked out well because the following week I had my yearly appointment with my OB-Gyn. I let the nurse practicioner know that I was pregnant. She looked at my chart and immediately asked if I’d like her to call a prescription in for Zofran right away. Though it had not begun, given my history of hyperemisis gravitum (i.e. really awful all-day sickness brought on by pregnancy) during my first two pregnancies, we were both certain that I would once again be plauged with this challenge thoughout my pregnancy. I left my appointment knowing my prescription was awaiting me at my local pharmacy and had an ultrasound scheduled in just a few weeks.

In the meantime we announced to our friends and family that we were excited to be expecting another baby. Bradley, who was six years old at the time, was particularly thrilled. So much so, that he announced to us one day that he knew we were going to be having two babies. And I responded by letting him know that we weren’t going to have two babies. He questioned how I could know such a thing. I let him know that it was very unusual for people to have twins unless they ran in families or needed fertility medication.

I asked him what made him so sure that we were going to have twins. He simply let me know that God told him.

Fast forward to November 18. I’m now horrifically sick. Following the pattern of my first two pregnancies, this pregnancy was even worse. Despite starting on Zofran as soon as the sickness started, I couldn’t keep any food down and could only keep down minimal liquids. This is the desperate state in which I showed up at my ultrasound appointment.

My husband and six-year-old son accompanied me to the appointment. I told my son there wouldn’t be much to see because the baby was so tiny, but he insisted on going. The ultrasound tech started the exam and almost immediately, without much fanfare said, “Well, I know why you’re so sick.”

My heart sank. I knew there must be something wrong. I said, “Oh no, what’s wrong?”

She responded, “There’s two.”

Confused, I questioned, “Two what?”

“Two babies,” she retorted.

I still couldn’t seem to wrap my mind around this. I knew that I certainly didn’t have two babies inside of me so I simply responded, “No there’s not.”

She insisted while showing me the screen, “Yes there is. Look here.”

My husband screamed. Literally screamed. I laid back and stared at the ceiling in shock. My son simply folded his arms, grinned, and claimed “I knew it. I knew we were having twins.” He was the only one in our family that didn’t seem to be surprised by this turn of events.

Dylan and Elliot – 11 months old