« Parenting

Curiosity about twins

by Nikki Montgomery

People are naturally curious about multiples. Shortly after I announced I was having twins the questions started rolling in. 

Do twins run in your family? Yes they do. On my mom's side twins pop up in every generation. Even though they are all fraternal they are always the same gender and they alternate boys and girls. I was in line for girls and that's what we got. My great grandmother was a twin, that's as far back as I know.  

How do twins happen? There are two types of twins, identical and fraternal. Both can happen to anyone, but fraternal twins are hereditary.

  • Identical twins: One egg is fertilized by one sperm and for some reason, no one really knows why, the fertilized egg divides creating 2 identical babies. These babies since they are created from the same egg and the same sperm they share the same DNA. These babies share genetic traits so they will look almost exactly the same. Identical twins do not run in families.
  • Fraternal twins: Fraternal twins occur when mom drops two eggs and both eggs are fertilized by two sperm. This happens when mom is on fertility drugs that encourage mom to drop more than one egg in hopes that one will become mature and be fertilized. It is also more likely to happen as mom gets older. If mom is over 35 there's a higher chance of her dropping two eggs at once. And dropping two eggs at once is a hereditary trait passed down on the mother's side. Fraternal twins are as different as any other siblings. Though my mom did tell me that even though her grandmother was a fraternal twin she and her sister looked very much alike, but had very different personalities.

Are your twins identical or fraternal? Our twins are fraternal. We know this because twins do run in my family and because the ultrasound showed two separate placentas. Identical twins share a placenta and this can create more problems. Any multiple pregnancy is more complicated than a singleton, but when twins share a placenta it becomes even more complicated. Twins that share a placenta are more likely to develop twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), this means that one twin gets more blood from the placenta and grows bigger than the other. The smaller twin is in danger of developmental issues when this happens. TTTS is a significant difference in size not an ounce or two, but we're talking the difference between a 5 pound baby and a 3 pound baby. The 5 pound baby is fully developed and ready to be born weeks before the other baby. Unfortunately you don't give birth to one and keep the other baking for another month, both babies come at the same time so the 5 pound baby can go home, but the 3 pound baby is likely to have under-developed lungs and maybe other issues so ends up in the NICU for weeks. 
How are you feeling? As you would expect I feel different this pregnancy than I did my first. I loved being pregnant with Mia. My pregnancy was pretty easy. I didn't have any complications, I didn't have many issues with morning sickness, I didn't really have cravings, I was not terribly uncomfortable and in my second trimester my energy returned to almost normal and I felt great. This time I had more morning sickness, I craved candy all the time, I had terrible headaches, I'm uncomfortable already and I know it's only going to get worse, I'm tired all the time and struggling to keep up my calories, because I'd rather sleep than eat.
Are you worried? I am worried, I'm not gonna lie. I'm worried that I'll be put on bed rest, I'm worried that the twins will be born too early because that is a common problem with twins. I'm worried that my daughter will have a harder time adjusting to two new babies than she would if we were just having one. I'm worried that we're not prepared. I'm worried that all my worrying is going to cause my blood pressure to go up and I'll be diagnosed with preeclampsia which would cause me to be put on bed rest (just allowing me more time to worry) and could cause premature labor. 
The goal is to keep those babies in there as long as possible so I need to learn to relax. My problem is that I'm a bit of a control freak. Often I feel like if I don't take care of something it's not going to get done though my husband has been really good about taking care of things at home. I am just going to have to research some relaxation techniques. 
If the babies are born after 34 weeks Saint Michael's Hospital in Stevens Point will be able to handle the delivery, however, if the babies are born before 34 weeks we'll have to go to Saint Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield which is our area's emergency/trauma hospital. So we for sure want to make it past the 34 week mark, but the goal of our doctors at Ministry Saint Michael's Hospital is 38 weeks to make sure the babies are good and ready. Twins are full term at 37 weeks so as long as we make it as close to that as possible I'll be a happy mom. Twins are generally smaller than singletons so we're  hoping that our twins are both over 5 pounds. As of right now according to the ultrasounds our twins are on track to be a good healthy size. A singleton should be around 1 pound at this point and our twins are 13oz and 14oz right now.
This blog is sponsored by: