The Pod Blog
So we decided to jump on the blogwagon. Not just because our daughter is so adorable we wanted to have a forum to tell people about it (like, “Christmas is so far away, we’ll need a plane to get there”), but because in the foreseeable future we imagine we will have a lot of different kinds of news that we imagine a lot of people would like to know and that’s a lot of phone calls. Nine, if you just count our immediate family. And if we just send out of few facts, and you use the Google machine on the Interweb, you’ll find out a lot of scary sounding things indeed. Better to get it straight from us.
Here’s the short story: we’re pregnant. Twins. Identical. Boys. Due in April, but we’ll get them in February.
We’ve told enough people and been asked enough questions that we’ve realized that we might actually need a FAQ section. So here goes.
Do twins run in either family?
No. But that only applies to fraternal twins, anyway. And if you think real hard about it, can only be carried down through the mother’s side. (Quick biology refresher: fraternal == two fertilized eggs, kids are no more similar than other siblings; identical == one fertilized egg that splits, kids have the same genetic material).
Other fraternal fun facts: there are, like, TONS more twins now in the United States than just a scant 30 years ago, by like, some really high percentage that I am too lazy to look up right now. Some fraternal twins, of course, are due to techniques like IVF and even Clomid, but for some bizarre reason, older women who have already had a baby are more likely to have fraternal twins if they conceive again in their 40s. (That’s a nasty little trick, isn’t it?)
So how do you get identical twins?
Nobody knows. Identical twins are just a fluke. Or in fancy medical language, an anomaly. One perinatalogist actually called it a birth defect (because “it’s not supposed to happen.” She continued: “Let’s hope this is the only birth defect.”) This is the same one who used the words “dead baby” during our consultation. I don’t remember the rest of the sentence because I was so shocked. I hadn’t heard those words spoken together since my brother went through his “dead baby” joke phase in eighth grade. Don’t worry. We got her back. Stuck a “kick me” post-it on the back of her scrubs.
So nobody knows why a fertilized egg suddenly splits, although I do recall having a serious bout of hiccups in late July. It could also be that I’m Gary’s friend. Gary has FIVE friends who have had twins in the last two years. (Needless to say, Gary’s wife is a leetle worried.) Of course he told me this AFTER we told him about the twins. Thanks, Gary.
How do you know they’re identical?
This is a question you would only ask if you’re up on your twin reading. It’s like this: all fraternal twins have their own little sacs to grow in. (Placentae). And in the identical case, if they split early, they will also get their own placenta. And nobody will know whether or not they are identical (if they are the same sex) until after they are born. Since fraternals can look alike, too, in some cases, there’s really no way to know without a DNA test.
On the other hand, if the egg splits late, the babies will share a placenta. And if the egg splits really late, there’s a one in 25,000 chance that the babies will share both a placenta and an amniotic sac (or as the midwives call it, the “bag of waters.” Awesome. It’s like the first line of a haiku, isn’t it). Anyway, so I burped instead of buying a lottery ticket and we blew our lottery odds on two peas in a pod.
This means that our babies will have skin to skin contact in the womb. Which is pretty cool. It also means that I just went from the ho-hum ordinary “40 years old and merely high risk” to, as I told Aunt Rita, “DEFCON 4 High Risk” and listening to Dr. Bedside Manner and her “Dead Baby Birth Defect” speech.
But before we delve into all the scary stuff that Dr. Bedside Manner and her staff told us, (no, I will not call her Dr. BM, that is just too infantile), let’s end our first post with a little twin haiku. This haiku is dedicated to Greg, because I know he likes haikus although I don’t know how he feels about amniotic sacs. It’s called, “Hiccup Hiccup Oh!”
Hiccup Hiccup Oh!
One bag of waters
Not a lot of room in here
Will you be my twin?
© 2010 Janine Kovac