Being the daughter of a mother who is a fraternal twin and the granddaughter of a grandma who was an identical twin, I grew up expecting twins. When we found out we were having our first-born, my mom reminded us it could be twins. She was wrong that time but the second time we conceived, she was right! I was carrying two!
At only eight weeks pregnant I was bursting out of my clothing and finding it difficult to hide my pregnancy. It was so obvious, people were guessing before we announced it. You can just imagine how big I was for people to be asking me at only eight weeks! During weeks 6-8 of my pregnancy, I started to think it was twins. By weeks 9-10 I “knew”. I expressed this to my family doctor, midwife, family and friends and at my twelve week ultrasound I asked the technician, “is it one or two?” I just had this intuition that it was definitely twins.
It wasn’t until I was carrying twins that I discovered the difference in twin pregnancies:
- Dichorionic, Diamniotic (di/di) – separate placentas (chorion) and separate sacs (amnion).
- Monochorionic, Diamniotic (mono/di) – shared placenta, but two separate sacs.
- Monochorionic, Monoamniotic (mono/mono) – a shared placenta and a shared sac. “Monoamniotic twins are rare, with an occurrence of 1 in 35,000 to 1 in 60,000 pregnancies, corresponding to about 1% of twin pregnancies.”
- Conjoined – joined together in the same place, possibly sharing body parts and organs.
Ours was a mono/mono twin pregnancy. Because our twins shared a sac, they were at risk of cord compression and entanglement and sharing a placenta can cause twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS). I found that the same way in which doctors consider the safe-zone to be at 12 weeks gestation, was at the 24 week mark for a mono-mono pregnancy. It wasn’t until I reached that mark, that they started to aggressively monitor me. In total, I had 25 Obstetrician appointments, 20 fetal non-stress tests, 16 ultrasounds and 6 midwife appointments.
The information I received from the doctors was terrifying and I probably shouldn’t have researched mono-mono pregnancies to discover more. That’s when the Lord ensured me this was His plan for our family and He was going to keep them safe. I held onto that promise and it kept me calm in a time I could have easily let my emotions get the best of me. My obstetrician mentioned I was the only patient carrying mono/mono twins at that moment and each time she reviewed my ultrasound results she held her breath.
Thursday November 17, 2011 – V was born at 8:37 a.m. and her sister, F was born at 8:39 a.m. Due to the high risk pregnancy, I was not able to carry them past 34 weeks and had to deliver via caesarean. V was born breathing on her own while F needed some help.
The following day we were unable to see our girls and after meeting with the neonatologist we discovered they both had RDS and pneumothorax which caused them each to have an intracranial hemorrhage. Once again, we held onto God’s promise. The days and hours awaiting a meeting requested by the neonatologist felt like an eternity, but we chose to remain faithful. We felt the emotions but we were without a doubt anchored by God. If you are a parent of a child who’s been down this road, I’m sure you know how intense these meetings are. We were told V’s ICH was the worst of the two and due to the area of her brain it involved, it would likely affect her gait – meaning, she could have an abnormal gait or never be able to walk. It was a waiting game and yet again, we stood firm on God’s promise!
On day five I was able to hold V for the first time and on day 6 her sister was placed in my arms. After 21 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), our girls came home!
I’m elated to report that by 16 months, both my twins were walking and we opted out of the pre-booked MRI for V at 18 months of age. Now they are happy, healthy, talkative little girls who are the best of friends and are filled with beauty – both inside and out! They not only walk; but run, swim, dance, balance, jump, hop and skip!
Today my sweet girls are 3 years-old. I am beyond blessed by God for the incredible children He has entrusted us with. Life with multiples is a miraculous journey and I am so grateful to be experiencing it.
Happy Birthday V & F ♥