Friday, July 17, 2009

Everything I never needed to know about twins... until now!

More summer time than I expected has been dedicated to things twin-related, which is not to say that I've done any sort of prep around the house for them! Rather, the three (or six!) of us head to the doc, I lay down for a nap, or head to the fridge. Wonderful problems to have though - health care, sleep, and food. Fortunately the rest of my family is incredibly understanding - John tolerating my early bedtimes, and the girls showering "baby A" and "baby B" with kisses and hugs every night!

Anyhow, since twins have been on my mind all summer, here are some of the random facts that I've accumulated. I'm 20 weeks (four and a half months) now, which is over half way for twins. And I'm busting into those maternity clothes whether I find them stylish enough or not! They appear to be identical - and boys. So here's my random facts for your next game of Trivial Pursuit.

- Identical twins don't run in families - they are just a random occurrence! Fraternal twins do. Every other person I meet now seems to have fairly recent twins in their families. Except OUR extended families...

- Boy identical twins are the most rare kind of all twins. I guess we've got a rare treasure coming :).

- You can make a good guess that they are identical if they share a placenta (ours do). You can confirm later on by pathology on the placenta and of course DNA testing.

- Many identical twins actually share some of their blood supply during pregnancy too (they have the same blood type, of course, so that's OK). When they don't share equally, you can run into some serious problems. Fortunately, ours seem to be sharing incredibly well so far. I'm hoping that lasts 18 years!!!

- Those single babies that I had before, they have a technical name "singletons". As opposed to "multiples".

- Being pregnant with multiples puts you at risk for something called placenta previa, where that shared (big) placenta ends up where it shouldn't. (Sheesh, imagine 8 babies!) I've got that for now. It means that all the usual admonitions/joys of pregnancy like "make sure you exercise" and "enjoy your sexy body" get thrown out the window. On top of that, twin pregnancies are prone to pre-term labor, so they have you start lessening your activity earlier on anyway. BOO!

- Studies on identical twins have been done for a long time to compare how environment/upbringing affects expression of genes. Just in the last few years, scientists are starting to find that there are a lot more differences in identical twin DNA than they thought - meaning environment might have a lot less to do with how they turn out than we've thought.

Anyhow, that's all the fun for today. Here I am this week - each baby is about 3/4 of a pound now, you can imagine the belly-stretching they'll be doing if they make it to 5 lb. each - or more! So far, so good. I'm amazed and thankful every day.