After all, I promised to tell you more about the pregnancy and birth of my twin girls. So, let’s just start from the very beginning.
Pregnant with twins: How it all began
It started with very severe nausea. In the form I had this with no other pregnancy before. Therefore, there were only two options for me at that moment: Severe gastrointestinal virus or pregnancy. Okay, the test then proved with a very thick red line, what I already suspected, but somehow did not really want to admit yet: pregnant!
Beautiful, I was happy. A third child, perfect! That would complete our little family. We could use all the baby stuff again. A third child is certainly not as complicated, after all, we have already been through all this twice and are a well-coordinated team.
But something was different. I just felt different from the previous pregnancies, everything was somehow much more violent. I said directly to my husband: "This is not only one!"
I don’t know how I came up with it. It was just such a feeling, although we have no twins in the family and I also do not really belong to the risk group for twin pregnancies (factors that favor a twin pregnancy are known to be older age, overweight, twins in the family, fertility treatment, etc.)..or just outrageous luck). I just had the feeling that there is not only one little worm in my belly.
Funny statement bodysuits for twins – found at Amazon*
Is it only one.
So now in the ninth week it was time for the first ultrasound. "There is the embryo. And the heart is already beating," the doctor announced joyfully.
I was totally happy, but somehow also disappointed and confused and asked: "Is it only one??"
"Yes, why?…No, wait a minute. There I actually see a second yolk sac. And there is the second embryo. How did you know that?"
Well, how did I know? Female intuition? No idea. But I was right: I was pregnant with twins.
Aaaaaaah, how cute, how great. I have always loved twins. But also very big fears came up immediately: how should I carry two children with my nearly 1,60m? They will surely come much too early. Oh no, and then to the intensive care unit…a whole movie ran in my head.
And then the doctor announced that in her opinion it was a monochorial monoamniotic pregnancy (see below for explanation). This means that the two identical embryos share the amniotic sacs. She didn’t say much else about it, but I already suspected that it could be relatively risky. Fact was in any case: They were monozygotic twins.
The chance to have twins is 1 in 85. The chance of having identical twins is 1 in 250.
A monochorial monoamniotic twin pregnancy with high risk?
At home, of course, I immediately researched what a monochorial monoamniote pregnancy means. Let’s put it this way, it can definitely turn out well and two healthy children can come out of it. But there are a lot of risks, such as the mutual cord compression and the fetal transfusion syndrome. Twins with only one amniotic sac are also often delivered much earlier by cesarean section because the risk is just too high.
Oh great, why me of all people now?? All I wanted was to have another beautiful pregnancy and have a healthy baby. And now such a bad news..
Dizygotic twins – twins in twins
Twins are created from two different eggs, which are fertilized separately. They are like siblings, which develop at the same time. This way they have their own amniotic cavity and own amniotic sac. Usually conjoined twins each have their own placenta. But it can happen that this one grows together and looks like one.
Monozygotic twins (identical twins):
Monochorial diamniotic twins – One amniotic cavity, two amniotic sacs
Identical twins are formed from a single fertilized egg cell. After fertilization it divides again. Depending on when the division occurs, the embryos share the amniotic cavity, amniotic sac (monoamnial monoamniot) or even body parts (called Siamese twins). In a monochorial diamniotic form each child has its own amniotic sac. Usually they share amniotic cavity and placenta.
Monochorial monoamniotic twins – Mono-mono twins or momo twins – One amniotic cavity, one amniotic sac
If the egg divides at a later stage, the embryos share not only the amniotic cavity but also the amniotic sac. So they don’t have any separation and are swimming right next to each other, so to speak. The placenta is also divided. But this is really very rare, 1 to 3% of all twin pregnancies.
In my research I have seen that many identical twin pregnancies are first diagnosed with this and only later it turns out that there are two amniotic sacs. The membranes of the amniotic sac are so thin that they can only be seen very slightly on the ultrasound and only at a certain point in time.
Why? I do not want that. I can’t do it. I will never have two healthy children. How will it be with the two big ones if I have to be in the hospital all the time?? I’ll probably just end up having to lie down and then the babies will be in the hospital for weeks at a time. (Sorry if you are an expectant twin mom and are having the same thoughts and I haven’t really been able to encourage you yet….This is yet to come!)
Now I could unfortunately only half rejoice. I also suffered from endless fatigue and nausea with throwing up.
Juhu, nevertheless only a normal risk pregnancy
Two weeks later the next doctor’s appointment. I was very afraid. Were both embryos still there? Was my body really not made for a twin pregnancy??
Yes, they were both there. Two little gummy bears. Madness! The doctor zoomed in a bit on the ultrasound image. "Here I see a very fine line. Apparently every embryo has its own amniotic sac."
In fact, I could see it too, like two little fine soap bubbles enveloping my little bumps. I was in tears. Thank you. Now for the first time I had the feeling that all this could have a positive end – although of course there was still one or the other risk. I was going to have twins. Nature obviously wanted it that way.
Because the membranes of the amniotic sacs can only be guessed very slightly, I have encircled them for you. Well, recognized?!
I had already made it through the first trimester and all was well. It was only "normal identical twins" and so far both were exactly the same size and inconspicuous.
My belly was already clearly visible (at least for me), although I had lost a little weight because of the nausea. In a few weeks I should go for fine diagnostics to have all organs of the twins checked out. I was a bit nervous before that.
My goal for the twin pregnancy
I had already set an ironclad goal for myself at that point: I will definitely hold out until week 36+0! Then you have the chance to keep your babies right away and not to leave them in the intensive care unit for the time being.
I wonder if I managed to do that? You can read that soon.
If you want to read up while you’re still pregnant, it’s best to get a twin guidebook (*Amazon). But you will see, nothing goes according to plan anyway!