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#1 of 32 Old 10-04-2006, 10:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This may seem silly, but how do you know if your twins are ID? Some days, they look the same but then sometimes they look totally different! And when we are out, about half the people say they look exactly the same and the other half say that they look totally different. Our doc told us that they were frat but only because they were di di and he didn't seem to know that di di can be ID. Does anyone know of any tricks to figure this out other than DNA? I think they both have the same blood type, but I also think that my boyfriend and I have the same blood type. There were two placentas in all my ultrasounds, but then only one came out! It had somehow managed to fuse but they didn't really do much, just poke around to see if there was one or two.
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#2 of 32 Old 10-04-2006, 10:56 PM
 
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I don't know what to say about your situation, but I do know that Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen are fraternal twins with very similar looks. I guess they have really similar DNA or something.
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#3 of 32 Old 10-04-2006, 11:11 PM
 
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Mine were in the same amniotic sac, without a dividing membrane. There's nothing else for them to be other than identical.

They have different fingerprints and heel prints, they have different hair whorl patterns, and very different personalities. I know two ID men, one gay and one straight.

I would say that DNA testing is the only way to find out. Even ID twins can be very different.
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#4 of 32 Old 10-04-2006, 11:33 PM
 
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The way I understand it, if they're boy/girl they have to be fraternal (dz), if they share a sac (I think, memory's foggy . . . ) they have to be identical (mz). If neither of these things are the case, the only way to know for sure is to get a dna test.
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#5 of 32 Old 10-04-2006, 11:39 PM
 
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We did a dna test, for us that was the only way to tell. I had an u/s tech tell me they were dz, but they don't know what they are talking about. I really did not think mine were mz cause they looked so different at first, but now they look sooo much alike and we did have them tested and they are mz.
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#6 of 32 Old 10-05-2006, 09:10 AM
 
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Mine were di-di, too, and I wasn't sure until we got the DNA test that said that were mz. Everyone else thought they were, but I can tell them apart so well that I had my doubts. But, I have a friend with 2 year old twins who I find impossible to tell apart. Yet, she thinks they look very different. And she thinks my twins look exactly alike. Somehow, that convinced me they must be mz. We mamas just see our babies differently than the rest of the world, somehow.

If you decide to do the test, we were very pleased with www.affiliatedgenetics.com. And of course you have to let us know what happens!

Betsy, mama to beautiful, strong MZ twins Lillian and Kate, born 11 weeks early on January 10, 2006.
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#7 of 32 Old 10-05-2006, 12:34 PM
 
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I was told by my OB, who has delivered hundreds of multis, that the only way to tell for sure if they are same sex is to get the DNA test. MZs can still have separate everything in utero. Also if people outside of the family have a hard time telling them apart after a year or so, once their features are starting to get more defined, there's a good chance they are MZ.

Did anyone read that section in "Having Twins" about the semi-MZ or "near ID" theory? I thought that was very interesting. They haven't been able to prove it exists yet. Basically the egg splits into two separate identical eggs, and then those are concieved by two separate sperm. The result is very similar-looking DZ twins.
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#8 of 32 Old 10-05-2006, 01:41 PM
 
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Okay, hopefully this will help.

Fraternal twins (commonly known as "non-identical twins") usually occur when two fertilized eggs are implanted in the uterine wall at the same time. The two eggs form two zygotes, and these twins are therefore also known as dizygotic as well as "biovular" twins. When two eggs are independently fertilized by two different sperm cells, fraternal twins result.

Dizygotic twins, like any other siblings, have a very small chance of having the exact same chromosome profile, but most likely have a number of different chromosomes that distinguish them. Like any other siblings, fraternal twins may look very similar, particularly given that they are the same age. However, fraternal twins may also look very different from each other. They may be a different sex or the same sex. Mixed-race twins, or twins born to parents of mixed racial origin, can vary considerably in their skin colouration and other features.

Studies show that there is a genetic basis for fraternal twinning. However, it is only the female partner that has any influence on the chances of having fraternal twins as the male cannot make her release more than one ovum. Fraternal twinning ranges from 1 or 2 per thousand births in Japan (similar to the rate of identical twins) to 14 and more per thousand in some African states.

Identical twins
Identical twins occur when a single egg is fertilized to form one zygote (monozygotic) which then divides into two separate embryos. This is not considered to be a hereditary trait, but rather an anomaly that occurs in birthing at a rate of about 1:150 births worldwide, regardless of ethnic background. The two embryos develop into fetuses sharing the same womb. When one egg is fertilized by one sperm cell, and then divides and separates, two identical cells will result. Depending on the stage at which the zygote divides, identical twins may share the same amnion (or in the same amnion and placenta/chorion), which can cause complications in pregnancy.
Monozygotic twins are genetically identical (unless there has been a mutation in development) and they are the same gender. (On extremely rare occasions, an original XXY zygote may form monozygotic boy/girl twins by dropping the Y chromosome for one twin and the extra X chromosome for the other.) Monozygotic twins generally look alike. Fine physical details such as fingerprints will differ. As they mature, identical twins often become less alike because of lifestyle choices or external influences. Genetically speaking, the children of identical twins are half-siblings rather than cousins.

The likelihood of a single fertilization resulting in identical twins is a random event, not a hereditary trait, and is uniformly distributed in all populations around the world. This is in marked contrast to fraternal twinning which ranges from 1 or 2 per thousand births in Japan (similar to the rate of identical twins) to 14 and more per thousand in some African states[citation needed]. The exact cause for the splitting of a zygote or embryo is unknown.

Studies have shown that identical twins reared in different environments share similar personality traits, mannerisms, job choices, attitudes, and interests[citation needed]. These findings add to the belief that many behaviors are derived from genes.

Identical twins have identical DNA but differing environmental influences throughout their lives affect which genes are switched on or off. This is called epigenetic modification. A study of 80 pairs of human twins ranging in age from 3 to 74 showed that the youngest twins have relatively few epigenetic differences. The number of differences between identical twins increases with age. 50-year-old twins had over three times the epigenetic difference of 3-year-old twins. Twins who had spent their lives apart (such as those adopted by two different sets of parents at birth) had the greatest difference. (Fraga, et al., 2005).

Mirror twins
Some monozygotic twins are known as "mirror twins" or mirror image twins. These are identical twins with opposite features, that is, one may be right-handed and the other left-; mirrored hair curls, etc. This condition is comparatively rare in humans. It results from a late split of the fertilized egg at around 9-12 days. One mirror may have situs inversus, where some or all of the organs are on the opposite side of the body, such as the heart on the right (dextrocardia). Such conditions are usually associated with a higher incidence of other birth defects.

Polar twins
Polar twins are monozygotic but develop differently, due to different genes being activated.[1] These "half-identical twins" may occur when one sperm fertilizes the egg, while another fertilizes a polar body.
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#9 of 32 Old 10-05-2006, 01:57 PM
 
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When my boys were born, I was told immediately that they were faternal twins because they had different blood types - does that constitute DNA testing - dont think so, but not sure.
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#10 of 32 Old 10-05-2006, 02:03 PM
 
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When my boys were born, I was told immediately that they were faternal twins because they had different blood types - does that constitute DNA testing - dont think so, but not sure.
Different blood types are fraternal.
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#11 of 32 Old 10-05-2006, 02:25 PM
 
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I don't know what to say about your situation, but I do know that Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen are fraternal twins with very similar looks. I guess they have really similar DNA or something.
In no way do I believe that those girls are fraternal! I think that they were just given misinformation at birth due to being di/di or something along those lines. Someone needs to send them a DNA kit ASAP!

A pp mentioned fingerprints. All twins - even identical twins - have different fingerprints.

Karen - Mama to Haven (9/00) , Lillie & Faith (MZ - 12/02) and my first homebirthed baby, Willa (3/08)
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#12 of 32 Old 10-05-2006, 03:22 PM
 
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Mary Kate and Ashley are mirror twins-- that's probably why they think they're fraternal. Mary Kate is left handed, and Ashley right; their hair parts naturally on opposite sides of their heads, etc. Watch one of the first year episodes of Full House, and you can see not only the differences in their hair & handedness, but the size discrepancy (much diminished over the years); they'll both be wearing the same sized sweater, for example, and on Mary Kate it comes over her hands, while on Ashley it's about 3/4" 'shorter.' The girls wore ponytails on the tops of their heads as soon as it was long enough, because the difference was *obvious* and made for a continuity nightmare, I'm sure. Even with the ponytails, you can see the difference; it's quite noticeable, especially earlier in the series. They probably think that this makes them fraternal by definition, but the fact is that you have to be identical to be a mirror image of your twin.
They look very much alike, but it's pretty easy to tell them apart once you realize that Ashley's taller and right handed.


I'm one of those obnoxious non-twin mothers who knows more than everyone else. Sorry, couldn't resist. Your twins are definately dizygotic if:

1. They have different sexes and both have a full complement of chromosomes.

2. They have different blood types.

Your twins are definately monozygotic if:

1. They shared a placenta, amniotic (inner) sack, and/or chorionic sack.

If none of those three things are true for yours, then the only way to know for sure is with a DNA test.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#13 of 32 Old 10-05-2006, 05:11 PM
 
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Not to take it off topic, but I think you can tell them apart because they look different. :
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#14 of 32 Old 10-05-2006, 06:56 PM
 
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I've never been able to tell the Olsen twins apart.
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#15 of 32 Old 10-05-2006, 11:55 PM
 
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While it's true that only mz twins can share a placenta, it's possible (& often happens) for the two placentas to grow so close together that it's virtually impossible to determine if it's a single placenta or two that have grown together. Therefore, in general a "shared placenta" shouldn't be used as the only proof that twins are mz.

One thing I read indicated that Mary Kate & Ashley are actually . . . forgot the term, but where an egg splits & then is fertilized by two sperm (so half of their dna is identical). Now that they're older I don't think they look much alike (though I haven't paid enough attention to be able to say who is who).
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#16 of 32 Old 10-06-2006, 04:29 AM
 
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I read that today too after reading this thread. That they are "false identical" twins. That's where the ovum splits before fertilization and so the mother's DNA is the same but each egg receives a different sperm. With the identicle DNA contribution from the mother, the twins share similar features.
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#17 of 32 Old 10-06-2006, 01:29 PM
 
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One thing I read indicated that Mary Kate & Ashley are actually . . . forgot the term, but where an egg splits & then is fertilized by two sperm (so half of their dna is identical). Now that they're older I don't think they look much alike (though I haven't paid enough attention to be able to say who is who).
That is a Polar Twin. When the egg splits before being fertilized. However from what I've read that is a theory and not possible to identify through DNA. Who knows....

Karen - Mama to Haven (9/00) , Lillie & Faith (MZ - 12/02) and my first homebirthed baby, Willa (3/08)
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#18 of 32 Old 10-10-2006, 12:30 AM
 
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Mine were in the same amniotic sac, without a dividing membrane.
Wow momma. Mono/Mono right? I remember the time we spent looking for my Mono/Di boys membrane and hearing about the difficulties if no membrane was found. Would you mind sharing how the pg went with this difficult circ?

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#19 of 32 Old 10-10-2006, 05:36 PM
 
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Your twins are definately monozygotic if:

1. They shared a placenta, amniotic (inner) sack, and/or chorionic sack.
The problem with a statement like that is that most people, docs included, don't describe the sacs and placenta definitively enough. Frat twins can "share" a chorion and placenta. But it's not really shared, it's two separate sets that fused.

To the OP, I think a good rule of thumb is that if you have to use color codes or positioning to know who is who in pictures, they are id. My dh's aunt does this, she totally cracks me up. She was looking at the individual school pictures her twins took and couldn't tell who's picture it was, then turned to me and said "but they have different eyeglass prescriptions, I'm sure they're fraternal" :
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#20 of 32 Old 10-10-2006, 06:39 PM
 
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Wow momma. Mono/Mono right? I remember the time we spent looking for my Mono/Di boys membrane and hearing about the difficulties if no membrane was found. Would you mind sharing how the pg went with this difficult circ?
Don't want to hijack here, but I don't have a pregnancy/birth story elsewhere...

It was far different from what I'd imagined our 2nd pregnancy would be and not as bad as I thought it would turn out.

We planned a hospital (vbac) birth with a very natural-friendly OB - he was okay with water labor, pushing however I wanted, etc and then we found out we were having twins at 10W. He was still very happy with a natural birth, but added that we'd have to deliver in the OR. I think I posted around that time asking how to avoid that and looking back that was such a tiny detail!

Around 3 months, we got the final declaration of monoamniotic twins and our care was transfered to the head of MFM at our University hospital. I felt fortunate that he was a pretty "crunchy" guy, his wife delivered at our birthing center and he even encouraged triplet moms to delivery vaginally. That said, he told me there was no way around a c-section again and that the twins would be delivered sometime between 32-34 weeks. He told us at our first appointment that if we made it to viability, he would see us again. I thought at the time it was terribly rude, but then we started reading all the studies and literature.

We made it to 26W, our choice of viability, and from there out started monitoring the girls at home for two sessions per day, each lasting from 1-2 hours. We chose not to do in-patient, like most mono pregnancies, because we are so close to the hospital and I felt like I needed to be at home for my sanity and for my toddler.

At 29W, I had contractions every 4-6 minutes apart and was admitted to the hospital for a week. I was dilating and had severe cervical funneling, so we chose mag sulfate and steroids. The funneling actually improved which is supposedly quite rare, and I went home on light bedrest, natural progesterone injections, and ibuprofen as a muscle relaxant.

We chose a 32W delivery because we saw what an emergency situation would be like during the PTL scare. I didn't want to deliver under general, and we hadn't experienced any heartrate decels the entire time we'd monitored the girls. The whole pregnancy was somewhat of a game of playing the odds, so we decided to play them again.

Meagan needed CPAP for 3 days then a cannula and Morgan was on a cannula for a couple of weeks. They were out of the NICU within two weeks and home after five long weeks. They took awhile to discharge because of apnea and brady spells.

They just turned 6 months old, breastfeed like champs, and they roll over, giggle, play with toys, try to sit up, and babble like nuts. I wouldn't want to have the experience again, but it was certainly worth it to have my two sweet girls.
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#21 of 32 Old 10-11-2006, 01:02 PM
 
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Don't want to hijack here, but I don't have a pregnancy/birth story elsewhere...

It was far different from what I'd imagined our 2nd pregnancy would be and not as bad as I thought it would turn out.

We planned a hospital (vbac) birth with a very natural-friendly OB - he was okay with water labor, pushing however I wanted, etc and then we found out we were having twins at 10W. He was still very happy with a natural birth, but added that we'd have to deliver in the OR. I think I posted around that time asking how to avoid that and looking back that was such a tiny detail!

Around 3 months, we got the final declaration of monoamniotic twins and our care was transfered to the head of MFM at our University hospital. I felt fortunate that he was a pretty "crunchy" guy, his wife delivered at our birthing center and he even encouraged triplet moms to delivery vaginally. That said, he told me there was no way around a c-section again and that the twins would be delivered sometime between 32-34 weeks. He told us at our first appointment that if we made it to viability, he would see us again. I thought at the time it was terribly rude, but then we started reading all the studies and literature.

We made it to 26W, our choice of viability, and from there out started monitoring the girls at home for two sessions per day, each lasting from 1-2 hours. We chose not to do in-patient, like most mono pregnancies, because we are so close to the hospital and I felt like I needed to be at home for my sanity and for my toddler.

At 29W, I had contractions every 4-6 minutes apart and was admitted to the hospital for a week. I was dilating and had severe cervical funneling, so we chose mag sulfate and steroids. The funneling actually improved which is supposedly quite rare, and I went home on light bedrest, natural progesterone injections, and ibuprofen as a muscle relaxant.

We chose a 32W delivery because we saw what an emergency situation would be like during the PTL scare. I didn't want to deliver under general, and we hadn't experienced any heartrate decels the entire time we'd monitored the girls. The whole pregnancy was somewhat of a game of playing the odds, so we decided to play them again.

Meagan needed CPAP for 3 days then a cannula and Morgan was on a cannula for a couple of weeks. They were out of the NICU within two weeks and home after five long weeks. They took awhile to discharge because of apnea and brady spells.

They just turned 6 months old, breastfeed like champs, and they roll over, giggle, play with toys, try to sit up, and babble like nuts. I wouldn't want to have the experience again, but it was certainly worth it to have my two sweet girls.

Wow - what a journey. How about the cord issues that they talk to you about with twins growing without a membrane to separate them. When they were looking for my boys membrane - they basically told us that if it is not found we would be strongly counseled to "reduce" (I hate that word) the boys as they would not survive and this would give me girl a fighting chance.

TripMom . . . . . loving mom : to DS (7) and BBG (4.5)
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#22 of 32 Old 10-11-2006, 03:29 PM
 
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Wow - what a journey. How about the cord issues that they talk to you about with twins growing without a membrane to separate them. When they were looking for my boys membrane - they basically told us that if it is not found we would be strongly counseled to "reduce" (I hate that word) the boys as they would not survive and this would give me girl a fighting chance.
Older studies do show a 50-70% rate of infant death, but some of the latest point to a very high survival rate (99%) with in-patient monitoring, twice per day. Supposedly it's the standard of care, or should be, for monoamniotic pregnancies now. Some practices are more lax about monitoring, but even more that I've read about are asking patients to commit to 24/7 monitoring from viability onward.

Our doctor was of the thought, as were we, that we would see decels leading up to a cod accident. We didn't think the risk of a sudden, instant accident outweighed the mental and physical toll that extended bedrest, hospital stay, and separation from family would take on me.

When the girls were delivered, their cords were indeed knotted together and very tangled. I can see how active babies, especially when tiny enough to move about or large enough to tug and pull, could easily have cord accidents.

We were not ever given the suggestion to terminate, but were warned not to have high expectations for the pregnancy.

On the monoamniotic.org forums, there are some triplet mamas that delivered a monoamniotic set. No one was going through it during my pregnancy, so I'm not real familiar with the odds or their stories. That would be such a tough choice though!

If you aren't squeamish, we took images of the tangles and knots. It's pretty amazing! I'm not a big one for miracles, but it's pretty impressive to know that they were both okay even with such odds.
http://static.flickr.com/43/12289988...21e5d4.jpg?v=0
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#23 of 32 Old 10-11-2006, 03:33 PM
 
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Older studies do show a 50-70% rate of infant death, but some of the latest point to a very high survival rate (99%) with in-patient monitoring, twice per day. Supposedly it's the standard of care, or should be, for monoamniotic pregnancies now. Some practices are more lax about monitoring, but even more that I've read about are asking patients to commit to 24/7 monitoring from viability onward.

Our doctor was of the thought, as were we, that we would see decels leading up to a cod accident. We didn't think the risk of a sudden, instant accident outweighed the mental and physical toll that extended bedrest, hospital stay, and separation from family would take on me.

When the girls were delivered, their cords were indeed knotted together and very tangled. I can see how active babies, especially when tiny enough to move about or large enough to tug and pull, could easily have cord accidents.

We were not ever given the suggestion to terminate, but were warned not to have high expectations for the pregnancy.

On the monoamniotic.org forums, there are some triplet mamas that delivered a monoamniotic set. No one was going through it during my pregnancy, so I'm not real familiar with the odds or their stories. That would be such a tough choice though!

If you aren't squeamish, we took images of the tangles and knots. It's pretty amazing! I'm not a big one for miracles, but it's pretty impressive to know that they were both okay even with such odds.
http://static.flickr.com/43/12289988...21e5d4.jpg?v=0

Wow - your story is amazing - and thanks for sharing the photos. I am going to try and keep track of this thread as triplet moms in my local triplet mothers group periodically have this issue come up - would be nice for them to see some success stories. I sure wasn't given any? And my doc was not particularly overly conservative? I am really shocked by his advice in retrospect given this info - he told us reduction of both id twins would be the only way to go?

TripMom . . . . . loving mom : to DS (7) and BBG (4.5)
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#24 of 32 Old 10-11-2006, 04:58 PM
 
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Very interesting -- I don't know any mamas irl who have mono/mono twins. You are a very lucky mama!

Mine had Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome so based on that, I knew they shared a placenta and were MZ. They were "monochorionic diamniotic" as the docs said all the time.

Also, I was a single mom of twins, and when I met my now-dh and we started the adoption process, we had to take them for a DNA test to prove that their sperm donor was, in fact, their sperm donor. :

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#25 of 32 Old 10-11-2006, 08:00 PM
 
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We had to do genetic testing and found out that our girls are identical. We were kind of surprised even though they have the same birthmarks, cowlicks, and dimples. LOL We never would have known for sure if we hadn't done the test.

Heather, Army wife & Mama to M (10), J (9), L & S (my HBAC babies are 7!), N & R (5), and A (born 11/30/12 UBA2C)
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#26 of 32 Old 10-12-2006, 05:14 AM
 
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I am pretty sure my twins are fraternal, (they look NOTHING alike), but they have the same blood type so we don't know for sure.

Mom to:

Three big girls  twins.gif (10) + joy.gif (almost 9!); 

One little boy ROTFLMAO.gif(6) and a full on toddler diaper.gif  (8/12) born with TAPVR heartbeat.gif (repaired at 6 days old).

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#27 of 32 Old 10-12-2006, 12:55 PM
 
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I know mine are frat...they are boy/girl : Seriously though, I haven't read all the posts but the only wayto know for sure is if they shared a sac or if you have the test done.
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#28 of 32 Old 10-12-2006, 12:58 PM
 
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Oops, wrong place. :doh:
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#29 of 32 Old 10-13-2006, 11:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by balawre View Post
Don't want to hijack here, but I don't have a pregnancy/birth story elsewhere...

It was far different from what I'd imagined our 2nd pregnancy would be and not as bad as I thought it would turn out.

We planned a hospital (vbac) birth with a very natural-friendly OB - he was okay with water labor, pushing however I wanted, etc and then we found out we were having twins at 10W. He was still very happy with a natural birth, but added that we'd have to deliver in the OR. I think I posted around that time asking how to avoid that and looking back that was such a tiny detail!

Around 3 months, we got the final declaration of monoamniotic twins and our care was transfered to the head of MFM at our University hospital. I felt fortunate that he was a pretty "crunchy" guy, his wife delivered at our birthing center and he even encouraged triplet moms to delivery vaginally. That said, he told me there was no way around a c-section again and that the twins would be delivered sometime between 32-34 weeks. He told us at our first appointment that if we made it to viability, he would see us again. I thought at the time it was terribly rude, but then we started reading all the studies and literature.

We made it to 26W, our choice of viability, and from there out started monitoring the girls at home for two sessions per day, each lasting from 1-2 hours. We chose not to do in-patient, like most mono pregnancies, because we are so close to the hospital and I felt like I needed to be at home for my sanity and for my toddler.

At 29W, I had contractions every 4-6 minutes apart and was admitted to the hospital for a week. I was dilating and had severe cervical funneling, so we chose mag sulfate and steroids. The funneling actually improved which is supposedly quite rare, and I went home on light bedrest, natural progesterone injections, and ibuprofen as a muscle relaxant.

We chose a 32W delivery because we saw what an emergency situation would be like during the PTL scare. I didn't want to deliver under general, and we hadn't experienced any heartrate decels the entire time we'd monitored the girls. The whole pregnancy was somewhat of a game of playing the odds, so we decided to play them again.

Meagan needed CPAP for 3 days then a cannula and Morgan was on a cannula for a couple of weeks. They were out of the NICU within two weeks and home after five long weeks. They took awhile to discharge because of apnea and brady spells.

They just turned 6 months old, breastfeed like champs, and they roll over, giggle, play with toys, try to sit up, and babble like nuts. I wouldn't want to have the experience again, but it was certainly worth it to have my two sweet girls.
Wow what a story, glad everyone's healthy. My neighbor also had mono-mono twins and she was told it wouldn't be a viable pregnancy, then after that she was told that the babies heads were fused together until one during one of her ultrasounds she coughed and the heads separated. She got a c-section, her girls had some apnea and acid reflux (so did mine) they are 6yrs old now and very healthy. To go through all that was not fun.
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#30 of 32 Old 10-13-2006, 11:52 PM
 
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We have identicals, mo/mo's. We had always hoped a dividing membrane would show up one one of the early ultrasounds but it never did! We developed twin-to-twin transfusion at 20 weeks. To make a long story short we had placental laser surgery in Florida at 23 weeks and were lucky to deliver both babies at 30 weeks! We had no choice. They were in the NICU for 56 very scary days. They both had PDA surgeries (heart valve) but are totally healthy and on schedule now thankfully for babies born at term. One baby is still a little heavier than his brother and has a strawberry on his forehead, so strangers always tell us "how can they be identical" LOL I don't explain to everyone, I try to stop rolling my eyes when strangers in the mall ask how they can be identical if one baby is slightly larger and has a birthmark. LOL
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