"Yes, just tell me," I repeated.
"Are you sure? We could email it or put it in a sealed envelope to have picked up or mail it to you."
"Just tell me."
"It's girls!" the nurse reported cheerfully.
This was the last bit she revealed after our genetics testing came back. All normal and identical twin girls! How exciting! I had been doing my research and I knew we weren't out of the woods yet, but oh what a relief! I was thrilled to be able to call my husband who was ecstatic at the news and wanted to know when we could tell people. At about eight weeks we had told our parents the good news and we were bursting to tell about the twins as soon as we got out of our ultrasound appointment, but something was keeping me from making a formal announcement.
I think most people realize that with any multiple pregnancy there are added risks, but until I was faced with our special circumstances, I had no idea how many issues there could be. As a Girl Scout from kindergarten to high school graduation, I abide by the motto "be prepared" and as an avid reader (Well, I was before kids anyway.) and learner, I was in full research mode. What could complications be? What could we do to head them off? What were signs? Two particular issue caught my eye.
Both the complications that were extremely worrisome had to do with the circulatory system, which we were already extra contentious of because of daddy's bifurcated valve and his father's life saving heart transplant (Yay, 10 years and counting! Check out organ donor.gov). The first condition happens when one twin has a fully formed heart, but the other does not. This means as soon as they are born, the heartless twin passes and sometimes the other twin also cannot survive because of the stress of supporting them both in the womb. I knew when we got to the anatomy scan, this was something we could rule out.
The second complication is also something that often happens after sibling are born: they do not share well. In this case, the placenta is unevenly divided and the twins do not share the blood supply equally. This can result in the loss of one or both twins.
Armed with this information, I made an extensive list of questions for our next doctor's appointment which thankfully was only a month away. We got our scan and I requested confirmation of beating hearts in both girls and the patient tech walked me through where all the chambers were forming in our perfectly on track girls. Ahh, one disaster averted.
Next, all my questions...Most importantly, how do we tell if the girls aren't sharing blood properly, which is technically called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome? My doctor didn't seem worried at all and explained that usually an excess of fluid collects around one of the twins (which I was assured they were carefully monitoring at each appointment). When they notice this is happening, there is a laser procedure that can reallocate the blood vessels in the placenta and correct the issue. I still wasn't satisfied. "So this isn't something that can happen all of a sudden? You would see signs?" I inquired. The doctor assured me that this was true and scheduled my next appointment a month out, right after the Christmas/New Years holiday.
My husband was excited and wanted to tell everyone, but something was holding me back. Even my father had said, "Well, the more people who know, the more can pray for them." True, but I just thought so many things could still go wrong and it was still so early that I didn't want people to get so excited and end up with bad news.
Finally, I compromised. I thought maybe I could announce it in steps. On New Year's Eve, which would be just after 24 weeks and the girls would be considered viable, I could announce the pregnancy. It was getting a little difficult to conceal after all. Then, I could wait a week and announce that I was having a girl. Finally, I could wait one more week to announce that we would be welcoming twins, the most exciting part of our news. I looked up a multitude of twin announcement possibilities, thought about doing a pregnancy photoshoot (I hadn't with my first.), and even got a little excited about doing the plaster cast belly keepsake that I had received in a mommy-to-be trimester shipment (TheStorkBag.com).
Rayna Moore -
© 2021 by Rayna Moore