I’m pregnant with IDENTICAL TWINS! Although hard to believe, our first miracle baby, Augustus, is going to become a big brother this summer.
The Back Story
For those of you who are not already aware, I spent over 13 years of my life being told that I was infertile as a result of my leukemia treatment, which included harsh chemos, total body irradiation, and a bone marrow transplant. In the midst of planning a cross-country bike trip to raise the necessary money to allow my husband and I to have kids we recieved some exciting news – I was pregnant! That baby who we now lovingly call Gussy, earned himself the nickname “miracle baby” as his mere existence defied most expert opinions. About 6 months ago, we revisited the fertility specialists to assess the possibility for Gussy to have a sibling. The outlook was bleak as it looked like I was in or at the very least, approaching early ovarian failure (a common side effect of cancer treatment).
“Do you see them both?” the ultrasound tech said. “Both?” Donny and I said in unison. While we were expecting to see our new little one in the early stages of development, we were not expecting two little ones developing. But there they were.
The world of twins is far more complicated than I could have ever imagined. As a biology major, I had a firm understanding of fraternal vs. identical (aka monozygotic) twins. However, there are a few different set-ups for identical twins, all of which make a huge difference as the little ones develop. Since the first ultrasound was so early (7 weeks), the physicians could not be certain of the exact type of twins that I was carrying. They knew that the babies were in one chorionic sac (that’s the outside one). This also meant that they were sharing one placenta.
However, we did not find out until the next ultrasound that they were in two separate amniotic sacs, which means they are officially monochorionic, diamniotic. I know… this is getting a little scientific. In summary, the twins are in their own sacs with their own amniotic fluid and this is a good thing. Because they share a placenta, things have the potential to get a little complex down the line and for that reason, I have ultrasounds every other week.
In Good Hands
You may be wondering, what happened to Hilary’s marathon training. Sadly, I have not been able to run with my DFMC teammates for over a month. On my last run I was aware that I was pregnant and had been given the green light on running the marathon provided I trained consistently. However, the Wednesday following that 14.4 mile run I was put on a temporary hiatus. The thing is, each baby that is added into the womb increases a woman’s risk of going into cardiac arrest by 4 times. So, a second baby is all it takes when you already have cardiac issues due to chemo for the doctors to hault the training and more importantly, my family and me to question my safety. Fortunately, I’m in good hands. I now visit the special ‘monochorionic twins clinic’ every other week and nothing is getting past my obstetrician. My diet has been changed to support the twins and my heart will continue to undergo testing to ensure a healthy pregnancy for all three of us.
Most of us don’t remember our time in the womb and I’m confident that’s a good thing. So, here’s a status update on the twins…
The twins posses all of their major organs and even have vocal chords, teeth, and fingerprints. Although I don’t have an official measurement, they’re about 2.9 inches long. Their head to body ratio is decreasing with their heads comprising only about 1/3 of their body. All of the weight that I’ve put on is due to growing placenta and wedding cake because they each only weigh approximately .81 ounces. Here’s their most recent picture. You can see one on the left laying on its back and the other on the right turned face-down. Despite how the photo appears, they’re not actually about to lay on each other due to the membrane that separates them but there’s no doubt they’re in close quarters.