March 29, 2011

Baby Things for Twins

Purchasing things for twins is not as simple as it is for singletons. Everything is doubled and what might work for a singleton will not work for twins.

We read more reviews, blogs, and information about strollers than any other item. As it turns out, you just can't buy a double stroller. Many double strollers are for a baby and a toddler and do not accommodate twins. After this information narrowed our search we settled on the Chicco Cortina Together Double Stroller.

Next up was a Graco Pack 'N Play Playard for Twins. Which isn't terribly different from a regular Graco Pack 'N Play but comes with twin bassinets.

Specific items for twins do not stop with the stroller and pack 'n play. There are twin nursing pillows, twin sleep books, and a variety of overpriced if cute twin onesies.

With all of the twin baby items to choose from we are trying to make smart decisions.

March 26, 2011

The Steele Babies are Ladies

Yesterday Jamie and I had our second specialist appointment at Perinatal Associates of New Mexico. During this visit our ultrasound was again one and a half hours, but we learned some very exciting news: our twins are girls!

Funny enough Jamie was more disappointed by this news than I was. She was convinced that she was having one of each. Going so far as to say that Baby A was a girl and that Baby B was a boy. I on the other hand was convinced the twins were going to be of the same sex. I was not sure if they were boys or girls, but I knew they'd be the same.

After informing us that the twins were girls the doctor proceeded to tell us that the twins might be identical. As I explained in Types of Twins, identical Dichorionic-Diamniotic (DiDi) twins can occur if the zygote splits within four days after fertilization. This came as a surprise to Jamie and I as we had been told in January that it was likely our twins were fraternal. Even though we understood the facts about DiDi twins we had put the thought of identical twins out of our mind. We will not know if the girls are identical until after birth and even then only if we perform a DNA test.

In any case, we could not be happier with the news. Both the twins and mom are extremely healthy. Everything is progressing normally and our next specialist checkup is in a month.

March 25, 2011

Types of Twins

Like most people, Jamie and I thought twinning was as simple as identical or fraternal. As you may have already guessed it is not that simple. I have summarizied most of what you see below from the Wikipedia Twin article.
The first twin distinction is their zygosity: the degree of identity in the genome. There are five common variations
  • Fraternal (dizygotic) twins occur when two separate eggs are fertilized at around the same time:
    • male-female (most common)
    • female-female
    • male-male
  • Identical (monozygotic) twins occur when a single egg is fertilized forming a single zygote which splits:
    • female-female
    • male-male (least common)
The second twin distinction is the degree of separation of the twins in utero. Twins can share more than just their mother's womb. Fraternal twins are always Dichorionic-Diamniotic (DiDi), but when identical twins separate affects their type of separation.
Type Description Day
Dichorionic-Diamniotic Twins share only the womb Days 1-4
Monochorionic-Diamniotic Twins share the same placenta Days 4-8
Monochorionic-Monoamniotic Twins share the same amnion Days 9-12
Conjoined twins Twins are physically connected Days 12 or >

Jamie is having DiDi twins. They share the same womb, but nothing else. The ultrasound picture below shows the separation between the twins.

Regardless of the type, twins are rare, estimated to be approximately 1.9% of the world's population, with identical twins making up only 0.2% of the total population-and 8% of all twins.

March 01, 2011

First Specialist Checkup

Last Friday we had our first appointment at Perinatal Associates of New Mexico which is a group of physicians specializing in high risk pregnancies. No matter the type of twin pregnancy, all twin pregnancies are classified high risk. As such, we will continue to see the specialists throughout the pregnancy. The attention to detail during this doctor visit was impressive. The appointment took a little over three hours with one and half hours of that time spent with an ultrasound technician.

The technician was very kind in providing us with a ton of photographs. Even cooler than the photographs was watching live video of the twins moving around. Both twins appeared to be doing back flips and full body twists. Of course all of this activity made it difficult for the technician to get the measurements she was after.

The technician eventually persevered getting all necessary measurements and capturing photographs at the needed angles. Throughout the appointment the technician provided us with insight into what she was looking for. Frankly, it is amazing what trained professionals can determine from an ultrasound. Thankfully, all measurements and vitals point to a healthy pregnancy.

Presently the twins are on-top of one another. To us in this ultrasound photograph it looks like they are sleeping on a bunk bed.

After meeting with the technician we had an appointment with the doctor. Our general OB/GYN had advised us that the specialist Obstetrician would provide a flood of statistics. This advice could not have been more correct. The statistics provided were a bit overwhelming, but boiled down to everything appears normal.

The fact that stood out during the information deluge was there will be around 13 people in the room when Jamie delivers. Two obstetricians, a anesthesiologist, a nurse trained in anesthesiology, a pediatrician, and six nurses (three for each baby). The remaining two people will be Jamie and I.

At this point Jamie is through her first trimester. She’s still battling morning (more like all day) sickness, but is looking forward to getting over it soon. We continue to be overjoyed at the prospect of having twins.