Friday, October 13, 2006

Mystery of the Twins Solved

I know this post is backdated, but that's because I started the attempt of writing this post last Friday. It's Sunday night right now and the kids and I are being plagued by The Cold That Will Never End. It started out as a flu, cleared up, and then came back as a sinus infection that turned me into The Resident Green Booger Wiper of the house. Now the kids are at that point where it's getting better (and clearer) but they are constantly needing a tissue to wipe their runny noses. I was doing it for them in the beginning but after a while, I just handed each of them a Kleenex box and let them learn the art of nose wiping by themselves (hey, I had to wipe my own nose too). We've gone through about two bottles of Children's Dimetapp Cold and Allergy in the past two weeks (I take this medicine as well) and needless to say, the cold has zapped me of any creative thought, so I thought I'd give you all an update on a dilemma I had mentioned over the summer.

After two years of wondering whether my twin daughters are identical or fraternal, I finally have the answer. They are IDENTICAL TWINS.

I had originally planned to have their DNA tested through Genetree's Twin Zygosity testing service, but when the kit arrived in the mail, it was impossible to get a DNA sample from either twin. The kit required that I swab the inside cheek of each baby, three times, place the cotton swabs in color coded envelopes and mail them back to the company for testing, along with a check for approximately $200. The girls refused to let me poke the inside of their cheeks with a cotton swab, not even once, not even while they were sleeping. After a couple of days of futile attempts, they developed so much hatred for that kit that they threw it away in their diaper pail. So after that episode, I gave up and decided I'd try to find out when they were 12 years old and more able to cooperate with me.

Time passed and I had completely forgotten about finding out the zygosity until one of my friends reminded me to check with the hospital where they were born. She's an OBGYN and said the hospital's pathology department should have that information on file, and should be able to provide me with the information I was seeking for FREE.

So I called the hospital and couldn't believe I waited this long to get the information they had on file for two years. When the pathologist told me that the tests done on the placenta revealed the girls were identical twins, with 100% accuracy, I was shocked. I was prepared to find out they were fraternal, because the twins look so different to me, but the doctor confirmed they are 100% identical. It's such an odd feeling. Perhaps it's my trained eye, or perhaps I just wanted to make sure I would never mix up their identities, but I can clearly see the difference in their eyes, face shape, and height. They look like two different individuals to me. Now that I have found out they are identical twins, it's difficult for me to start seeing how they are similar to each other after I have spent the past two years noticing all their differences. And apparently, my son and I were the only ones on the planet who thought they were fraternal twins (my son could always tell them apart, it was some kind of sibling magic). I told my neighbor the other day about the news, "Guess what, the girls are identical twins," and she responded with, "I could have told you that." It's like the "Big Duh News of the Day" to everyone who hears it.

It's really neat though, looking at them now. Identical twins don't run in my family, this is the first time something like this has ever happened. I remember when I first found out I was pregnant with twins, I was terrified I wouldn't be able to handle them, plus looking after my son (he was work enough). My uncle told me an old saying, "God doesn't give you more than you can handle, you'll be able to manage just fine," and somehow, I did. But at the time, I was convinced God had me confused with someone else!


West Coast Mommy said...

What your uncle said is true. You are an amazing mom - whenver I thought my ONE child was too much, I would think of what a great job you do with three kids. You've been my inspiration :)

Cindi said...

It all has to do with whether or not they shared a placenta or each had their own or some such thing---maybe it was the amniotic sac??? But anyways has very little to do with them looking alike. Great news that you found out!!

Viv said...

Cool! Congratulations. =)

Chic Mommy said...

Wow WCM, that means so much. You know honestly, before I had kids, I couldn't even keep a plant alive. I was, and still am, a plantkiller. Not even pets stood a chance, they all died of neglect or overfeeding. I completely freaked out the night I brought my son home from the hospital, I thought I was surely going to mess up taking care of him, but I had support from my mom and I got through that whole PPD thing and learned how to take decent care of a baby. My secret to raising three who are all about the same age is that I have to accept I'm not going to have a clean house and perfect schedule. Sometimes we have fried eggs and toast for dinner because I just don't have time to cook. I just try the best I can and make small goals. As long as the kids are fed, diapers are changed regularly, and they are safe, I did my job.

cindi, they shared one placenta but had two separate sacs. That's where the confusion came at the time of their birth and the pathology dept. was supposed to get back to me about it, but they forgot. I also forgot they had that info too. But it is strange that identical twins can have the same DNA inside without having to look exactly the same on the outside.

viv, thanks!

keda said...

i was told the lets were identical as they shared the same placenta. there was also no history in our family either.
but when they were born they were totally different.

i asked to speak to the doctor but he avoided me completely so i gave up.
i was actually very glad they weren't identical (due mostly to some horror dreams while pregnant stupidly) so didn't care. but i think they were afraid i'd get angry with them having told me wrong.

we've never done the test either but i'm sure mine are fraternal. they are so very different.

so amazing that your girls are though and still look so different to you and your son. lovely.
:) great news baby.

and your uncle is right. that's what i kept telling myself when i was pregnant and seperating. it's tough but we can cope if we believe.

Chic Mommy said...

wow keda, your circumstances were same as mine. one placenta, two sacs. I had lousy pediatrician at the time of their birth who just said, " I don't know if they are the same or not, if they look different when they grow up, they're probably fraternal." But I've been doing some research into this twin thing and the identical twins don't necessarily have to LOOK identical, they can have a few differences in physical features and still be identical.

I guess we have the 'trained eye' most moms of twins have to tell their kids apart. They always look different to us. The only reason I even wanted to know was, just in case, there was some medical reason to know this information in the future and finally put my curiosity to rest.

simply me said...

chic- I think you should point out that the pets that died of neglect or overfeeding weren't dogs or cats...but goldfish and the occasional hampster;) We don't want anyone calling the animal police on you!! ;)

Ameet said...

Congratulations on the discovery. I can see how it must've driven you nuts these past two years. I guess moms can always tell the twins apart.

Aisha said...

I'm glad you know now. That is such a big deal. I can't beieve they didnit point that out to you at the doctors office???

Chic Mommy said...

Aisha, my pediatrician was awful at the time of their birth. I changed doctors soon after, but the switch in doctors delayed all the info.

Ameet, I've actually mixed them up a few times, especially when I'm looking at them from behind and can't see their face. But they have distinct personalities now, so I can tell by the voice and with my eyes closed who's who.

simply me, good you remembered! It was goldfish that were overfed, and that hamster, the poor guy, I just didn't know how to take care of him. That was so awful. Actually, I think there were two hamsters, I didn't learn from the first experience. But I was 10, I didn't know any better. I hope they forgive me. And remember the cat that ran away from the house the very next day after I brought it home? It was like he was saying, "to hell with you bitch" as it ran down the street.