My Newborn Girls
How Common Are Twins?
In the United States, the birth rate for twins is about 3 in 100 births. Twins are more common in women who are over 35, and the likelihood increases the older a woman is. The states with the highest rate of twin births are New Jersey, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. Worldwide, the birth rate of twins is around 27 twins in 1000 births.
I'm Having Twins?
I never considered -- the thought never crossed my mind that I would have twins. I didn't know at the time, because I had not started doing genealogy yet, that they have been quite prevalent in my family's history. I didn't think I'd even have more children after my oldest son. But, eight years later, things would change.
"I See Two Babies"
When I went to my first ultrasound appointment, the technician said, "I see two babies." I was so surprised and shocked. The shocked part came from the fact that I had a 4-month old at home and had just recently had an emergency appendectomy. But, of course I was so happy.
When I was pregnant with my daughters, my doctor told me that because the girls were in two separate sacs, that there was only a 20 percent chance they were identical. But they look so very similar. In looking for information about twins, I found that there are the two known types of twins: fraternal and identical, and then there's a third little known type of twins called polar body twins or half-identical twins. I also found out that they can have separate sacs and everything and still be identical.
Fraternal and Identical Twins
There are different types of twins. The most commonly known types are fraternal and identical or dizygotic and monozygotic.
Identical or monozygotic (one zygote) twins form when a single fertilized egg splits into two genetically identical parts. The twins share the same DNA set, thus they may share many similar attributes. However, since physical appearance is influenced by environmental factors and not just genetics, identical twins can actually look very different. Identical twins are always same-sex sets.
Fraternal or dizygotic (two zygotes) twins develop when two separate eggs are fertilized and implant in the uterus. The genetic connection is no more or less the same as siblings born at separate times. They may look alike, or they may not.
Polar Body Twins
There is a little known type of twin, kind of a hybrid type, called polar body twins. Polar body twinning occurs when an unfertilized egg splits into two parts and each part is fertilized by a different sperm. The twins would then share one-half of their gene set (from their mother). Because it is the father's DNA that determines the sex, the twins can be either same-sex or male/female.
The Olson Twins are reportedly polar body twins. Click here for more information about polar body twinning.
Preparing for Twins
Preparing for twins is a lot. Like any baby, you're not aware of what you actually need until it comes to the time you need it. When you have twins or more than one baby, you need twice (and so on) as much. Babies go through a lot of outfits and having just one baby is a lot, but then when there are two or three, etc., well, the washing machine is always going if you don't have enough changes of clothing, and even if you do.
Helpful Websites on Twins
Two Carseats, Double Stroller, Two Cribs, etc.
Then there's the matter of everything else: more than one carseat, crib, porta-crib, high chairs, a double stroller, etc., not to mention the diapers. Ugh, the diapers. I was so glad when they stopped wearing diapers.
Up to 20 Diapers Per Day
At one point, my husband and I were changing up to 20 diapers per day. It was a lot of diapers and a lot of work! That's almost 150 diapers per week. Luckily, we had our parents to help with the diaper expense.