The Diagnosis – Monoamniotic Twins

The date was Friday, January 4, a date I will remember forever!  I went to the doctor for my eight week sonogram.  I told the tech I think I’m having twins (see my Mother’s Intuition post).  She of course asked the usual questions: How old are you?; Did you do IVF? (which by the way don’t ask anyone expecting twins this question, it is incredibly RUDE); and Do twins run in the family?, etc.   The answer to all of those questions for me is no.  Plus I’m young so I remember her looking at me skeptically and giving me the “well, let’s see”.   I remember her saying you can breathe a little easier now because there is only one baby. I exhaled, and then the sonogram tech GASPED.  Can you guess what the gasp meant?  The tech saw twins!  I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh so I did a mix of both.  The sonogram tech didn’t say much of anything else other than congratulations.  She also told me that I need to meet with the doctor, again, after the sonogram so that we can talk about twin pregnancy.

I remember feeling overjoyed and scared out my mind.  I’m sitting in the doctor’s office holding the sonogram pictures of my two new babies, madly texting my husband and mom.  My mom over course quickly spread the news to my extended family and next of kin (maybe not that extensive), of this exciting news.  Finally the doctor comes in after 20 minutes, her face has a despondent look to it, and she tells me, well I guess you were right.  But… you’re having a special kind of twin.  In that split second I’m thinking “special” that’s never good.  She proceeds with the diagnosis of monoamniotic monochorionic twins (also known as monoamniotic twins or momo twins).  I’m told there are two types of identical twins — monoamniotic or diamniotic.  If they are di then they are in two amniotic sacs, and if they are mono then they are in one amniotic sac.  Since I am having monoamniotic twins they are in one sac and there is an increased risk of cord entanglement, twin to twin transfusion, and cord compression.  And only 1% of twin pregnancies are this type.  The odds are like 1 to 35,000  – 60,000  of all pregnancies.

I’m hearing everything the doctor is saying but for some reason my mind keeps thinking conjoined twins.  This must be how conjoined twins are formed.  I quickly look at my sonogram and notice that the babies are touching.  I look up at the doctor and through my tears ask “are they conjoined”?    She should me there was a space between them but I wasn’t sold.  Sadly, I left that appointment feeling like I science experiment.  As I shared the news with my family it just felt weird, and there were so many unknowns.  I know that I should have been celebrating the life of these two wonderful children but I kept thinking of the “what if’s”.  The day was filled with explaining, and a stunned state.  I received calls from my amazing sister-in-laws throughout the day.  Instead of questions, they had strength, and talked to me and reminded me how wonderful this pregnancy is, that I’m not a science experiment and God chose me for this journey.

This was just day 1 of that journey.  We were referred to a specialist because our practice was not experienced with this type of twin.  We had to wait a couple of weeks before seeing the specialist and until then was left with Dr. Google.  Unlike my husband, I avoided Dr. Google, and recommend anyone going through the same experience avoid the internet too.  There is hardly any information, and what is out there is not recent medical findings.  The odds of survival are much higher now than they once were.

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