I have news and I have NEWS. The news is that Bonnie is pregnant again! Yay! We were hoping #2 would come about when Alissa turned two and as it turns out, Alissa will be around 26 months. Now, for the NEWS! It turns out that #2 is actually #2 AND #3. We’re having twins! Can you believe it?! We are still taking it all in.
Since we’ve known for about a month now but haven’t been able to share broadly, I’ve kept a journal on what’s gone through our heads.
August 1, 2008
July 28, 2008 will now be notable date as the day that rocked our world with the news that Bonnie was pregnant with twins! Here’s the play by play:
Dr. Huang: Let’s take a look… try to relax, you’ll feel some pressure.
Bonnie: *Sharp breath*
Dr. Huang: Uh oh…
Jason: (I don’t like “Uh oh…”)
Dr. Huang: You’re having twins!
Jason and Bonnie: What?! Are you sure?!
Dr. Huang: Do twins run in your family?
Jason: Um no… how did this happen?
– State of shock and disbelief continues for the next few days –
My guess is that this kind of exchange happens with most people when they do not expect to be having twins. We don’t have a genetic predisposition for twins (my mom’s cousin is a twin but as it turns out, it doesn’t matter on the father’s side anyway), we weren’t doing fertility, and finally, we were not thinking we would have more than two kids. So over the last few days we’ve been slowly absorbing the reality, alternately forgetting and remembering that twins are on the way, and alternatively panicking and being super excited about all the things that we need to consider given this big surprise.
We told our immediate family and our best friends already as this secret was too big to keep to ourselves despite being only eight weeks along. Truthfully, I’ve been tempted to tell more people in order to share the excitement, nervousness, angst, and all the other emotions that I occasionally feel the need to offload. However, (so far) we’ve been disciplined and have not broadcast the news. Instead, we’ve spent a lot of time independently googling things like “best strollers for toddler and twins,” “nutrition when carrying twins,” “wiki twins,” and “probability of identical vs. fraternal twins.” We’ve even started batting some names around although we won’t know the sex for quite a while (week 20 I believe.)
As well, Bonnie seems to have more symptoms this time around as apparently happens a lot with twins vs. singletons. Nausea and heartburn are the two most bothersome. Also, although I don’t know this for sure, the fact that we’re having twins may have caused our confusion at the “pee on a stick” phase of our journey. We kept on getting one really strong first line (the test line) with a very faint second line (the control line). Since a “negative” is the absence of the first line but a strong second line, we weren’t quite sure what was going on. Apparently, if you have a lot of the pregnancy hormone, all the dye gets dropped into the first “test” line and there isn’t enough left to make a strong “control” line. We ended up taking three tests to make sure. This one was the most clear one:
Anyway, more to come as we continue down this exciting new adventure! We’re accepting donations on all fronts (diapers, double strollers… tuition) and would also welcome any advice.
August 3, 2008
We had Jeff and Xiao Yi along with Benita, Calvin, Deeann, and Abigail over yesterday for a BBQ. Bonnie did her best to seem like she had a good appetite and successfully evaded some questions from Xiao Yi about whether or not she’s “eating fish.” And we heard from Benita after the fact that Deeann was poking around asking about Bonnie “looking pregnant.”
Otherwise, we’re continuing our research into what we need to do to prepare for twins. Bonnie is doing her best to “eat for three” while taking her prenatal vitamins, folic acid, calcium, and Expecta supplements. Heartburn has been less of an issue lately but the nausea persists. Hopefully it goes away before the second trimester comes around.
August 6, 2008
With news like this, I’m anticipating lots of questions from folks. So here’s a quick FAQ that should take care of some of the items which we were wondering as well as some facts specific to our situation.
1. Do twins run in either of your families?
The short answer is no. Bonnie’s side of the family has no twins that we know of. My mom’s cousin is a twin and he has twin boys, but as it turns out, the father has nothing to do with the chance of having twins. (And I thought I had some kind of super sperm!)
2. If twins don’t run in Bonnie’s family, what are the chances of having twins?
Discounting the effects of fertility treatments (which we were not on, incidentally), the probability of a twin pregnancy is 1 in 89. That rate doubles if the mother is over 35 (which Bonnie is not). However, most of those pregnancies are fraternal twins which, as I mentioned previously, can be influenced by the mother’s genetics. Identical twins are apparently random events that are not influenced by genetics at all. The probability there is about 4 in every 1000 births… much more rare. Taking it to another level, the most common twins are boy/girl fraternal twins at about 40%. The least common are boy/boy identical twins (couldn’t find the percentage).
Interestingly, the probabilities are different for certain ethnic groups. For example, twins in Japan are much more rare. On the flip side, if you’re in Linha Sao Pedro, a tiny Brazilian village, you’re chance of having twins is about 10%! Also, if the mother is vegan, she’s five times less likely to have twins.
3. Do you know the sex and whether or not they’re fraternal or identical?
First, a primer from wikipedia:
fraternal twins = “two fertilized eggs are implanted in the uterine wall at the same time. When two eggs are independently fertilized by two different sperm cells, DZ twins result. The two eggs, or ‘ova’, form two zygotes, hence the terms ‘dizygotic’ and ‘biovular’.”
identical twins = “single egg fertilized to form one zygote (monozygotic) which then divides into two separate embryos.”
We won’t know the sex until the 20 week ultrasound which will be in the beginning of October. At that point, if they’re different sexes, they’re obviously fraternal twins. If they’re the same sex, we may not know ever since many fraternal twins look so much alike that they can pass for identical twins. I believe there may be some clues at the ultrasound that could potentially reveal what they are. For example, if they share one placenta and/or one amniotic sac, then they are identical. However, identical twins can also have their own placenta and amniotic sac in which case it would not be clear if they are identical or fraternal. Confusing, I know. Here’s the wiki if you’re interested in further reading.
4. Were you trying to have twins?
Umm… no. Actually, we had always joked about having twins. Before Alissa was born, Bonnie thought it would be nice to have one pregnancy and get a “two for one” deal so to speak. Then, we saw how much work twins were through my cousin Anna and decided that it was hard enough handling one at a time! We also had been debating about whether we wanted two or three kids at the end of the day. I was in the two camp, Bonnie was in the three camp. But in the first few weeks of this pregnancy, we were both in the two camp since Bonnie was having more nausea and heartburn issues. Who knows if Bonnie would have selectively forgotten those issues later on but for a while there, two was going to be it. Now that we’re having twins, that decision has been made for us and we’re actually both super excited about it! Of course, we’re still nervous at times and there’s a ton to think about, but at the end of the day, we feel very lucky.
On another note, I was joking with Bonnie that our kids reflect what she watches on TV. Before Alissa was born, Bonnie watched a lot of the reality show, “Little People, Big World” which is about Little People parents and their kids. As such, Alissa is in the single digits in terms of percentile height. Lately, she’s been watching a lot of the show “Jon and Kate, plus Eight” which is about a family of twins + sextuplets. And now, we’re having twins. Thankfully, she’s not a fan of the show “Jackass.”
5. Where are you going to put all the kids?
No idea… I’m open to suggestions! Actually, we’re considering expanding the house at some point. Not sure how much it would cost or how we would do it but it’s an option. There’s also the room downstairs that can be turned into a real bedroom but Bonnie isn’t a fan of that idea. For the time being, while the kids are young, I think we can get away with just the one room for a while. We’ll have to see how things go with public vs. private school and a bunch of other factors before we decide what to do.
We’re also glad that we opted for the Honda Pilot vs. the CR-V at this point. Although it may still be a challenge to squeeze them all in the Pilot, we’re far better off than if we had the CR-V. The Lexus will likely get even less mileage than it’s getting now but it will be fine once the kids get older I think. Besides, it’s not like we can afford to switch cars at this point anyway! Worst case scenario, we’ll just pull a Britney Spears and put the kids in our laps. KIDDING!
That’s about all I can think of at the moment. There will probably be additions later on.
August 14, 2008
We have our combination screening (screens for Down syndrome and some other genetic diseases via blood test and ultrasound) tomorrow at SF perinatal. We were there to get the cool 4-D ultrasounds when Alissa was about 20 weeks. (We didn’t do the combined screening with Alissa as it was not as standard a practice as it has now become.)
We’re both a little nervous as well as a little excited. I don’t know if they’re going to be able to tell us the gender or the zygosity (identical or fraternal) but at the very least we should be able to see their size and heartbeat. Assuming everything goes well, we’ll likely start telling more people. The big reveal will be at the big family BBQ August 24th. Bonnie already has the plan on how to break the news. Alissa will be wearing a shirt that says “Big Sister – x2.” It will be interesting to see how people react.
August 15, 2008
Well, our appointment at SF perinatal was fine but apparently, we need to go back in a week because the babies are just a hair under the size that they need to be for the results to be reliable. There are no indications that anything is wrong at this point though. And we were able to see a bunch of things while we were there. For example, both babies are about the same size (about 3.5 cm), and are dichorionic/diamniotic (di/di in medical-speak). In other words, they both have their own placenta and are in their own amniotic sac. Thankfully, di/di twins have less risk of complications so we’re lucky on that front. That doesn’t indicate whether or not they’re fraternal or identical however. (However, given the probabilities for di/di twins, my guess would be fraternal.) Also, it’s still too early to tell the gender. But it was cool to see them move and to see their heartbeats. And finally, last but certainly not least, it’s good to know that there are in fact “only” two!
The technology, as cool as it is, simply doesn’t have enough resolution to create very good 3D (excuse me, 4D) models. In talking with the staff, apparently the machine they were using is just a few months old and the latest and greatest. It’s made by GE and does seem to have some improvements vs. the machine that I remember when we there last for Alissa’s ultrasound. For one thing, it seems quite a bit smaller. Also, we were given a CD with the images and video (formatted for Mac by request even) instead of printouts. Finally, everything seemed to be a bit snappier. Switching views, zooming in and out, going from 3D to 4D, etc. (Sorry for the geekout – back to our regularly scheduled programming…)
So, long story short, so far so good! More to come.
August 20, 2008
We’ve started telling our family and close friends and are looking forward to the big reveal at the family BBQ this weekend with the accompanying blog post (this one). As you would expect, everyone has been very supportive and almost as surprised as we were when finding out about the twins. And it seems like there are babies everywhere! We have three sets of friends who are expecting babies before the end of the year. And another three who just had babies in the last month. Must be something in the water.