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FLASHBACK: Twinteresting musings

Every once in a while I look through my past writing and dust off something from the vault. I originally wrote this in September, 2008. I was in my first trimester, and still processing the idea of having twins. After writing my last blog post, I remembered this piece.

Until they went away to colleges in different states, my mother and her sister were always together. They are fraternal twins, and from the womb on, they shared just about everything. My mom was headstrong — a trouble-maker who would occasionally skip class and get detentions, while my aunt was more reserved and responsible. Growing up, I would hear stories of the twins — mostly ones about my mom getting them into trouble. My family jokes that my mom’s disdain for feet must have come from having my aunt’s feet in her face in utero. Hearing all the twin stories made me yearn to be a twin myself. Because of the age difference between my sisters and me, I was often left to my own devices while they paired up and did older kid things. I fantasized about having a constant playmate; I was sure my twin and I were separated at birth.

In my class in elementary school there was a set of fraternal twins – both girls. Katie and Chrissy couldn’t have looked more different, Katie with her long blond hair and glasses, and Chrissy with her dark Dorothy Hamill bob. For all their physical differences, you could tell they were really connected, and I was fascinated. I wanted what they had; I wanted that connection. When it was clear to me, around age ten, that there was no way I had a lost-long twin out there somewhere, I switched gears and decided I was going to HAVE twins someday. I mean, the chances of one of the five cousins (my two sisters, me, and my aunt’s two daughters) having a set of twins was pretty high as fraternal twins run in the family and generally skip a generation. I was convinced that I would be the one and told my family as such.

About half a year before Jack and I got married, when I was phasing out of running my own company and unsure what to do with my life (I hadn’t started working enough hours with my current job yet to warrant calling it a full-on job), my good friends’ twin girls were born – six weeks early. Since I had already cut my hours per day back significantly, I went to their house almost everyday to help out. I felt honored to be in their fold, to be a part of the girls’ earliest days. I saw first-hand how tough it was for new parents of twins — especially preemies. But my friends worked it out, and I am thankful more than ever to have been a participant in in that special time.

When I was seven weeks pregnant with Ethan, Jack accompanied me to the ultrasound appointment. We had talked about the possibility of twins, and secretly I still wanted them. Even with my experience helping out my friends, I still had such a romantic notion of twins floating around in my head. I don’t know what Jack was feeling while we were sitting in exam room, waiting for the OB to fire up the machine. I suspect it was part terror, part exhilaration, just like me. I recently found what I had written to my family about that visit:

This morning we had our first ultrasound! Whoa – very cool! Imagine our initial shock when our doctor . . . announced he saw two amniotic sacs! We felt a rush of semi-panic (we know somewhat how hard it can be to manage twins — we have good friends with two snuggly sweet girls, but it is hard work!!), but when Dr. Ian investigated further, he determined that one of the sacs . . . isn’t really developed — in fact there is no heartbeat in that one. It is called a “Vanishing Twin” and will eventually be absorbed by the other sac (oooh, how Sci-Fi!). I quickly got over a fleeting moment of sadness when Dr. Ian focused attentions on the very healthy pregnancy — Yay!! . . .

That was it. I had fulfilled my “destiny.” I had twins, albeit for a very short time. I would tell my family that I dodged the twin bullet. Panic averted.

It was not long after Ethan was born that his headstrong personality became very obvious to us . . . that and his love for motion and, eventually, speed. I remember thinking (I still do!) how lucky we are that we didn’t have two of him, because we would die from the exhaustion. We dodged that twin bullet, alright. For twenty years I had wanted, yearned for, twins. And then I wised up when I experienced first-hand just how much work one child could be.

And then, voila, it happened. People asked me if I knew, if I could tell. In the back of my mind, maybe I did, because when I was on that exam table this time around, looking at the two heartbeats, it wasn’t as much of a surprise as it was confirmation that there was still some unfinished “destiny” to complete, twenty some-odd years in the making.


  1. lailani says:

    If I was presented with one child to raise, I could likely do it if my mom moved in with me. I’d be just fine.
    But two at once? Bahahaaa. Not a chance.
    Life gives us only what we can handle.
    Careful or you’ll have quintuplets next.

  2. Pobba says:

    Such fine prose!