Congratulations! If you landed here, it's likely because you just received a major shock while at an ultrasound appointment. Let's commiserate for a moment.
When I was freshly pregnant, around 6 weeks, I was explaining to my 3 year old who had just weaned that he could not touch my boobs anymore. Attempting to do that serious-conversation-with-a-toddler-who-is-only-half-listening thing, I told him about the baby in my belly and how my boobs were extra sore now. Oliver had begun rolling around on the bed by now. He stopped, looked at me and said, "there's a brother in there!"
"And a sister!"
If you could imagine, I just stared with my mouth hanging open for a minute. Our previous two births were freebirths and for the first time, we were planning to forgo any and all modern pregnancy interventions. I came down and told my husband what had been said with a "why would he say that" kind of attitude. We exchanged glances, semi-concerned over how I was having different pregnancy symptoms that I had with my other 4 pregnancies. We decided to go to a local ultrasound boutique to see if Oliver's statement held any truth. We didn't mention the toddler's assumption, we just went in for the appointment as I assume most people do. The ultrasound tech set the doppler down and one lettle amniotic sac and squirmy, tiny baby popped up on the screen. IMMEDIATE RELIEF. Ok, whew. I started to relax bit and reassure myself that this would be ok. Our short ten minute scan was drawing to a close. The tech said something along the lines of "I'm just going to..."
Then she gasped.
Then I gasped.
Surprise! Then there were two. Separate amniotic sacs, separate placentas, two separate babies.
If you are new to the twin game, let me help you differentiate the types of twins really quick, because no matter what (girl/girl, girl/boy, boy/boy, blonde/brunette, brown eyes/blue eyes, curly hair/straight hair, VERY different skin tones, you will be asked if they are identical)
Di/Di: Two separate everything- amnion, chorion, placenta. The egg split late in conception OR there were two eggs dropped that month. Di/Di twins still have about a 30% chance of being identical (those are the ones who shared an egg and it split), despite what some physicians will tell you. Di/Di twins from separate eggs are literally siblings that happened to be conceived and born at the same time. Actually, they can be conceived separately. Look up superfetation. It's a fascinating thing.
Mo/Di: One chorion, one placenta, two amnion. These identical twins had an egg that split mid-conception. They share their placenta but have separate sacs within the outer sac.
Mo/Mo: One of everything (except the babies!) One amnion, one chorion, one placenta. This is what most non-twin folk think every twin is. This egg split early in conception.
Another very important thing to note- you will soon hear everyone's negative stories, so brace yourself!
Now that we went over that, you have a very important question to answer to yourself that will determine a very wide range of things over the next several months.
What kind of pregnancy experience do I want, and where and how do I want to birth them?
Your decision here will affect a multitude of things and likely how your pregnancy will go. Coming from a freebirth mindset, the decision to hire a midwife was difficult to make, but my mental health was not in a great state and that was what my family and I needed at that time. You may find great comfort in knowing that many women go on to have successful freebirths or midwife attended homebirths with twins. Many others go on to have vaginal hospital births. Some opt for a c-section, or a provider that does not give them an option to birth vaginally.
Maybe you already have a care provider, but need to rethink if they are the right one for your newfound circumstances. Ultimately, this is a very important decision but it can be made again down the road if you find yourself unhappy with your care.
Carefully evaluate your health, needs and wants to make your decision. I truly despise the saying, "a healthy baby is all that matters" but of course that is important.
This may prove to be a difficult task to take on. My suggestion is to interview around! Listen to the way they speak, the precautions or policies they follow, how they respond to your choices, or potential choices, and their being open to acknowledging this is YOUR experience. Believe it or not, you do still have choices when it comes to having twins. Use your best judgement, find the best care provider for you and your situation (even if thats you!), and enjoy your twin pregnancy!
I'll be back soon for more on my twin pregnancy/birth, our early postpartum, and how I was affected by Postpartum Depression.