Pregnant with two-egg twins

“Just undress from below and keep this surgical gown in front of you.” I had purposely put on a skirt that morning, because I feel more comfortable then, somewhat “dressed up” as I lay on a table with my legs wide. But they don’t do that at this hospital in Barcelona. So hoppa, shoes off, pantyhose off, underwear off, skirt off. Somewhat uncomfortably, I re-entered the echo chamber.

That’s different than in Holland where you can just keep your skirt on and pull it up just a little bit. That after this first ultrasound my world would be turned upside down, and whether or not to take off a skirt would be the last thing I would worry about, of course, I did not yet know.

What the fuck!

I just crawled onto the table and put my legs in the bars. When the ultrasound technician started the ultrasound, I didn’t really know what I was seeing there. What the Fuck! There are two of them! In disbelief, I stared at the screen. Yes I really did see two little guppies wandering around in two bags. My god. No really? My friend and I looked at each other and I started laughing and crying a little hysterically at the same time. SO happy that everything was good and fine, but how? How are we going to do two babies?

two-egg twins

How then?

All questions like: how am I going to get two out of my body again, how are we going to raise two at the same time, how are we going to do this financially, where are we going to live? How do we get all this stuff, have to do everything in two countries and that was already a thing for one child, but for two and then at the same time!

Bedazzled, but also happy, we left the ultrasound room. “You can wait there for your appointment with the gynecologist” the ultrasound technician said kindly. We still had to wait over half an hour, and during that half hour we sat in the waiting room looking at each other with bewildered faces. Holy Fuck, we get two.

The check-up

Once at the gynecologist’s office, I was subjected to a whole list of questions about my health and about the health of my family and especially my parents. She also asked when my last “check up” was. “Check-up? I looked at her questioningly? Does she mean blood results, as a vegan I try to get tested at least every two years and preferably once a year, but no…it was about a smear test.

With wide eyes, she looked at me when I told her that the last smear was done three years ago. I was immediately directed to the treatment room and had to (again) remove all my undergarments and wrap myself in a synthetic blue semi-transparent surgical gown.

And while I was there, they immediately tested my weight and blood pressure. Blood pressure was good (and fortunately it remained good during the entire pregnancy) and I was already 73.5 kilos! Hmmmm, I gained some weight during our trip to Chile. Afterwards I had to take blood samples, no idea what for, because I had to come back a few days later for a whole series of blood tests. They test you for diabetes, iron and all kinds of other things. I knew immediately….this is not a pregnancy where I can cozy up to the midwife and give birth at home. Because no, with a twin pregnancy you are medical so bye bye bath birth or cozy with candles.

Our Dizygotic or two-egg babies

Soon the gynecologist was able to tell us that the babies were two-eggs. In fact, our two babies are both self-sufficient; they each have their own placenta and amniotic sac. Also, they both have two membranes. So they don’t share anything. This seems to be the most “safe” twin pregnancy. At the time, that didn’t mean much to me, but when I later started reading up on the different types of twin pregnancies, I found out that there are indeed so many more possibilities how the babies are in your womb.

Two-egg pregnancy or one-egg pregnancy

People automatically think when two babies have their own placenta and grow in their own amniotic sac that they are two eggs. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way. Unless you get a boy and a girl. Then you can be sure it was two eggs that fertilized. Twins where they are both of the same sex are a bit more complicated. So your twins of two girls or two boys can also be one-egg, despite not sharing anything in the womb. You won’t know this until they get bigger or if you do tests after they are born.

You can do a DNA test, for example, and also if the blood type is the same, this can be an indication that they are identical. The chances of this being so are low. In fact, the egg must then have already split no more than 3 days after fertilization. So if you have two girls or two boys, you won’t know whether they are identical or identical until after birth (and perhaps much later).

By the way, only at the first ultrasound can they properly tell if it is two or one-egg. Later in the pregnancy, they can’t really tell how thick the membranes/intersections are. Which also makes it impossible to say for sure whether it is one- or two-egg.

two-egg twins

Some twin theory

Perhaps good to give some brief explanation of the types of twin pregnancies. When you are pregnant with twins, several situations are possible in your belly. The degree of medical risk also varies by type of twin pregnancy. Thus, a monochorial-monoamniotic, or mono mono in the vernacular, pregnancy has a high risk. This is when two babies share everything think placenta, amniotic sac and there is also no partition between them. Below is brief overview of the different types of twin pregnancies that exist.

Monozygotic or identical twins: This type of twin pregnancy occurs when a single fertilized egg splits into two embryos. Identical twins share the same genetic material and are always of the same sex.

Dizygotic or twin: This type of twin pregnancy occurs when two separate eggs are fertilized by two separate sperm cells. Two-egg twins can be of the same or different sex and have different genetic material.

Siamese twins: This is a rare type of twin pregnancy in which two embryos do not separate completely, resulting in conjoined twins that are physically attached to each other. Conjoined twins may share certain organs or body parts.

Ok, back to March 2022. We were the first to share the news that there are two with our families. With wide eyes of amazement, joy and also though exactly the same concerns we had, my family reacted to the wonderful news. For they would not only become grandma, grandpa and uncle for the first time, but become the instant of two!

By the way, my little brother was the very first to know we were pregnant. He came to visit the week before we had the first ultrasound for 10 days. Was very special to be able to share this news with him. But we didn’t know then that there were two of them!

two-egg twins

Does it run in the family?

As we slowly told our close friends, one of the most frequently asked questions was: is it in the family? Logical, because that’s what I was thinking about, too. How could I possibly be pregnant with twins? I mean, I always do everything a little differently than others (not everyone goes on long-term travel, living in a room at 35 -which, by the way, is in Barcelona very normal!-so you have even more freedom and eventually live abroad), so in that respect, twins fit very well in the list there.

Only there’s one little thing, you don’t control whether you get twins or not. Although there are a number of factors that go into having two-egg twins.

Possible causes of two-egg twins

Did you know that there are 50 million twins worldwide? And that in certain countries, such as Nigeria, many twins are born. One in 22 women give birth to twins there. These are usually two-egg twins. By comparison, in the Netherlands it is 1 in 80/90. In Japan, on the contrary, the probability is very low. There, 1 in 150 mothers give birth to (two-egg) twins. In some countries, a twin mother is seen as something very special and they even have a separate name for it as in Uganda. There, as a twin mother, you are affectionately called nalongo, an acquaintance of mine from Uganda told me. This literally means mother of two.

Ok, back to the possible causes of having two-egg twins:

  • Heredity in the family on the woman’s side. If you – as a woman – are one of twins then you are more likely to have twins of your own.
  • Age. All women over the age of 35 have an increased risk of having twins. Since I was 38 when I got pregnant, that might have played into it.
  • Variety. Women with darker skin tones are more likely to have twins. For example, Nigerian women have a 1 in 22 chance of having two-egg twins! So Asian people seem to be much less likely to have twins.
  • In fertility treatments such as IFV and ISCI. This one I (fortunately) did not have to do so for me this cause falls off. Source

And whether it runs in my family? Not on the female side anyway. My friend’s sister has twins, but since heredity is passed down through the female line, that is not a cause of our twins. So I think with me it’s just a combination of age and coincidence. Anyway, having twins is an amazing experience and I cannot imagine life without them anymore.

Wondering how my pregnancy went? Read my blog about my pregnancy of twins>>.