Did you know I'm a twin? Yes, I am. I am a fraternal twin. My brother and I are as different as night and day, yet somehow we remain connected in a way that siblings don't.
Anyone who is a parent will tell you that birth is a miracle, that there are so many things that can go wrong. Thanks to modern medicine, birthing is a much more enjoyable experience.
We all know there are two main types of twins: monozygotic (identical) and dizygotic (fraternal). We all know that all male and female combos are fraternal, that identical come from one egg that divides, and fraternal are two separate eggs. There is no genetic link to identical twins, but it is now known that fraternal does run in families.
When my mother found out she was pregnant, she had no idea she was carrying twins. She didn't find out until she came out of the anesthetic. And what a miracle. She had a healthy son - over 6 lbs and a very lucky daughter - barely over 4 lbs. That was me.
Adorable, aren't we?
What are the odds of having twins or multiple fetuses? It's more common than you think. Conservatively, today, the odds are 21-30% Oh, you don't see that many? That's true. You don't, because only 1 in 70 are born twins.
VANISHING TWIN SYNDROME
This is a topic I'm very much interested in and I have been doing a lot of reading about this. Vanishing Twin Syndrome happens when one of a set of twin/multiple fetuses disappears in the uterus during pregnacy, resulting in the miscarriage of that fetus. If it is very early (within the first 8 weeks), the fetal tissue is absorped by the other twin/multiple, the placenta, and/or the mother (known as fetal resorption).
Thanks to current ultrasounds, twins or multiples can be detected during the first trimester. Sometimes the doctor will request a second ultrasound, especially if only one heartbeat is heard. The second may show the loss of one fetus.
In this very early stage, without that first ultrasound, a woman would never know she miscarried. Some women might experience cramps or bleeding, but often there is no physical sign and she will carry the other baby/babies to full term and have a normal delivery. Sometimes, she grows quickly in the first trimester and her uterus is larger than normal, and sometimes delivery can take many hours of intensive labor. These are possible signs of vanishing twin syndrome.
The part I'm interested in is the effect on the surviving infant(s). You see, they are now researching this deeper and there is a wealth of information on this. Researchers are now discovering the emotional trauma of the survivor - the twinless twin. It is now known that any time - any time - a twin or multiples suffer the loss of one, the effects are devastating.
First, let's check some facts in case you're wondering if that beautiful child you're carrying was supposed to be a twin.
Women over 30, women who have had other children, fast and early weight gain in the 1st trimester, and a history of fraternal twins in the family line. It is no longer believed that twins skip a generation. Now they are thinking it is vanishing twin syndrome.
The most important sign is if you, yourself, feel strongly you were meant to have twins or you have an 'empty' feeling after giving birth.
But the effects on the surviving child is the key. Here are many of the indications:
The child feels like they should be a twin
The child is unusually drawn to twins
Sometimes haunted feelings that they're a 'parasite'
Mental illness diagnoses such as BiPolar, Schizophrenia, Borderline Personality
Troubling, recurring dreams of their twins
Fear of sleeping alone or in the dark
Fear of sudden loss or abandonment
Possible eating disorders, often over-weight issues
Extreme emotional sensitivity
Feeling obliged to live for two, often wanting two of everything
Trouble with relationships, co-dependent relationships
They don't want to compete against others
They don't feel deserving of anything good
They think alot about death and dying/suicide
They are busy often
They have a strong imaginary inner life
They see the world differently from others
It is hard for them to let go
Feelings of longing
Sexual identity confusion
They have a deep longing for some undefined, missing part of them.
They have named their missing twin
They have an imaginary playmate that they talk to.
Possibly misplaced organs
Unless the surviving twin is a Chimera, there is rarely any physical way to know, although a few
have been identified by Teratoma or dermoid cysts somewhere on their bodies. These cysts are "by-products" of the twinning process, such as hair, bone, nails.
Why talk about this subject? My heart goes out to these children and adults who can never resolve their issues. So if you have a child with many of these symptoms or know someone who has these issues, then it's important for them to get help through therapy. And the mother too.
Dec 21st is Womb Twin Day. I think this is a great idea. As doctors and researchers continue to discover more and more on this subject, it can only bring peace and relief to those affected.
Ok. This is pretty serious and sad stuff, so let's move on to something more cheery.
DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH
Today is Gioachino Rossini's 220th birthday, born of course in a Leap Year. Rossini was one of the world's greatest composers, with such works as 'The Barber of Seville' and 'Guilleme Tell Overture'. No matter on many people have populated our earth, there are always - always - those diamonds in the rough like Gioachino Rossini. Our world is a better place because of his music.
LHR my dear friends, and PAWS for Success.