My name is Caitlin and I am a fraternal twin. This is my story.
My sister’s name is Chalise. We grew up in a small town in northwest Pennsylvania. We had a pretty normal childhood with amazing parents and two older sisters, Alison and Amanda. Once we reached high school, we started having different friends and different interests. Chalise is very smart and very talented. She was always the star of our high school plays because she had an awesome voice. I was more interested in hanging out with my friends than schoolwork. I was homecoming queen and she was one of the top students in our class. We always remained pretty close. We never looked much alike, so we were never able to play any tricks on anyone! I always wanted to be an identical twin; I thought it would be so cool.
After high school, Chalise went to college while I stayed in town and worked for a little less than a year. I decided to join the Marine Corps. Living so far away from her was rough. She was in Pittsburgh and I was stationed in Camp Lejeune, NC. Over the past 7 years, we’ve seen each other less than 10 times. She moved to Florida for work, and I moved to Illinois with my fiancé. It’s hard for both of us to find the time to visit home, or each other. I wish so badly we lived closer, because I miss her. We pretty much grew up just like regular siblings would. I guess I just don’t know what it’s like to NOT be a twin! I never thought too much about whether I wanted twins of my own or not, I suppose it just never crossed my mind.
Well, about 11 months ago, I had fraternal twin girls of my own!
I’ll start from the beginning…
I got pregnant late fall of 2013. I hate to say I wasn’t trying, but I wasn’t trying! Haha! I already had a daughter of my own, and my fiancé, John, has two kids from a previous marriage. One morning I woke up with some familiar symptoms, so when I got to work (I worked in a hospital) I went to the women’s clinic for a test. The results came almost immediately. I was happy, but nervous. What would my fiancé think? We had just gotten a house and we were starting renovations. I noticed I was showing much faster than I did with my first, but everyone told me that you show faster with your second pregnancy, so my “what-ifs” were calmed down a bit. In the back of my mind I kept thinking, “twins.” When I went in for my first appointemt with my nurse practitioner to listen to the heartbeat, I asked her if she only heard one heartbeat and she told me yes. So, once again, my “what-ifs” were calmed.
In the back of my mind I kept thinking, “twins.”
When John and I were waiting to go in to our first ultrasound we were talking about how we would react if she told us it was twins. We were just being silly. When I got back there, she started doing some measurements without showing it on the big screen. Just messing around and making small talk, I asked, “There’s only one in there right?” She just looked at me. I knew by the look on her face there was more than one in there. I asked if she was for real, and she was. I was at a loss for words. I couldn’t believe it. Twins?!?! What am I going to do? What’s going to happen to my body? Am I going to have major complications and have to deliver early by way of an emergency c-section?? Will I have to visit my babies for months in a NICU? What if I can’t handle two babies at a time? I was scared. Although I remained pretty scared throughout the pregnancy, I got so excited. I was lucky enough to be absolutely blessed with TWO babies at the same time!! Not everyone gets to say that, and I can. I was very happy when I found out I was having two girls. At first, they thought they were identical, but it turns out the placentas were just fused together making it look like one.
When John and I were waiting to go in to our first ultrasound we were talking about how we would react if she told us it was twins. We were just being silly.
My pregnancy was rough. I had terrible headaches and was always nauseous. I didn’t puke much, though. I ended up getting carpal tunnel in both wrists, making it hard to do pretty much everything! I also had some symptoms that most might not want to hear about as well! Haha! Twin pregnancies are considered high risk, so I had many more appointments than what I did with my first. Many more ultrasounds as well, which was nice. When I got pregnant, I was only about 115 pounds and stood only 5’2”. I was amazed that my little body could possibly support two babies inside!! It’s really something when you think about it. Towards the end, I started having 2-3 appointments a week. My baby “B” wasn’t growing as much as baby “A” so they were monitoring us closely. Intrauterine growth restriction is what they called it. I received a shot to develop their lungs just in case I delivered early. I was doing very well. I worked until I was 35 weeks and 2 days pregnant. That following week, my doctor recommended a induction. Trying for a vaginal delivery was very important to me, unless medical necessary. We decided on the date July 3rd, only two short days away. I was so ready to have those sweet girls in my arms. My poor body was ready, too!
I was amazed that my little body could possibly support two babies inside!! It’s really something when you think about it.
July 3rd comes along. My fiancé and I headed to the hospital at about 5:30 am. The nurses got me ready and I was given drugs to start the process. At about 7:30 or so, my doctor came in and broke my water for me. I was checked hourly and I was progressing smoothly. My epidural went in without a problem and helped me with the pain. My nurse came in close to 1:30 and checked me. Little did I know I was 9cm dilated and baby “A” was ready! She rushed to call my doctor. She came back to get me started on pushing. Well, that didn’t take long at all, and if my doctor would have come into the room 5 seconds later than what she did, my nurse would have been the one delivering my first! Like I said, she was ready!! Baby “B” was a whole two pounds smaller than baby “A”. She was breech after her sister came out. My doctor was confident that she could get her out without a problem since the first was so much bigger. My sweet baby was born exactly 5 minutes after her sister by being pulled out by her legs! I was so extremely relieved to be able to have just what I wanted, a perfect vaginal delivery. No problems. No tears. Very quick. Hearing so many other twin delivery horror stories makes me so proud and grateful that I was able to do it. My body is amazing.
Not only did my delivery go perfect, my girls were pretty much healthy with the exception of a little bit of jaundice. Baby “A” was named Avery Mae, was born at 1:30pm and weighed 6 pounds 3 ounces. Baby “B” was named Reagan Marie, was born at 1:35pm, and weighed 4 pounds 3 ounces. They were absolutely perfect. We left the hospital two days later. No NICU time!!!
If you were to ask my fiancé or myself what it’s like to have twins, we would tell you it’s not that much different than just one. You’re already breastfeeding or making a bottle, so doing the same for a second baby isn’t much more work. Same with diaper changes. Sure, it’s more expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. You really don’t need two of everything. The only things you really need double of are car seats, diapers and either breast milk or formula. They can share most everything including clothes, a crib, bottles and toys. We had two swings that really helped, so I would totally recommend some of those! We bought them used so we didn’t break the bank.
The worst part of having these beautiful girls is that my mom never got to meet them. My mom passed away in 2012 due to her second stroke. She was only 51. It was very hard, and it really doesn’t get any easier. I wish so bad I could call her and ask for twin stories and advice… but I can’t. She was an amazing mother and amazing grandmother. It absolutely breaks my heart that my twins will never personally know her. But, I will never stop talking about her and “keeping her alive” in my heart. I believe she’s here, keeping an eye on these sweet babies every day.
Avery and Reagan are perfect. They’re about to be 11 months old in a couple days and this last year has been amazing. The girls have been sleeping through the night for many months now, which I couldn’t be more thankful for. Getting them on a schedule was the best thing I could have done. It’s a little tough going places by myself with my three girls, so most of the time I just wait until John is able to go or stay home with them. Whenever we are out, it never fails, someone stops us to see them, or talk about them. We have heard “you sure have your hands full” more times than I can count. The best thing you can say to a twin parent when you see them out is telling them how blessed they are. Not how busy they must be or how it’s better them than you. Just say, “You have been so blessed.” Because, really- we have. Us twin (and other multiples) parents are special. We have been chosen to raise two (or more) babies at once.
The best thing you can say to a twin parent when you see them out is telling them how blessed they are. Not how busy they must be or how it’s better them than you. Just say, “You have been so blessed.”
When people babysit, they tell me they don’t know how I do it. Even though my girls are seriously so well behaved, they are crawling now, and they don’t always go to the same place. They’re busy. It’s tough. Even for me it’s tough. Every day is hard work. When asked how I do it, I respond, “I just do.”
My girls have filled an empty void I didn’t even know I had. I feel complete now. Sure, I love my oldest daughter, but something was missing. Not anymore. My family is complete and I have never been happier. My life has more meaning. I am so lucky to be able to stay home with them and raise them, to watch them grow and learn. My heart explodes with love every single day. I have brought these beautiful girls into the world. I am happy and blessed beyond words.Add to favorites