We didn’t know Eve and Leah were identical twins until last summer when we paid for a private zygosity test. When I was pregnant we were assured at every single scan that our twins were dizygostic (fraternal) because of the existence of two placentas and two amniotic sacs. We accepted this without question. We carried on believing this when our twins were born and were so identical Mr Rush Hour was unable to tell them apart until they were four months old. We still believed this as they grew up and teethed in exactly the same formation, weighed and measured exactly the same and had exactly the same cry. But somewhere around the age of three some other parents in our local twins club did the zygosity test and found out their twins were monozygotic (identical). With the school application process looming I decided we needed to know for sure and we sent off for the DNA test. This involved taking sixteen swabs with sixteen cotton buds scraped for ten seconds a piece inside each twins mouth. That was a fun Saturday evening.
The letter came back last August and I opened it with shaking hands, still not really believing they could be identical. The letter stated that their DNA matched by 99.9999999998%. Okay pretty certain then.
I know it’s petty when we are so lucky and Eve and Leah are so perfect in every way, but I felt angry for a while. Angry that I hadn’t known something so important about my daughters and upset that perhaps I had done things wrong when they were newborn by putting them in separate moses baskets. I let go of this anger when another mother, who’d been through the same issue, told me she was glad that it meant that her twins had been seen as individuals from the start.
Our twins club decided to write a letter to Kings College Hospital to ask them to change their practices and inform expectant twin parents that a pregnancy presenting as dichorionic can still mean the twins are monochorionic. We roped in the support of Keith Reed, the Chief Executive of TAMBA for good measure. After months of waiting the response arrived yesterday informing us that the hospital would be changing their practice and letting all parents expecting twins know that some dichorionic twins will be identical because the embryo split at a very early stage.
I am so pleased that this small bit of community activism has had a result. It’s made my week!
The photograph shows Eve and Leah at one month old. Looking at it now I just think, duh! how could I ever have thought they weren’t identical.