How We Found Out We Were Having Twins

My identical twin boys at age 3. Spencer is on the left, and Seth is on the right.

Many of you have heard my crazy story of finding out we were having twins. Yes—it was one of those revelatory moments that you see in movies. OK–it wasn’t quite the Cosby Show scenario where Sondra and Elvin don’t tell their families about the twins until AFTER they are born.

But still.

Finding out we were having twins is one of the most exciting—if not, the most exciting—things that’s happened to me. And definitely the most surprising. Seriously.

Our daughter, Susanna, was born in 2003. After about 15 months of trying to conceive, we succeeded. In hindsight, we believe the delay resulted from undiagnosed endometriosis.

So, when Susanna turned one, we started itching for another baby. My friend, Jennifer, calls that the bewitching age. You know, when the kids are cute and are sleeping great and well before the tantrums and potty training. It’s when you think, “Hey! This parenting thing? I got this! No problem. Let’s do it again!”

A couple of months later, we decide to begin trying for our second baby. We were really uncertain as to how long it would take to get pregnant, if we would succeed, if we would need some type of intervention, or if we even wanted to go through that.

I remember our taking a walk one evening, and Chris and I discussing our contentment with our family of three, if that was God’s choice for us.

And then, about the second month of trying, we conceived. Just like that. I was pregnant.

We would have baby #2 in May 2005. I thought that was so cool because #1 was born in 3/03 and #2 would be born in 5/05. My parents’ third grandchild was born in 3/03 and their fifth would be born in 5/05. Yep. I had fun with all these little details.

Around 8 weeks, we went to my OB/GYN’s office for the first prenatal visit, where they performed a basic ultrasound. Everything looked great and we saw our little pinto bean on the screen—strong heartbeat flashing.

About a week later, I experienced some bleeding. I wasn’t terribly concerned until it progressed during the course of a few hours, becoming quite heavy.

I’m having a miscarriage. This is it. I thought.

I called the doctor on call (not my doctor), and he prescribed bed rest and to call my doctor first thing Monday morning. He offered the rather unhelpful, “Well, if it’s a miscarriage, it will just continue and will happen. If it’s not, it won’t.”

OK.

So, I hit the bed and waited. I was stunned when the bleeding slowed down and actually stopped. By Monday morning, I felt so “normal” that I actually had to remind myself to call the doctor.

The doctor was a bit concerned and wanted to see me. I was so certain that there was nothing wrong that I almost didn’t call Chris. But on second thought, I decided I’d need him by my side in case we did receive news of a miscarriage.

So, Chris met me at the doctor’s office. They shuffled me to the front of the line and quickly hooked me up to the ultrasound machine. (Since they made me such a priority I realized this whole bleeding thing was a really big deal after all.) I was getting a little anxious now.

But again, that little baby looked great on the screen. The heartbeat was strong and steady.

“Well, there’s the baby and it looks great. Hmmm, I don’t see any problems or any explanation for the bleeding,” said my nurse practitioner.

But my doctor wasn’t entirely satisfied. He explained that their office ultrasound was like a Volkswagen, and he wanted me to have an ultrasound of Cadillacesque caliber. He was concerned there was some hidden reason for the bleeding—maybe a hemorrhage? and a fancier machine could certainly find it if it were there.

We went across town for our Cadillac ultrasound. The tech got all the probes in place and flipped the screen around. Chris saw them immediately. I was squinting trying to find hemorrhages, not knowing at all what I was looking for or what I was seeing.

“Hmmm … well, there are the babies. And they look great.”

“Excuse me?” I asked.

“There are the babies. Heartbeats look good and strong.”

“Bab-EES??? Babies? Two babies?”

“Yes. Babies,” she said. “Wait. You did know you were having twins, right?”

“No!” Chris and I shouted together.

“Well, you’re having twins, and they actually look great. And how many ultrasounds did you say you’ve had?”

“Two. And one was an hour ago!”

And I proceeded to laugh and cry at the same time, and I’m sure that lady thought I was nuts.

~~~

Today my precious identical twin boys are almost 9 years old. I like to say they came to us as a “spontaneous act of God.” In all instances of new life, God reveals himself in a miraculous way. But I have to say that having twins spoke (and still speaks) to me about God in ways that just can’t be communicated otherwise.

Conceiving, carrying, and giving birth to identical twins further displays how amazing our Creator is. Biologically, one’s chance of conceiving identical twins is about 1 in 300. My boys are identical mirror-image twins, which means the fertilized egg split late in the process (at least a week after conception). Mirror-image twins, then, have reverse asymmetric features. For example, one of my boys is left-handed and the other is right-handed. (Isn’t that coolness????)

When I sometimes become distant from God or those shreds of doubt start to creep in around the edges of my mind, I need only look to my twin boys to be reminded of God’s incredibly creative power, that is perfect in its detail.

This is my prayer most everyday:

“[Jesus said,] ‘All things are possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried outand said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!'” —Mark 9:23b-24

God in his mercy daily helps me believe when I consider my precious kids, especially my identical twins.

~~~

How did YOU find out you were expecting twins? I’d love to hear your story! Leave me a comment and let me know.

  • Dani

    Loved your story. I have identical boys, too, and mine will be twenty this year. God bless! Dani Foster Herring

    • Thanks, Dani! Ahhh … 20? I’m looking forward to that, although right now is pretty nice, since we survived the toddler years. 🙂 Appreciate your reading and commenting.

  • Jenn

    Great Story! Twins are a blessing. I truly understand the laughing and crying at the same time when you found out. After a little help to get pregnant, we went in to do the ultrasound at about 6 weeks. The nurse looked at the baby and said there is the heartbeat. Took all the snapshots to measure it. Said everything looked good. Now, lets look at the second baby. WHAT!?!?!?! That is when we saw both of their little heartbeats. Joys!

    • Oh, Wow, Jenn! I love that story! Enjoy your twins; they are blessings indeed. 🙂

  • Hi, Mary! What a beautiful story. I didn’t know all of this about you…well, except the fact that you had twins. I remember as a child wishing I had an identical twin (mostly because of a sitcom called Double Trouble that made it look SO fun). Your children are lucky to have such a great pair of parents!

    • Thank you, Stephanie! As I blogged about this, I realized that many of our friends and family had never heard the entire story. 🙂 And really—they wouldn’t be here if not for you and your matchmaking abilities, so thank you!

  • Jillian

    My husband and I did have intervention to conceive in the form if Clomid. The doc had said that if we took three rounds or more that there was a chance of twins. But we took one measly little round. My husbands sister was seeing the same doc as we were so that she could get pregnant. She had just found out that after her second cycle of IVF that she was having TWINS! How exciting! So when we found out I was pregnant everyone thought, oh my! 3 babies! Within 5 weeks if each other! I bet God was having a chuckle at us all then because He knew what lie ahead and we didn’t. When we went for our ultrasound to check the heartbeat there was a poster on the wall right beside me that said that there was a 1 in 200 chance of multiples if you take Clomid. I jokingly said “what if there’s more than one in there” my husband replied “there can’t be, Kim’s having twins, not us. Besides we couldn’t afford it” so here comes the doc and nurses and she pulls up the image on the screen. I couldn’t see the screen but I felt my husband grip the table and sway a bit. Then in a breathless voice he says “is that two???” The doc confirmed yes there are two heartbeats and two babies! From the other side of the darkened room I heard the nurse (who was also my SIL’s nurse) squeak out OMG FOUR BABIES!! My sister in law had twin girls and 5 weeks later I had twin boys and now the 8 of us fill up an entire pew in church every Sunday. Fun times!!!

    • Wow, Jillian! I would love for my twins to have twin cousins. I can see y’all in a full pew at church. So sweet. Enjoy your large family! 🙂

  • Michelle

    I am a twin mummy too. My oldest daughter is 15 and my identical twins girls are 7. My oldest daughter is from my first marriage. So I never thought I would re-marry, let alone have 2 more children, and twins at that! My husband was really shocked finding out that I was pregnant in the first place. Because when he was younger he was told by a doctor that he probably wouldn’t be able to have kids. At the time he was super excited about having a (ONE) baby! I was huge right from the start of my pregnancy. I couldn’t see my feet at 9 weeks. Everyone was teasing me, twins, triplets, quads! My husband’s mum was a fraternal twin. I was trying to tell myself, nope not having twins. But deep down in my heart I knew it was either going to be one huge baby, or it was multiples. So at my first scan at 12 weeks we found out it was twins. It was too early to find out that we were having identical girls, that came at the 20 weeks scan. But I jokingly said to the sonographer “please tell me there is only one baby in there”. She then laughed and said, “don’t worry love there usually is only one at a time”. This lady went quite for a while, and my hubby and I were looking at each other. Then she said “I should be careful what I say to people next time, as you are having twins!”. Wow talk about a shock for both of us. My hubby was over the moon, sitting in his chair crying his eyes out he was so excited and emotional. I was more shocked than anything. I did cry later though! I was much older than when I had my oldest daughter, and all I could think about was how am I going to cope with this pregnancy? After the first scan we just sat and looked at the baby pictures for ages, before we told our parents. My mother-in-law was so excited, as she thought her darling son would never marry and be a dad. And my oldest daughter was ok about me having a baby I suppose. But not so impressed when we told her she was having not just one baby sibling, but two. And of course I didn’t have a shred of anything remotely baby-ish. As my oldest daughter was 7 years old when we conceived the girls. So we had some expensive fun getting everything for the twins. Thank goodness we had some friends that owned a baby store at the time. I just love having 3 daughters. Sometimes the big age gap between our girls can be trying, but I really can’t remember what it is like being childless. It seems like an eon ago, and I can’t imagine my life without my precious girls.

    • Michelle, Thanks for sharing! I loved reading about your girls. 🙂

  • That is a great story Mary! It makes me excited for you all over! I loved the part about the bewitching age too. I totally experienced that at just the same point and we had #2! Birth is such a miracle but until it happens to you those are just words. Same with miscarriage, you know it sucks but until it happens to you those are just words too. Becoming a mother really allows you to feel stories when you hear them. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Thanks, Scarlet! I agree with you that motherhood bonds us together in a unique way. Thanks for your encouraging words. 🙂