After being told we were expecting twins it suddenly occurred to me to ask if they can tell if they will be identical when the sonographer announced to us that she was going to get a second opinion to see if there was a membrane or not. At the time I had no idea what that meant but she thought that they were identical. The second opinion confirmed that they couldn't see a membrane and she told me they were in the same amniotic sac. This meant very little to me or my husband as our high school biology is a quite few years behind us and it was only a few days later with the help of some research and my maternity notes that I learnt a little more.
I already knew twins are either identical or non-identical; so far so good, our twins are identical and share a placenta. Then I read that identical twins are either or share a placenta and one single outer membrane, but they each have their own separate inner membrane. MCMA twins share a placenta but are also both in the same inner membrane. A quick scan over my maternity notes and I can see ours babies are MCMA and I then see that this is quite rare, I've read several times that they only account for 1% of all identical twins! Thankfully I resisted the urge to Google this as I knew I would only frighten myself.
I already knew that I would be monitored more as they booked me in for scans at 16, 18, 20, 23 and 26 weeks and then made sure the scans were on days when I could speak to the consultant afterwards. I have more antenatal appointments and there is a higher chance of complications. The scans check the growth of both babies and look out for any signs of twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS). Every hospital has a different policy regarding delivery of identical twins; some will recommend caesarean straight away and others will see how the pregnancy progresses before making the decision. It seems most will consider the babies full term at 37 weeks and will aim for delivery then. However, after finding out a bit more about MCMA twins, they generally seem to arrive a little earlier then this.
The extra monitoring doesn't bother me - if anything it puts me at ease to know that they will be keeping a close eye on everything. I'm now just waiting for my chance to speak to my consultant at 16 weeks and get some answers to my questions. I want to know the best case scenario; how far along I can hope to get before delivery and how I can do everything to make sure I reach this. I'd like to hear their recommendations for delivery; both caesarean and vaginal births have pros and cons and although I'm a little scared of caesarean recovery I just want to know the safest option for the babies. Obviously if the babies are born early there is a chance they will need to go into Special Care so I want to know how much we need to prepare ourselves for this possibility.
At first all this seemed over-whelming but I'm someone who likes to be prepared so the more information I have the happier I'll feel. It has inevitably made me a little more cautious and I'm making sure I stick to the 'rules' with this pregnancy. One thing this had made me realise is that I really, really want these babies! All the worries we had about how will cope and can we afford it seem insignificant when your faced with the possibility of complications. I'll start a pregnancy diary from 16 weeks so I have a record of how everything goes and hopefully it will continue smoothly and I'll be able to carry on with updates!
If you are expecting multiples I would recommend the TAMBA website; I found plenty of useful and sensible information on there.