Sunday, September 16, 2007

What do you think? Identical? Not identical?

Well, since they've been born we've all been wondering....are Addison and Avery identical? Are they fraternal? They look mostly identical. Avery's face is still definitely more round ... and Addie is slightly taller than Avery. Couple of other differences: Avery's hair whorls to the left, Addie's whorls to the right. This weekend we took them to the Stride Rite for new shoes. When they measured Addie's feet first, we laughed when they told us she had one foot that was a size 4, and the other a 4 1/2. Then they measured Avery's foot. She has a 4. AND a 4 1/2. HOW WEIRD IS THAT????? Oh, and each of their 4 1/2 is on the opposite side.

Sam and I have thought for awhile that they are identical, despite the minor appearance differences. I read this and thought it was a good comparison:

If the differences between identical twins are difficult to understand, think of twins as two chocolate chip cookies made from the same recipe. Even though the same basic ingredients are used for the dough, it’s impossible to create two virtually identical cookies. Subtle differences in size, color, and texture are simply inevitable since a cookie’s position in the oven will determine how evenly it is baked. In this way, both nature and nurture contribute to the differences we see in identical twins.

Identical twinning is not as common as fraternal twinning, occurring approximately only once in every 80 twin births. Identical twinning, however, is not hereditary (which makes sense in this case as well as there is not one single set of twins in my family) but a random act of nature. (And in my own personal opinion, the result of white water rafting after conception!!)

Now we are wondering - between their opposite hair whorls and opposite size 4 and a halfs, are they not only identical, but are they MIRROR twins? Here's something I read and found interesting:

Results from the splitting of one fertilized egg after conception. The two babies are genetically identical; they begin life with the same hereditary endowment. Identical twins are always the same sex and have the same blood type. Identical twins in appearance are highly similar but not exactly alike. They will have the same hair whorl patterns, hair color and texture, eye color and iris pattern, complexion and shape of ears, nose, and mouth. Even the impressions left by their teeth are the same. Their finger prints are similar but not identical. Differences in size and appearance evident from birth are due to prenatal factors. One baby may have had a favored position in the womb and is therefore stronger at birth and can develop faster. Another may have suffered a slight injury at birth giving his twin a head start. All humans react profoundly to their environments and although identicals start with the same genes, there are countless differences in their surroundings which cause them to develop into individuals with separate personalities.

Mirror Imaging
Once in every four identical twin births, the babies are literally reflections of each other. This is called "mirror imaging" and results from a delayed splitting of the egg. The physical characteristics of one side of one child's body are reflected in the opposite side of the other child's body. Everything is opposite, one is right-handed and the other is left-handed. Occasionally the position of the organs in one child is reversed from the position of the organs in the other child.

We sure don't know for sure. I want to do the DNA test. Sam wants to wait. What's your vote, should we do it? Should we wait and see how they look when they're older? I think (besides the curiosity killing the cat) it's important to know because if they are identical, they will likely end up with the same congenital problems and diseases (God forbid.)

Here's some pictures, birth to now, just to put it in perspective. (Note: it was easier to photograph the two of them together when they were younger!)

So what do you think? Identical? Not identical? SHOULD WE DO THE DNA TEST is the bigger question! :) Either way, they're pretty darn cute! It's funny how when I was pregnant I would say I was never going to "compare" them. I try not to, but I know both Sam and I often find ourselves comparing them to each other. "Avery talks more than Addie", "Addie's taller than Avery", "Addie's got a funny personality, Avery has a very serious one". I know this is bad, but it's SO hard not to..... it's amazing to see how really different they are - even though they look so much alike. If you haven't met her, Addie is a FUNNY, full of life baby. She walks around like a goofball - even if you're not watching...she just seems to love life! She's very high maintenance, and does NOT like to play by herself very much. She always wants to be where everyone is, and she loves giving kisses and hugs. Avery with her round face looks just like a little doll - she's a lot more serious - she likes to play alone a lot and is very cuddly, but she has a lot more temper tantrums than Addison. She also loves to sing. She "sings" along with all of her favorite TV Shows (Little Einsteins, WonderPets, Yo Gabba Gabba - sorry Jen!)

As many of you know, when I was pregnant, I was NOT HAPPY that I was having two more babies. We only "planned" for ONE more. Two more meant: our cars weren't big enough, our house wasn't big enough, I would have to go back to work because we wouldn't be able to afford two on formula, three in diapers..... you name it, I came up with every EXCUSE why were were not BLESSED to have twins on the way. I feel sad now thinking that I wasn't happy and joyous over these two during the 37 weeks that I carried them inside me ... having twins (while challenging) is the most AMAZING thing you could ever hope for. I can't imagine one without the other - they are a complete "set" .... and I couldn't love them any more and be any happier to have them BOTH! If you are reading this and are unexpectedly expecting two ... just remember - everything always works out. People would tell me that and I would get so frustrated feeling like they had NO idea what I was going through and that "everything always works out" is like the standard line when you don't know WHAT to say. But it really and truly does, and I'm living proof!

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