Are they Identical?

Written by Fallon Melander.

Before becoming pregnant with twins I had no idea how complex the science behind twins is. I thought there were only two categories: identical or fraternal. I also thought like many people, that twins were mostly the result of genetics or that they run in families. So, as you can imagine that when I found out I was having twins and that there were different categories of twins my mind was blown.

At 12 weeks pregnant I was told, to my great surprise that I was pregnant with not one but two babies. You can read about my reaction here. When the ultrasound technician told me that I was carrying Di-Di twins, I looked at her like she had two heads. She quickly explained to me that both babies had their own sacs and placenta and that they were the “lowest risk” type of twin pregnancy because they do not have to share anything. She explained that there were likely fraternal – meaning that two separate eggs had been fertilized which resulted in my carrying two babies at the same time, also known as Dizygotic twins. 

I went home and quickly looked up Di-Di twins, technically known as Dichorionic Diamniotic to discover that these are the most common type of twin pregnancies with the least amount of complications. I also assumed from my limited research that it meant I was having fraternal twins. 

Twins at 3 months

Fast forward five months later when I gave birth to both boys. In the midst of the chaos I remember my husband asking the doctor who delivered the babies if they were identical or fraternal twins. The doctor stated that they were not identical as they had both their own placentas and sacs. At his word and what I had read about Di-Di twins I blindly assumed that I had given birth to fraternal twin boys. I also never questioned it because as young infants they looked quite different to my husband and me. 

Identical twins
Twins at 4 months old

It wasn’t until the boys hit the 4 month mark I started to notice that they were really looking alike. Everywhere we went people assumed they were identical and we were beginning to mix them up once and a while. I was on a Facebook Twin Group where moms were posting pictures of their twins and others had to guess whether they were identical or fraternal. When I posted a picture of the boys every comment was that they were identical. I immediately started looking into whether or not my not-so-different twin boys could possibly be sharing the same DNA. I had heard about companies that tested twins DNA, known as a twin zygosity test to determine whether your twins are identical or fraternal. I ordered the test where I easily provided a few swabs from the inside of each boy’s mouth and awaited the results. After a couple weeks the tests came back that indeed the twins shared the same DNA thus making them identical. 

Twins at one year old

I was happy to have some answers but I was still confused as to why both the ultrasound tech and the doctor had assumed that the twins were fraternal. I found out that identical twins occur in approximately 25% of Di-Di twin pregnancies. However, I was never told this and as time has gone on I have realized many people are being misinformed of what type of twins they may have.

A 2012 British study found many parents may be misinformed by parental scans. Researchers interviewed 1,302 parents of same-sex twins who had been told by health care professionals whether their children were fraternal or identical. With DNA analysis, researchers found 14.7 per cent of families tested were wrong about their babies. Nearly 200 parents of identical twins were mistakenly told that their twins were fraternal and 12 parents of fraternal twins were told they were identical.

This whole process has opened my eyes to this complicated world of twins and I hope it may help some other moms who may be learning about their own twin journey as well. 

Fallon Melander is a thirty-something wife, reformed lawyer and mother to twins plus one. As a survivor of anxiety and depression, she hopes that by sharing her story she can help to inspire and bring others together.

The One Thing I Wish I Had During My Multiples Pregnancy

Newborn twins by Nesting Story

Finding out I was pregnant with twins brought such a mix of emotions that I didn’t even know what I really felt at any given time. I knew I was shocked, yet crazy excited, but there were other feelings that I was constantly fighting.

Fear, loneliness and disbelief were clouding my mind. I would smile and laugh, but inside, all I really wanted was to connect with someone who had been through it.

I bought many twin and multiples books, not just for the tips, but mostly for the personal stories. I just wanted to know that what I was experiencing was normal, and to feel a little less alone.

When I was contacted by Megan Woolsey and Alison Lee, and asked to contribute my twin story to their book Multiples Illuminated, I had to turn it down because I had so many projects on the go. Well, I just read their collection of stories and advice from parents of multiples, while on the plane coming home from California and I am kicking myself for not being a part of this amazing group of parents.

This book resonated so deeply within me. I could relate to every story and somehow felt connected to each parent. I swear, at times I could almost feel those two babies inside my tummy again as I read details about other twin pregnancies.


The book has been split up into sections including trying to conceive, pregnancy, labor and delivery, NICU and the first years. Each section is filled with essays from both twin and higher order multiple parents.

Although I am absolutely loving reflecting on my own experience, I would have lived and breathed this book during my twin pregnancy, reading it over again and again.

Here are some of my favourite parts…

I have never heard anyone describe being pregnant with twins so beautifully and accurately…

“How am I going to fit two babies at a time in my body?” I asked the sonographer, gesturing a little wildly at my torso. “I’m a pretty small person.”
She was kind. She smiled. “Bodies find a way,” she said. I’m here to report that, yes, they do. That way is out. That way is sphere. That way is bloom and push and stretch. My hips and pelvis shifted like gears of a clock, and I realized that my body had been full of beautiful, complicated machinery this whole time. I just didn’t know it. -(Belly talk) by Janet McNally

You will also find the most perfect hospital packing list known to the multiples community, by Megan Woolsey.

I had people staring at me on the plane when I was reading this side splitting birth story…

I  put my hair up  in a style that can only be described as “Scare the Neighbours” and pulled on a tank top and a pair of my husband’s SpongeBob silk boxers, declaring myself most decidedly not having babies that night. Husband and dog joined me by my side and feet, respectively.
When you have more than one baby in your belly, you create exactly 5,782 more gallons of amniotic fluid than a singleton pregnancy. At 1:37 a.m., I woke to a popping noise and a release of pressure as though a balloon filled with warm, slimy fluid had been punched out of me. My water didn’t break, it unleaded… all over the dog.
With a start, I yelled, “Holy shit, my water just broke!” I jumped out of bed, hoping one of the babies’ heads would act like a cork and stop the gush. It didn’t. -(Outplan) by Jackie Pick

The next minute I was sobbing…

I never expected parenting would be easy. I only expected babies. What we had before us now was beyond my comprehension. What if they had been born in perfect condition? That would not exempt them from some other harm later in life. It is all a roll of the dice. I would worry just the same. Crying would be a daily occurrence. Waterproof mascara would have been a joke and a waste of time. I trekked daily to two hospitals, holding each baby as often and as long as I could.
Touching them was an undeniable sedative. What small creatures to have such power over my heart. -(Same Time Last Year) by Lexi Rohner

Then eventually nodding my head, relating to my past year with twins…

I didn’t realize during the shock of finding out I was going to be a father of multiples that my wife was also giving birth to the hottest attractions for the casual passerby to “ohhh” and “ahhh” at. In fact, when in public, the only people who don’t seem to acknowledge our existence are the other families with twins. Surprise, right? Maybe after wading through countless people asking, “Twins?” we don’t have the energy to jump in the air and shout “Twin life!” while hitting a mid-air high five. No, usually our eyes stay averted, gifting each other with a moment of tranquility that is quickly interrupted by the next couple seeing twins for what must be the first time, ever.

If you are pregnant with multiples, have multiples, or know someone else who may enjoy this book, it is a MUST HAVE.

You can order your copy of Multiples Illuminated, edited by Megan Woolsey and Alison Lee, at one of the following places:

Barnes & Noble (Nook)

Want to win a copy? Head to Nesting Story’s Facebook page, and all you have to do is leave a comment on this post >click here< about your multiples connection, whether you are pregnant with, have multiples, or know someone with multiples. Don’t forget to LIKE Nesting Story’s Facebook page while you are there!

Giveaway closes on Wednesday May 11th at 8pm EST. I will draw one name at random and that person will be contacted via Facebook. Good luck!

For more information on Multiples Illuminated, head to the website You can also follow Multiples Illuminated on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Top photo by Sarah Martin Photography and Ooh Ooh Darling Photography

Preparing For Multiples: The SECOND Change Table

Two Change Tables

When I initially started planning for our twins, I tried to keep all of the baby stuff to a minimum. But the more I researched, I started to realized that we needed a command centre in our family room, right next to our kitchen. After initially turning down a second change table that my sister-in-law offered, I gave in thinking having another spot to change our babies, without heading up the stairs to our second floor each time, might not be a bad idea.

Twins nursery-34

Mia and Everly’s nursery

Little did we know that our second change table would house much more than diapers. We basically lived out of that change table for the first six months. We barely had to head upstairs to the nursery. Below is a list of the contents from our second change table.

The Second Change Table

Our second change table

Contents of our second change table:

  • diapers
  • wipes
  • diaper cream
  • thermometer
  • nose aspirator
  • receiving blankets
  • warm blankets
  • sleepers
  • onesies
  • shoes
  • socks
  • toys
  • baby carrier
  • baby wrap
  • bibs
  • toys
  • extra change pad covers

So, if you are preparing your home for multiples, I highly recommend adding a second change table to whatever part of your home you spend the most time in!

Don’t forget to LIKE Nesting Story on Facebook and FOLLOW Nesting Story on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest!



5 Things To Stop Doing To A Woman Pregnant With Multiples And 5 Things To Start Doing For Her


5 Things To Stop Doing To A Woman Pregnant With Multiples:

1. Stop acting like you are the expert on a multiples pregnancy because you have googled it.  Until you have grown a basketball team inside your body, carried them around for months and experienced all of the pain that goes along with carrying multiples you don’t know what you are talking about.

2. Stop telling her she’s going to have her hands full.  Do you think she was planning on having one baby raise the other(s)?  Of course she knows it’s going to be busy.

3. Stop telling her that your cousin’s friend’s mother knows someone who had multiples.  Just stop, she doesn’t care.

4. Stop asking her how much weight she has gained and if she has any stretch marks yet.  Just because you know her body is being pushed to the limit doesn’t mean every war wound should be public knowledge.  Let the woman keep some shred of dignity.

5. Stop comparing your singleton pregnancy to her multiples pregnancy.  It’s not the same and she may stab you.


5 Things To Start Doing For A Woman Pregnant With Multiples:

1. Start taking her out to restaurants.  She has probably been instructed to pack on the pounds.  She might as well be doing it with good company.

2. Start offering to drive her to her millions of doctor appointments, non-stress-tests and ultrasounds.  Chances are she is finding it hard fitting behind the wheel, getting light headed while driving and let’s face it, a little lonely at all of those appointments.

3. Start cooking meals for her.  Between the smells of cooking putting her nausea into overdrive and standing on her feet cranking up her braxton hicks contractions, the last thing a soon-to-be mama of multiples wants to do is spend any time in a kitchen.

4. Start taking her older children off her hands for a while.  They are probably so bored of watching T.V. while mommy lays on the couch multiplying like gremlins.

5. Start telling her “she’s got this”. Remind her how strong and brave she is and that you know she can rock this mom of multiples role! 

To all of the well meaning friends, family and in-laws in my life! 

You might also like What It Is Like To Be Pregnant With Twins – My Personal Journey.  Don’t forget to follow Nesting Story on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter!  Happy multiplying!

What It Is Like Being Pregnant With Twins – My Personal Journey

collageThere is a curiosity about a pregnancy with multiples.  It’s understandable.  A body is creating more than one person at once.  Not only is there the mind blowing fact that (in my case) multiple eggs have been fertilized, your body then knows to create two placentas, two amniotic sacs, more blood, more amniotic fluid and your skin and muscles can stretch and stretch!  It truly is amazing. I have read that people who’s bodies produce multiples are more evolved than others.   I am not sure if I buy that.  I personally think that God has a hand in every pregnancy, one baby or more.

When I was told that not only was I finally pregnant after a year of struggling with secondary infertility but there were in fact two little people growing inside of me, fear didn’t set in.  At least not until later in my pregnancy when I could barely move without fainting and I knew that I had two older children depending on me.  But the idea of twins joining our family only brought myself and my husband Mike feelings of joy and excitement.  For the first couple weeks I assumed I was in shock and that the fear would come… it never did.

Before knowing I was pregnant I had suffered from a bout of stomach flu.  I thought it had passed and then come back again.  Then the nausea wasn’t lifting.  When the pregnancy test came back positive it explained the nausea.  Only this was very different from my two previous singleton pregnancies (that’s lingo for carrying one baby – you become fluent with these terms when pregnant with multiples).  When pregnant with my older two the nausea would come in waves.  Often triggered by smells; meat, perfume and cigarettes. But this time the nausea was unrelenting.  It was also getting worse every day and contrary to the term “morning sickness” it would go into overdrive starting at 4pm and by the time 9pm rolled around I was having my daily vomit session before bed which would bring just enough relief to get through the night.  I remember calling my mom crying saying this was nothing like my previous pregnancies which I had enjoyed.  We chalked it up to me now being in my thirties this time around.

Twins had never crossed my mind in my previous pregnancies.  Most of my friends had commented about the thought of twins before heading in for an ultrasound, but I never did. But this pregnancy there were a couple of times I commented to Mike in passing, “maybe it’s twins”.  Then we would quickly dismiss that thought because when I had my multiple pregnancy blood tests week 4 there were no unusual levels with my HCG levels (we had started to explore my infertility before getting pregnant hence the extra tests).  Even the morning before my 7 week ultrasound I commented again about the possibility of twins because of my nausea.  Mike nicely said to put that thought out of my head.  But after peeking at my ultrasound after my tight lipped technician left the room and saw what looked like owl eyes (two sacs) staring back at me my heart started to race.  Once taken into a private room and an exceedingly kind nurse explained that I was pregnant with di-di twins (dichorinic/diamniotic which means separate sacs, separate placentas and they don’t share blood vessels, again more twin lingo).  I was reassured that this was the safest type of twins to carry and that most likely they would be fraternal but because they were spontaneous that there was a very small chance that a fertilized egg has split really early creating identical twins… something that we wouldn’t be able to confirm until they were born.

One of the first things I did after finding out we were expecting twins was search the internet for pregnancy belly photos with twins.  I wanted to see what a freak show I would become.  While scouring Pinterest and other websites I came across a variety of belly shapes.  Pointy, wide, low… it truly became an obsession of mine.  I had been through two singleton pregnancies and I thought I was huge then.  I just couldn’t fathom that my body could possibly carry two babies!

collage 7By 15 weeks my nausea finally subsided (It popped up again from 35 weeks on).  I had a brief few weeks of feeling somewhat normal before my next biggest symptom set in: braxton hicks contractions.  Mike and I had the opportunity to head to Las Vegas when I was 18 weeks and my braxton hicks contractions were brutal!  Las Vegas is a walking place.  Even in the Bellagio where we were staying it takes about 10 hours to get from the lobby to where our room was.  The braxton hicks contractions would start up and feel like a vice on my tummy.  I had always read that braxton hicks contractions would only last for a moment but I found that mine would set in as soon as I was on my feet and not relax until I sat down.  I was very careful to rest a lot.


My version of a maternity vegas outfit complete with sparkly bling!

Although we thought I had to wait until my 18 week ultrasound what our babies’ sex were (I was convinced it was one boy and one girl) we got a huge surprise at my 16 week ultrasound… both were girls!!!  twins

Once I got past 20 weeks the weight of my belly was incredible.  This was the point that I was connecting with other twin mamas online and the most common horrible symptom we were all experiencing was excruciating hip pain.  I used a super sexy support belt which helped take the weight off of my hips but near the end of my pregnancy I had to stop using it because it was making my wicked heartburn ten times worse.


My bump would take many shapes. But the biggest difference between carrying twins vs singletons was I always felt “high” and “low” at the same time. I was rocking an egg shape. For the last six weeks of my pregnancy baby A (Mia) was taking up all of the real estate pushing baby B (Everly) up and to the left, past my ribs. Poor thing!IMG_0780

There were days of my pregnancy that I was fighting depression.  Between the crippling nausea in my first trimester to the chronic pain I experienced the rest of my pregnancy there truly were some dark days.  It didn’t help that the first half of my pregnancy I was very isolated inside with bored children trying to survive one of the most brutal winters Canada has seen in years.  I tried to pamper myself as much as possible and emerged myself in TV series after TV series.  Later in my pregnancy I started feeling like my entire day consisted of moving from bed to sofa to bath to bed to bath to sofa and so on.  The two things that got me through those last weeks were getting outside in the sunshine (even if it was just lounging by a pool while eating and watching everyone else have fun) and my weekly ultrasounds and non-stress-tests reminding me that all of this suffering was for a very good reason.IMG_0793

Oh and pedicures… lots and lots of pedicures!IMG_0894

I started to get creative with my parenting.  Although I was getting a lot of help from family when Holden wasn’t at school and Beau wasn’t at nursery school there would still be a few hours a day while Mike was at work that I had to parent on my own.  I would make everyone snacks and the kids beds on the floor while we would enjoy a movie together.  That way I could rest with a pillow between my knees to get a bit of relief.IMG_0455

Walking up the stairs would put my heart into overdrive and I came very close to fainting multiple times a day.  I was experiencing pre-syncope (almost fainting) and feeling like my heart was going to explode brought me into the hospital a few times around 33 weeks and I was subjected to a battery of tests.  In the end it showed that my heart was having runs (racing) at times but the babies were thriving so I had to keep on trucking.  The weight of my belly forced me to stay off my feet almost all the time… even in the shower I had to sit on the floor.  It was very hard!photo-9

 This is my attempt at a selfie facelift

By 35 weeks I had a couple of really scary episodes of pre-syncope while driving complete with tunnel vision.  I decided that I couldn’t drive any more during my pregnancy and relied on my husband, family and friends to drive me to my remainder of ultrasounds and doctor’s appointments.

During my last week of pregnancy we went out for dinner with friends and headed to an upscale restaurant. After moving us twice because my belly wouldn’t fit into their booths we scored free dessert.  But watching those little feet and fists poke out and react when I poked back made it all worth it.

I finally made it full term.  I truly believe that if I hadn’t had all of that pain that forced me to be off my feet almost all of the time I wouldn’t have made it as far as I did.  It was nature’s way of saying SLOW DOWN!  The relief that I had after my girls arrived via scheduled c section at 37 weeks 4 days was incredible!  As soon as the doctor pulled each baby out and held them up we could see that they were so different from each other and we knew that they were fraternal.  Today I am grateful that I suffered so much during my pregnancy because even on the days when our twin baby girls are fussy and don’t want to sleep, it feels easy compared to when I was pregnant with them!


It was so important for me to write this blog post with as much detail as possible.  When I was pregnant with our twins I searched high and low to find a complete twin pregnancy story from a personal perspective instead of snippets here and there.  I hope that this story of my journey with our girls can help other twin mamas to prepare for what’s ahead.  Please feel free to ask me any questions you might have about being pregnant with twins either in the comments section below or via email at and I would be happy to answer as best I can!   I have blogged about the birth of our girls you can find here.  Please don’t forget to subscribe to Nesting Story and follow on Facebook and Instagram!SMP017

I want to dedicate this post to our families.  You were just as dedicated to this challenge as we were and we could not have done it without your help!  Thank you for helping us bring Mia and Everly into this world!