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23 Sep 13

They can’t be twins – they don’t look the same!

Most twins are fraternal, which means two eggs, two separate sacs – a little like ordinary siblings who happened to be conceived and born at the same time.  Yet, because identical twins are the ones that people notice, those folk who are slightly clueless about twins find it very hard to believe that somebody can be a twin and NOT look exactly the same.  My twin boys are fraternal. When they were new born I would deal with comments such as ‘How do you tell them apart?” with the smarty pants response, “Well, one is blond, the other is brunette.”  Those comments were usually made by people who think that ALL newsborns look the same.  One of the advantages in having fraternal twins is that you could dress them in identical clothes without the fear of people mixing them up! But as my twins grew, and their differences became more obvious […]

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20 Sep 13

How do you tell them apart?

The trouble with having identicals is that your very own kin – even close family – can’t tell them apart, and yet complete strangers will stand in the street and argue with you that they’re not identical. Fact is, you can’t say for sure whether twins are identical – even monochorionic ones (twins that share the same placenta, as mine did), unless you have a DNA test. However, the top consultant who delivered them inspected the placenta thoroughly and said he was 90% sure that they are. That’s good enough for me – after all, a DNA test costs around £100, and when you have two babies, you’re poor enough as it is! In the very early days, one had a heart-shaped face, the other a rounder, squatter face. One had slightly more hair. And it was darker. But very soon, the differences melted away. When I got my babies […]

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09 Sep 13

Twin-to-Twin-Transfusion – a difficult journey.

So what do you do when told you’re expecting twins? You spend hours staring fixedly at that fuzzy black and white picture of two little lives growing inside your tummy, shaking your head in disbelief. Every so often you reach for the accompanying letter, reading the medical terminology over and over, waiting for it to sink in. I immediately contacted everyone I knew with twins (I was lucky: a very good friend was in exactly the same position, and my sister-in-law had just had twins, too). They told me that the best book to buy for good, solid info was Twins & Multiple Births by GP Dr Carol Cooper, herself a mother of twins. Then, in my case, you spot the words ‘monochorionic diamniotic’ on the letter and start googling. I soon discovered that my two little babies were sharing the same placenta (monochorionic, meaning one placenta), but each had […]

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19 Aug 13

Twins in the 1940s

My father is a twin, born in the 1940s, a time when ultrasound was a faraway dream and his mother, Nelma, ‘knew’ there were two babies inside her but doctors could not confirm if this was a reality.  She gave birth to my uncle first and told the doctors, “There’s another one in there!” “Don’t be silly, dear” said the doctor. But 90 minutes later, my father arrived and my poor grandmother managed to lose her eyesight for several days (something to do with high blood pressure).  She told a story that the only way she could tell the boys apart was by touching the little beanies they were wearing to keep their bald heads warm. Back then, twins were something of a rarity – particularly my father and uncle who were known as ‘mirror twins’…the rarest kind of twin.  One was left handed, the other right handed. One had […]

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16 Aug 13

Double Hormones Double ‘Fun’!

LJ. The vomiting began very quickly. In fact, I knew I was pregnant because as soon as I missed a period, I felt queasy. And the sickness got worse as the pregnancy progressed. It was like being seasick, but you cannot get off the boat. The only time my partner ever had any sympathy for my relentless morning sickness – which I re-named All Day Sickness – was when he was reading a newspaper on the bus to the Sydney CBD. I’d told him it felt like being really, really car sick, all the time. And so, reading the sports section he began to feel ill. Then he told himself, ‘Oh, this is what she means.’ And so he stopped reading on the bus. Simple. Luckily, or unluckily, I had been retrenched from my TV reporting job – you haven’t lived in the TV industry if you haven’t been retrenched […]

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12 Aug 13

You’re having TWINS!!

LJ:  The best thing about parenting twins is also the worst thing about parenting twins – there are two of them.  It’s incredibly difficult having two babies when, like me, you’re a first time clueless mother who didn’t know what to do with one baby.  But I found myself actually feeling sorry for parents that only had one because twins are just so incredibly gorgeous! If you’re like me, you developed TWIN EGO from the moment you learnt you were expecting twins.  I’m not frightened to admit that I had an attitude from the day a sonographer told me, “Yes, you’re right! It’s twins”. I knew it.  My mother was told by a psychic many years ago that her daughter with long blond hair would have twin boys. The British psychic was ‘in hiding’ in West Australia in the aftermath of Princess Diana’s death because the media were hounding her […]

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