Friday, April 30, 2010

The question of mirror image twins.

I am going to admit that I don't know much about mirror image twins except for the obvious. That they are mirror image. Now here's where things get quirky with the girls. Anna is left-handed. Allie and Em are right-handed. We had our suspicions over a year ago when the girls first started using utensils and then crayons. Anna mostly used her left hand. Her therapists now agree and believe that she is left-handed as well.

Does this mean that Anna is a mirror image to one of her sisters?

Now, it gets even more interesting. When Anna was in the NICU recovering from her surgeries, the doctors discovered that she had reflux to her right kidney. This simply means that the opening to her bladder from her right kidney wasn't quite right, which could cause urine to back up into her kidney, which could lead to an infection. She has been on a low dose of antibiotics ever since.

When the girls were about four months old, I rushed Em to the ER after her pediatrician could find no cause for her fever. He has a small pratice and outsources all lab work to the local hospital. It turns out, Em had a urinary tract infection. Two months later, I was back at the same ER with Allie. Same symptoms. I told the nurses and doctor that she had a UTI. I was correct.

With the UTIs and the fact that it was known that Anna had kidney reflux and that everyone is identical, the girls' pediatrician recommended that Allie and Em undergo a procedure called VCUG. It was basically torture for them but those test revealed that both babies had unusual shaped openings to their bladders from their right kidneys. I had never questioned whether the girls were identical or not. At that first ultrasound, we were told that they were identical. There was one placenta, which was tested after delivery, and the girls shared one sac with very thin membranes keeping them from entangling their cords. The results of the VCUG sealed the deal.

Anna being left-handed still baffles me.

I am sure someone is wondering so I want to briefly discuss her spina bifida. Presumably, that occurred after the egg split. Nutrients from my depleted body (I had just given birth to Abbey) were being shared amongst three little beings. Maybe there wasn't enough to go around? There are several stories out there of identical twins with only one afflicted with spina bifida.

Minor change of subject but Anna had some very important bladder/kidney appointments this week. She had a procedure done to check out her kidneys and I have to say that she was such a little rock star. The techs told us that they usually have to hold the kids down. I could tell that Anna was afraid but she just held my hand and watch Dora.

We received some great news. The test results showed that there was no reflux. Her doctor believes that her body grew out of it, which happens to a lot of kids. Allie and Em also grew out of their issues. Her doctors are considering taking her off of the antibotics, which is fantastic news.

How can I complain about anything when Anna is doing so well?

Maybe when the girls are older, I can really investigate this mirror image twin business. See, my thought is that if Anna was mirror image then would all three have issues with their right kidneys? DNA and genetics are such mysterious creatures.


Cassie said...

It still baffles me when people ask 'Do they have different personalities?' Really? Nah, they act exactly the same, finish each other sentences and communicate with ESP ALL the time...((Chuckle))My boys are very much different and unlike your girls have not had any of the same health issues.

Wish I knew more about mirror image twins, but I really only know about as much as you (or less). :) It is very intresting! I will have to google it sometime!


very interesting...

Deanna said...

I think my identical girls may be mirror-image. Their hair swirls in different directions, which I've seen noted as a sign. Their teeth have also come in exact mirror-image patterns, if that makes sense. (Example-they both have three on the bottom, each have the middle two, but A has one more to the right and M has one more to the left.) I am fascinated by the genetics of it all!

Meg said...

What a RELIEF to know that Anna's kidney has corrected itself! I've mentioned before that our daughter Mags had the same problem (reflux) and that it corrected itself. So happy for you and Anna! :)

Julia said...

hm, maybe the kidney thing is somehow more developmental (don`t ask)?

I have read little about mirror twins (mine certainly aren't), but I am not sure whether right/left-handedness is a tell-tale sign.

hmm, googled it.

Not everythign will always be mirrored. It may be only some features.

Kim said...

I have identical twin girls and had asked my peri about mirror image twinning during my pregnancy. She said they can tell that my girls weren't mirror image and that is something considered high risk and they would know by then if they were. Apparently, according to my dr, it would mean that EVERYTHING was a mirror image - organs, etc, which explains the high risk. My girls also have opposite hair parts and it's too early still to determine handedness. But, I wonder if these other more "minor" mirror image-like characteristics [like hair parts and handedness] are something else.

Pyjammy Pam said...

I wonder about that with the boys. Is mirror-imaging something that happens late? I wonder if Linus is a mirror to the other boys. I suspect that he was the product of the first split, and then Miles and Oliver split, because they had thinner membranes between the two of them. But then mirroring would happen before that last split. Oh, who knows? I really have no idea about their handedness, so I should shut up now. :P

Sweet August said...

I absolutely know nothing about mirror image twins, but what you wrote has intrigued me! Off to Google! Feel free to post any more about this, it is quite interesting.. :)

B said...

I can't get a good source but I remember the Dr. Luke book talking about mirror twins were very late splitting, either momo or conjoined twins.

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Esther and Brian said...

great to hear on the of my twin boys had reflux (hydronephrosis) at birth but completely resolved itself by 3 months...yey!

Sarah said...

Thank you all for your comments - you've added some insight and given more to think about!

Meg & Ester and Brian - so glad to hear that your little ones outgrew the reflux - it is just so scary to have to worry about kidney infections on top of everything else.

Anonymous said...

I had heard that mirror image twins happen when the embryo splits after right and left has been determined. But at that point, everything including organs would be mirror image, and that's clearly rare.

Have you read the book "One and the Same"? It's about twins, written by an identical twin. It gave fabulous insight into the twin relationship, especially among identicals. It also talked a lot about how even identicals can get different chronic diseases. It's a great read!