Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Identical and Different

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Identical and Different

Article excerpt

At a support group meeting, we began discussing dreams in which we envisioned our children with disabilities as completely "normal." Each parent shared a story; then it was my turn. I said, "I don't have to dream; I just look at his identical twin brother."

My husband, David, and I had mixed emotions about my twin pregnancy--we were excited about the novelty and adventure of having twins, but since our daughter, Chelsea, was just two years old, we feared the overwhelming responsibility of caring for three very young children. And it really was overwhelming; if it weren't for photos and videos, my pregnancy and the twins' first year of life would be no more than a huge, confusing blur.

Just 20 weeks into my pregnancy, I went into preterm labor and was flown by helicopter to a regional medical center, where doctors diagnosed twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, a condition in which blood passes disproportionately between one baby and the other through connecting blood vessels in a shared placenta. Doctors told us the twins might not survive, but we refused to give up hope. After a week, I was sent home to total bedrest. Three months later, at 33 weeks gestation, my identical twin boys were delivered via Cesarean section. After six weeks in the NICU battling many of the typical "preemie" complications, it appeared Cameron and Matthew had beaten the odds. They were sent home with a clean bill of health.

Once home, David and I noticed pronounced differences in the boys' development. Although I knew even identical twins could have different dispositions and developmental rates, I began to feel something was seriously wrong. Soon my suspicions were confirmed; at five months of age, Cameron was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy and a cortical visual impairment. Our hopes and dreams shattered around us.

But now, two years later, our situation is not as bleak as it once seemed. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.