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Two Times a Charm
5/6/2013 10:46:12 AM

She laughs about it now, but says that overall, she and her sister don’t think they look that much alike, despite being identical twins, and their personalities aren’t necessarily identical either. Katie likes to chatter; Aimee is more introverted.

"We have been best friends since our birthday,” Katie says. "The challenges of being a twin are that people don’t even try to figure out which one is which. Twins are individuals, not a set.”

Still, they sometimes have a little fun with other people’s fascination with identical twins. When people ask if they can read each other’s minds, Katie replies with a simple yes. "We had the whole high school believing us—shhh.” She laughs. "Some still do.”

The number of twins—either identical or fraternal—has increased 76 percent over the past thirty years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Some of that is attributed to the growing use of fertility drugs, but most of it is because women are waiting longer to give birth, and older women are more likely to produce fraternal twins.

Finding out that mommy’s having more than one baby can come as a shock, no matter the reason.

When Katie and Aimee were born, no one knew they’d be twins. Extended family waited anxiously at the nursery for news; when the nurse brought Katie out and announced it was a girl, they all clapped and cheered. Four minutes later, a second nurse walked out with Aimee. The family, although shocked, continued cheering and clapping. "Five minutes later, another nurse walks out with another baby. Before they had a chance to explain that the third one belonged to a different family, my dad fainted.”

For Elizabeth and Anthony Schultz, the moment of shock and awe came during the first ultrasound, when the ultrasound technician casually said that he saw two babies. Elizabeth isn’t sure what he said after that because she went into quasi-shock. Then, tears.

"My eyes were pouring. I was so excited the babies were healthy. Then I was overcome with terror. I cried for my son Gage who knew nothing but being an only child and how his world would shortly be turned upside down. I cried because I didn’t think I could be a good mom to three kids at one time,” she says. "Finally I came to the point where I could laugh and say, ‘Ready or not, we are having twins.’”

Mothers carrying multiples are at increased risk for early delivery, emergency C-section and low birth weights. For Elizabeth the pregnancy was smooth until about 29 weeks, when she was put on bed rest to prevent early delivery. She said it was amazing to feel two tiny humans moving around, especially since she knew which girl was doing what—Kennadie was always calmer, while Katie was much more active.

"Parenting twins really doesn’t seem too much different from one. I just do the same, only three times now. In the beginning I wouldn’t even leave the house because I thought it would be too hard. Finally I realized—I got this. I can do everything I did pre-twins. Sure, I can only fit five things in my buggy when we go to the store, but we manage. Now I’m the crazy lady that brings her three kids everywhere she goes,” says Elizabeth, a stay-at-home mom. "People ask how we do it and we always say we just do. You just have to be more stubborn than your kids. Ha!”

Because eight-month-old Kennadie Ellanor and Katie Evelynn are identical, the inevitable mixing-up of the girls has already happened. To keep track of who’s who, Elizabeth lays them in certain spots for bed. When Anthony inadvertently put them down in opposite spots, Elizabeth spent her day calling them by the wrong name. "I know, bad mom,” she jokes, adding, "If they are side by side you can tell a difference. Katie is and always has been a pound bigger. But if they aren’t, then good luck.”

She said the key to surviving twin infanthood is to have a husband who understands that parenting is a two-person job. "I am so blessed to have a husband who does it all,” she says. "We are also blessed to have a son who loves his sisters more than anything in the world. He has never complained about the millions of times he has heard, ‘Hang on, let me finish feeding sisters.’” The days of the crying ultrasound have been replaced with the cries of two baby girls, but Elizabeth and Anthony wouldn’t have it any other way. "I’m clinging to these sweet adorable days while they last.”

Posted by: Erin Kelly | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Parenting  |  Relationships

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