Strange But True Pregnancy Tales
The scarcely believable stories that you’re sure are made up probably aren’t
The Baby That Came Out of Nowhere
Silver Spring, MD, mom Anna Rudnick (name has been changed) wondered about the activity in her belly when she was carrying her second child: "It just seemed to be too much for one baby." But it wasn't until she was on the delivery table that she found out why. "I had just delivered when I started having contractions again. The doctor was stitching up my episiotomy, but I knew I was feeling more than just the afterbirth. I handed my husband the first baby, and the doctor delivered her twin."
Once a relatively common event, the surprise twin is now much less likely since the advent of obstetrical ultrasound. But while most women have ultrasounds in pregnancy, some choose not to. Without it, twin detection remains a vague business of measuring uterine size and severity of pregnancy symptoms.
Discerning two heartbeats is actually more difficult than it might seem. Since the heartbeat of just a single fetus can be heard in different places on the woman's abdomen, two different rates of heartbeat have to be heard in order for the doctor or midwife to know that there are two hearts to hear. This leaves ultrasound as the best way to know for certain if you'll be doing double parental duty. But even the best high-tech equipment could miss a twin who's hiding behind her sibling.
Another possibility, however, is that an early sonogram will find a twin that subsequently dies and disappears. Vanishing-twin syndrome, a surprisingly common condition, was only discovered after the invention of ultrasound 50 years ago, says Dr. Siddiqi.
Had the twin not been spotted on the sonogram, he says, the fetus probably would have just been absorbed, and the mother would have bled a little, attributing it to early-pregnancy bleeding, and never known she'd been carrying more than one child.
Contributing editor Barbara Rowley recently gave birth to her second daughter, after once again enduring 5 months of hiccups.