What My Daughter’s Diagnosis Has Meant for Her Twin

“Hold my hand, Nina. Hold my hand.”

The day my son Joey took his twin sister Nina’s hands and said these words, my heart broke. It was such an unexpected and sweet gesture, that I couldn’t help but wonder if he could sense, even at the tender age of three, that his little sister would need some extra hand-holding throughout her life.

It’s not surprising to me that Joey has a unique and inexplicable bond with his twin. I’m sure this special connection was formed and flourished in utero. I like to think that they made a pact to take it easy on me, so their movements in my belly were synchronized. They slept, kicked, and twisted and turned at the same time so I could rest and recharge before I had to carry my heavy load again.

After watching a memorable ultrasound image of Nina with her butt in Joey’s face, I got my first glimpse into what their interactions and personalities would be like. Nina would be a feisty handful, and Joey would be very patient and understanding in the face of change and adversity. But when Nina was diagnosed with PDD-NOS in 2011, I worried a small part of their bond started to chip away.