Menomonee Falls — In a room at Community Memorial Hospital in the early morning hours of Sept. 20, Melissa Kreuser gave birth to identical twin boys. Picking out names can be a challenge for parents, but for Melissa and her husband, Mike Kreuser, both 31, they picked out two boys' names three years ago when they saw the birth of their first set of identical twins.
The first set of twins were girls named Delilah and Linea. Fitting names since Melissa works for a tulip distributor, using her degree in landscape horticulture. Linea, is a different spelling for Linnea, also known as the twin flower — something the couple didn't know when they chose girls' names.
Michael and Gabriel were delivered at 37 weeks via cesarean section, arriving to this world healthy — at 7 pounds, 2 ounces and 6 pounds, 8 ounces, respectively. The twins were healthy despite sharing the same amniotic sac that carries greater risks than twins who don't. The girls, who were born at 38 weeks via cesarean section are identical, but did not share the same amniotic sac.
Fertility drugs were not used, and identical twins are not genetic.
How many babies this time?
When Melissa was about 11 weeks pregnant with the boys, she had her first ultrasound. The hospital staff, who knew her well from her first pregnancy, jokingly asked her how many babies she was going to have this time. As Melissa lay on the hospital bed, the ultrasound screen was blocked from her vision, and the room became uncomfortably quiet.
To the shock of her OB-GYN, the ultrasound revealed she was pregnant with her second set of identical twins. Melissa was overwhelmed. "Were the babies healthy? How are they going to handle four children at home? Can I handle another 60-pound pregnancy?"
"The second you find out there's two, they both have to be OK. Now, I have to have two babies," she said. "It's not like you say, it's OK if one doesn't make it because then I'll have one. The second you find out there's two, they both have to be OK."
Mike just started work with a new crew as a plumber's apprentice and was not at the ultrasound. When he got the phone call, he couldn't believe they were having twins — again.
"I was pretty excited," he said.
A solid partnership
The first time she had twins Melissa said she didn't think she could handle it. But, they did and "I'd be a fool to think it'd be any different" with the second set, she said.
Mike, Melissa says, has always been the family's rock as he takes everything in stride.
"I laid on the couch just quiet when I found out and Mike is in the other room just jumping up and down," she said.
Mike says he doesn't let the big things get to him. Two weeks before the birth of the twin boys, Mike was laid off from his job. Though distressing at first, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the couple has been able to tackle the first few weeks with four children together.
"I don't know what I'd do if he wasn't here the last four weeks," Melissa said.
Everything has as purpose
Mike served in the U.S. Army as a medic with an infantry unit. He enlisted when was 20-years-old. He was sent overseas for one year out of his three years of active duty. He was an Army reservist for another four years. Because of his years of service, the couple was able to qualify for a VA home loan and Mike is using the GI Bill for his education as an apprentice.
"There were so many things that maybe at the time he didn't know why he was joining the Army and with him being laid off right now, we know there's a purpose," Melissa said. "You know it's funny you look back and see how everything you've done prepares you for everything else."
The second pregnancy was more difficult on Melissa's body, and having Mike home the last two weeks of her pregnancy made life easier.
Although not any easier physically, her second go around of twins has been easier mentally for Melissa. When the girls were born, Melissa felt guilty when she would hold one child and not the other.
"The first time, once I was feeling a little better and getting out of bed, I asked Mike to bring me the baby to hold and Mike asked me 'who do you want to hold?'" she said. "Then, I realized the rest of my life that will be the question and I will have to answer it."
Now, Melissa said, she is more prepared and has learned that both twins are getting the same amount of love. She's realized that one baby can be fussy one day, needing more attention, and vice versa the next day. It evens out.
"I feel like I'm better at it this time around than the first time," Melissa said.
Though the days can be long and stressful, it's been worth every second.
"I think God blessed us with good kids," Melissa said.
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