When Taylor Muhl was a little girl, she discovered that she was different from the other girls in her dance class.
The skin on her belly didn’t look like theirs – it was split into two different colors by a perfect line that ran down her torso. Confused, she asked her mom about it but was told that it was just a birthmark.
It was only much later that she found out that wasn’t the whole story.
When Taylor was five years old, she couldn’t shake the feeling that she had a twin. She asked her mom about it again and again. But since she was born in her own home, her mom could be sure that she had only given birth to one baby. Taylor, however, wasn’t convinced.
Taylor’s mom had decided to have her baby in the most natural way possible. She had a home birth, assisted by two midwives.
But this also meant that she had never had an ultrasound during her pregnancy.
As Taylor grew up, she still had a seemingly inexplicable yearning for a twin. She was so obsessed with the idea that she insisted that she and her friends wore the same clothes. But it didn’t stop there.
Even in her teenage years, she and her closest friend dressed exactly alike.
When she began high school, Taylor started having medical problems. She was always getting sick and nobody could tell her why. She saw specialist after specialist and had every test under the sun – from bloodwork to MRIs.
But still, nobody could figure out why she had all the symptoms of someone with an autoimmune disorder.
One day, Taylor saw something on TV that completely made sense.
The TV show was about medical mysteries and they happened to be doing a segment on chimerism. Chimerism is such a rare condition that only 100 cases have ever been recorded in humans, so Taylor knew it was an extremely long shot.
But when she saw the woman on TV’s stomach she couldn’t believe her eyes. It looked just like hers!
Shortly after, Taylor went to the doctor with another health problem and decided to tell him about what she’d seen. She told him that she had the exact same birthmark, and he asked if he could see it.
She lifted her shirt and the doctor’s eyes widened.
He ordered more tests, and sure enough, she was right! She was diagnosed with tetragametic chimerism, which happens when two eggs are fertilized and one is absorbed by the other.
“My first reaction was shock,” Taylor told People. “Then my second reaction was sadness because I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! I could’ve gone through life with a twin, with a sibling that hopefully I could’ve been close to.’ There was some sadness.”
Taylor has two immune systems, two bloodstreams, and two sets of DNA.
Taylor’s discovery has helped her understand so much about her body and why she always felt like she should have been a twin. But most of all, she feels relieved.
“I actually felt relief. I felt freedom because for the first time in my life I knew why my stomach looks the way it does,” she told People. “This is why I’ve had so many health challenges.”
Now, she knows why she has a double tooth on one side of her mouth, why everything on the one side of her body is a tiny bit larger, and why she has multiple allergies.
And Taylor is not letting her condition stop her from what she wants to do in life.
Taylor is a model and singer, and she is sharing her story to help others become more positive about their bodies. Even though her health complications are a challenge at times, she is determined to live her life the way she wants to.
To see Taylor share her incredible story, watch the video below.
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