I went for my routine scan and it was to be an internal one. The doctor could see something other than a baby’s heartbeat. It turns out it was another baby’s heartbeat. We were having TWINS!
I was only 6 weeks along and already they could see that they were identical twins, both sharing the same placenta, but separate amniotic sacs. I was shocked. My partner wasn’t because he has them in every generation of his family.
I was transferred from the anti-natal unit to the neonatal medicine unit where I was scanned every fortnight [2 weeks]. Then at 13 weeks, I went for my routine scan and it was noticed that the babies had Twin-to-Twin-Transfusion syndrome (T.T.T.S.). It was quickly becoming an issue for the babies. My counsellor told me what to expect. My case showed that there was a 10% chance of survival of one baby and barely any of two surviving. There was also an 85% chance of brain damage or celebral palsy to one or both babies. All we did was cry. She told us we should think about ending the pregnancy as it takes a very strong person to look after one disabled child never mind two, our working days would be over and they would need 24/7 care, by both me and my partner. I very nearly gave up but my partner gave me hope, so on we went with our pregnancy.
We discussed other options such as laser surgery and amnio-reduction. My placenta was lying across the front of my stomach so laser surgery was out of the question. The placenta in such a position worsened our case as laser surgery has a better chance of survival. Amnio-reduction was the next best thing so we chose that option.
Amniotic fluid was drained from around the bigger baby’s sac to even out the fluid, but after a few weeks the fluid crept up again. We had a foetal doppler scan and discovered hydrops had developed on one of their hearts, which can cause heart failure. We were then sent to a consult in women’s hospital in Birmingham. I went on to have another amnio-reduction in Birmingham. This time they took off quite a lot of fluid, so I had to stay overnight and the hope was that I would get to about 32 weeks to give the babies a better chance.
Back in my local hospital, I was 27 weeks and there was a reverse endystolic flow in one of the babies’ cords. I was advised to burn one the babies’ cords to give the other baby a stronger chance although there was still not a definite chance for the survival of either of them. Further, due to possible strokes because of the two different blood pressures in the cords, there was a chance we could lose them both at birth. On yet another routine scan at 30 weeks, it was discovered that the reverse flow was back and much worse. I was kept in over night and received steroid injections to help develop the babies’ lungs. I was scanned on the 15th December 2004, 10 weeks before my due date and we were told the worst and the best thing: our babies were coming into the world the next day.
Thursday, 16th December 2004, I went down to theatre [delivery room] and at 13.07pm Twin 1 (BRANDON) was born weighing 3lb 2oz. Then three minutes later Twin 2 (BAILEY) was born weighing 3lb 15oz. They were whisked off to S.C.B.U. [equivalent to North American NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit)].
I didn’t get to see them until the next day. It was the best day of our lives; we had two healthy boys. We are so very lucky and give special thanks to all the staff who looked after us and our two little miracles right through the pregnancy. They were in S.C.BU. For 6 weeks. We were constantly there feeding and changing. They finally came home beginning of February 2005.
We were so very lucky and they are our Christmas miracles. We thank everybody involved in bringing these two bundles of joy into our lives. They are now 9 months old and an absolute joy to have. We just can’t believe how lucky we are. Thank you. We hope this story helps other people in the same situation as us.
Clare and John, United Kingdom, Proud parents of Bailey and Brandon.