November is Preemie Awareness Month and we are counting our blessings
Every November during preemie awareness month, we celebrate our double blessings, our miracle babies who are twin to twin transfusion syndrome (ttts) survivors, mono-mono twins and NICU graduates.
In April 2014, when I was 23 weeks pregnant with identical twin girls, our doctors discovered an abnormal amount of fluid around one of the babies. After targeted tests, we were diagnosed with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (ttts), a dangerous disease of the placenta that affects identical twin pregnancies (or higher gestations) who share a placenta. TTTS occurs when the placenta transfuses blood disproportionately from one baby to the other causing an uneven sharing of blood and nutrients. One baby was receiving too many nutrients, while the other baby was being starved. If left untreated, the condition is often fatal for both babies. We were referred to a maternal-fetal specialist at the Fetal Center. Because our condition had already advanced rapidly to stage III ttts, our doctor determined that the best treatment for the babies was to perform an in-utero surgery that would interrupt the blood flow in the vessels and with a laser coagulate the vessels. While the surgery was successful there was a small hole in the inner twin membrane that was ripped and then put both my babies inside the same amniotic sac, same placenta. This condition is called Mono-Mono twins and carries its own host of complications independent of ttts. At 25 weeks, I went on bedrest in the hospital where I received around the clock monitoring. At 30 weeks, my placenta abrupted. I had a life-threatening hemorrhage that was undetected and resulted in the delivery of my twins. My girls, Katie and Lauren were born at 30 weeks, 4 days and weighed slightly over 3 pounds each. They spent a total of 38 days in the NICU.
Katie and Lauren are now healthy, happy, energetic 4-year-olds that love ballet, soccer and reading with their older sister Abby. They are living a life they might not have had otherwise and for that we are doubly blessed.