Friday, May 4, 2012

A Hope Filled Story About Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome

By guest blogger: Olivia (twin mom currently carrying 27 week old identical twin boys) 

To learn more about TTS please visit The TTTS Foundation

TTTS occurs when blood moves from one twin to the other. The twin that loses the blood is called the donor twin. The twin that receives the blood is called the recipient twin.
Both infants may have problems depending on the severity of the transfusion. The donor twin may have too little blood, and the other may have too much blood. The donor twin may need a blood transfusion, while the recipient twin may need to have the amount of blood in his or her body reduced. TTTS is a cause of premature birth and/or infant death.

"I met Olivia when she contacted me about making a set of bracelets for her identical twin boys! I get so excited whenever I hear from or talk to an identical twin parent and immediately conversations begin and stories are shared about pregnancy. When she told me about her twins and her ttts diagnoses it hit home with me. Most of my pregnancy was lived in worry as to if TTTS would be an issue for my girls, since that is the case for about 20% of mono-di (Monochorionic- Diamniotic) twins. I had ultrasounds every 2-3 weeks throughout my pregnancy to check. Thankfully TTTS was never an issue for us. Still, throughout my pregnancy I read so many scary stories surrounding TTTS and very few that shared a positive outcome for the both babies. How nice it would have been to come across Olivia's story with such a happy ending. It would have given me hope and probably eased my mind some that even if the worst happened there was a faith filled possibility that everything would be okay for my girls. So I asked her if she'd share her story on our blog for any other families facing a TTTS diagnoses and thankfully she agreed." ~Amber

Image copyright of The TTTS Foundation.

The Lord has blessed my husband and I with five precious children (ages 8, 7, 6, 3, 1), and we found out the joyous news in November that I am pregnant with identical twin baby boys.  What a blessing from Jesus!  My Maternal Fetal Medicine Doctor here in South Carolina had concerns about twin to twin transfusion.  We prayed about the specialist to choose, as there are no specialists for this here in South Carolina.  The Lord gave us a peace about choosing Dr. Quintero in Florida.

Although I had many symptoms of twin to twin transfusion, the doctors were puzzled why I met some of the criteria, but not all of the criteria.  As Dr. Quintero, said, “Two plus two does not always equal four in the medical field.”  For example, Baby A and Baby B both had excellent growth despite the fact that most twins with twin to twin transfusion do not have similar growth to each other.  In addition, even though Baby B did not have visible bladder, he had some amniotic fluid in his membrane—very puzzling to the doctors.  Dr. Quintero figured that there must be a hole in Baby A’s membrane that was letting fluid into Baby B’s membrane—however when he did surgery, he could not find hole, and determined this is medically unexplainable.

My husband, my almost two-year-old daughter, and myself flew to Miami on Sunday March 25th and had evaluation on Monday March 26th with specialist (Dr. Quintero) about twin to twin transfusion for the identical baby boys in my womb.  Doctor immediately admitted me to the hospital after the appointment with him, and said I was in stage three (there are only four stages).  He said most women in my situation would have babies that would have already died by now.  Praise Jesus, the baby boys in belly have been protected by Jesus.  He has sustained their lives!  I think of Jeremiah 29:11-13, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

Only weeks earlier, my husband and I sat in our bedroom praying together for the twins, knowing that their condition was serious.  We both came to the point where we laid down their lives before the Lord and expressed our desire that they live and be born healthy, however we also accepted if the Lord chose to take them Home to Heaven.  With tears, that was a hard place to come to from a human perspective, as it was hard to think about the possibility that they could die.  But, we know that the Lord is Sovereign---He created the twins and we acknowledged that we wanted to be yielded to the Lord.  I believe the Lord wants each of us to come to the place of a total surrender—to totally trust Him and be yielded to Him with a whole heart. 

Dr. Quintero talked of how lucky I am that I had not ruptured (which would have caused serious concerns for me and death to both twins) because I was measuring 42 weeks pregnant (due to extra fluid from Baby A’s twin to twin transfusion challenges and having too much amniotic fluid).  I told him that is not luck---truly this is the Lord’s protection because I know truly He has a plan and purpose for these little boys in my belly!!!  I have not had any preterm labor, and doctor was surprised by that, considering how large my belly is (I am 22 weeks pregnant yet measuring the 42 weeks).   I have had 5 c-sections previously, so once again doctor is totally surprised that my uterus has not ruptured with all the pressure of fluid. 

At 22 weeks gestation, I had surgery in Miami on Tuesday March 27th .  The surgery went GREAT!  The consent form for surgery stated that there is 55% likelihood that both twins would stay alive through this surgery.  According to doctor, there is 95% likelihood that babies would both die if no treatment was done.  I got out of the hospital on March 28th.  Praise JESUS-----both twins are alive and cured and doing WONDERFULLY!  There are no long term effects and they both are very healthy and can be carried to full-term.  Doctor removed 2.5 liters of fluid from my womb and my tummy has resumed to proper size.  I feel so much better.  The surgery was amazing.  Doctor inserted tube straight into my belly and the tube had camera inside it.  He lasered two large vessels connecting the boys and also lasered many smaller vessels.  Meanwhile, I was kept somewhat sedated but had to keep eyes open during procedure and stay awake.  At end of procedure, he allowed me to see real pictures of the boys straight in my belly.  They are precious!!! They are getting chubby and they are pink and look so cozy and sweet.  I stayed in hospital through Wednesday March 28th.  We arrived back to SC March 29th. 

Currently, I am 27 weeks pregnant and do not have preterm labor.  At appointment today, both babies are growing wonderfully and have normal levels of amniotic fluid and continuous, normal levels of blood flow from umbilical cords to placenta.  I am expected to be able to carry the twins full-term to 37 weeks possibly, although I am instructed to reduce activity due to possibility of water breaking, preterm labor, and rupture.

Please pray specifically and fervently—
--that the twin boys will stay in womb full-term with no rupture and no preterm labor, Lord-willing
--for salvation of the doctor/nurses in Miami.  There is a lot of “scientific” approach there with medicine and I think there is emptiness as I don’t know that they know Jesus as Savior.  There were many opportunities to point glory to Christ, and I know some seeds were planted.

Here is a note I sent to some people from the church we attend on the morning that we flew out to Miami…….

This morning in my devotion with the Lord, He brought to mind that quote that I told you all about on the email  sometime the other week---the quote by Tim Tebow that goes something like this, “Football is the platform through which I share my faith in Jesus Christ.”

I was thinking about that again this morning and how that applies to life situations.  As we travel to Florida, this trip to Florida is our “platform” through which we can share our faith in Jesus Christ and glorify His Name Alone.  I think of how Jesus’ Name is Power!  Please pray for us to each have boldness as the Lord gives opportunities to glorify His Name in the midst of these trials that He has allowed.  May His Name be glorified!

And I encourage you all---whether you are going through a very difficult trial right now, or a very exciting wonderful time, the importance to think of the time/life situation as a “platform” through which you can share your faith in Jesus Christ and point glory to His Name!  It is exciting to see what the Lord has in store in bringing glory to His Name! J

Here are two awesome verses that the Lord used to encourage my heart this morning,
Psalm 40:16, “Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; Let such as love Your salvation say continually, “The Lord be magnified!”
Psalm 40:17, “But I am poor and needy; Yet the Lord thinks upon me, You are my Help and my Deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.”

Thank you again for all your prayers and support as Mikey, Abigail, the twins, and I fly out this morning to go on our “mission trip” to Florida!! J  Love, Olivia

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