Sharon and her husband were thrilled to be expecting identical twin girls, but at 17 weeks gestation, they received news that no parent wants to hear.
“We found out that they had twin to twin transfusion. We did an extensive ultrasound and that’s when we found out it was quite serious,” explained Sharon.
Twin to twin transfusion syndrome is a disease of the placenta in pregnancies of identical twins, in which the babies share a placenta.
“It’s a very dangerous condition in which the placenta basically malfunctions causing one baby to ‘donate’ her nutrients and blood to the other baby through the shared placenta, causing one baby to become anemic and malnourished, and the other baby’s heart to work very hard to cope with the extra blood,” explained Sharon. “Both of my girls were in danger of dying.”
Doctors told Sharon and her husband that they had four options. One was an amnio fluid reduction which was not a viable option because of the risk of preterm labor. The next choice was to terminate Baby B, the donor twin, in order to give the other twin a better chance. The third option was to terminate both of the babies. The final option was to try an intrauterine laser surgery on the twins while they remained in the womb.
The couple knew that abortion was not the answer and chose the laser surgery, which has about a 60% chance of success in saving both twins.
Thankfully, the surgery was successful. Both babies were alive, and Baby B was finally getting the nutrients she needed.
“I was so relieved and just so excited to see little heart beats on the screen. I don’t think I actually remembered much else after that,” Sharon explained. “At that point I was confident they were going to be okay.”
“It was difficult for me to share it. It’s been personal for me,” explained Sharon. “It was a very hard time in our lives, but I just felt that you can clearly see that they’re little human beings and that they are perfectly formed. They’ve got little noses, little hands, little toes. We felt that if just one mom could see it who was contemplating abortion – and if she saw that she was actually carrying a miracle – that she would change her mind, and decide to keep the baby or just let it live.”
Sharon wants to show other parents, even those facing such a diagnosis for their preborn child or children, that there’s always hope, and that parents should always do whatever they can to save their babies.
“Babies can come out on the other side healthy and full of life, and [parents] should try their hardest to save them,” she said.
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