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Miracle twin girls face 5% chances of survival after doctors perform life-saving operations in the womb

Wonderful twin girls defied five percent chances of survival when doctors performed life-saving operations while in the womb.

Matilda and Felicity Harvey had the twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, with one twin getting more blood than the other.

Keziah Harvey, 30, and her husband Jordan, 33, were told after 16 weeks of pregnancy that their girls were unlikely to survive – with or without surgery.

One of the girls suffered a stroke, a syndrome complication that can occur when a baby’s blood pressure drops.

But the parents continued the risky operation and were thrilled when their “miracle girls” were born – albeit five weeks in advance – in July 2018.

The girls are now healthy babies of eight months old and doctors are happy with their development, despite the fear that there would be serious brain damage.

Keziah Harvey, 30, and her husband Jordan, 33, were told that it was unlikely that their girls would survive twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome with or without surgery

Keziah Harvey, 30, and her husband Jordan, 33, were told that it was unlikely that their girls would survive twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome with or without surgery

There was a 17 percent difference in size between Matilda and Felicity Harvey and one of them suffered a stroke due to a fall in blood pressure. On the photo a scan of the twins

There was a 17 percent difference in size between Matilda and Felicity Harvey and one of them suffered a stroke due to a fall in blood pressure. On the photo a scan of the twins

There was a 17 percent difference in size between Matilda and Felicity Harvey and one of them suffered a stroke due to a fall in blood pressure. On the photo a scan of the twins

The twins were born five weeks early in July 2018, but had to spend four weeks in neonatal intensive care at Newcross Hospital in Wolverhampton. Pictured, Felicity on ICU

The twins were born five weeks early in July 2018, but had to spend four weeks in neonatal intensive care at Newcross Hospital in Wolverhampton. Pictured, Felicity on ICU

The twins were born five weeks early in July 2018, but had to spend four weeks in neonatal intensive care at Newcross Hospital in Wolverhampton. Pictured, Felicity on ICU

Mrs. Harvey had the twins after 10 hours of work and a caesarean section. Pictured, Matilda in ICU in newborns. Mrs. Harvey said: It was lonely to sit next to their incubators all day and not be able to help them. “

Mrs. Harvey, from Cannock, Staffordshire, suffered a miscarriage before the twins were naturally conceived.

She said: ‘Without the operation, my chance was about 95 percent that I would have lost them, and with the operation it was about 30 percent that they would both survive.

“It was so shocking – I just realized I had twins and maybe I would have lost them.”

The babies were diagnosed with TTTS after a 16-week scan, a condition that occurs in about 15 percent of the monochorionic diamniotic (MCDA) twins – identical twins that share the placenta, representing about two-thirds of identical twins, according to the NHS.

It causes abnormal blood vessel connections to form in the placenta and prevent blood from flowing evenly between the babies.

In most cases, one twins become dehydrated, which influences growth, and the develops high blood pressure that can lead to heart failure.

Mrs. Harvey, a formal dental practice manager, was referred to the Birmingham Women’s Hospital, where her doctor advised that she undergo laser ablation surgery for 18 weeks of pregnancy.

The operation, routine for TTTS babies on the NHS, involves finding the blood vessels that connect the twins and shutting them off to keep blood flow flowing evenly.

The babies were diagnosed with TTTS after a 16-week scan. Pictured, Mrs. Harvey, who is a formal dental practice manager, with post-diagnosis scans

The babies were diagnosed with TTTS after a 16-week scan. Pictured, Mrs. Harvey, who is a formal dental practice manager, with post-diagnosis scans

The babies were diagnosed with TTTS after a 16-week scan. Pictured, Mrs. Harvey, who is a formal dental practice manager, with post-diagnosis scans

Mrs. Harvey, who had had a miscarriage before the twins were naturally conceived, had a laser ablation operation. The operation involves finding the blood vessels that connect the twins and shutting them off to keep the blood flowing evenly. Pictured, with their newborn babies

Mrs. Harvey, who had had a miscarriage before the twins were naturally conceived, had a laser ablation operation. The operation involves finding the blood vessels that connect the twins and shutting them off to keep the blood flowing evenly. Pictured, with their newborn babies

Mrs. Harvey, who had had a miscarriage before the twins were naturally conceived, had a laser ablation operation. The operation involves finding the blood vessels that connect the twins and shutting them off to keep the blood flowing evenly. Pictured, with their newborn babies

Mrs. Harvey said: “I had the laser ablation and sedation while Jordan could hold my hand and look at the screen all the time.

“It was amazing that he could view them from my stomach on a camera and see all their tiny, tiny features and small faces.

“I came by knowing we had two little girls. I also had 2.5 liters of excess amniotic fluid removed from the larger baby. “

After Mrs. Harvey woke up from the operation, Mr. Harvey, a window fitter, told her that they had girls after seeing the operation at an ultrasound scan.

The following weeks were full of concern because Mrs. Harvey had scans every few days to check if the babies were doing well.

She said: ‘It made me one by one every day and scan for scan. I just lived for my next scan and waited if my babies were okay. “

After 24 weeks in her pregnancy, Mr. and Mrs. Harvey waited to find out if the laser ablation operation had caused brain damage to the babies through an MRI scan.

They discovered that one of the girls had had a stroke before the operation.

Mrs. Harvey was told that she had girls after Mr. Harvey had viewed the operation on a screen. Depicted holding Felicity in the hospital

Mrs. Harvey was told that she had girls after Mr. Harvey had viewed the operation on a screen. Depicted holding Felicity in the hospital

Mrs. Harvey was told that she had girls after Mr. Harvey had viewed the operation on a screen. Depicted holding Felicity in the hospital

Mrs. Harvey was scanned every few days after the operation to check if her babies were okay. On the photo, holding Felicity in the hospital

Mrs. Harvey was scanned every few days after the operation to check if her babies were okay. On the photo, holding Felicity in the hospital

Mrs. Harvey was scanned every few days after the operation to check if her babies were okay. On the photo, holding Felicity in the hospital

Following the concerns of doctors, they were asked if they wanted to end the pregnancy – which they didn’t think twice to say no.

Mrs. Harvey said, “It was so nervous waiting to find out and we were worried when we were told that one of the girls had a stroke before the operation.

“The doctor could discuss the parts of the brain that might be damaged; but because a baby’s brain is still growing, stroke is not as definitive for babies as adults and their brains are learning to grow new ways to replace some of the damaged parts.

“When we were offered a termination, the answer was always no, regardless of the severity or circumstances that we would be confronted with.

“We wouldn’t really know the long-term effects of the stroke until the baby grew and maybe struggled with certain milestones.”

At 32 weeks of pregnancy, Mrs. Harvey gave birth to the twins on July 29, 2018, after 10 hours of work and a caesarean section.

Following doctors' concerns, the couple were asked if they wanted to end the pregnancy - which they didn't think twice to say no

Following doctors' concerns, the couple were asked if they wanted to end the pregnancy - which they didn't think twice to say no

Following doctors’ concerns, the couple were asked if they wanted to end the pregnancy – which they didn’t think twice to say no

Mrs. Harvey said, “We would not really know the long-term effects of the stroke until the baby grew and perhaps struggled with certain milestones.”

The girls are now healthy babies of eight months of age, despite the doctor's fear that they may suffer brain damage, but need physiotherapy

The girls are now healthy babies of eight months of age, despite the doctor's fear that they may suffer brain damage, but need physiotherapy

The girls are now healthy babies of eight months of age, despite the doctor’s fear that they may suffer brain damage, but need physiotherapy

Matilda and Felicity then spent four weeks in neonatal intensive care at Newcross Hospital in Wolverhampton.

Mrs. Harvey said: “It was lonely to sit next to their incubators all day and not be able to help them – it’s never how you imagined those first precious moments as a mummy.

“We could only put our hands in the incubators to hold the girl’s hand very briefly and we had to wait until their temperature stabilized before we could hold them.

“It was hard to see that they were so small covered with wires and tubes, monitors, and cannulas.”

But eight months later, the girls are healthy and developing well and seem to have no long-term effects.

Mrs. Harvey said: “They are making great progress and the consultant is happy with their development so far; they have regular physio, but so far all on schedule.

“I am so grateful to Professor Kilby and the great teams at Newcross and the Women’s Women’s Hospital.”

Mr. Harvey added: “We felt helpless everywhere.

‘Being a family is the best in the world. I am so grateful to the wonderful team at New Cross and the Women’s Women’s Hospital. “

You can read more about the Harvey family story at Mrs. Harvey’s blog.

WHAT IS TWIN-TWIN TRANSFUSION SYNDROME?

Twin-twin transfusion syndrome is a rare but serious condition that can occur in identical pregnancies when twins share a placenta.

Abnormal blood vessel connections form in the placenta and prevent blood from flowing evenly between the babies.

Twins then become dehydrated, which influences growth.

The other develops high blood pressure and produces too much urine.

This leads to an enlarged bladder and excessive amounts of amniotic fluid, which can burden the twins’ heart, which can lead to heart failure.

Without treatment, TTTS can be fatal for both twins.

The condition occurs in about 15 percent of identical twins who share a placenta, according to the Tamba charity.

In the UK, approximately 300 twins die each year from the condition, while in the US 6,000 babies are affected each year.

Draining excessive amniotic fluid can improve blood flow.

If this is not enough, laser surgery is used to close abnormal blood vessels and permanently disconnect them.

The surgeon then drains excess fluid.

Even if they are treated successfully, most TTTS babies are born prematurely.

However, the majority have a long, healthy life.

Source: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

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