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Sarah’s story

After discovering she was pregnant with identical twins, Sarah’s pregnancy journey became a fight for the lives of her twin boys. It was at her 20 week scan at her local hospital, that alarm bells first started ringing.

“We went for the 20 week scan and at the ultrasound twin one was fine. Then we moved across to our donor twin and it took about three and a half hours until they managed to see a bladder in him,” Sarah said.

She immediately thought she might be experiencing TTTS, but consultant told her it was not, and sent her home. But it was just a few days later when she became incredibly uncomfortable.

“I felt really big. I looked really big, I looked like a full term pregnancy. And there was pain all up my ribs, I phoned maternity and they asked me to go in. I kept saying to the doctors ‘is this Twin to Twin’, and they kept saying, ‘no’. We had two or three trips into maternity between our 20 week scan and our 22 week scan and they kept on saying ‘no it’s not TTTS, it’s just twin growing pains,’” Sarah said.

When Sarah came in for her 22 week scan, things started out well.

“The sonographer was really chatty while she was scanning twin one,” she said.

“Then she moved onto twin two and went deathly silent. That’s when I had the sinking feeling, and I knew that it was twin to twin transfusion syndrome.”

Seeing how much pain she was in, the sonographer sent her straight to a larger hospital, which had a twin consultant.

“He diagnosed us with stage three TTTS and basically said ‘we’ve got 48 hours to save both of your babies,’” Sarah said.

Sarah started to have contractions that day, her contractions became worse that evening, and she was rushed to her local hospital where they managed to get her under control for long enough to get her to London. The next day she went to see a London specialist, who made the decision to do laser surgery the next day.

“They did the laser ablation, which probably took about 20 minutes. It didn’t hurt; it was just this very weird sensation when they’re ablating the blood vessels - like a party popper going off inside of you. When it was done, they drained off three litres of fluid from me.”

She and her husband Dan then had to wait for six hours before her next scan, to see if the procedure had worked, and to find out if their twins still had heart beats.

“It was the longest six hours of my life. We got into the room and did the scan and yes, both twins were viable,” Sarah said.

But Sarah and Dan’s twins weren’t out of the woods. They had to wait another week for a second viability scan, to see if the twins had survived.

“That was the hardest week, the waiting. Of course you’re feeling kicks, but you don’t know if it’s one or two babies kicking you. At the scan we found out both babies were still alive, thank Goodness, but we still had issues with our fluid levels. Twin one the recipient, he still had too much fluid around him, whereas our donor was still a little bit shrink wrapped,” he said.

Fortunately, after being scanned every couple of days, by 25 weeks the TTTS had resolved itself. But a few weeks later Sarah was diagnosed with interurine growth restriction, which ultimately caused her to go into early labour.

“Our donor twin is still a little bit smaller than his brother, but he’s catching him up. They will be ten weeks on Sunday. The whole experience was a rollercoaster, it was so many ups so many downs,” Sarah said.Her twins arrived by emergency C section at 32 weeks and were sent to the special care unit. After four weeks in special care, they were sent home.

Sarah said her twins survived the odds, as she was given only a 1 in 3 chance of both babies surviving.

“You just have to say ok I’m going to give them the best chance I can, and you just cling on to the hope that you’re the one in three- that you have two survivors and, luckily, we were.”

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