Our girls were causing us worry before they were even born
Watching the image come into focus, I gave my wife’s hand a squeeze. For a moment, the room was silent. And then…
The sound of a very strong heartbeat filled the air. Only, it sounded out of time. ‘There are two heartbeats,’ our sonographer smiled. My jaw nearly hit the floor. ‘Twins?!’ my wife Jayne, then 25, gasped.
That was our very first scan, back in December 2015.
We were so excited to get the first glimpse of our baby. Or babies! Twins didn’t run in our families, and doctors wanted to monitor us closely. But Jayne’s the sort of person who likes to be clued-up. So, back home, she got researching.
One condition that kept cropping up was twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS).
It’s a condition of the placenta that affects identicaltwin pregnancies, stopping necessary nutrients to help growth going to one twin.
Terrifyingly, it could mean they wouldn’t survive.
We just had to hope that wouldn’t happen to us.
But at the 18-week scan, our consultant at Liverpool Women’s Hospital noticed a difference in size between our girls.
‘It could be nothing, but we’ll see how they go,’ she said.
Yet, just two weeks later, she confirmed that one of our girls was 25 per cent smaller.
‘I’m afraid it looks like TTTS,’ she explained.
One twin was surrounded by too much amniotic fluid, the other had barely any. She had a decreased blood volume and a severe lack of nutrients, too. Struggling to grow or move. ‘Will they be OK?’ we asked. ‘We can monitor them, hope for the best,’ we were told.
If not, they’d need to operate. Terrified, Jayne got in touch with Tamba – the Twins & Multiple Births Association – and they gave us advice.
At 24 weeks, we were rushed to King’s College Hospital in London.
The only thing that could save our girls now was laser ablation – which involves closing every vessel connecting the twins, to prevent the flow of blood from one baby to the other.
There was a chance they may not survive. But our surgeon did his best to keep us calm.
He put a tiny camera in Jayne’s side, brought the image up on screen.
That’s when I saw a tiny hand. Would this be the last time I’d see my girls alive?
After the laser surgery, all we could do was wait.
At the sonogram, a few hours on, I prayed for two heartbeats. Silence.
But then... Two heartbeats filled the room. What a relief!
Ruby and Annabelle arrived by Caesarean in August 2016.
They spent a couple of days in the NICU but quickly began to thrive.
Now aged 3, both girls are cheeky little madams.
But I’m just so thankful to have them alive and safe.
We’ll never forget how they came into this world, how awful things could’ve been.
Which is why we work with Tamba to spread awareness.
Raising twins is no mean feat – and though they may be double trouble, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
I prayed for two heartbeats. There was silence...
Jayne and our little madams!