On this day, one year ago an ultrasound confirmed our suspicion that one little miracle was actually two. Identical twin girls :) I was grateful that there was a positive explanation for the 8 lbs I'd gained in the past 2 weeks, the discomfort I'd felt from the beginning, and how quickly my uterus had grown. I still remember looking at my husband with wide eyes when the image on the screen above us showed us what I hadn't dared to plan for. We were elated and a little overwhelmed, but mostly just overjoyed.
As the scan progressed I was concerned that one of our babies looked like she had a much smaller "room" than the other one. I had done some reading about twin pregnancies prior to the scan (because of my suspicions) and my reading had lead me to hope that our twins would be fraternal twins, if we were indeed expecting twins, because fraternal twin pregnancies are less risky. I asked the technician if there were two placentas, or only one. She told us that it looked like there was only one. I knew that was not necessarily the best news but waited for them to confirm my concerns. After the technician gathered all the images the doctor asked us to join him in a conference room across the hall (that had never happened to us before). He confirmed that the twins we were expecting were identical, and that there were signs that they may be developing a rare and very concerning syndrome, "Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS)". Our Twin A had a "normal" amount of amniotic fluid ... barely ... at the lowest possible end of "normal" and our Twin B was swimming in just about the highest possible end of "normal" amniotic fluid. We were immediately concerned for their lives, I had read enough about TTTS to know that it is life threatening, for both of the twins.
After our scan we went to pick up our children from their cousins' house and tell them the news. We made sure our older children were the first to hear that they were going to have not just one, but TWO new sisters. Then we shared our joy with the rest of our family. We made our announcement to family and friends without mentioning the life threatening syndrome, because we wanted to enjoy one day of "Wow, this is awesome" before the worry strengthened it's grip on our minds and hearts. We shared our concerns for the babies the next day and asked for the faith and prayers of our friends and family.
This was the beginning of us falling into minority percentiles. I mean, how many people are blessed with twins? According to statistics from 2010, twin births (I wonder what the statistic is for pregnancies) were 1 in 30, is that .03% ...? And worldwide, the chances of having identical twins is 1 in 285 or .003% ... WE fell into that .003% ... Amazing!
One year ago we were told that sometimes the babies stay stable and never develop TTTS, and sometimes they develop TTTS, but stay at Stage I for the duration of the pregnancy. But we also knew (from our independent internet research), that if TTTS did develop, there was close to a 90% chance we would loose them both (if we did not receive treatment) and even with treatment there was only a 65% chance we would be able to save them both ...
TTTS provides a crazy roller coaster of emotions. We were absolutely OVERWHELMED with the reality of the danger our little girls faced, and facing the prospect of learning how to tell them apart and help them find their own identities in a world that would label them "the twins".
One year ago today we started trying to think of a second girl name for our surprise miracle baby ..