Twin to Twin Testimony

Vote No on measure 11 has pointed out that a set of parents had no other option for there pregnancy with a condition called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

 I’m here to tell you that I had Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome while pregnant with my identical twins Josh and Zach.  We had options!!

My Story:

Josh and Zach shared a placenta.  It was estimated that 60% of the placenta was Zach’s and 40% was Josh’s (50/50 is ideal).  They each had their own share of one placenta with an “equator” line between the shares.  There were blood vessels on the placenta that were running across the “equator” between the two shares causing an imbalance of blood flow and nutrients between them.  At one of my regular check ups, Dr. Michael Christiansen (from here in Rapid City, SD) saw in the ultrasound that there was more amniotic fluid in Zach’s sac than in Josh’s sac.  He did not tell me what he thought it was he just said there was more fluid than there should be and wanted me to see a high risk pregnancy doctor.  I was 22 weeks (5 ½ months) along.  He set up an appointment in Sioux Falls, SD to see a Perinatologist.  I saw Dr. William Watson who diagnosed me with Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome.  He suggested that I should have an amniocentesis that day to decrease the amount of fluid in Zach’s sac.  He removed 2 liters and there was about an 18 – 20% difference in their sizes.  He said that I would need to do an amnio periodically to keep my uterus size down so that I would not go into preterm labor.  Then, we would watch for the larger baby’s (Zach’s) heart to start failing from receiving too much blood from the placenta and then deliver to save both of them.  The smaller baby (Josh) would suffer from malnutrition because of not getting enough nutrients from the placenta.  Shane (my husband) asked if there was anything else we could do.  He said there was a surgery but it was experimental.  We went back to Rapid City the next day.  Shane’s mom and I went to the library to look up the condition at the library.  We found only one book with a paragraph about TTTS and a web site (http://www.tttsfoundation.org/).  There, Dr. Julian DeLia (http://www.mywheaton.org/programs/ttts/dr_delia.asp) was listed as the doctor who pioneered and performs the surgery that corrects the problem with the placenta.   Shane contacted him and he got my medical information and said that I was a candidate for the procedure.  He said that my uterus needed to be a certain size (a certain fundal height) and I was a little under the required size at that time but by the next week the fluid in Zach’s sac had built up enough.  One week after being in Sioux Falls we were on our way to Chicago to meet Dr. DeLia.  He went through the diagnostic process and confirmed that I had TTTS.  The procedure was in utero – he inserted a fetoscope with a laser into my uterus and cauterized the blood vessels that were crossing the “equator” on my placenta.  I was his 100th patient in January of 1998.  The surgery was a success at 23 weeks.  One week later I was in Sioux Falls to do a check up with Dr. Watson.  I was having preterm contractions from the amnio and the surgery.  So, Dr. Watson admitted me to the hospital to keep me on bed rest and to monitor me after the surgery.  I was there for 8 weeks and while I was there, the boys’ sizes got closer together.  At 32 weeks (7 months) I was allowed to come back to Rapid City.  I was on bed rest for 4 more weeks and they were born at 36 weeks (8 months).

When they were born, Zach was 4 pounds 3.9 ounces and Josh was 4 pounds 2.5 ounces.  That is only 1.4 ounces different!  The surgery corrected the problem on my placenta!

I can say that the many, many prayers and leading of the Holy Spirit is what took us through this process and I know that God’s protection was on us, too.  We are blessed to have two healthy 10-year-old boys!!

Julie Schriner

Rapid City, SD

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