I am a very optimistic person and I often live in perpetual hope if that makes any sense. So for as much stress and anxiety that I was feeling at this point I was still full of hope that all would be okay. I remember chatting with a nurse that day, after the surgery had been confirmed, about what would happen if my boys were to be born that day, if I went into labour as a result of the surgery. My chart read that I was 24 + weeks pregnant and babies are viable at this point. She told me this, she told me that babies over 500 grams survive all the time. My feelings of hope began to crash....
They weren’t 500 grams. Twin A, our usual larger recipient baby was a mere 360 grams and twin B, the normally much smaller donor, was 405 grams. Her comments about not being able to save babies less than 500 grams scared me and I just couldn’t imagine my life if both of them died. Despite it being a fear I had experienced at times throughout the pregnancy; of pre-term labour and both of them passing away due to prematurity, it really hit home that this could be my reality. To go from not being sure how I’d manage two to wonder how I’d ever survive if didn’t have any was a weight on my shoulders. But in my heart I didn’t feel that was to be our fate, I was so sure I’d have two rambunctious little boys to keep me busy for many years to come.
Later on that morning we were called down to meet with Dr. Greg Ryan. He surprised us by being around 55 years old and with a heavy Irish accent. He was calm, gentle and reassuring while being very professional and serious at the same time. We knew from his responses to the scanning he was doing that things were very serious and yet it felt like we were just having a regular chat with any medical professional. We were so completely at ease with him.
He explained TTTS to us again and discussed our odds. He said there had already been some changes in our recipient’s heart and the fluid pockets had increased 2 cm’s in the 9 hours since I was last scanned. He also explained that his heart was starting to show more signs of stress. This was seen in a marked difference in the Doppler readings, the measurements taken of the blood flow in and out of the heart. We wanted to do whatever we could to save our boys so the surgery was confirmed and booked.
These little boys were very tiny, even for their age, and Dr. Ryan was honest with us. If they were born now there would be no attempt to save them, there was nothing that could be done for them. He stressed that without the surgery we would lose one for sure and likely both. If we didn’t have it and we lost one than the other one would be severely brain damaged. But Dr. Ryan seemed hopeful and thought we caught this in time.