babies · life

The Trouble with Twins and Emergency Fetal Surgery

The good news is the surgery went as well for my friend as we could have hoped for. Both of her little boys are now plugging along in her belly, and the doctor is optimistic about the outcome of the pregnancy.

Foetuses are so strange. It’s just a pollywog in someone’s tummy that, if unwanted, the mother can terminate because it isn’t human yet. But if it is wanted, that same little pollywog is already a baby in the eyes of those who love it. The foetus is already part of the family, separated from us just by a few months and a little bit of momma’s belly. I’m not trying to make a point here…I’m just baffled by how much love can change the nature of an event.

And there is a lot of love in this family.

I kind of want to just slam on the keys and tell you all the heart-melting details, but I don’t feel comfortable doing that even if I’m not naming names here. Suffice to say my friend (the partner of one of my best friends) has had a rough go of it, but they are both so devoted to these children that I can’t help but imagine how wonderful it will be when they have their babies safe and sound in their arms. She said yesterday at the hospital that there was going to be this period where they were going to be just so happy that the boys are crying and screaming and shitting…they’ll be alive. (“That’ll last about 72 hours,” her partner remarked.)

A few days ago she started having some really incredible pain, and had been acting like she was six months along, not three months along. Fortunately, they had the smarts to go to the doctor and do her first ultrasound about a month early. That’s when they found out it was twins. Since then, she’s been in and out of the emergency room…finally, the day before yesterday, they pinned it down: it was Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

Fortunately, they could be transferred to one of the best hospitals in the country for maternal-fetal surgery and scheduled a surgery the very next day. I came by after they made the appointment and then again yesterday after the surgery. It was really scary. According to the internet, TTTS has a very high mortality rate, and my best friend’s aunt had carried a TTTS pregnancy, which resulted in one son with special needs. Fortunately medicine has come along way in a short time. The doctors are optimistic, after having taken a microscopic laser-needle into her uterus and fried individual veins away in order to separate the boys. The littler one batted at it though, successfully destroying thousands of dollars of medical technology and probably giving himself a laser “tattoo” on his hand. These boys aren’t even born yet, and they’re already a handful! They take after their father, I’m sure.

So now you know all about TTTS, and why I haven’t been writing/blogging for the past couple of days. This has been on my mind, as well as another (healthy) baby that a friend had just the other day. It’s raining babies right now, and that takes a lot of energy out of a girl.

They still expect the boys to be premature, but with any luck the biggest challenge momma will face now is convincing her partner that the ravens “Hugin and Munin” are not appropriate namesakes for her children, even if Odin’s mythical birds are really cool.

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