When it's bedtime for two-year-old twins Lydia and Thea, their Beanie Babies always bring them comfort. For Amy, a second-grade teacher from Powell, Ohio, and her husband Mike, those stuffed animals mean something very different. It's difficult to believe that the girls were the same size as those Beanie Babies when they were born at 30 weeks. What's even more unimaginable is that when Amy experienced multiple, rare pregnancy complications, these two vivacious little girls almost didn't survive.
A Routine Ultrasound Becomes Dire
"When you're diagnosed with a high-risk pregnancy, you're thrown into this world that you aren't prepared for."
When Amy and Mike went for an ultrasound at 20 weeks, they were excited to find out if they were having boys or girls. When the ultrasound technician went to get the doctor, however, they knew that they were about to get bad news.
The diagnosis was Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS), a rare pregnancy complication that gives one baby all of the mother’s nutrients and essentially starves the other baby of the nutrition it needs to develop.
Amy's OB/GYN immediately referred the couple to Dr. Richard O'Shaughnessy, a maternal fetal medicine specialist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Before meeting with Dr. O'Shaughnessy, Amy and Mike did extensive online research and contacted the national Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome Foundation. The Foundation told the couple that there were only two doctors in Ohio with the expertise to surgically treat TTTS. One of those physicians was Dr. O'Shaughnessy.
Complex Laser Surgery Saved Her Twins
"We had one of the best doctors in the country for what we were facing."
From the minute Amy and Mike met "Dr. O," as they affectionately call him, they knew he would give them the best chance at saving both Lydia and Thea. Dr. O'Shaughnessy counseled the couple about their treatment options, and Amy and Mike opted for the laser treatment. Dr. O expertly performed the delicate surgery that treated the nutritional imbalance, and within one day, both babies were doing much better.
When they thought they were in the clear, Amy and Mike got more bad news. During an ultrasound to monitor the girls' functioning, the technician discovered a problem with the girls' blood flow. Thea's blood was too thick and Lydia's blood was too thin, a condition called Twin Anemia-Polycythemia Sequence, or TAPS.
For nearly two months, Dr. O'Shaughnessy painstakingly performed in-utero blood transfusions to level out the girls' hemoglobin levels, until Lydia and Thea were developed enough to be delivered by C-section at 30 weeks.
She Now Considers Ohio State Family
"Ohio State became family, and we became family to them."
After 50 days of expert care in the Level III NICU, the highest level of intensive care available to newborns, Amy and Mike happily took their twins home. Today, Amy is doing fine and the girls are healthy, happy and above the developmental milestones for their age.
When Lydia and Thea turned two, their birthday party was filled with close family and friends. While not all of the doctors and nurses at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center who helped make this birthday celebration possible were able to attend, they were definitely there in spirit.
For questions or to schedule an appointment with Ohio State's Maternal Fetal Medicine call 614-293-2222.