Recently, I attended an ultrasound conference in Denver. An entire afternoon was spent on managing twins, especially monochorionic twins (twins in the same large sack who share a placenta). Twins in general are high risk; monochorionic twins are at especially high risk because they can develop additional complications due to sharing a placenta. (mainly twin twin transfusion syndrome)
We learned that when you see this picture (2 babies in one big sack, yes this is my 7 week ultrasound)
Alarm bells should be going off in your head, because you know it’s an extremely high risk situation with statistics like this:
–The incidence of monochorionic twins is 0.2%
–two fold increase in the risk of preeclampsia, post partum hemmorhage, and maternal death
–50% of monochorionic twins will be growth restricted
–15% develop twin-twin transfusion syndrome
–60% will be preterm
–30-40% perinatal mortality
–four times the loss rate of dichorionic twins in the first 20 weeks
–2% increased risk for minor abnormalities, 4% increased risk of major, including heart abnormalities
–75% of mothers will develop gestational diabetes or gestational hypertension
So when I saw that picture in MY uterus, I was FREAKED OUT. I know all the things that can go wrong with twins, period. I really know all the additional things that go wrong with monochorionic twins. I tried to stay positive, but I knew the odds were against us. And how many of those horrible things happened to us?
Zero. Zip. Nil. I had a completely uncomplicated pregnancy and went on to have a successful, uncomplicated vaginal delivery at term. Reid was only barely low birth weight. Other than a few weeks on oxygen (not uncommon at high altitude), they were extremely healthy, and continue to be our healthiest babies.
When I first got pregnant, I wondered how we got so unlucky as to become spontaneously pregnant with such rare and risky twinning. But now, I wonder how we got so lucky as to have two healthy, happy babies. The world is such an unfair place. At work, I see most people have a healthy baby. But other times, I see how one, or even part of a chromosome can have devastating effects and change a family forever. I see low risk pregnancies turn into an emergencies out of the blue. I see babies whose hearts stopped beating for no discernible reason. The good and bad happen to everyone; the nice people, the rude people, the old people, the young people.
I don’t know why we got to be the lucky ones in a risky world, but I am grateful and I thank God every day for my healthy twins and my healthy singletons. Whatever else happens down the road, I will remember that at least we won the lottery 4 amazing times.