The amazing Jennika Coleman with her identical twin boys Josiah and Malachi (3). She is also mother to Christopher (12). With her first pregnancy, she was young, single mom and did everything her doctor told her to do without much say in her birth experience. She was able to have a vaginal delivery and breastfed for 8 months. Her second pregnancy was completely different and she was able to advocate for herself and her babies. When she learned she was having twins, she was told that she was carrying Monochorionic-Diamniotic "MoDi" twins which carried a lot of risks. She was scared but appreciated the information. She learned at her next appointment just 4 weeks later that her boys had Stage III Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) and she was rushed from Hawaii where her husband was stationed (Active Duty Air Force) to California for laser ablation surgery. After waiting the first 24 hours to see if her boys would survive the surgery, it was deemed successful. She had a cerclage placed due to cervical shortening and was able to return to Hawaii. The remainder of her pregnancy went well other than the fact that her providers were adamant about delivering via cesarean. She didn't feel it was necessary and fought to have a vaginal birth. She was able to deliver her boys vaginally without complication at 37 weeks, 1 day after cerclage removal and induction. Her boys were a healthy weight and able to come home with her. Jennika tried to tandem nurse but found it extremely painful so she pumped exclusively and supplemented with formula for their first 7 months. Jennika chose to participate because there isn't enough education or knowledge of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. She says, "There is nothing like learning your babies are in trouble when four weeks prior, you never knew that thing existed. I want people to know this exists and I want there to be more funding and research so that people don't have stories that are so different from my own."
laser ablation surgery
The amazing Kaye Parker. Kaye is mom to identical twin boys William (pictured - 3) and Tyler, who passed away due to complications from Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). She was very sick throughout her pregnancy and by her second trimester, was measuring very large for dates with her boys and was painfully suffering from Polyhydraminos (excess amniotic fluid). Kaye searched for answers with her medical team, and they eventually referred her to a hospital in Auckland where she was diagnosed with TTTS at 19 weeks. She was referred for laser ablation surgery and drainage of fluid, both of which were successful. At 22 weeks she was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and was told that she might have to deliver, and her boys would not be able to survive. The goal was to get them to at least 24 weeks and 500 grams before delivery. At 23 weeks they were both over 600 grams and if they had to deliver they'd attempt to save them. Shortly after, her suspected pre-eclampsia went away, leading doctors to believe it may have been a mirror syndrome related to her laser surgery. Everything was going well from then until 27 weeks. Kaye had a midwife appointment on the 5th of January, where there were two heartbeats, and everything was fine. Two days later she had a scan and learned that her son Tyler's heart had stopped. William had suffered from increased blood flow and enlarged ventricles in his brain due to Tyler's passing. They booked her for an MRI and the morning of, she went into labor at just under 30 weeks. The boys were born via emergency cesarean with William needing forceps assistance and weighing 1.6 kilos and Tyler weighing just 935 grams. William had to spend the next 10 weeks in the NICU and had a difficult journey learning to grow and breathe and eat on his own. He coded completely and had to brought back to life just as his brother Tyler was being buried. Kaye has a had an understandably difficult emotional recovery. Physically, she has struggled with thyroid and iron issues since the birth of her boys. She is hoping that her participation in the project will help mark the start of a new, positive and healthy beginning for herself and William.