After raising two children, Kate Lucas and her husband discovered that Kate was pregnant once more. At one of their initial visits to their OB-GYN, the specialist kidded, “We should have a listen to the pulse and check whether it’s only one!” And then amid the ultrasound, she grinned and stuck up two fingers. Kate was confused and asked her what the “peace sign” was for. “There’s two!” shouted the specialist. In any case, that was by all account not the only news that Kate got.
The embryos had only first separated 8 – 13 days after insemination, which implied that there was no protective membrane between the two kids. Only a day or two later and the children would most likely have been conjoined twins. There are serious risks involved in this so-called monochorionic twin pregnancy: the umbilical chords can become life threatening dangers, increasing the chance for entanglement, strangulation or blockage. These greatly uncommon twins just have around a half risk of survival.
Astoundingly, Kate’s doctor advised the distressed soon-to-be mom to keep her pregnancy a secret and to let nature take its course! Kate changed doctors immediately. After the 28th week of pregnancy, Kate spent five weeks in hospital, fighting daily for her twins’ survival. The doctors delivered the babies by Cesarean section. When they saw the umbilical chord, a deadly silence came over the delivery room.
The two umbilical chords, the two babies’ lifeline, were completely interlocked, just like a single hair braid! It beggars belief that no blockage had occurred and that the two girls survived! But that’s not all.
The twins were indeed small and underweight since they were born early. But they were completely healthy! The birth had been induced just at the right moment. If the doctors had waited longer, the entanglement of the umbilical chords would have cut the babies off from the lifeline to their mother.
Surprisingly, the two preterm girls didn’t need a ventilator or an incubator, although they remained under special care. Eventually, the twins were allowed to go home. One 1% of twin pregnancies are monochorionic and as a result, the condition has not been extensively researched.
Harper and Cleo, now eight, are the best of friends, despite their completely different personalities. Fortunately, not only did they survive what with the benefit of hindsight was an extremely risky entrance into the world, but they did so with very few complications. A rare case indeed!
These two girls and their survival are an unexpected wonder in many senses. Perhaps Kate’s unshakeable positivity played a role? It surely didn’t hurt!