As most of you know, the reason Elijah and his brothers were born early is a disease called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS), here is some information on TTTS that I got from the TTTS foundation web page, a great resource!
*Twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is a disease of the placenta (or afterbirth) that affects identical twin pregnancies.
*TTTS affects identical twins (or higher multiple gestation's), who share a common monochorionic placenta.
*The shared placenta contains abnormal blood vessels, which connect the umbilical cords and circulations of the twins.
*The common placenta may also be shared unequally by the twins, and one twin may have a share too small to provide the necessary nutrients to grow normally or even survive
*The events in pregnancy that lead to TTTS - the timing of the twinning event, the number and type of connecting vessels, and the way the placenta is shared by the twins are all random events that have no primary prevention (see section on The Monochorionic Placenta), is not hereditary or genetic, nor is it caused by anything the parents did or did not do. TTTS can happen to anyone.
We found out in 2008 that we were expecting triplets. We were shocked and surprised, but soon began to anticipate the arrival of our identical boy’s. At first the pregnancy seemed to be going well. I was hospitalized a few times for extreme nausea, but otherwise things looked good.
Since my pregnancy was considered high risk I was sent to a specialist. During my 21 week visit it was noticed that one baby had an excessive amount of amniotic fluid, his brothers still looked okay so I was sent home on bed rest and an appointment was made for the following week.
During my next appointment the doctor discovered that the babies were showing signs of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome a disease of the placenta that affects identical twin (or higher order multiple) pregnancies, the shared placenta contains abnormal blood vessels, which connect the umbilical cords and circulations of the twins. The common placenta may also be shared unequally by the twins, and one twin may have a share too small to provide the necessary nutrients to grow normally or even survive.
My doctor immediately contacted a specialist in Florida who does laser surgery to try and correct the problem. Within days we were driving the 12 hour trip to Florida, I was supposed to lie down the whole way due to a shortening cervix and the fear of premature labor. I spent that whole trip thinking I was going to give birth on some interstate between Virginia and Florida. After two days on the road we made it to Florida, I spent the entire day after our arrival being tested, and having multiple ultrasounds. Finally the doctor came to me and gave me several options; the one we eventually chose was laser surgery.
I barely slept the night before the surgery, we went in early the next morning and I was prepped for the procedure. I was kept awake during the whole thing because it was better for the babies. I remember being in a lot of pain but still getting excited when I saw the babies on the T.V. screen used to help the doctor guide the laser. Surgery was declared successful and the doctor said my cervix was going back to normal so a scheduled cerclage (stitch in the uterus) was cancelled. I was taken to recovery and then to the room where I was to spend the night. That night turned into a week because a few hours after surgery the membranes around baby A (David) ruptured, causing his cord and foot to prolapse into the birth canal.
I was rushed to labor and delivery where it was decided to try to hold off on delivery of baby David to give the other babies a chance, as I was only 23 weeks at the time. The week I spent in the hospital was a blur, I remember feeling David’s cord pulsing and his little foot wiggling as he tried in vain to be born. He held on for an entire week and passed away shortly before I was taken in for an emergency C-section. Baby B and C were delivered extremely premature at 24 weeks 0 days and were rushed to the NICU.
Lucas who weighed 1lb 5oz at birth fought for survival, he was such a strong and brave little boy. He was born fighting and he did not know how to do anything else but fight. He never gave up, but at one month of age it was discovered that NEC (a infection common in preemies) had destroyed his bowels. The NICU doctor told us this was not compatible with life so we held our baby while the doctors took him off of his ventilator. He died as he had lived, fighting. He fell asleep in the arms of his parents. Lucas and his brother David were both little warriors and they will always be in our hearts. They are survived by triplet brother Elijah, he spent four months in the hospital, has had multiple surgeries. At two he was diagnosed with mild Cerebral Palsy.
Lucas in the NICU