After giving birth to twins who survived Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, Talitha McGuinness joined with Lonnie and Michelle Somers to help further efforts to save babies with fetal syndromes. We asked her to share her story.
Our twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome diagnosis came at 14 weeks into the pregnancy, after learning at 8 weeks that we lost a baby. We had been spontaneously pregnant with triplets!
We had finally come to terms with the loss, and that there were still two babies that we needed to prepare for. After what seemed a really long ultrasound scan, the ultrasound technician brought the fetal specialist in to go over the results.
He shared the twin to twin transfusion diagnosis with me and then gave me three options. The first was to abort: I was young and he felt I could get pregnant easily again with no complications. The second option was cord occlusion, where my husband and I would make the decision to sacrifice our donor (now our Ella), to give our recipient (now our Caelie) a chance to thrive.
Neither of these options sat well with us, so we researched the third option of having laser surgery in order to give both girls a fair shot. I will say that once we made this decision and in my helplessness, I had a moment of awakening or spiritual revelation if you will, where I sat at a traffic stop praying for peace with whatever happened. I came to a full and complete understanding that the fate of my babies’ lives were beyond my control. In giving over their lives and this overwhelming burden of making such a hard decision and going through such an unknown journey, God gave me peace that He was in control and everything would be alright.
Once I was stable, Dr. Quintero performed the surgery and gave us the best news the following day — our donor who had little to no fluid in her sac prior to surgery was finally a happy little swimmer again. She was moving, her vitals were strong, and our recipient was handling everything really well, too.
We were sent on the long 10-hour roadtrip back home for constant monitoring and bedrest for the duration, and at 36 weeks, we welcomed two beautiful, healthy little girls.
We know how terribly fortunate we were to not lose them before the surgery with how severely the TTTS presented so early, and also with the pre-term labor that started at 18 weeks.
It was truly a miracle that our girls had no adverse health implications as a result of everything they experienced within the womb during those trying months of growth and development.
Having been through enormous challenges, individuals like Talitha are here to help families who quickly need resources or just the voice of someone who has “been there.” Contact us, or read more stories of families who have received fetal syndrome diagnoses.