UK mother opens up about traumatic TTTS ordeal

Oliver, pictured in hospital after his premature birth, and Elijah suffered from rare disease twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS). Photo / Facebook
Oliver, pictured in hospital after his premature birth, and Elijah suffered from rare disease twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS). Photo / Facebook

A mother has opened up about her traumatic ordeal after learning one of her twins had died in the womb.

Emma Dutton and partner Mark Prince were delighted to learn she was pregnant with identical twin boys after they spending months trying for a baby.

But the couple, of Walsall, West Midlands, were told after 18 weeks that their children were suffering from rare disease twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS).

The condition affects the placenta in cases of identical twins and means one of the foetuses may be receiving much less blood than the other.

And two weeks later Miss Dutton, 30, was told her son Elijah had died in the womb.

She carried him in her womb for 15 more weeks before giving birth to surviving child Oliver via caesarean section in June 2016.

Oliver weighed 4lb 11oz and is now a happy and healthy child, but his late brother was removed from the womb weighing just three ounces.

The couple are now raising money online to support the TTTS Registry, which is collecting information about the disease to prevent it in the future.

It was set up by charity Twins and Multiple Births Association (TAMBA) and Miss Dutton said she hopes 'no other parents have to lose their babies, and no other brothers or sisters have to grow up without their twin."

Writing on her JustGiving page, Miss Dutton said: "On 15th Feb 2016, we had our 18week scan and found out we were having identical boys!

"We were sat back in the waiting room and couldn't believe we'd now got to think of two boys names when we couldn't even think of one.

"We were then dealt the blow that we were showing signs twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS).

Emma Dutton and partner Mark Prince. Photo / Facebook
Emma Dutton and partner Mark Prince. Photo / Facebook

"This is explained as a disease of the placenta where abnormal blood vessels interrupt the blood flow to the babies causing one baby to not have enough, and one baby to have too much.

"Due to needing specialised care, we were referred to Birmingham Women's fetal unit."

She added: "Only eight per cent of ID pregnancies get this, with a 95 per cent chance they will die without laser ablation surgery.

"TTTS progressed very quickly for us and in five days we were stage 3 (of 5) and having the surgery plus two litres of fluid drained on February 23, 2016, under local anaesthetic.

"We were scanned afterwards and the good news was that the boys survived the surgery.

"On February 29 (20+1weeks) we went for our follow up scan and my little boy lay on the screen not moving, no little wriggles, no little bubbles, and no heartbeat.

"That image will never leave my memory."

Speaking to the Mirror, she added: "We tried for ages to have a baby, so when we were told it was twins it was amazing.

"To have that news and then be told one of them had died was just absolutely devastating. After that, I was convinced I'd lose the other one too."

She added: "He [Elijah] stayed with me until he was born. It was incredibly sad, but I'm also pleased they had the chance to be born together."

Oliver is now "happy and healthy". Photo / Facebook
Oliver is now "happy and healthy". Photo / Facebook

A complicated laser surgery is available for pregnant women whose children have TTTS, but Miss Dutton was told she was diagnosed 'too early' for the procedure.

Called laser ablation, it involves doctors entering the womb with a camera and laser to make the blood supply more even by "sealing off" blood vessels.

Miss Dutton urged people to donate to the TTTS registry to help improve survival rates in the future, adding she hopes "Elijah is looking down and will be proud" of his family.

- Daily Mail

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