Author: Lauren Sinclair
MCDA Twins born at 29 weeks
On October 30th 2019, after a horribly painful last week of pregnancy, our MCDA twins Poppy and Layla were born after sudden onset Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome at 29 weeks. After being lucky enough to escape the early risk of TTTS in MCDA twins, within a two week period our girls went from being almost exact in size, to measuring a 30% discrepancy.
Twin to Twin Transfusion involves the shared placenta “rewiring” to send everything to one twin, and none to the other- resulting in extreme health risks for both babies. This was discovered in a routine ultrasound where I had been sure in my gut something was wrong, and they were delivered via emergency Caesarean section hours later.
Poppy Gwen was born first weighing 1.4kgs. She was rushed to NICU immediately because as the recipient twin, they were very concerned about the possibility of organ failure. Layla Louise arrived a minute later at 1kg, and I was allowed a very quick kiss before she too was rushed to NICU with her sister.
NICU journey with twins born at 29 weeks
Our NICU experience, though naturally traumatic, was fairly uneventful. We were lucky to have babies who were tiny, but healthy and to the most part, needed to grow. My husband Tyson and I were immediately smitten with our beautiful girls, and blown away by their strength at such an early gestation.
Poppy bounced back really quickly, moving out of NICU and into special care within two weeks. However our TTTS donor twin, Layla, struggled more than Poppy receiving 3 blood transfusions and being set back with a possible bowel infection.
Having babies moving through the NICU at different stages proved a challenge in itself, and one of my biggest struggles was coping with the guilt of leaving one baby to be with another. Our hospital was great in that where possible, they placed our babies together but this wasn’t always the case and I did have to move from one to another which caused extreme guilt, especially when Layla was experiencing more health issues than Poppy.
Faced with taking one twin home first
This challenge became even more difficult when it became a very real possibility that due to Poppys’ relatively uneventful journey through the NICU and into special care, that we would be taking one twin home first. Many tears were shed as I grappled with this, and I was lucky to have doctors and nurses that guided me through this.
As difficult as the decision was, my husband and I eventually decided that it was unfair to Poppy to leave her in care when she was healthy enough to be at home with us and we took our tiny Twin 1 home at 2.5kgs after a 7 week stay in hospital the week before Christmas.
Taking one twin home first
I don’t think I’ve ever felt so much guilt as a twin Mum as that drive home with Poppy. The seesaw of emotions between being overwhelmed with joy that we were finally going to have a baby home with us after 7 weeks, and being devastated that our girls were apart from each other and that we were letting Layla down by giving Poppy that extra time. I would hold Poppy at night, in complete bliss, and then be hit with a sudden wave of complete and utter despair that my other baby was currently being cared for by someone other than me. I worried needlessly that I would bond more with Poppy than I would with Layla because I had that time with her early on.
The benefit of taking one twin home first
Hindsight is a beautiful thing, and now that I am out of the situation, I can see benefits of taking one twin home first. As first time parents, we were able to ease into having a baby at home, by being comfortable with caring for her first. By the time we were responsible for both of them, we felt like we had some kind of routine established and were much less scared.
Our trips to see Layla in hospital daily felt even more special as it allowed us to not only see our other darling girl, but bring her twin sister to see her too. And getting Poppy ready to come to the hospital daily built my confidence so much in being out and about with a baby that by the time I was doing it with two babies, I felt much more confident and comfortable and was able to continue to get out and about in those early weeks.
Bringing both our twins home from hospital
On Christmas Eve we received the most beautiful surprise when the doctors told us that our tiny 1.9 kgs Layla was all ours to take home. The Christmas miracle we had so desperately wanted, but stopped hoping for so as not to get hurt, came true. On the night of Christmas Eve, we held both of our girls in bed and fed them whilst Santa did his deliveries, and on Christmas morning, we woke up (after limited sleep, of course) to our tiny and perfect girls in the bassinets beside our bed for the very first time.
Life today with MCDA Twins born at 29 weeks
Layla and Poppy are now 8 and half months old (6 months corrected) and are thriving, beautiful babies. Their bond is growing daily, and my fears were completely unwarranted as I have a beautiful relationship with both my girls who are like yin and yang in their personalities which we love!
For any expectant twin parent looking for support or connection, we have shared our NICU journey on Instagram @thetwinclairs and share daily updates about the ups and downs of being twin parents.