Syndrome threatens lives of unborn twins - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

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Syndrome threatens lives of unborn twins

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Shana Keyes went from happily pregnant to high risk in one day. That's when the Suwanee woman, who is expecting identical twins, was diagnosed with a rare, but serious complication: Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

Babies in the womb get their nourishment from the placenta, which is the fluid sack that surrounds them. In Shana's case, her identical twins share the same placenta and the supply of blood vessels is uneven.

One twin is getting too much nourishment, the other too little, putting them both in danger.

With their first child, Gavin, conceiving was so easy for Shana and her husband Kevyn. Within three months, they were expecting.
      
"This time it was definitely a little bit harder. This time took longer," said Shana.

After miscarrying last summer, she got pregnant again in February.

Her OB confirmed Shana is pregnant with identical twin boys. That's when the doctor mentioned "Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome."

"It happens to about 15 percent of identical twin pregnancies," said Shana.

About four months into her pregnancy, Shana felt pressure, like something was wrong. An ultrasound showed something was: one twin was getting too much of the blood supply and nutrients, the other not enough.
       
"With the same placenta, they're basically sharing the same food source.  And, as one doctor put it to me, one is stealing groceries from the other," Shana said.

Doctors told Shana and Kevyn to fly to Houston quickly for laser surgery in order to even out the twins' blood supply in the womb.

"Because if the surgery doesn't happen, the mortality rate of the twins is between 90 and 100 percent. So, it was kind of a no-brainer: you either do this or you lose your babies."

Even with the surgery, there is still a chance that Shana could lose one or both of the twins. She gets another ultrasound each week.

"It's bittersweet because we get to go in and see them, see them moving around, but every week you kind of wonder, OK, are they going to find something else that's wrong," said Shana.

The Keyes are self-insured and don't have maternity coverage.  She's created a Go Fund Me account, where friends and family can help cover some of their many bills.

"Again it's really humbling to have to ask for help from people, but the outpouring of support that we've gotten from friend and family across the country has been amazing," said Shana Keyes.

Shana says she'll worry about money later. Right now her focus is helping the twins make it. She's named the twins Camden and Owen.

Shana has been able to raise enough money to cover a couple of her specialist appointments, but she says each visit is about $5,000.

One of the warning signs of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome is a feeling the pregnancy is developing too quickly. Shana said that at 16 weeks, she suddenly felt like she was 40 weeks pregnant.

The babies are not out of the woods, but Shana is on bed rest and is being checked every week.

There's a good chance the twins will be born early by Caesarian section.
To read more about Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, go to TTTsfoundation.org

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