Grateful for Life, Double Blessings and the NICU

A twins pregnancy can mean twice the excitement for parents-to-be as they prepare to welcome two bundles of joy. It can also bring with it some added stress, especially if the twins are monoamniotic-monchorionic ― or MoMos. MoMo twins have only one amniotic sac and one placenta between them, which is why they are at high risk for umbilical cord entanglement and other complications. Because it’s quite rare, a MoMo twins pregnancy requires special care and monitoring.

Natalie Martin and her husband Kevin already had two daughters when they found out they were going to be doubly blessed with MoMo twins. The pregnancy was going along well but its high-risk nature prompted Natalie’s obstetrician Tania Jackson, M.D., a physician on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano, to admit her to the hospital’s Antepartum unit for bed rest at just 25 gestational weeks. Nurses closely monitored the expectant mom and helped her prepare for the monochorionic twins.

“With the high-risk nature of Natalie’s pregnancy, she and her husband were counseled on the outcome possibilities with this type of delivery,” Jackson acknowledged. “The family was assured that they would receive the best possible care from experienced nurses and neonatal specialists at Texas Health Plano.”

“The nursing staff was very patient focused and accommodating to my needs,” Natalie said. “They helped me through some difficult days of monitoring by providing me with crafts to do and sharing stories of motherhood. I was able to take a tour of the NICU while I was there and that helped prepare me for what was to come.”

At 31 weeks, Twin A’s heart rate began plummeting. It was a sign that the umbilical cord had become tangled around the baby. And, that wasn’t the end of the problems. Natalie’s uterus ruptured and her placenta started separating from the uterine wall, causing severe hemorrhaging. As the 31-year-old was prepped for an emergency cesarean delivery, she also required several blood transfusions.

“I almost died bringing life into this world, but I am so thankful to have two beautiful girls to show for it,” said Natalie.

Baby Kaylie was delivered at 2 pounds-14 ounces and baby Kelsie weighed in at 2 pounds-15 ounces. Kelsie quickly needed a blood transfusion of her own and also had to be resuscitated. When the girls got situated in the hospital’s Level IIIB Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, they both began non-invasive treatment for jaundice and Kaylie received respiratory support until she was able to breathe on her own.

Another first for the Martins was Kelsie’s diagnosis of coloboma, a rare condition which prohibits the normal tissue in or around the eye from forming and that can lead to vision trouble. Not being familiar with the disorder, Natalie and Kevin had many questions about it and what to expect for their daughter. The nurses made sure to get them answers and brought in an eye specialist to address their concerns.

“The nurses and physicians [on the medical staff] kept us informed about everything and if something was unknown, they researched it,” Natalie added. “None of our questions went unanswered. They helped us cope during the difficult times and that put our minds at ease.”

During their stay in the NICU with Kelsie (36 days) and Kaylie (60 days), the Martins had access to other services and support that made a difference. They were able to take advantage of the NICU’s Peek-a-Boo webcams to check in on the girls when they had to be away from the hospital, and kangaroo care gave them the opportunity for skin-on-skin contact with the twins. Natalie also praised the work of the certified lactation consultants who allowed her to use the hospital’s pumps and helped her establish a breastfeeding schedule for the twins.

“We received ongoing encouragement from the doctors and nurses in the NICU that everything was going to be fine. It was hard to leave one baby behind but many of the nurses kept us positive by telling us this was a good thing. It would help us better prepare for when both girls were home. The reassurance was amazing, and always gave us hope. For this, we are so very grateful,” Natalie said.

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