The Extra Mile

Given slim chances of survival, the Every twins made it through, thanks to ultrasound technology, diligent home care – and a little improvisation

When Melanie Every was 22 weeks pregnant, she and husband, Neil, discovered they were expecting  identical twins that share a placenta and blood supply, known as monochorionic diamniotic. “During our routine ultrasound at BC Women’s we learned something wasn’t right—Teagan had hardly any amniotic fluid in her sac and her bladder was barely visible. Willow, on the other hand, had so much fluid and her bladder was large,” says Neil.

The couple was referred to BC Women’s Hospital’s Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) Clinic. The team specializes in the clinical care of women like Melanie, who are experiencing a complicated or high-risk pregnancy.

Dr. Tracy Pressey, one of the hospital’s MFM specialists, was consulted to go over her ultrasound results. “We sat and had a two-hour consult to review the results and decide on the best course of action,” says Pressey. “Because the girls had twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, they decided for laser ablation surgery, which would give their twins their best chance at survival.”

Wasting no time, the medical team urgently arranged for the procedure. When the family was able to return home, their care didn’t stop there. Melanie’s water broke early, so additional ultrasounds and assessments were performed by the MFM physicians, nurses and ultrasound technologists. To keep Melanie at home as long as possible, the hospital’s Antepartum Home Care program came to them. “We are one of only a few centres in the country to offer this unique program,” says Pressey.

Neil goes on to say: “Given the ruptured sac and the high risk of infection, or Melanie’s going into labour, it was crucial that she and the babies were monitored daily. Melanie was on bed rest for five months, so having the team come to our home (and lug all their equipment upstairs too!) was amazing.”

Throughout all the challenges, say the Everys, the hospital was there. “We are so grateful to Women’s,” he adds. “They saved the lives of our babies and did it with professionalism and, most importantly, empathy. This is especially true of the whole BC Women’s team and the amazing home care nurses who came to our home following the surgery and all the way up to the twins’ arrival.”

Article by: Michelle Hopkins
Photography by: Brian Howell