How Ultrasound Saves Lives

December 19, 2017 10:55am
Rare mono mono twins’ lives saved by specialized care, supported by donors like you

When Shelby and Greg Goodvin found out they were expecting twins they were thrilled. Joy soon turned to fear with the discovery that the identical twins shared one amniotic sac and one placenta. 

The extremely rare type of twin pregnancy, monochorionic/monoamniotic — more commonly called mono mono twins— would lead to a difficult and very high-risk pregnancy.

The expectant couple and their toddler Holden, moved from their home in Horsefly B.C. to Vancouver when Shelby was 26 weeks pregnant for twice-daily monitoring, including non-stress tests and ultrasounds.

Although mono mono fetuses share one amniotic sac and one placenta, they do have separate umbilical cords and frequently the cords and babies get entangled with each other.

“Entanglement and compression of the cords is what we’re really concerned about. We’re on pins and needles every day because the oxygen supply to the baby can be reduced or cut off entirely, which can cause neurological damage, or worse,” says Dr. Ken Lim, head of the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine at the BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre.

When to deliver? It’s a delicate balance between the risks and benefits.  “The longer you leave them in, the higher the risks of something bad happening; but on the other hand you don’t want to take them out too soon as you then incur the risks of prematurity which includes death and disability,” says Dr. Lim. “Our team decided a C-section was in order at 31 weeks because the monitoring showed indications of cord compression and that twin b would be at risk; it just became too dangerous to continue with the pregnancy.”

Within two hours Shelby was wheeled into the delivery room where BC Women’s Maternal Fetal Medicine, Anaesthesiology, Labour and Delivery, and NICU teams were waiting. 

On May 31, 2016, just days away from their 32-week goal, Shelby gave birth to Camden and Courtlen, both just three pounds, 11 ounces.

Dr. Lim credits BC Women’s world-class family-centered care for the Goodvin’s happy ending. “We have a fabulous team that can handle these extremely complex cases.”

“They are perfect,” say the proud parents. “We feel so blessed. Their births couldn’t have gone any better and we can’t thank the team at BC Women’s enough for what they did for our family.”

Shelby and Greg Goodvin with their son Holden and healthy twins Camden and Courtlen are pictured above.  Camden and Courtlen shortly after they returned home pictured below.  

Photography by: Laureen Carruthers.
Article by: Michelle Hopkins

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