The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

February 3, 2013

Parents see child’s survival as miracle

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“We are just completely blessed,” she said. “I don’t know any other words to say. We just enjoy every moment with all three of our kids.”

Frank’s odyssey with her twins began in August 2010. During a visit to a doctor she was told she’d had a miscarriage and was advised to follow up with her regular obstetrician. On that follow-up visit, however, she learned she still had a living baby in her womb.

In further follow-up care, she was scheduled for several ultrasounds where, during one visit, a sonographer gaped at the screen and informed Frank she was carrying twins.

A few weeks later, however, another ultrasound found that one of the twins was growing faster than the other. After doing a few tests, doctors surmised it might be a condition called twin to twin transfusion syndrome. The condition is characterized by compromised blood flow between twins that results in one being malnourished and the other having a heart that needs to work twice as hard to pump the increased blood volume.

She was put on bed rest and given medication to stave off the onset of labor.

Doctors at Abbott Northwestern Hospital said one of her twins also may be suffering from a condition called intrauterine growth restriction. Eventually they ordered her to be hospitalized at Abbott until delivery day. They monitored the progress of the twins constantly, and when she finally gave birth, they wrapped the babies up, let her hold them briefly, then whisked them away to Children’s Hospital, a short walk from Abbott.

After their birth, doctors determined Emmi had been using 70 percent of the placenta while Elea had just 30 percent. After birth by cesarean section, both kids were considered high risk and placed into a neonatal intensive care unit. Emmi thrived and was allowed to leave before her due date. Elea, however, struggled.

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