Kate Lucas always loved babies and loved being a mom. Lucas was already a mom to a 13-year-old daughter and a younger son when she and her husband decided to have a third child. Everything was going fine until a routine check-up at the OBGYN, who told her some surprising news: Lucas wasn’t just only going to have a third child, but a fourth, too. She was carrying twins.
There was also a complication, however. The twins had split from a single egg, but did so rather late in the fertilization process. In fact, Lucas’ doctor told her that if they had split just one day later, they may have been conjoined. In the end, they weren’t conjoined, but the doctor warned that because they’d split so late, they would be sharing an amniotic sac and fluid. Because they were sharing the same fluid, the chance of their umbilical cords getting tangled was very high.
The twins in utero, and an image of how their umbilical cords ended up.
This instance of twins sharing an amniotic sac is known as Monoamniotic-Monochorionic twins, or MoMo twins. Only about one percent of twins are MoMo, and MoMo twins come with a lot of potential risks. The main concern is that if the cords tangle, they can become compressed. This means that oxygen and nutrients wouldn’t reach the babies, and development could be stunted — or they could die.
After learning this news, Lucas had to deal with everything that came with it. There was regular monitoring of her and the twins’ health, weekly scans, and, at 28 weeks, Lucas checked into the maternity ward for even closer observation. Meanwhile the cords, which were indeed tangled, were monitored, and steroids were given to the twins to help with their lung development and function.
At 32 weeks, Lucas went in for a C-section, as a natural birth would be traumatic for the mother and children. A premature, high-risk C-section was understandably daunting, but the girls were born taking full breaths and screaming their tiny hearts out — and they continued to breathe on their own! No oxygen or medication was needed.
It truly was amazing when the cords were examined. Their cords were tangled into a thick, twisted braid. There was even an actual knot in one place!
After much more monitoring, the family could finally go home.
Fast forward eight years, and the twins, named Harper and Cleo, are doing just fine.
Harper and Cleo are extremely close today, and are perfectly healthy at eight years old. Their parents couldn’t be happier!
They’re also really stylish.
(via Miracle Babies, Woman’s Day)
Lucas’ story is a harrowing one, but one that came out with a happy ending, despite all the odds. Having three kids all under three, plus one teenager, was a challenge. Still, as everyone grew, Lucas says that the twins having each other actually made things easier.
You can read more about Harper and Cleo on Australia’s Miracle Babies Foundation page, and be sure to read other amazing stories of babies beating the odds.