At 15 weeks pregnant with twin boys, Meghann Bauer was devastated to learn that the babies' lives were at risk. She was diagnosed with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, a circulation imbalance that can occur when twins share the same placenta, in which one twin receives too much blood and the other too little. Bauer's doctor reassured her that there were treatments available and that the best place to go was UCSF.
With Twins' Lives at Stake, Fetal Surgery Was Only Option
How did you learn there was a problem with your pregnancy?
At 15 weeks pregnant I was diagnosed with twin-to-twin transfusion. My doctor had noticed that the levels in the boys' fluids wasn't the same. We were sent to see Dr. Rand and his staff, who confirmed the diagnosis.
What was your reaction?
We had tried so hard to have a baby, and then we were so excited to have two. To be told that both their lives were at risk – we were devastated. What you read about twin-to-twin transfusion is not hopeful. But my obstetrician said without hesitation that UCSF was the best place to go, that they have ways to treat it.
How was your meeting with Dr. Rand?
We immediately felt comforted when we first met Dr. Rand. He was very personable, but you also got the feeling that he knew what he was talking about and was going to give his all to help save our babies. We completely trusted him. He told us that day, "I'll tell you when it's time [to treat the condition], and I'm going to be here with you through the whole thing."
He and his staff gave you that feeling of comfort when you walked in, that there was some hope that this could all turn out OK.
What was your treatment plan?
From 15 weeks on they monitored me. One to two times a week, we went in for ultrasounds and cardiac tests on the babies. We were there for three or four hours at a time, and at the end we'd always see Dr. Rand or one of his colleagues.
Dr. Rand would draw pictures for us of what was happening, on the whiteboard. Each week he would show us the fluid levels, how they had changed, their connections in the placenta and how it was all shaping out. So we understood completely what was going on throughout the whole thing.
The teacher in me loved that. I'm a visual person, and the pictures helped my husband and me get a grasp on what was going on. We were able to explain it to our family and friends, because it's not that common.
What was the result?
At 19 weeks, they did a laser procedure to separate the connections between the babies. They gave me a spinal, so I was awake for the surgery.
At 35 weeks, I had two beautiful, healthy babies. They spent six days in the hospital, never needed oxygen or respirators, and came home healthy and happy.
What are they like now?
Matthew's the daredevil and William is our comedian. William thinks everything is funny and loves to make you laugh. Matthew likes to climb on anything – in the blink of an eye he's crawling off to some new adventure.
Their personalities are completely different, which I love. They're identical twins, but they're not identical.
Fetal Treatment Center
Betty Irene Moore Women's Hospital
1855 Fourth St., Second Floor, Room A-2432
San Francisco, CA 94158