For extraordinary surgeries and everyday childhood
When Lindsey and Jake, both UC Davis physicians, learned they were pregnant with their first child, it was the moment they had been waiting for.
When they learned it was twins, it was even more joyous.
When they learned their twins could had a life-threatening condition before they were even born, things became dire.
Mom Lindsey had begun receiving routine prenatal care at UC Davis Health the moment she discovered she was pregnant.
“Being a physician, I know what ultrasounds look like. So, when they started and the doctor was taking his time, I was watching the screen and he goes, ‘Are you seeing what I’m seeing?’” Lindsey explains of the incredible moment she realized it was twins.
“We knew it would change our lives, but we didn’t even know the half of it,” she says.
Later, during a regular checkup at UC Davis Health, doctors discovered the twins, Bodhi and Bear, were sharing the same placenta and one was not getting enough blood flow.
Bodhi was getting significantly more blood flow than Bear, meaning that as Bodhi grew, he was essentially starving his twin brother of the nutrition necessary to develop – and getting too much for his own good.
The condition is referred to as Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome. Without intervention, it can be fatal for both babies.
Their team of physicians at UC Davis Health devised a plan to save the lives of their twins and try to ensure the safest, healthiest birth for mom and babies.
Dr. Shinjiro Hirose, chief of Pediatric General, Thoracic and Fetal Surgery at UC Davis Health, personally provided guidance and oversaw Lindsey’s care.
After more advanced imaging, it became clear that to save their boys, Lindsey would need to go into surgery while they were still in the womb.
At the time, Dr. Hirose and his team had only had to performed 5 surgeries for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.
“Of all twins who share one placenta, this happens about 10 percent of the time,” Dr. Hirose says.
UC Davis Health is one of only three centers on the west coast specializing in this procedure, and dozens more as equally rare.
Dr. Hirose and his team performed a fetal surgery within her uterus to stop the sharing of blood from Bear to Bodhi, ultimately halting the progression of the transfusion between the two twins. While it is considered minimally invasive for the mother, it’s an advanced surgical treatment for the unborn babies, but one that can be lifesaving after just a single procedure.
For Lindsey, it was a scary experience that ended with a feeling of extreme relief.
“The moment they were born, the moment they pulled Bear out first and I heard him give a healthy scream – I knew it was going to be okay.”
As her now 2-year-old boys have grown happy and healthy, she credits their surgery before they were even born with the reason for their survival today.
“Without the care we received from UC Davis Health, we wouldn’t have these babies,” Lindsey says.