The Short of It
Paige and Ella Bailey survive twin to twin transfusion syndrome and are now thriving.
Oklahoma couple Sally and Brandon Bailey were thrilled to be expecting twins, even though they were still healing from the loss of their first baby to miscarriage. But their excitement soon turned to worry when they learned their girls were monochorionic—identical twins who shared a placenta—and they also suffered from a rare and dangerous condition called twin to twin transfusion syndrome. That meant they shared blood vessels and were essentially conjoined—and they could die if they weren't separated in utero.
Why? Because twin to twin transfusion syndrome means one twin is donating blood to the sibling, which makes her vulnerable to anemia, have trouble producing urine and fail to grow and thrive. Meanwhile, the recipient twin suffers from polyhydramnios, where too much blood and urine floods the amniotic sac.
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"It was pretty devastating. Everyone gets pregnant and think this is going to be beautiful. As soon as we found out that we had this condition, we knew that wasn't going to be the case," Bailey told Today.
As if that wasn't scary enough, the shell-shocked parents soon learned Paige, the recipient twin, also suffered from pulmonary stenosis and would require heart surgery after birth.
But the first obstacle was attempting to save the girls by using lasers to separate their vessels. Bailey was preparing herself to undergo this procedure when doctors determined the girls' condition was not worsening, and they would not need surgery after all!
"It was just an absolute miracle that the girls were able to survive this without having the surgery. These girls ... fought so hard in my belly to survive," the grateful mom says.
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Paige and Ella were born via C-section at 34 weeks, and while Ella was able to go home after spending two weeks in the NICU, Paige still required surgery for her heart condition.
Understandably, Bailey said, "Honestly, that was probably one of the hardest things for me to deal with, is that they couldn't be together for a really, really long time."
Unfortunately, Paige's medical odyssey was far from over. Doctors discovered she had necrotizing enterocolitis, which meant part of her intestine was dead. Following a surgery to correct that malady, her parents learned Paige had meningitis.
It's truly hard to fathom how the Baileys kept their chins up as the hits kept coming, but clearly, their positive attitude allowed them to get through their daughter's next surgery to insert a stent in her heart. And finally, after two months, she was allowed to go home.
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Now the twins' mom offers this uplifting update: "We're doing great. The girls are just doing awesome. Ella is goofy, funny, and active and curious. Paige is just sweet and gentle."
It's possible Paige will need more heart surgery in the future, but for now, here's hoping the Baileys can finally enjoy their time together as a family-of-four.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help the family with their medical expenses.