Birth Photography | Troy Liebenberg
“You can do the impossible, because you have been through the unimaginable” Christina Rasmussen.
Dreaming of the day we give birth to our own, looks different to everybody. I can however assure you that complications during pregnancy are not included in those dreams. Unfortunately to some it’s their reality. To Danyella and Ryan TTTS (Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome) became a devastating part of their reality.
” Twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is a serious disorder that occurs in identical twins and higher order multiples who share a placenta. This occurs when the blood vessels of the babies’ shared placenta are connected.
This results in one baby (this twin is referred to as the recipient) receiving more blood flow, while the other baby (this twin is referred to as the donor) receives too little. Twin to twin transfusion syndrome is also referred to as chronic inter-twin transfusion syndrome.” – http://americanpregnancy.org/multiples/twin-to-twin-transfusion-syndrome/
Read Danyella’s story of heart ace, desperation, hope and the birth of a miracle baby.
“The Story of Chase and Troy…My Twin Boys
It all started during week 8 of my pregnancy, I went to my first check-up appointment with my gynaecologist after finding out we were pregnant. My mom booked me an appointment while I was still travelling in America so that I could be seen the very next day after our return from the USA without having to wait very long.
Lying on the bed, I was so excited to hear my baby’s heartbeat for the first time. The Dr took a few moments and there it was – the heartbeat. Probably the most incredible moment of my life at that point. It was so clear and crisp, beating so fast. That was my baby. After a few moments, the Dr said: “Okay, there’s one more thing I need to tell you”. Eagerly I waited, until he said: “There’s another heart beat!” What?! This can’t be – I am having twins? At this moment, a flood of emotions ran through me, I was excited, but weary, happy, but scared, thrilled but nervous. I started thinking of everything a baby needs and doubling that, including the financial aspect of it. Regardless of it all, I was super excited to phone up the family and let them know. Before I got to that point the Dr told me to dress myself and come meet him in his office for a quick chat. I thought this was normal protocol and did so. As I sat there, my Dr started preparing me for the pregnancy. He mentioned that there are things such as a phantom twin, the pregnancy is usually consisted high risk, I have what they call a mono di twin pregnancy, and it is one of the most high risk pregnancies.
It was all a lot to take in, but I didn’t want all that information to take away from the joy I was supposed to be feeling about the news I just received.
We were going to be blessed with TWO gorgeous human beings – both identical to one another – boy or girl – it didn’t matter, they were going to be our miracles.
Our next appointment was when it all began. It was our 12 week appointment and we were so excited. It was with a MFM – a Dr that has some very high tech scanning machinery that allows you to see very clearly what is going on with the pregnancy for precautionary measures. This appointment very quickly took a turn for the worst when the Dr mentioned that there was a size difference in our boys. One was clearly a lot smaller than the other, which gives rise to the concern of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. A term that was going to haunt us for the remainder of our pregnancy. Most of what I remember about this appointment was simply bursting into tears as the Dr read me right act on termination options, and suggesting it quite strongly. I remember rushing out of the Dr’s room mid conversation to take a breather in the corridor. It was such a difficult moment for us, but it was only the beginning.
We ended up going for more appointments, each with a 2 to 6 week gaps in between that seemed to take a lifetime to pass. Each appointment we went to, our little babies size difference grew bigger and bigger and the option of termination was stressed upon us even more. I researched everything there is to know about TTTS.
It didn’t look good. My options were limited.
During our 16 week check, the Dr gave us our last ultimatum. Termination or laser surgery. He mentioned that SA is very far behind in terms of the laser surgery and I should look at going overseas for it. Europe was his first suggestion, and Australia was his second. I didn’t know what to do with this information and began feeling very overwhelmed. SA has one Dr who can perform laser surgery on TTTS – I emailed him immediately while walking out of the Dr’s rooms and he came back to me also suggesting to go overseas as he has only had 8 out of 25 successful surgeries and my chances of both twins surviving was less than 30% as opposed to an 80 – 90 percent overseas. I then got home and started emailing all the hospitals around the world who offered laser surgery to ask for assistance. I had so many calls with nurses and Dr’s explaining my situation, many of which required me to understand all the medical terms around TTTS. I remember feeling so stressed out and concerned that as a pregnant woman going through all of this, I was left on my own to figure out everything there is to know about this surgery without any help from my Dr’s. It turned out that my medical reports that I was sending to Directors of hospitals around the world were incorrect and showed no evidence of TTTS. I went back to my SA Dr’s and they got very irritated with me for needing to change their reports. I was trying to figure this all out by myself and felt like I was drowning. I had numerous panic attacks. I remember sitting on my bathroom floor struggling to breathe while my fiancé held me asking me to take a deep breath. This was not the plan. I was always supposed to have an easy pregnancy. This doesn’t happen to me. Why is this happening to me? What am I supposed to learn from this? Why would God put me through this. How are you supposed to get stronger from this? I hate this. I had so many conflicting thoughts, I was distraught.
I eventually made contact with the Chicago Children’s Hospital in the USA who would perform the laser surgery for me. I needed to get documentation from my MFM regarding my pregnancy. I needed to see my gynaecologist for measurements of my amniotic fluid of both boys, I needed to get flight clearance. There was so much prep for getting me ready for my trip to America but I knew it was all worth it. I had an 80 to 90 percent chance of my boys surviving the surgery and all being well in the end.
Until I received the bill.
I needed to pay over R600 000 upfront before I could board my flight and attend my booked MRI appointments in the USA and my laser surgery thereafter. This killed me. It was a Thursday morning. I had battled during the week with time communication to and from the USA due to the time differences and I couldn’t waste any more time. I would need to sell my house to make this trip.
My fiancé sat me down and brought me back to earth. I couldn’t do it. It’s unrealistic. It’s impractical. I would need to spend weeks in America after the surgery in bed rest. I didn’t have the money for it, I would be alone and who knows how my work would take that news. I just couldn’t do it. This broke me into a million pieces. My last hope was gone. I remember feeling like a failure. My one job as a mom was to protect my babies, and 16 weeks in, I have already failed.
The next best bet would be to meet with the SA Dr who could perform the surgery. I went from an 80 to 90 percent chance of survival to a 30 percent chance of survival, but I had no other choice. We made contact with the Dr and he scheduled an emergency appointment for me in Cape Town at 9:30pm. I arranged flights from JHB to CT and we made a plan to clear our diaries to go see this Dr. We were silent the whole flight to CT and the day seemed to drag on. Eventually we walked into the Dr’s room, ready for our scan to see if we could start the surgery immediately.
He paused and looked at me.
“Before we continue I need to let you know that there is only one heartbeat and I am sorry to say that you have lost one of your babies”.
At this point I thought I was going to burst into tears again but there was nothing. I couldn’t feel anything, I went numb. He continued the check up and I just lay there. His words were a blur and I don’t remember much of what he said thereafter. This was a taste of what the following weeks were going to be like. I was numb. I went into a state of shock where I just couldn’t feel anything, I couldn’t cry, and I couldn’t mourn the loss of my son. The next 3 weeks I spent in bed. I didn’t eat, I couldn’t get up, my fiancé did everything he could to help me but I was a wreck. It was the worst time of my life. You supposed to cry, you supposed to be sad, but then you are supposed to be relieved that the other twin is alive and well. These were all these feelings that I was supposed to feel but there was nothing.
We had another appointment with an MFM who brought up termination again. I thought we were past all this but now it was different. Now, due to the passing of one twin, his body could break down and flow into the surviving twins supply and cause brain damage. When was the bad news going to end? On top of this, the surviving twin received all his nutrients from his brother so he may not survive because he needs to figure out how to obtain the nutrients himself.
There was so much to consider at this point, I reached a point in my pregnancy where I gave in. I gave into what God had planned for me and believed that I just needed to accept things as they are and needed to give this baby boy the best chance of survival. I needed to start eating properly again and I needed to start being happy and enjoying the gift of pregnancy. I fought with myself but I knew that I am strong willed and I can convince my brain to do this. From that day on, I made a decision to be strong and healthy for my boy.
It was then that we named our sons, Chase, the donor, my angel who passed away and Troy, our survivor, our soldier who fought through the worst odds and survived.
7 months later I gave birth to a miracle. Troy was health 3.2kg’s heavy and 50 cm tall. He had his scans and he was an over achiever.
I was a mommy. After everything, I learnt that I am blessed to have my boy, safe in this world and healthy. There is nothing wrong with him as the Dr’s feared and he is perfect in every way.
He is a miracle.
He is my Troy.”
Baby Troy’s Birth slideshow 🙂
I hope that you as you browse through these images, you find hope, believe in love and witness a miracle.
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“I have been delaying writing my birth story. It has taken me a while to process the events from that day, and the days and few weeks following, and to be okay with not writing a ‘perfect’ story with perfect English. I truly hope that being real about the latter, and that which follows, will make at least one other mom out there, facing a similar experience, feel less alone in having had a ‘good but not perfect’ birth
I have had the privilege to work with many wonderful doulas and I would like to say thank you! Thank you not only for your servant heart but also for what you are doing for woman. In a place of vulnerability you aid us in being strong, in a place of insecurities you reassure, in a place of fear you speak hope!