Kate Lucas and her husband have already raised 2 children but decide to have another child. The pregnancy test is soon positive and the gynecologist jokes: “Let’s have a listen to the heartbeat and see if it’s just one!” During the ultrasound, the doctor sticks up 2 fingers. Kate is confused and asks her what the “Peace Sign” is for. “There’s two!” exclaims the doctor. But that is not the only news that Kate receives.
The embryos have only first separated 8 – 13 days after insemination, which means that there is no protective membrane between the two children. Just a day or two later and the babies would have probably been conjoined twins. But there are also serious risks involved in this so-called monochorionic twin pregnancy: the umbilical chords become life threatening dangers, increasing the chance for entanglement, strangulation or blockage. These extremely rare twins only have a survival chance of about 50%.
Astoundingly, the doctor advises the distressed soon-to-be mom to keep the pregnancy a secret, to let nature take its course! The mother in waiting changes doctors immediately. After the 28th week of pregnancy, Kate spends 5 weeks in the hospital, fighting for the survival of her twins daily. Then the doctors perform a Cesarean section. When the doctors see the umbilical chord, it becomes deadly silent in the delivery room. The two umbilical chords, the lifeline of the two babies, are completely interlocked, just like a single hair braid! It beggars belief that no blockage occurred and that the two girls survived! But that’s not all. The twins are indeed small and underweight since they were born early. But they are completely healthy! The birth was induced just at the right moment. For if the doctors had waited longer, the entanglement of the umbilical chords would have cut the babies off from the lifeline to their mother. The two preterm girls don’t even need a ventilator or an incubator. But remain under special care. Eventually the two unique twins are allowed to go home. Just 1% of twin pregnancies are monochorionic and these very special sisters belong to an up-to-now very little researched type of twin. What is sure, however, is that Harper and Cleo, now 8, are the best of friends, despite their completely different personalities. Their difficult entry into life seems to be completely forgotten.