It was a happy homecoming for twin boys who were released from a South Florida hospital after spending weeks in intensive care after their mother was diagnosed with a rare condition during her pregnancy.
It has been a long road for Milan and Matteo, but earlier this past week, they were finally able to head home with their parents.
“These two babies have been fighting for a while,” said Paola, their mother.
7News cameras captured the moment the babies were carried out of Mercy Hospital in Coconut Grove by their parents as hospital staff clapped and cheered.
Milan and Matteo spent 50 days at the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit in Coconut Grove.
“We had a miscarriage in January, and then we got pregnant during quarantine,” said Paola. “It was completely a blessing from God. We were not expecting that.”
The boys were born prematurely, weighing only 3 pounds.
Paola said she suffered a rare pregnancy condition known as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, or TTTS.
“They share a placenta, and the placenta was giving more to one twin than the other,” said Paola, “and 80 to 100% of the cases of TTTS without treatment, the babies just die.”
Paola discovered she had the condition when she was just 17 weeks pregnant with the twins. Her doctor discovered a discrepancy and referred her to another doctor in South Florida.
The Central Florida couple drove from St. Augustine, but they had no idea the journey they were about to take.
“Got our first surgery at 20 weeks, fetal surgery,” said Paola. “Developed TAPS, which is twin anemia polycythemia syndrome, at 23 weeks, and at 24 weeks had our second surgery done. Week 25, we’re ready to go home, and we have a membrane separation … and at 28 weeks, I went into labor.”
Now with the babies fully recovered, the parents are ready to spend their first Christmas with them. They said it wouldn’t have been possible without the doctors and nurses who were by their side every step of the way.
“The beautiful thing about all of this is that the nurses were so incredibly understanding and loving and caring, and they would explain everything to us,” said Paola.
It was a journey the doctors were happy to take with them.
“Nobody expects to have preemie babies in a pandemic,” said a doctor at Mercy Hospital. “They live in St. Augustine — they don’t even live in Miami — and they fought, and they fought and fought, and here we are, on the day of discharge.”
It’s a day this family was able to spend at home with their new loved ones.
“Praise the Lord. That’s all I can say,” said Paola. “This is the best Christmas present ever.”
Doctors say TTTS happens in 10% of all identical twins. Paola said she hopes her story sends a message to other mothers who are carrying more than one child: that this condition is difficult but treatable if detected early.
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