Rare Twin Complication Brings Extraordinary Care

Faced with Twin-to-Twin-Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS), affecting only 1 in 1,400 pregnancies, Melissa Haen’s rural doctor sent her for care at Methodist Women’s Hospital’s Perinatal Center.

They had a game plan for our twins and said “this is what we’re going to do.”

During her first ultrasound, Melissa Haen discovered she wasn’t having just one baby, but two. That’s when her small-town doctor referred her to the maternal-fetal medicine specialists at Methodist Women’s Hospital Perinatal Center.

At 18 weeks, she learned her identical twin boys would share more than just a womb, but a rare, life-threatening condition. Diagnosed with Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS), the identical twins shared one placenta. This rare condition puts cardiovascular stress on one twin and may cause fetal death in the other.  

“First it was that shock of having twins, and then it was crash thinking ‘that can’t happen.’” said Melissa about learning their diagnosis. “There were lots of emotions - that’s for sure.”

Throughout her difficult pregnancy, she leaned heavily on the expert care she received at Methodist.

“The doctors at Methodist were amazing. They were so encouraging. They told us that things weren’t going that great but that our boys would be okay. They had a game plan and said, ‘this is what we’re going to do." said Melissa

The game plan included fetal surgery in Colorado, and when Melissa’s pregnancy reached 29 weeks, she was admitted to Methodist Women’s Hospital for the rest of her pregnancy.

“When I was in the hospital everybody knew what was going on. They really helped us and educated us,” said Melissa. “Every week they would give us a goal and it always felt so good to reach those goals. It’s how we kept going.”

At birth, Lincoln weighed just 3 pounds 14 ounces and Nolan weighed 2 pounds 11 ounces. Both were admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Methodist Women’s Hospital. Lincoln stayed in the NICU for 8 weeks and Nolan was sent home after 11 weeks.

“Every week they would give us a goal and it always felt so good to reach those goals. It’s how we kept going.”

Melissa Haen, expectant mother

“The nurses were so amazing. They were so good about educating us about what we needed to do and what was going on,” said Melissa. “They really made us feel like we were able to be good parents to our tiny boys.”

“I just can’t say enough about Methodist Women’s Hospital. We had such a good experience and it would be hard for me to have more babies and not go there.” The Haen family is grateful to all the doctors. “Even though he wasn’t in charge of our care, Dr. Lovgren always followed along and was really pretty cool. Dr. Lovgren kept the Colorado doctors updated about our situation and would come to the NICU to check on the boys.”

“I just thank God and recommend that if anyone has a baby, go to Methodist Women’s Hospital.”

Photo courtesy Aimee Slater Photography.