A pair of identical twins escaped death against all odds and saved each other—by hugging in the womb.
Mother Vicky Plowright, 30, was told that the twins were monoamniotic, meaning they shared one amniotic sac (a bag of fluid inside a woman’s womb where the unborn baby develops and grows). She was only told of the condition at her 10-week scan, the Independent reported.
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The problem with this condition was that their umbilical cords could get tangled, shutting off their oxygen supply and thereby killing them both.
Plowright from Godalming, England said: “I was with my sister, Georgina, and we were told the twins were monoamniotic, or Mo-Mo (Monoamniotic-Monochorionic), twins. This is very rare, affecting between one in 35,000 and one in 60,000 twins in the UK, and means they shared one amniotic sac, instead of having one each.
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“I was devastated, as doctors explained it also meant the babies were at extremely high risk—around 50 percent—of not surviving the pregnancy, because of their close proximity,” Plowright told the Independent.
Plowright and her fiancé, Chris Cremer, 32, are both nursery nurses. Plowright’s sister accompanied her to what she thought would be a routine checkup, hoping to simply update Cremer, when they got the sinking news.
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“I was in total shock, as I’d just been saying to my sister ‘as long as there’s not two,’ as we already have a daughter, Jocelyn, 4, and I didn’t think we had the space or energy for two more,” she said.
But then the sonographer told them the twins were very close.
After given an internal scan, doctors ruled out the twins being conjoined, but they were still concerned.
“The scan seemed to show our twins were sharing the same amniotic sac,” Plowright continued. “They said it meant the babies were at high risk and we needed to go back as soon as possible to see a specialist.
“I was hysterical and rang Chris in a total state. I had no idea what this would mean,” she said.
“In the space of an hour I’d found out we were expecting twins, but that they could be in danger. It was torture, thinking that we could lose them at any time,” Plowright added.
But the news soon changed. At a 12-week scan, the mother and her fiancé saw something magical.
“To our astonishment, at the 12-week scan, we saw that they were cuddling each other and holding hands,” Plowright recalled. “They were keeping each other alive by staying still, so their umbilical cords didn’t get tangled.”
Doctors arranged to see the mother every one to two weeks, until week 32 when Plowright was advised to give birth because of the limited womb space.
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“By staying still in that position, they’d stopped the cords from becoming so badly tangled that it killed them,” Plowright said. “It really was a miracle.”
On Dec. 22, 2015, Plowright was taken to a delivery room at the Royal Surrey Hospital in Guilford, with Chris by her side, for a cesarean. Reuben arrived at 11.22 a.m. weighing 3 pounds, 14 ounces, followed by his identical twin brother, Theo, just one minute later, weighing 3 pounds, 7 ounces, the Independent reported.
“Both of them came out screaming and, most importantly, they were alive,” Plowright recalled.
“Chris was sobbing next to me, as well. We were just so happy that they’d made it.”
The twins were kept in the neo-natal unit for about another month before being discharged at the end of January. Now, aged 22 months, they could not be closer.
“They are the best of friends,” Plowright told the Independent. “Before they even knew the world, they knew each other, and grew together in such a small space that I knew they would have a special bond for the rest of their lives.
“Reuben is the ‘do-er’ and Theo the ‘thinker,’ but they always have an eye on where the other one is,” she said.