The Same, Yet Different: Donald and Zachary's Story | The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment

The Same, Yet Different

All the ingredients were the same. Same mom. Same dad. Same uterus. Same monoamniotic sac. Same DNA.

Yet, before the twin boys were born, doctors discovered they were not quite as identical as their DNA revealed.

One boy had just one lung and a small stomach. The other had normal anatomy.

Pregnant with at least one baby with a known birth defect, Kim and husband Will, from East Windsor, NJ, were referred to CHOP.Donald and Zachary
Bundles of Joy
Parents Kim and Will hold their twins Donald and Zachary for a family portrait at the 15th Annual Fetal Family Reunion. Donald was born with only one lung. For more photos from the reunion, see our slide show.

At 28 weeks gestation, Kim was admitted to the Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit at CHOP so she and the babies could be monitored more closely. She stayed in a comfortable single room, where her husband could spend the night and both of their families could visit.

“For six weeks the nurses and doctors in the SDU were our extended family,” Kim said.

The couple and their two cherub-like babies attended the 15th Annual Fetal Family Reunion at the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at CHOP on June 26.

Looking at Donald and Zachary, both chubby 7-month-olds with dark hair and wide brown eyes, most people could not tell which child had a birth defect. 

“We say Donald was our little troublemaker and Zachary was along for the ride,” said Kim as she smiled and caressed Donald’s face. Donald rewarded her with a smile that lit up his eyes as well as his mouth. Meanwhile, Will rubbed Zachary’s foot, producing a smile from the other twin in the double stroller.

Though Donald was born with only one lung, doctors expect him to have 70 percent of normal lung capacity once he’s fully grown, Kim said. “His one lung compensated for the other one that’s missing and grew larger,” Will added.

“Doctors tell us Donald will be able to run and jump and play the same as other children,” Kim said.

“He won’t be a distance runner, but he will be able to do sprints,” Will added.

Donald also has a gastric tube for nutrition. The couple says his small stomach will be stretched over time as he continues to grow.

“We came to the reunion to say hi to everyone,” Will said. “We spent so much time with them when Kim was pregnant.”

The couple was hoping to catch up with Victor Zachian, MD, FACOG; Nahla Khalek, MD; Judy Prince, RN; Haley Werkheiser, nursing student; Stephanie Young, PCT; and Star Sumpter, intake clerk.

“We’re really here to celebrate them,” Kim said. “They’ve done so much for our family.”

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