Stella and Olivia's Story: Twin-twin Transfusion Syndrome

Five-year-old identical twins Stella and Olivia DeFilippis are full of giggles, and love to make each other laugh. They delight in the fact that almost everyone they meet has a hard time telling them apart. But before the girls were born, there was a very significant difference that meant a life or death situation for one or both of the twins.

Olivia and Stella were diagnosed in utero with twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), a life-threatening condition in which blood circulates unequally between the twins. Their parents, Trista and Chris, turned to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where a team of fetal medicine experts had extensive experience treating TTTS.

Trista walked into The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia when she was 21 weeks pregnant with her twins. Look at them now.


‪Stella and Olivia’s Twin-Twin Transfusion Story: Look at Them Now‬

Olivia: Sometimes when she gets hurt, and she cries, I cry. Cause she’s my sister.

Trista: I remember calling him from the car saying there was a problem, and you know, they can’t do anything for us. So you know, they actually had recommended to go to CHOP.

Chris: The doctor was telling us what the condition entailed, and gave us the statistics, and I remember thinking to myself, those numbers don’t sound very good.

Trista: Neither of us had ever heard of twin to twin transfusion syndrome. One baby was getting too much blood, nutrients, and one wasn’t getting enough.

Chris: We were both in a state of shock. What was a perfectly normal pregnancy, just maybe 48 hours earlier, now we were in a position of losing both babies.

One option was to go into the blood vessels of that shared placenta and create two distinct halves instead of one whole that was being shared. So each baby is going to get the right amount of blood flow. There were only a couple of medical facilities practicing this procedure. It gave us our best chance for a favorable outcome for both babies.

We had been told that the procedure at CHOP went well, but you know, they can’t tell for sure until the babies are born. So the day that they were born and the doctor said that they're healthy, we felt very blessed that we had been introduced to the right people to help us.

We really felt like there was a full team approach to this, which raised our confidence that this isn’t one person’s opinion.

Trista: When they say, “Who’s older?” We always say, “Stella was taken out first, but you were born in the same minute.”

Chris: We certainly have a huge sense of gratitude to all the folks that have dedicated their life’s work into figuring out how to give an unborn baby a better chance at a healthy life.

Trista: I would just say that I, I could never thank them enough. We feel so lucky and so blessed.

I walked through the doors of CHOP when I was 21 weeks pregnant with the twins…

Chris: And look at them now.

Topics Covered: Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS)

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