Now thriving 12 year olds, identical twins Stella and Olivia DeFilippis are a force to be reckoned with, sharing an infectious laugh and a hidden language that only they know.
Growing up, the girls delighted in the fact that almost everyone they met has a hard time telling them apart. But before they 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. One baby receives too much blood and nutrients, while the other doesn't get enough.
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 and the twins underwent a minimally invasive fetal surgery procedure called fetoscopic laser ablation to disconnect the communicating blood vessels and stop the unequal flow of blood. The goal is to halt the progression of TTTS.
Watch the video below to hear the DeFilippis family talk about their journey and meet the twins a few years ago when they were 5 years old. Fast forward to today, and the now 7th graders are full of energy with the same infectious laugh and smiles that light up the room. Avid animal lovers and athletes, you can often find them tearing up the soccer field and basketball court, surfing at the Jersey Shore, or campaigning their parents for a family dog..
"It's true what they say about identical twins, there is that hidden language that only they know," says their mom. "It's like they can communicate with their eyes only."
Updated October 2020