PARKER (CBS4) – A family of seven in Parker feels doubly blessed this holiday season. In July they welcomed a set of twins — baby girls who survived a rare life-threatening syndrome.
Berkley Catherine and Kensley Tru Ballard are identical twins, but what they shared in the womb almost killed them. Their father, Todd Ballard, calls the 5-month-old twins “Normal, amazing, beautiful and fun; everything that you would want; a blessing and a miracle.”
Todd and Laura were shocked when they learned they were having twins. They got scared when at 14 weeks they found out the pair suffered from Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. The babies shared a placenta and blood vessels. The blood flow was uneven. Kensley was getting too much blood and her heart was overworking. Berkley was getting too little blood and was tiny and anemic.
“If you don’t treat them, the overall majority of these babies do not survive,” said Dr. Craig Stark, the babies’ Perinatologist at Kaiser Permanente.
“We went in weekly and we went in every time hoping and praying they were alive,” Laura said.
Stark tried draining excess amniotic fluid, but at 23-and-a-half weeks, the Ballards were rushed to a specialist in San Francisco.
“The only chance we were going to have was if we did laser therapy”, Stark said.
While the babies were in Laura’s womb, doctors sealed off the problem blood vessels. There was an 80 percent chance the smaller baby would die. It was possible neither would survive. But the procedure worked.
“I don’t think it was anything short of divine intervention,” Laura said.
After weeks in intensive care the little girls joined three doting siblings. Kensley is still the bigger one, Berkley may always be small and may always hold that against her twin.
But the girls will also always have a special bond — survival.
For more on TTTS go to www.tttsfoundation.org
– Written by Kathy Walsh