Twin girls survive pregnancy thanks to OHSU’s fetal surgeons

PORTLAND, Oregon (KOIN) – Chelsea and Billy Hungate are proud parents of twin baby girls. The girls are doing well since they were born in the summer, but things could have been very different if they hadn’t had the surgery before they were born.

The Hungates had been trying to conceive for over two years. Chelsea underwent surgery and tried various fertility treatments before finally conceiving in late 2021.

The pregnancy felt like a miracle, the couple said. Chelsea had been taking clomid to stimulate ovulation, but her doctors said if she didn’t get pregnant within a short period of time, they would resort to in vitro fertilization. I told her that I would have no choice.

Billy is a pastor and the Clackamas are very religious. Although the chances of pregnancy were slim, they believed the recommended process would work.

When doctors had the chance to perform intrauterine insemination to help conceive, doctors told them the chance of success was less than 10%. .

“Something just happened in my head that God is bigger than any number this woman gave you. So I called [Billy] Coming back there to talk about it, I thought I’d do this,” Chelsea said.

About two months later, blood tests confirmed that Chelsea was pregnant with twins. The couple celebrated, told their families, and started going for regular checkups every three weeks.

While still in the womb, the two girls, whom they called Baby A and Baby B, appeared to be doing well up until Chelsea’s 30-week appointment.

The sonographer continued to talk normally while examining Baby A during the ultrasound examination. When she turned her attention to Baby B, her demeanor changed. The conversation stopped and she began measuring things she had never measured before.

Dr. Jason Naoki Hashima, who specializes in high-risk pregnancies at Kaiser Permanente, came into the room and told Hungatez that he was seeing something related to Baby B. You can create more images in no time.

“Everything was handled so calmly that I didn’t think anything was life-threatening.

When they arrived at OHSU, Hungates immediately knew the situation was serious. Edema is a condition in which a large amount of fluid accumulates in the tissues and organs of the baby. If not treated promptly, it can be life-threatening for a developing baby.

Mr. and Mrs. Hungates were briefed on their options and read out their rights regarding abortion. They had the option of ending the pregnancies of both babies or one of the babies in the hope that the other would not develop edema. He could have died within days.

Dr. Andrew Chon, a specialist fetal surgeon at OHSU, offered another option. He and another doctor, Dr. Raphael Sun, said they could perform intrauterine surgery (intrauterine surgery), which places a shunt in the chest of the fetus.

From left to right, Billy Hangate. Andrew Chong and Chelsea Hungate pose for a photo with twins Adderley and Ira.Photo credit: Chelsea Hungate

Chon and Sun were hired around the same time in 2021 to help establish a fetal care program at OHSU’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. This program enables the physician to perform a full range of fetal surgeries and provide both prenatal and postnatal services, all on her one campus. This is her one of five facilities in the United States that offer all these services.

Prior to meeting Chelsea, Chung and Sun had performed several intrauterine blood transfusions and shunt placements for other fetal patients, but Chelsea was pregnant with twins, so she knew the risks in this case were great. I got

“Since the risks of surgery can include infection, bleeding, and bursting water bags, these complications can cause sequelae in the other twin,” Chong said. explained.

“We really need a lot of precision when it comes to ultrasound and ultrasound guidance,” says Sun. “To deploy a successful shunt, you need this precision and millimeters—millimeters.”

Placing a shunt in the fetal chest drains excess lung fluid and eliminates edema.

Despite the risks, the Hungates decided to go ahead with the surgery, as it sounded like the best option.

Chung and Sang ran it the next day.

Afterwards, Hungate said she felt better than she did a few weeks ago. They drained her 3.5 liters of fluid from her, which brought her great relief. She said her surgical incisions were so small that she didn’t mind.

Chelsea continued to meet with Chong every 48 hours for the next few weeks. At 33 weeks, doctors discovered the shunt had come off and asked Hungates to make another decision.

“He said, ‘OK, Chels, you can deliver. You can do this or go back and put another shunt and give the baby more time to cook. And whenever that option was given, Chelsea said, “More time! More time!”

Billy said this felt like a safe decision as an emergency C-section was always an option.

Doctors performed another operation, this time placing shunts on both sides of the baby’s chest.

These shunts were retained and Hungate successfully gave birth to twins at 34 weeks and 3 days.

The girls were named Adderley and Ayla. Eila was a baby with edema.

“My husband and I cried when the NICU doctor told us this was a edema free baby at 34 and 3 weeks. I didn’t understand anything and I was pretty sure everything was going to be okay,” Chelsea said.

She and her baby received postnatal care at OHSU. All things considered, Chong said this was a favorable outcome.

Eila’s shunt should eventually come out. If her fluid still collects in her chest, doctors can use a chest tube to remove it, but Sun says that in most babies with edema, the fluid clears up. .

“From what I remember, when I saw them in the NICU a few weeks later, they were really fine and had no chest tubes,” Sun said.

Doctors expect Isla’s health to be roughly on par with the twins’. They do not expect serious complications from edema.

Hungates has been sending pictures of Chon and Sun since the girls left the NICU. The twins are doing well at home and the family is preparing for Christmas. I feel like I got a special present this year.

Chon and Sun hope that the new fetal care program at OHSU’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital will help deliver better outcomes for families like Hungates.

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