Meet the miracle twins who underwent surgery while still in the womb in Milton Keynes

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Premature twins who needed surgery while still in their mother's womb are today healthy and thriving against all odds.

Little Wyatt and Finley were born 10 weeks early in the middle of lockdown after a pregnancy fraught with problems for their mum Stuetina Avery Hawkins.

They weighed just 2lb3 and 3lb respectively and needed to stay in hospital for eight weeks.

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But the tiny identical brothers were lucky to even get that far, as their survival was in jeopardy from early in the pregnancy due to twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS).

Cuddles with mumCuddles with mum
Cuddles with mum

This occurs only in identical twin pregnancies, where the babies share a single placenta. With TTTS, the blood vessels in the placenta are not evenly dispersed and there is an imbalance in the blood exchange between the twins.

One twin gives away more blood than it receives in return, which means it runs the risk of malnourishment and organ failure. This is known as the 'donor twin'.

Meanwhile the other twin, known as the recipient twin, receives too much blood and this can cause its heart to develop problems. If untreated, survival chance for both babies is as low as 10 per cent.

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Stuetina, who was two older daughters, had to be admitted to hospital at 17 weeks pregnant, when the twins were each the size of an orange, about 12cm long. Doctors performed a surgery called endoscopic laser ablation inside her womb to correct the placenta's imbalance.

The twins when they were first bornThe twins when they were first born
The twins when they were first born

The condition had caused her to have excess amniotic fluid, and this had to be reduced by a process called amnioreduction so both babies had an equal volume.

Sadly, weeks later, the TTTS reversed and Stuetina's placenta ruptured.

In the beginning of June last year, the babies were delivered by doctors at Milton Keynes hospital as an emergency at 30 weeks gestation, and swiftly moved to very specialist care in Oxford.

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"Due to Covid nobody was allowed to see them or meet them," said Stuetina.

One month oldOne month old
One month old

At first only one parent at a time was allowed into the neonatal unit, so she and her partner Daniel Wilfort had to share their visits.

"We were not able to enjoy or share a family moment until they came home eight weeks later," she said.

Today the twins are home and are bouncing eight month olds who enjoy playing with their two sisters.

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"Covid may have affected their first year of life but we as a family cannot wait to share with them the adventures of going to a zoo and other places, " said Stuetina, who has thanked MK-based charity Emily's Star for its support after the premature birth.

"The twins are doing fantastic," she said. "We are very proud of them and how much they are defeating all odds."

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