3 March 2022

Watching her giggling twin girls with their boundless energy, mum Keziah Harvey thanks her lucky stars for her daughters.

Life could have been very different for her and husband Jordan, following an eventful pregnancy when the twins were diagnosed with both TTTS (Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome) and TAPS (Twin Anaemia-Polycythaemia Sequence). Doctors performed life-saving surgery on the twins while they were still in the womb.

Newborn Matilda and Felicity

Keziah has shared her story on International TAPS Day (3rd March 2022). She is keen to raise awareness of the rare complication that is specific to monochorionic pregnancies (babies who share a placenta). It occurs in 3-5 percent of these pregnancies.

She said: “I went for a private scan thinking I was eight or nine weeks but I found out I was 13 weeks and having twins. I just knew I was having twins. When the sonographer said we were having twins I was like ‘I told you so’. I can’t explain it, I just knew. My husband was quite freaked out. I think it was the shock as we thought I was only eight or nine weeks. Then I was 13 weeks and having two babies. It was a massive relief after our miscarriage the year before.”

Keziah had her first NHS scan and doctors were happy with the twins’ progress. However at 16 weeks, doctors believed the twins were showing the early stages of TTTS. She was referred to Professor Mark Kilby at Birmingham Women’s Hospital.

Keziah, who lives in Cannock, Staffordshire, said: “If it hadn’t been for Professor Kilby, I don’t know if we would have made it to the other side. He said at 16 weeks that the twins were well established with TTTS.  The outcome wasn’t looking great.”

It was touch and go for several weeks waiting for the babies to be strong enough for laser ablation surgery. They became so ill it was the only option left to try to save them. Keziah and Jordan decided to have laser ablation surgery earlier than originally planned. The surgery was completed under sedation while the babies were still in the womb. Thankfully it was a success.

Keziah had MRI scans on the babies following the surgery. The scans noticed one of the babies had had a stroke. Doctors confirmed the stroke had happened prior to the surgery and was not a consequence of the laser ablation or the aminoreduction surgery.

Both babies were still very unwell and Keziah was carefully monitored, with two to three scans a week.

Keziah added: “We had just got through TTTS and the girls were starting to level in size. Then the twins were diagnosed with TAPS so that was then the main concern. We had the initial shock of going from TTTS and starting to understand that and feel a bit of relief. Then we were suddenly asking what TAPS was and had another illness to overcome.

“There was still a 70 to 80 percent chance we would lose both of them. We had the choice of terminating one baby but this would also cause significant risk to losing the other twin. From day one we said we would see this through.”

The family found stories on the Twins Trust website gave them hope for the future during tough times.

Keziah said: “Professor Kilby said to reach out to Twins Trust and said we could get information from the charity.

“All the stories we read on the Twins Trust website gave us a little bit of hope. I hoped we would be one of the lucky ones and get through the other side. You just keep that little bit of hope and faith that there can be a happy ending but I know not everyone has one.”

At 32 weeks, Keziah’s waters broke. Matilda and Felicity were born on 29th July 2018, both weighing 3lb 7. Matilda struggled with her breathing and both girls were taken to intensive care. After five weeks, parents Keziah and Jordan were able to take their daughters home at just 2Ib 4 and 2Ib 7.

Now three-years-old, Matilda and Felicity are a happy, healthy pair who Keziah describes as her “hyper little rascals who love singing and dancing”.

She added: “Every single day I pinch myself that they are actually here and that we made it. I count my blessings every day and think I am the luckiest person in the world.”

Matilda and Felicity  aged three

Keziah offered advice for any parents facing a diagnosis like TAPS or TTTS.

“Have faith in the people looking after you. They are doing everything they can and are so knowledgeable,” she said.

Learn more about TAPS and TTTS.