20 July 2021

Kloe Tolton discovered she was pregnant on her 30th birthday.

Kloe and her fiancé Michael with their newborn twin boys

Kloe was feeling under the weather on this morning of her birthday. She took a pregnancy test, which revealed that she was expecting.

That same day she and her fiancé Michael welcomed friends over to her home to celebrate her special day.

Little did they know that she was hiding the exciting news and making herself non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiri cocktails so no-one would question why she wasn’t drinking on her birthday.

Yet 16 weeks into her pregnancy, Kloe and fiancé Michael were told their twins had Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS).

TTTS is a rare but life-threatening condition that affects 10 to 15% of identical twins that share a placenta (monochorionic twins). TTTS can also occur in triplet or higher order pregnancies with monochorionic twins.

Kloe has now shared her story in the hope of helping others in the same situation and to raise awareness of the condition.

Her friend, Jayde, recommended Twins Trust website to her and she said it was really helpful to read other families’ stories about TTTS.

TTTS babies

Kloe, who lives in Bury St Edmunds, said: “I woke up on my birthday and I felt awful. So I did a pregnancy test. My friends were due to arrive in an hour. It was positive and it was lovely but I had to pretend that I wasn’t really three weeks pregnant.

“I was making fake strawberry daiquiris so people didn’t guess.”

Parents-to-be Kloe and Michael were surprised to be told at their 12-week scan that they were expecting twins. They also discovered their twins were sharing a placenta.

Another scan at 14 weeks revealed that one of the twins was around three days behind the other in terms of size at that stage of the pregnancy.

Following the 14-week scan, Kloe had a 16 week scan at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

She said: “I knew straight away that something wasn’t right. It was our first scan with a consultant and her face wasn’t right. She said she was sorry but we were at the first stage of TTTS and Siugr (Selective intrauterine growth restriction).

Weekly scans took place so the babies could be closely monitored but the situation worsened as Kloe and Michael were told one of the twins, both boys, was still not growing properly.

Kloe said: “The consultant told us there was a high chance we could lose both of the twins.”

Things then moved quickly for Kloe, who took an early morning train the next day to King’s College Hospital in London. After seeing specialists, it was confirmed she had stage 3 TTTS. Kloe and Michael were given three options to choose from and asked to make a decision in just 10 minutes.

One of the options was laser therapy, performed on the babies while they are still in the womb.

Kloe added: “There was no doubt that we would have the laser surgery. We had to give them both a chance.

“Baby Michael was still fighting in our eyes and we didn’t want to give up on our twins.

“It was crazy how quick it all was.

“They did the procedure in theatre and we could see the boys on the screen and their tiny red veiny hands.”

After the surgery, Kloe said: “We had to wait for two hours in a room to see if they had made it.

“It was probably the longest two hours of our lives. It was awful.

We still had hope. We just knew they were going to be ok. They were our little miracles.

“Then we saw them after the surgery on the scan. We could see them both and hear their heartbeats.

“We were over the moon.”

Twin babies

Weekly scans continued for Kloe and one twin’s growth continued to be slower than expected. At 24 weeks one twin was 370g while the other was 425g.

This was during the lockdown of late 2020 and Kloe was placed on bed rest.

At 27 weeks plus one, Kloe felt like she had the flu and feared she had coronavirus.

“Michael said he didn’t think I had coronavirus as I hadn’t been anywhere. I went back to sleep but couldn’t sleep. Then my waters broke,” she said.

The couple travelled to Addenbrooke’s Hospital and Kloe took a turn for the worse. She had a temperature and her infection markers were off the scale. Doctors gave her steroids and a magnesium drip to help her twins.

Baby James and baby Michael arrived into the world by emergency c-section on the evening of January 28 2021. James was 2lb 6, while Michael was just 1lb 6. The little fighters continued their battle with James spending 82 days in NICU, and Michael was home after 101 days in NICU. Brave Michael faced three surgeries during his hospital stay, including heart surgery at just nine weeks.

Kloe added: “We were very, very lucky.”

Follow Kloe’s journey through parenting multiples on Instagram @ourmiracletwins.