The one about the difference between TTTS and TAPS

You get so much medical jargon thrown at you when you’re diagnosed with a disease like TTTS and TAPS – and sometimes it’s really hard to process it.  There’s a lot of medical terms and it’s quite overwhelming.  People start talking about DVP’s and MCA’s and cord flow and start talking about amnios and lasers and SFR … it’s confusing and overwhelming.

For the purpose of this post, I will only be referring to identical twins who share a placenta. There are always exceptions to every rule, but the key to this post is simplicity.  So on that note, I am specifically referring the most common denominator – identical twins, sharing a placenta. Continue reading The one about the difference between TTTS and TAPS

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The one about TTTS Awareness Month

Hello again! It’s that time of the year where I campaign relentlessly for TTTS and TAPS awareness.  December is a special time of year, where emotions take the better part of me and my passion for spreading awareness increases.

Key Dates for us this month are :

December 1 – the start of TTTS Awareness month.  This year I’ve helped with a campaign for the NVOM, a new challenge as this has been testing my Dutch skills!

December 7 – World TTTS Awareness Day.  I have a lot of respect for Mary Slaman, who has tirelessly campaigned since 1989 and founded the TTTS Foundation from her own experience with this disease.  I would love if everyone who reads my blog would light 2 blue candles on this day to help commemorate the lives of babies lost to both TTTS and TAPS, or wear blue.

December 12 –  Celebrating the 4th birthday of 2 incredible little ladies who defied overwhelming odds to be here today.  Emmy and Tilly are strong, smart and energetic girls who thanks to amazing research and care, are here with us today.   TAPS is the silent killer in the TTTS family – there are no external signs of this disease and can only be suspected on ultrasound.   We are so thankful that we had forward thinking doctors and the LUMC on our case.

December 24 – An amazing day for us.  On this day, our girls were deemed strong enough to move to our local hospital from Leiden.  It’s also Christmas Eve!!

Please, I urge you to make a donation to either your local children’s hospital, or one of the following TTTS charities for Emilie and Mathilde this December.  Follow my facebook page for information coming out in both Dutch and English and share!

  1.  TTTS Support Team – Sending grief packages to parents who lose babies to TTTS.
  2.  The TTTS Foundation
  3.  TTTS Australia
  4. Willem-Alexander Kinderfonds
  5. Your own local children’s hospital fund.

The one about D-Day…

Today is the 25th of October.  Just another autumn day for most people.

4 years ago, at around 10am, this day took on another meaning for me.

I went to my regular checkup, and found that baby A had barely any fluid, whilst baby B was swimming in her fluid.  We had suspected, then confirmed later, TTTS.  This day was horrible – I had so many ultrasounds, talked to many doctors, including one that told us we should make funeral plans for our babies.  The next few days were spent in shock and tears, as we came to grips with what was happening.

Today is our D-Day.  Today it’s 4 years since we got the diagnosis that changed our lives, and makes us count our blessings.

I look back at everything we went through with uncertainty, and the ongoing fear of the worst, and I can’t believe that we came through with our sanity and sense of humour intact.

The constant travel to and from Leiden, the endless appointments, the sometimes brutal honesty of the situation really did take its toll on us.  Then the weeks in the NICU, followed by months of therapies, as well as getting used to having 2 babies in the house… I seriously don’t know how we did it.

I know I make light of the situation at times, but please don’t ever think I don’t take what happened to us seriously.  I wake up each day and am so grateful that I am in this country, that I had access to the best doctors and the researchers. I’m acutely aware of how lucky we are. Every day I see new cases and I see stories that are so similar to mine, and yet so many different and sometimes sad outcomes.

4 years has taught me patience.  It’s taught me that my writing is important.  It’s taught me that it’s important to share my story.

I’ve met some awesome people and met some amazing friends on this journey.  I hope I’ll meet some more.  I love using my voice and my writing to help people understand my journey.

So here’s to another 4 years of memories, and facing each October 25th and staring it in the eye 😉

This is what 4 years of memories looks like (well, this is half of a box. I have another box as well).