On January 8th 2018 The Smiling Willow Photography was recommended by a past client, for a newborn shoot. When I got the notification that I was mentioned (as you do via Facebook) I contacted the mother and asked how I could be of assistance. I got to speaking to the mum Tricia, and she told me that she had twins that were born at 28 weeks (they were currently 13 weeks old) and was wanting to do a newborn shoot. Twins! how fun! Of course I said I would accommodate and when Tricia bought Kehlani and Kaydence in, I was smitten! As we got to talking and I heard the whole story of the pregnancy and the delivery I knew I wanted to tell their story. These girls were special and I wanted the world to know. You see, Kaydence and Kehlani are a rare form of twins that are known as MCMA/MoMo twins; and this is their story.
On April 17th, 2017 Tricia and her husband Marcellus found out they were expecting their second baby, a new brother or sister for their son, Harlin. They couldn't be happier and Harlin couldn't be more excited.
The first ultrasound confirmed a single pregnancy but Trisha had 3 times the expected level of the HCG hormone in her system, so another ultrasound was ordered. Ultrasound number 2 also confirmed one pregnancy, so on May 30th, at 10 weeks gestation Trisha had her third ultrasound as her hormone levels were still very high. This time the ultrasound was carried out in hospital and following a lengthy wait, this ultrasound not only confirmed the pregnancy but revealed 2 sets of heartbeats; they were having twins...happy days!
MCMA/MoMo TWINS - WHAT DID THAT MEAN?
Monoamniotic twins are identical twins that share the same amniotic sac within their mother’s uterus. Monoamniotic twins are always identical, always monochorionic and are usually termed Monoamniotic-Monochorionic ("MoMo" or "Mono Mono") twins. They also share the placenta, but have two separate umbilical cords. Monoamniotic twins develop when an embryo does not split until after formation of the amniotic sac, at about 9-13 days after fertilization. Against all advice, everybody at some point in their lives consults Dr Google and following an appointment with the Obstetrician that revealed that not only were they expecting twins but they had a 1 in 35,000 type pregnancy – MCMA/MoMo twins; Trisha did exactly that, she consulted Dr Google. There were so many questions that needed answers and Trisha wanted to know exactly what to expect. She discovered a lot, but the most pertinent piece of information she got was that the pregnancy was high risk. Armed with her new found knowledge from Dr Google and her most recent ultrasound results that had confirmed that the twins were girls, Trisha attended her next Obstetrics appointment.
At the appointment the Obstetrician spoke about the risks involved with the pregnancy. The intense monitoring that is needed and having to be admitted into hospital at around 24 weeks gestation where she would then stay until the babies would be delivered via cesarean section at around 32 weeks. The babies would then have to stay in hospital until they were fit and healthy to finally go home. The specialist informed Tricia and Marcellus that the last ultrasound had shown that the twins cords had shown signs of cord entanglement.The Obstetrician explained the risks of losing not only one baby, but possibly losing both due to cord entanglement & cord compression, both of which cut off the blood flow from the placenta to the babies causing fetal death. The Obstetrician then mentioned something that Trisha and Marcellus were not expecting; termination. Not once, but 3 times during their consultation. Due to the high risk associated with MCMA/MoMo Twins, the intensive monitoring involved and then having to be admitted for a lengthy stay in hospital; the easier option for some is to terminate and try again. Termination was not an option for Trisha and Marcellus. To terminate and be left with the thoughts "what if..." was not something either one of them could live with. So when all was said and done, the decision to continue the pregnancy was made. Before leaving the Obstetrician's rooms, another ultrasound appointment was made.On July 17th 2017, at 17 weeks gestation, Tricia had her 6th ultrasound. The little girls were looking great, they were very active & only had one tiny loop in their umbilical cords which was great news. Twin B (Kaydence) was measuring a little smaller then her sister, it was something the Obstetrician would keep a close eye on, but apart from that the girls were keeping strong and the best part of the regular ultrasounds was being able to watch them grow so intimately. From 17 weeks on Trisha was booked in for weekly ultrasounds and weekly appointments with the specialist to keep a close eye on the girls and make sure there was no major issues. By 18 weeks there was concern for twin B as she still wasn't growing as fast as her sister. It was thought that she may indeed have Downs syndrome. They then offered her an amniotic test but that could cause miscarriage so Tricia refused. They also suggested an operation whereby they go in and cut the baby's umbilical cord causing her to pass away and then Tricia could go full term with Kehlani and deliver them both.
They beat the odds and made it to 26 weeks before having to be admitted into hospital. The plan was for Tricia to be closely monitored in hospital until 32 weeks and then the girls would be delivered via cesarean. At 27 weeks one of the twin's heart rate had dropped unexpectedly during a routine exam. Doctors and nurses tried to bring the heart rate back to normal, but a decision was made that an emergency cesarean would have to be done. So Tricia was prepped and rushed to the delivery suite but before doing the cesarean the doctors decided to do another quick ultrasound as ideally the longer the girls stayed in, the better it was for them. Thankfully this time around 2 strong heartbeats were detected and so the specialists agreed that it was safe to leave things as they were for the time being. So no cesarean was performed that day and Tricia went back to her room for more waiting. On October 5th 2017, at 28 weeks gestation, a routine growth exam was conducted and Tricia was told that Twin B had not grown in the last week and in fact was measuring almost 4 weeks behind her sister. It was time to deliver the babies.
On October 5th 2017, baby Kehlani Hazel Jackson was welcomed into the world at 2.27pm weighing 1017g & baby Kaydence Keri Jackson followed soon after at 2.28pm weighing 657g.
Both girls are gorgeous, happy and most importantly healthy and almost 2 years old now. It was a pleasure and a privilege to have captured their newborn photos... and just look at them now! Thank God for miracles!