AFTER 'LONG BATTLE,'
TWINS DOING FINE
By CARA FITZPATRICK
June 24-25, 2006
"We had to cross our fingers
each week (after surgery) that there would be two heartbeats,
and every time there was."
Bernadette Bregoli, mother of the
|| David and Bernadette Bregoli pose with twin daughters
Olivia, left, and Lea, and daughter Lauren, 6. Surgery on the
twins has helped stop a life-threatening imbalance revealed in
an ultrasound when Bernadette was 16 weeks pregnant.
Bernadette Bregoli was 16 weeks pregnant when an ultrasound
showed that the twin girls that she was expecting had a rare
One twin was getting
too much blood, while the other was getting too little. The condition,
called twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, kills 85 percent of
identical twins affected with it.
her husband, David, of Abington, had a choice to make: They could
do nothing and risk losing both babies or undergo an in-utero
laser surgery, which would give them a 75 percent chance that
at least one twin would survive.
The Bregoli twins, Olivia and Lea,
celebrated their thurd birthday June 20. On Friday, they were
back to Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence for a reunion
with their doctors and seven other families whose children have
been treated for the condition.
a happy day for us," Bernadette said, tearing up as she
watched the girls play with their older sister, Lauren, 6. "We
had to cross our fingers each week (after surgery) that there
would be two heartbeats and every time there was."
Children's Hospital is the only medical center in the northeast
to perform the surgery. The program is run in cooperation with
Brown Medical School and the Women & Infants' Hospital.
To stop the imbalance between the twins, docotrs
insert a laser into the mother's abdomen and uterus and cut some
of the blood vessels between the twins.
the surgery is relatively simple for the mother, it can be risky
for the babies because of the possibility of bleeding and permature
labor, said Dr. Francois Luks, one of the two primary doctors
to perform the surgery.
Since the program began
in 2000, doctors have treated 80 families and performed 32 surgeries.
Sixty-four of the women have successfully delivered at least
Four families at Friday's reunion had
both their babies survive. The other four had one twin live.
"For some of you this experience has been bittersweet,"
Luks told the parents. "For some, it has been more bitter
than sweet. It is appropriate that we remember those who have
lost and continue to learn about this condition."
families, who traveled from Massachusetts, Connecticut and New
Hampshire to attend the celebration, ate from a large buffet
in the hospital lobby, talked to their doctors and watched two
children's performers sing and dance.
the mothers hugged the doctors, Luks and Dr. Stephen Carr, and
recounted the difficult stories of their pregnancies and deliveries.
Wearing matching yellow T-shirts given to them by
the hospital and polka-dotted skirts, Olivia and Lea were oblvivious
to the emotion around them. They colored, made baby bottles out
of Play-Doh and ate cookies.
Watching them, Bernadette
"It was a long battle, but it was
well worth it," she said.