The Brice Family Story
World Blood Donor day is very special for our family
The Brice Family story as told by Pamela.
At 32 weeks pregnant with twins I was admitted to the hospital with preclampsia. The doctor performed an ultrasound scan and delivered the news we had dreaded hearing all through the pregnancy, our babies had developed twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS). TTTS is a disease of identical twins caused by abnormal connecting blood vessels in the twins' placenta, resulting in an imbalanced flow of blood from one twin to another. The implications of TTTS are very serious for the survival and health of both twins.
Early on Monday, June 14th the babies were delivered by emergency caesarean section. Eva was born at 8.50am weighing 4lb 2oz, Úna at 8.51am weighing 2lb 13oz. Both babies were very ill as a result of the TTTS and needed urgent medical help.
I needed several blood transfusions following the births. I will be eternally grateful to the blood donors who saved my life. I will never forget how cold I was in intensive care and how much better I felt after another transfusion of warmed blood.
I only vaguely remember waking up at about 4pm on the 14th of June and learning we had 2 baby girls. My husband Brendan told me the news that Eva, despite being born on the verge of a stroke and in the early stages of heart failure, was ventilated and stable. Eva was so overloaded with blood from the placenta that she was very ill. Úna was very ill and completely anaemic with a haemoglobin of less than 5, she was given her first blood transfusion. But for the very precious gift of blood Úna would have died.
Úna needed a second blood transfusion during the weeks that followed and made a good recovery. Thanks to the amazing care received in the Erinville Maternity Hospital Eva was well enough to come home on June 30th and Úna followed on July 15th.
When Úna came home we were very worried about her as she still looked pale, she was very sleepy and had lost all interest in feeding. We wondered if she needed another transfusion. Then, a few days later Úna accidentally rolled off the bed and unfortunately this resulted in a fractured skull. Very luckily Úna bled out of her skull rather than into her brain. So while her falling was completely dreadful (probably the worst moment of our lives) it meant Úna was given another transfusion. From a parents point of view this transfusion was a turning point and we could see Úna blossoming into health.
Neither Úna nor I would have lived without the blood transfusions we received and Eva and Brendan would have had a very different version of family life. Our family are deeply deeply indebted to all the fantastic blood donors out there and we are immensely grateful for the truly remarkable work of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service. It is an amazing coincidence that our girls were born on World Blood Donor Day - June 14th, a day we will never forget.