Double the Joy

“They say twins skip a generation,” said Renee Alcorn of Fresno. (Both her mother’s parents had siblings who were twins.) “But my two older sisters didn’t have twins, so it took me by surprise.”

The discovery came during a routine ultrasound.

“The technologist created two boxes on the screen and labeled them ‘Baby A’ and ‘Baby B,’” said Renee. “It was pretty obvious I had two babies.”

Due to increased risk with twins, Renee was referred to the Maternal Fetal Center at Valley Children’s Hospital, where Dr. Armando Fuentes, medical director, perinatology, comanaged her prenatal care. “I really like Dr. Fuentes,” she said. “I remember him telling me to eat lots of extra cream cheese on my bagels.”

Renee’s pregnancy progressed without incident until 31 weeks’ gestation, when her husband, Bryce, took her to Saint Agnes Medical Center with preterm contractions.

“The biggest risk associated with twin gestation is that of preterm delivery,” said Dr. Fuentes. “As many as 40 percent of twins deliver preterm, and approximately 50 percent of all twins are delivered by cesarean section.”

Renee was treated and discharged after three days. “Dr. Fuentes told me his main goal was to get me past 33 weeks and he did,” she said.

At 35 weeks, Renee returned to Saint Agnes with swelling, high blood pressure and a persistent headache. Diagnosed with preeclampsia, she was admitted and prepared for a cesarean.

“Katelyn came out first and she was fine,” said Bryce. “When Brielle came out the Children’s nurses immediately grabbed her and suddenly she was gone.”

“Brielle was born with respiratory distress,” said Dr. Nadarasa Visveshwara, program director, newborn medicine. “She probably had retained fluid, which can happen with cesarean section. That is why we have immediate access to specialized care from nurses trained to intervene.”

“I was in the nursery with Katelyn, and Brielle’s nurses came and took me to see her,” said Bryce. “It looked really bad, but they were good about telling me, ‘It’s OK. It looks worse than it is. She’s just breathing too quickly.’”

After two weeks of neonatal intensive care, Brielle was reunited with her twin. “It was a lot to go through all at the beginning, but now I have two perfectly healthy babies,” said Renee. “Even if I have twins early again, I know it will be OK because there’s so much Valley Children’s can do these days. I know my babies will be all right.”