Singaporean baby with twin to twin transfusion syndrome finally comes home!

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Baby Raphael was born last May, with twin to twin transfusion syndrome. What exactly is twin to twin transfusion syndrome?

Baby Raphael was born in May last year, but only got to come home from hospital last week.

Raphael's is an extremely rare condition, that affects one in 1,600 pregnancies. According to The New Paper, he was born three months premature, after his mother was diagnosed with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.

What is twin to twin transfusion syndrome

Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is a condition that can affect identical twins who share a placenta.

TTTS happens when there is an imbalance in the placental blood vessels that connect both twins. If the blood doesn't flow evenly between the twins, one gets more blood (the recipient twin), while the other gets less blood (the donor twin).

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The recipient twin, who is usually born larger, may have too much blood and it can put a strain on his heart. The donor twin, on the other hand, may have too little blood to develop healthily.

There are many other health complications associated with this disease. Both Raphael and his twin brother Gabriel, suffered health issues, including collapsed lungs.

Twin pregnancies are usually scanned in the first trimester to check if the foetuses share a placenta. If so, the mother will have to go for frequent ultrasound scans to detect early signs of TTTS. TTTS can be very serious if left untreated.

Twin brother no more

Sadly, baby Raphael's twin brother, baby Gabriel did not survive his battle for life. He died seven weeks after his birth due to severe complication in the lungs.

The New Paper quotes daddy Michael Wahjudi as saying, "Till now, there's a hole in our hearts. Of course it's a big loss, but Gabriel did his best to be with us. So I think he's done a good job. At least he's not in pain any more."

Though Michael and his wife Caroline were heartbroken to see Gabriel die, they decided to channel all their love and energy for the sake of baby Raphael. Mummy Caroline even quit working to look after Raphael full-time.

Health scares along the way

It has not really been smooth sailing for the family so far. Michael and Caroline have to monitor their son, who is on oxygen support, closely, to make sure his oxygen levels do not drop to dangerous levels.

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There may be gaps in the baby's development too. Initial tests show some loss of hearing...

Baby Raphael also has trouble swallowing milk, as he has been tube-fed all his life.

Mummy and daddy remain positive and hopeful though. They just want to make sure that their little one does not fall sick.

"I think he's happy. He's smiling a lot now, and drinking much more milk than at the hospital. It's a new beginning for all of us, but I know that our journey is not finished yet. At least Raphael is home and happy, and that's quite a big feat," says Michael.

We wish baby Raphael the best of health and happiness.

(Source: The New Paper, babycentre.co.uk)

Also READ: Another case of twin to twin transfusion syndrome

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