In about half of the cases of this rare condition, both twins die.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Connor and Garrett Morgan arrived Saturday morning, tiny twins who beat the odds just to be born.
The twins, weighing less than 5 pounds each, are the sons of Erin and Steve Morgan of Austintown. They were born by Caesarean section at Forum Health Northside Medical Center.
When she was about seven weeks pregnant, Erin Morgan learned that her pregnancy was both monoamniotic and monochorionic, a condition that occurs in about one in 10,000 cases. Simply put, it meant that her babies were sharing the same amniotic sac and placenta, said Dr. Sayed El-Azeem, a high-risk pregnancy specialist who delivered the babies.
In this type of pregnancy, the umbilical cords often entangle, blocking the supply of oxygen and nutrients, El-Azeem said.
Learning of the condition was "depressing at first," Erin Morgan said Saturday afternoon, some eight hours after the babies were delivered. "I just tried to take it day by day."
The condition was discovered through an ultrasound test. Once it was detected, the expectant mother had ultrasounds every other week until the 28th week of pregnancy. For the past month, the ultrasounds were done weekly. The test were necessary to look for signs that the umbilical cords might have become entwined.
The babies were delivered at 32 weeks; a normal pregnancy is 40 weeks. Morgan was lucky to carry them that long, El-Azeem said.
"Mothers with this type of pregnancy rarely carry the twins to 32 weeks before delivery," he said.
Even though the condition can be carefully monitored, birth is still risky since doctors can do nothing to keep the cords from becoming entangled, El-Azeem said. In about 50 percent of such cases, both babies die, he said.
In more than 20 years of practice in perinatology, he has had six patients with the condition. Morgan's obstetrician, Dr. Robert McClusky, has not encountered a single case in more than 30 years, El-Azeem said.
The boys will be in the hospital for about five weeks, El-Azeem said, mostly due to their premature birth.
"Most of the danger is over now," he said.