Mother Lets One Twin Die to Save Other

Dwynwen Davies talks about her heartbreaking choice
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2014 9:53 AM CDT
Mother Lets One Twin Die to Save Other
Ultrasound image of twins.   (Shutterstock)

Dwynwen Davies didn't think much of the fact that a child in the nursery she runs had come down with slapped cheek syndrome. The virus produces cold-like symptoms and a rash that gives the appearance of "slapped cheeks," but the 30-year-old from South Wales was unconcerned; as the BBC reports, the virus typically has a "minor" effect on children. She did, however, mention it at her 12-week checkup to her midwife, who also didn't seem worried—but ordered a blood test to make sure Davies had immunity to the syndrome. She didn't, meaning the twins she was carrying could be stricken with the virus, which can have a severe effect on fetuses. She was told an affected fetus will fight the infection or fill with fluid that it ultimately chokes on. Five weeks later, that fluid was spotted in one of her girls, reports the Telegraph.

At week 20, Davies learned the afflicted twin wasn't showing the fluid; but four weeks later, the baby was in critical condition. Davies was told a blood transfusion could save the unborn child—but it could kill the other, and there was no guarantee it would work. Doctors also couldn't assure her that the virus wouldn't also attack the other twin. "To know that there was a child drowning inside of me was horrible," says Davies, but she decided, "I couldn't risk losing both of my girls." At 28 weeks, the child died; seven weeks later, Davies gave birth to the stillborn girl along with daughter Cadi via C-section. "The birth was bittersweet," she says. "It was heartbreaking to see such a perfect baby who would never have a future." Cadi is now 5 months old. (Click to read about a woman who is pregnant with a stranger's twins after a mix-up.)

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