Kona twins doing well after fetal operation
The boys, still in the womb, had a possibly fatal complication
Dyahnee and Jason Goosby of Kona "were just a couple days away from losing" their twin sons until a potentially fatal complication was corrected with fetal surgery.
"We really are so fortunate just to have them survive," Dyahnee Goosby said yesterday in an interview.
She said her "little fighters," Elijah and Isaiah, are doing well after the May 31 surgery at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital.
It would not have been possible without early diagnosis by her doctors in Hawaii of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome and financial help from a nonprofit foundation called Fetal Hope, she said.
The syndrome is a complication that happens only in twin pregnancies where the fetuses share the placenta and blood flows from one twin, called the donor, to the other twin, or recipient.
Dyahnee hopes to avoid pre-term labor, often a result of the complication, and is resting at the Honolulu home of a family friend to be near Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children.
"Our goal right now is to try to make it to 33 weeks, at the beginning of August," she said.
Dyahnee and Jason Goosby of Kona pose with their children, Yashaira, 15, Kaya, 5, Brooklyn, 3, and Jason Jr., 1.
Dr. Ramen Chmait of the University of Southern California-Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles Institute for Maternal and Fetal Health performed the lifesaving fetal surgery to correct the syndrome.
It occurs in about 10 percent of identical-twin pregnancies and can be fatal, said Dr. Greigh Hirata, of the Fetal Diagnostic Center of the Pacific in the Pan Am building.
"There's a high loss rate with either the smaller baby or the bigger baby," he said, noting that the procedure used by Chmait probably achieves the best outcomes.
Chmait used an endoscopic instrument through a small incision to identify the connecting blood vessels allowing the transfusion and coagulated them with a laser.
The Goosbys have three daughters, 15, 5 and 3, and a 1-year-old son. "This is our first pregnancy with any kind of complications or anything," Dyahnee said.
She said her obstetrician in Kona, Dr. James Ruiz, noticed during a regular checkup that there was a slight difference in the fluid of the two fetuses and recommended that she see a specialist. "I'm so thankful he recognized something was not right before it was too late."
She saw Hirata on May 19, and, doing an extensive ultrasound, he noticed a 40 percent difference in the size of the twins and fluid level, she said. He suggested that she consider going to doctors on the mainland more experienced with fetal syndromes, she said.
"About a week later, I was flying to Los Angeles. It all happened kind of quick," she said, adding it was "very overwhelming ... especially considering I was trying to stay calm, put my feet up and manage the kids."
She began "to freak out" and went online for information, she said.
Luckily, Lonnie Somers responded to her on a message board for other parents with fetal syndrome babies, she said.
Somers and his wife, Michelle, of Denver, started a TTTS Race for Hope to raise money to help other parents with pregnancy complications after their twin daughters, who just turned 3, had the transfusion syndrome.
The event was expanded this year to a foundation that reached more than a million people with an awareness campaign and raised $50,000 to $60,000 to help parents and fetal organizations, Somers said by telephone.
Somers covered all costs through the Fetal Hope Foundation for the Goosbys to go to Los Angeles, Dyahnee said.
"Basically, if he hadn't been able to do that for us, I don't think we would have been able to come over (to California)," she said. "Coming from Kona, with four kids and one income, we didn't have the funds. Lucky we live in Hawaii but it's very expensive."
Somers said the couple was expected to be in Los Angeles for a month, "but a week after surgery, she was doing beautifully and the twins were doing fantastic. It was a quick reversal of things from the transfusion, and they were able to go back" to Kona.
He said TTTS and other syndromes affect about 4,000 pregnancies each year, and probably 30 percent to 35 percent survive.
"On an average we lose about 15 babies every day. Knowing how to diagnose it, knowing the options for treatment and getting them in touch with an expert" can be lifesaving for the unborn babies, he said.
Before the surgery, Elijah, the larger baby, was in danger of heart failure, and Isaiah "was literally stuck to his amniotic sac," Dyahnee said.
"We were just a couple days away from losing them when we had the procedure."
Now, "Isaiah finally can move," she said. "He's kicking his brother. He's switched sides, he's so playful."
But, she added, "The journey isn't over yet. I still have to get them out with a healthy delivery. Once they're out, I'll be happy."
Her goal after the twins are born is to help Somers bring his TTTS Race for Hope to Kona to raise money to help others.