AURORA, Colo. -
They look like the picture of a happy family, but just last year, Kristi Morris and her twin daughters almost didn’t make it.
"I thought to myself, there's no way all three of us are going to survive this pregnancy," said Morris.
At 19 weeks, she and her husband, Keith, got the diagnosis: Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, TTTS.
"We still didn't understand that it could go from normal babies to dead babies really fast," said Keith.
"Without treatment, this is close to 95 percent fatal," said Dr. Tim Crombleholme, with Children’s Hospital of Colorado.
With TTTS, one twin gets too much amniotic fluid, and the other doesn’t get enough. Both are in critical danger.
"I thought to myself, if they survive this, I'm lucky but I have to be realistic," said Kristi Morris.
But then, the Morris family saw a 7NEWS story last year, profiling the Ballard family, whose TTTS girls survived and thrived.
“That gave me hope,” said Morris.
Last year, Laura Ballard had a rare laser surgery while her babies were still in the womb, severing the blood vessels that had created the imbalance.
She had to fly all the way to San Francisco. Now, though, with the newly-opened Colorado Institute for Maternal and Fetal Health at Children’s Hospital, family no longer have to go out of state for surgeries that could save their babies’ lives.
“Currently, we’re doing about one to two cases a week,” said Crombleholme.
With the rise twins, Crombleholme said the syndrome, one off the radar, is now more common than SIDS, but no one knows what causes it.
“It’s my responsibility to help other parents,” said Laura Ballard. She is doing her part to make sure no one loses hope, talking to families across the country, including the Morris family.
With amnio reductions and bedrest, Kristi Morris carried her twins through 27 weeks.
Born so early, they had some health issues, but now at six months, Kendall and Danika Morris are growing strong.
Now, the Morris Family and the Ballard Family want to raise awareness and hope.
The picture of a Twin-To-Twin family can be a happy one, too.