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Renee and Zach Burns Burns Twins

First post: Nov 3, 2019 Latest post: Jan 29, 2021
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

Our fertility story is complicated to begin with. After numerous rounds of fertility treatments we decided to go the IVF route.  When we learned that we had 2 "beautiful" (the fertility docs words) embyros that took we were beyond excited (with a mix of, TWINS?!). They are non-identical, or paternal twins, otherwise known as dizygotic due to forming from 2 separate zygotes in the earliest embryonic stage. The hospital lingo is "di di" twins. They have their own placentas and amniotic sacs. 

We have been monitored closely since conception due to Renee's "advanced age" and carrying twins via IVF. We passed our 20 week ultrasound with the neonatal specialist with flying colors, and were just starting to get down to business getting a nursery ready, making a registry...etc. So, we were quite surprised when on the morning of Saturday, October 19th, (week 22) we found ourselves in the labor and delivery unit at the hospital in Duluth being told that Renee's water had broken and that she was not going to be leaving the hospital until birth. WHAT?! We were only 5 1/2 months pregnant!

We  also quickly learned that the Duluth hospital is not equipped to treat babies born pre-24 weeks. We also learned that most hospitals do not provide "life-saving" measures to babies born prior to 24 weeks. The reason being is that the survival rate of babies born between 22-24 weeks has been appx. 5%, jumping to 50% at 24 weeks. We were told that Renee had over a 50% chance of going into labor within the first 48 hours of her water breaking, at which point we would be able to "care and comfort" our babies until they passed. These numbers were also a bit more complicated due to twins, and any internal procedure for baby A would be too risky for baby B. If we made it the first 48 hours without going into labor, then we could look at being transferred to the University of Minnesota Children's hospital in Minneapolis, which is a setting 4 hospital that has recently started experimenting with providing treatment to babies born between 22-24 weeks.  We cannot put into words what the first 48 hours felt like for us...but we knew we wanted to do anything in our power to keep these little creatures cooking for as long as possible!

The following is what we have learned since being transported to U of M Children's Hospital in Minneapolis:

Baby A has what is called a "double bubble".  Simply put, there is fluid backup between the stomach and intestine due to baby A's stomach not developing properly in utero. This can result in excess amniotic fluid buildup in the sac, which can cause a preterm premature rupture of membrane (PPROM), or water breaking.  The  double bubble was detected during  our 1st ultrasound at Children's and will require baby A needing surgery post-delivery when we are in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). 

The statistics regarding PPROM at 22 weeks  with twins is not ideal, however each day the babies stay put the more of a chance they have to survive after birth. The good thing is that neither one of us have fallen on the "normal" scale statistically we're hoping our little creatures inherited some of that :-)

Currently, we are making home in the antepartum unit. We have a view of the Mississippi River and 2 resident bald eagles that we see daily.  Renee has received antibiotics via IV and steroid shots to help the development of baby A's lungs. She has weekly ultrasounds, blood draws every 72 hrs (in the event of transfusion), and is hooked up to machines 3x's/day to monitor heartbeats and contractions. The biggest concern (other than going into labor) is an internal infection for Renee because baby A does not have any protective fluid left in the amniotic sac. She has, however, been cleared to take short walks around the hospital and to be wheeled outside for some fresh air! (which was HEAVILY advocated for mental health!)

We hope to update this page weekly, and remain in antepartum unit until January 10th! (or 34 weeks, when a c-section will be preformed... if we can keep them in that long). After that, we will embark on a different journey as we navigate the NICU post-delivery. So stay tuned- send us vibes, prayers, thoughts, wishes...we're on quite a journey that has barely begun. 

We have been beyond overwhelmed by the support we have received already, and are truly counting each day as a blessing. 


Renee,  Zach, and the twins :-)