A Christmas Miracle for a College Station Family

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Christmas miracles can come in all shapes and sizes, and this year one local family got the miracle of a lifetime.

"He just couldn't believe it in the doctor's office, we're having twins," College Station resident Shana Elliott exclaimed. "That's exciting news," Shana's Husband Chad Elliot added.

Christmas and loved ones go hand and hand, but three months ago the Elliott family wasn't quite sure if this Christmas would be merry or not.

"At 19 weeks I went in for an ultrasound and they discovered one of the babies was much bigger than the other baby," Shana said. "It's a condition called twin to twin transfusion syndrome."

The disease commonly affects identical twins, and occurs when both babies share the placenta. Problems can occur when it is shared unequally. As one baby is soaking up all of its mothers nutrients and growing, the other isn't getting enough.

"This is a bad disease," OBGYN Dr. Kenneth Moise with Texas Children's Hospital in Houston said."When we talk about survival we're not talking about two survivals, we're really talking the likelihood of at least one."

Shana's doctors recommended surgery.

"They said it was a very dangerous condition," Shana said. "They gave it a 90 percent chance if we didn't do anything that they would both die."

"It happened really fast. The next day she was in surgery in Houston," Chad said. "So we really didn't have time to let it sink in."

At about 19 weeks along in her pregnancy Shana's doctors performed a laser ablation surgery.

"If the vessels communicate with the vessel from the other side, and this is going to other twin that's abnormal," Dr. Anthony Johnson with Texas Children's said. "So what we then do is laser energy to close these vascular communications. We vaporize the vessels."

"Going into the surgery they didn't give us very good odds," Shana said. "They gave us a 1/3 of a chance we would save both babies, 1/3 of a chance we would lose a baby, and 1/3 of chance we would lose both babies."

The 30 days following the surgery were crucial to see if the babies would survive after the procedure, but also begin to grow on their own. Shana's little fighters did.

"When we passed all of those milestones and we still had both babies we started to breathe a sigh of relief," Shana said.

On September 18th, the Elliot's two girls were born, 4 pound 2 oz Annabelle, and 1 pound 9 oz Andie.

"At this point we realized gosh we made it, we beat the odds," Shana said.

Andie was so small her dad's Aggie ring was able to fit around her wrist.
But after spending nearly three months at Texas Children's Hospital, Andie was given the clear to go home for the holidays with her sister.

"If there's anything that'll test your faith it's something like this," Shana said. "I just can't imagine how different this would have been if there wasn't something inside both of us that said both of these babies are going to be ok."

Although Andie still remains on a heart monitor, her parents are glad to have both of their new additions home right where they belong.

"This is the best Christmas, couldn't ask for anything else," Chad said. "Best Christmas ever. They really are Christmas miracles," Shana added.