Twin survives the odds 32 days after her brother dies

A routine physical checkup showed the girl, nicknamed Mickey, is now in good health. "I had thought I would lose her," said her mother. "She is so precious to me."
Twin survives the odds 32 days after her brother dies
Li Qian / SHINE

Obstetrician Liu Ming (second to the right) hugs the baby girl when she was brought by her grandmother (left) to do physical checkup.

A baby girl born 32 days later than her dead twin brother has beaten the odds to survive.

Last Friday, a routine physical checkup showed the girl, nicknamed Mickey, is in good health and gaining weight.

“I had thought I would lose her,” said the mother, only identified as Hai. “She is so precious to me.”

She and her husband had tried for 10 years to have their own baby. Last year, they resorted to in vitro fertilization. It worked and Hai got pregnant with twins early this year

But then disaster occurred. Her waters broke on June 29, when she was just 25 weeks pregnant. The next day, she gave birth to a dead boy, and she was told the other twin was also in danger.

“I had to keep her,” the 37-year-old said. She said she asked medical staff to stop her from going into labor. She was in intensive care, for three days, during which time her mother sought expert help and found obstetrician Liu Ming of Shanghai First Maternity and Infant Hospital. Hai was transferred there on July 3.

“She was extremely nervous upon arrival,” Liu said. “The dead boy’s placenta was left in her womb and the long umbilical cord, black and thin, hung down to her thighs. Meanwhile, the other twin was very likely to come out any time.”

Fortunately, a medical checkup had showed it was possible the twin girl could survive. To give the baby a better chance of life, Liu decided to keep her in Hai’s womb longer by carrying out a delayed delivery — a rare and difficult surgery.

The key part of the surgery is a cervical stitch, Liu said. She added the womb is like a bag, and the cervix is like the top of a bag. “What we did was to stitch the open cervix to avoid any infection and prevent the baby falling.”

The surgery proved a success. Liu had hoped Hai could deliver a full-term baby, but she was born on August 1, weighing 1,390 grams.

“She had relied on a breathing machine for the first 15 days,” said pediatrician Hu Xuefeng. “Her white blood cells remained high level for a period, implying infection by her twin brother. Also, she developed pneumonia on September 4.”

But the tiny tot appeared determined to survive. She fought the odds and left hospital a healthy girl on October 10. At a checkup last Friday, she weighed 4,500 grams.

“She’s still smaller and lighter than other 3-month babies because of being born premature. But she is catching up,” Hu said.

Special Reports