KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A family entered the Fetal Health Center at Children's Mercy Hospital where they were greeted by applause. Dr. Corey Iqbal and his team had waited months for this moment.
Kerlin and Orlando, one-month-old twins from Topeka, returned to the hospital where they were treated in the womb in June. Guadalupe Morales Botello was 23 weeks along. Her twins shared a placenta containing abnormal blood vessels. It's called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. Blood from one twin was being pumped across the placenta to the other. One was getting too much blood, and the other too little making him a third smaller. Both were showing signs of heart failure.
"And if you don't treat that, 80 to 90 percent of the time, both twins won't survive," said Dr. Iqbal.
He could do a procedure, but Morales Botello and her partner, Kerlin Noves, were told there were no guarantees.
"There was a possibility that only one would survive or even that both would die," said Morales Botello.
Noves said the family was very nervous.
"It was really, really hard," Noves said.
Dr. Iqbal inserted a thin scope into the womb. Through it, he passed a laser that zapped the abnormal blood vessels.
"And that stops the blood flow going in between," said Dr. Iqbal.
The smaller twin was no longer starved for blood, and the larger one didn't get too much. The twins were born at 35 weeks. Kerlin weighed four pounds, and Orlando weighed five. They're doing well.
"It was excellent because thanks to God, of course, and the doctor that performed the surgery, now I have both my children," she said.
She's thrilled to share them with what she calls her second family; the medical team that saved her babies.
This was the first time the procedure had been done at Children's Mercy. It's done at a number of fetal health centers in the U.S.