Doctors told a pregnant Australian mother to expect her twins to die from their tangled umbilical cords.
Despite the pessimistic prognosis, her daughters were born completely healthy, and she recently shared photos of the knotted cord and the healthy twins, now 8 years old.
Kate Lucas learned early in her pregnancy that her twins were unlikely to survive, due to a rare condition that affects about one in every 100 twins.
“The babies were Monoamniotic/Monochorionic (MoMo) identical twins, due to the egg splitting 8-13 days after fertilization,” Lucas wrote on the Miracle Babies Foundation's website.
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"They have no dividing membrane – they share the same amniotic fluid – and are given a 50-70% chance of surviving the cord entanglement they create by twisting and turning around one another," she added.
The first obstetrician Lucas saw suggested that she keep the pregnancy secret and expect a miscarriage, she said. Naturally, she quickly found a new doctor who closely monitored her pregnancy with frequent ultrasounds and even had her check into the hospital four weeks before giving birth, according to the Mirror.
Isolated from her family and not knowing the fate of her unborn children, Lucas said it was hard to figure out how to prepare herself.
"We were told not to set up a nursery as it would make it too hard if we lost one or both the twins, so I spent time pouring over catalogues wondering what if anything I might need," she wrote.
Finally, the expecting mother had a caesarian, and sisters Harper and Cleo were born perfectly healthy, within minutes of each other, although their umbilical cords were braided together in knots.
"As the cords were examined a shocked silence fell over the room,” Lucas wrote.
The now 8-year-old girls, who Lucas describes as “best friends,” are growing up healthy and happy with their older brother and sister.
Lucas now helps other “MoMo” mothers through the Miracle Babies Foundation, reports the Mirror.
"When MoMos survive they are known to be the closest twins of all as they have been in physical contact since conception, they have been seen holding hands and sleeping forehead to forehead in the womb... and then similarly once born,” Lucas wrote.