Everyday, expectant Iowa mom Amanda Kuhl gets to hear her twins' heartbeats. While most moms-to-be would jump at this chance for early bonding with baby, Kuhl's situation is high-risk and rare.
Kuhl is being hospitalized for eight weeks to ensure her monoamniotic twins are healthy when they're delivered via c-section at 32 weeks. While most identical twins share a placenta but have separate amniotic sacs, monoamniotic twins — which occur in one out of 35,000 pregnancies — also share an amniotic sac. However, they have separate umbilical cords, so there's a risk of entanglement. And like the Gardners experienced with two of their quadruplets, there's a risk of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, in which one fetus has a higher blood supply than the other.
Right now, mom and babies are doing well. For the past two weeks, doctors at Mercy Medical Center's Maternity Triage and Treatment Unit have been hooking her up to an electronic fetal monitor three times a day for an hour each time to ensure they can hear two heart beats. Kuhl is remaining positive about the ordeal.
"Not a lot of people get the opportunity to sit and listen to their [baby's] heartbeat for hours before they're born," she told KCCI News. "It’s kind of like I’m bonding already more so than just being pregnant."
The downside is being away from her 6- and 4-year-old kids. "It's just stressful the unknown. That's been the biggest part of all of this,” Kuhl said.