A WIRRAL dad who nearly lost his twin baby girls to a life-threatening condition is training for a messy challenge to help a charity's pioneering research.

David Smith and friend Simon Guy will take on the Tough Mudder Challenge in Yorkshire on July 27 to raise money and awareness of multiple birth charity Tamba's TTTS (Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome) appeal.

Dave and partner Jayne from New Brighton were thrilled to be told they were expecting twins – with none in the family it came as a complete surprise.

But at 18 weeks their consultant in the Fetal Medicine Unit at Liverpool Women's Hospital noticed a size discordance.

Sometimes this can be nothing to be concerned about, but by the 20 week scan the size discordance had increased to 25%.

It was then they learned the girls had developed the life-threatening condition Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

It occurs when there is an imbalance of blood supply from the placenta to the twin babies.

One of the twins, Annabelle, had polyhydramnios - a condition in which too much amniotic fluid and increased blood volume causes a strain on the heart.

Ruby had a decreased blood volume, lack of nutrients to grow and oligohydramnios - which is little to no amniotic fluid and she was stuck unable to grow or move.

They had also developed TAPS which is an imbalance in blood vessels, so Annabelle was producing thick blood whereas Ruby was anaemic.

On top of this Ruby also had Selective Intrauterine Growth Restriction (sIUGR) which is which meant the placenta was not evenly apportioned between the girls and Ruby was malnourished.

Happily, the girls are doing amazing now. neither have any signs that they were ever that ill apart from Ruby having a scar on her back from the laser.

They're both thriving in nursery, proper little chatter boxes.

Recalling what was a difficult few weeks for the family, David, who is a stay-at-home dad, said: "At 24 weeks after monitoring by our consultant we were told we needed to travel to Kings College in London to have laser ablation to give the girls any chance of survival.

"The day of the laser treatment the size discordance had grown to 50% and the outlook for the girls was not great.

"We were told the chance of survival for one twin was 70% and for both twins to survive after laser was 40%.

"If left untreated neither of the girls would have survived.

"We had laser ablation performed by the amazing Professor Kypros Nicolaides, any vessels that were found to connect the girls were coagulated using the laser.

"Jayne also had reduction amniocentesis which drains the amniotic fluid from around Annabelle to improve circulation.

"We then had to wait several hours to find out if the girls had survived the procedure, as you can imagine this was agonising."

Fortunately, the surgery worked and the girls improved, fluids and bloods evened and Ruby started growing.

David continued: "At 35 weeks and four days we met our girls after a C-section and they were both born healthy and only spent two days in the NICU before joining Jayne.

"Charities like Tamba provide vital advice, assistance and research into new treatments and raising awareness of TTTS.

"As it is responsible for more infant deaths than cot death awareness of this dreadful disease especially in local hospitals is essential.

"We were very lucky with our outcome but many are not so fortunate."

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