A Heaven-Sent Toothache

Twin girls, stricken with a rare syndrome in the womb, survive due to an unlikely complication.

by - Posted on Jul 2, 2014

Adam Hunter

Today’s guest blogger is assistant editor Daniel Kessel.

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned while editing stories for Mysterious Ways, it’s that sometimes, what we think is a bad thing can actually help us out in the end. Just when our problems go from bad to worse, it’s often that "final straw"–the thing that brings us to the tipping point–that saves us.

Take the story of Lauren Lawton from Bridgeville, Pennsylvania.

A first-time mother with twin girls on the way, Lauren was only 7 weeks pregnant when she received devastating news. Her baby girls were diagnosed with Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, a rare condition where both babies share the same placenta.

One twin receives too many nutrients, and the other receives too little. The syndrome can prove fatal for one or both twins.

Lauren was distraught. There is no cure for the syndrome, no straightforward treatment or plan of action. Immediate delivery is an option once the baby is mature enough to survive outside the womb, but that comes with another set of risks.

The best thing for someone in Lauren’s situation to do? Eat well, get plenty of rest, and wait.

But as Lauren approached her 24th week, eating well became a problem. It hurt to chew food on one side of her mouth. She figured it was something that didn’t need to be taken care of right away, not when there were more pressing concerns. Then she started experiencing chills and sweats, symptoms of a fever.

At the hospital, doctors discovered the root of the problem: Lauren was suffering from an abscessed tooth, an infection that could quickly spread to the babies’ bloodstream. They began prepping Lauren for immediate delivery.

The newborn twins weighed little over a pound each when Lauren delivered them on the first day of her 24th week via C-section. They spent the next three and a half months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Remarkably, both twins survived the premature delivery.

What’s even more remarkable? According to Observer-Reporter News, the newborns showed no harmful effects from the TTTS diagnosed months earlier. Since the twins were born so early, the negative effects of the syndrome never had the opportunity to develop.

Doctors would not have risked inducing labor so early...but Lauren’s abscessed tooth left them with no choice. Today, the twins are healthy 7-month-old baby girls–all thanks to their mother’s timely tooth infection.

Has a setback in your life ever become your saving grace? Tell us your story!

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