Brittany & Mike Bruley’s Twin Girls

My name is Kelly Donovan, and I’m the proud aunt of newborn twins Shea and Riley, born September 8 to my little sister, Brittany, and her husband, Mike. We’re all delighted to have welcomed these beautiful girls into the world, but it’s been a tough road. Brittany was told just 17 weeks into her pregnancy that the babies had Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, a rare condition that affects only about 10 percent of identical twin pregnancies. TTTS means that the babies’ blood vessels cross each other and cause too much blood flow to one baby and not enough to the other. The babies needed a rare fetal laser surgery performed by only a small number of doctors across the world – but luckily a local California surgeon, Dr Chmait, was able to help.

The babies survived, but surgery showed that Shea was receiving 80 percent of the nutrients compared to Riley’s 20 percent. We were told multiple times that there was no chance for Riley's survival. The pregnancy remained high risk and Brittany  - who, on top of everything, was on bed rest and developed gestational diabetes. Despite all odds, both girls were delivered at 31 weeks and 4 days and survived.

Shea weighed 4.1 pounds; Riley was only 1.5.

Shea spent 32 days in the NICU and Riley was only able to join us at home after 72 days in the hospital. Both girls have a long journey ahead, but they’re fighters. On top of that, however, their new family has been beset by other obstacles. In addition to Brittany's gestational diabetes and other health complications, she had a breast cancer scare and had to undergo a biopsy, which thankfully came back negative. At the same time of all of this severe emotional and physical stress, their home has dealt with everything from a broken furnace to asbestos problems and a gas leak. The financial toll is exorbitant, even with insurance. Brittany is a seventh grade teacher and Mike works at a local bank. The babies face many long appointments and consultations as they grow bigger and stronger, nurtured every day by the love of their parents, extended family and friends. But every bit of support will help as the little Bruley family forges on.

They’re our miracle babies, but it’s an incredibly difficult time, particularly around this festive period.
I wish I could be there to help with the round-the-clock care-taking, but I'm out in Chicago working full time with my two young daughters in school.  This is a way for me to reach beyond our immediate family for some much-needed help - while hopefully raising awareness about TTTS.  

Thank you for reading about our little fighters, God Bless and Happy Holidays! 
-Kelly Donovan


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Kelly Donovan 
Anaheim, CA
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