"I am blessed with two little girls that light up our day each day."
A Healthy Family
Cassandra and Dalton were high school sweethearts who got married in 2021. A few months after their wedding, Cassandra learned that she was pregnant. And at their 10-week ultrasound, they learned even more good news: She was having twins.
“I have always actually wanted twins," Dalton says. "And then we went to our first ultrasound and found out we were having twins, so that was pretty amazing. It was a very big rush of feelings all at once."
Says Cassandra: "I got teary-eyed. It felt so surreal that we were having twins. It was a feeling that I don't think you can explain into words."
Cassandra was pregnant with monochorionic diamniotic twins. They shared one placenta but had separate amniotic sacs. The couple's ob-gyn referred them to Maternal Fetal Medicine at UPMC Magee-Womens in Central Pa.
The pregnancy took a scary turn for the couple at their 16-week ultrasound. One of the babies — "Baby A" — was healthy, but the other — "Baby B" had minimal fluid in her sac. Baby B's viability was in jeopardy.
“I was sick to my stomach," Cassandra says. "I actually went to the bathroom and tried to get myself together, and I could not.
"I was very scared, and I was very unsure of what my future looked like."
Cassandra and Dalton were referred to another local children's hospital for care. They also continued to make visits each week to UPMC Maternal Fetal Medicine.
At 18 weeks, they met Timothy Canavan, MD, medical director, Maternal Fetal Medicine, UPMC in Central Pa. They felt comfortable with him right away, and he took over their case.
"He was knowledgeable about twins," Cassandra says. "He knew what was going on and knew how to address the situation. He also knew how to talk to us and make it more personable when giving us the diagnosis or giving us our treatment options as we moved forward."
If the baby who was at higher risk died, it could put the other baby at risk. But Cassandra says Dr. Canavan was diligent in getting good, accurate scans to make sure both babies were continuing to grow and develop. The rest of the team at Maternal Fetal Medicine showed the same level of care.
"The team at UPMC cared for our girls even before they arrived," she says.
As the weeks passed, Baby B continued to grow. And in late May 2022, at 33 weeks of pregnancy, Cassandra gave birth to two baby girls — Blair (Baby A) and Blake (Baby B).
The girls went to the NICU after birth, where Cassandra and Dalton spent long hours with them. Blake needed three surgeries after her birth. Dr. Canavan continued to visit and help with the girls' care.
“The team at UPMC was phenomenal through the whole process," Dalton says. "Everything from Maternal Fetal Medicine into the NICU, I don't think we could have asked for a better team."
After two months in the NICU, both babies went home. Despite her three surgeries, Blake actually went home sooner.
Today, the girls are 18 months old. They are healthy and active, impressing their parents and doctors with their resilience.
Cassandra and Dalton are thankful for the care UPMC provided during the entire process. They believe without the care of Dr. Canavan and the Maternal Fetal Medicine team, they wouldn't be where they are today.
“I think about how grateful I am that this is our story and this is our journey," Cassandra says. "I am blessed with two little girls that light up our day each day. Their different personalities tend to grow larger and larger, and it's amazing to be part of their journey."
Cassandra and Dalton didn't choose to need high-risk pregnancy care. But they did choose UPMC.