How Twin Girls With Truncus Changed My Life As A Nurse

March 20, 2012


It takes a village...

If there is one thing I know for certain in the 20+ years I have been a nurse at Texas Children's Hospital, it's that our patients touch our hearts and affect our lives in ways they may never know. I recently met a patient that had a particularly profound effect on me.

Last spring, the McPhetridge family was ecstatic when they found out that they were expecting twin girls. The couple's joy soon turned to fear when they learned that both of their babies had identical form of truncus, an extremely rare type of congenital heart disease.

The diagnosis is daunting for one child, but to have twins with the same condition was overwhelming. The health of both their baby girls would have to be monitored throughout the pregnancy and a major heart surgery performed on each baby within the first few days of life. The diagnosis was so serious that the McPhetridge's researched to find the right place for them to deliver their babies. After much research and consideration they chose Texas Children's Hospital, where they could benefit from our top-ranked Fetal and Heart Centers.

When their decision was made, the McPhetridge's packed their bags and headed south. I was there to meet them on their first day in Houston and spent the next few months with them, growing to feel like I was part of their family. I felt lucky to be on the front lines with them, talking frequently and joining in most of their appointments.

The twins' condition required a multidisciplinary team from the Fetal Center to ensure that the babies remained healthy throughout the pregnancy. From the ultrasounds to follow their growth, to the Fetal Cardiac ECHO to follow their hearts, neonatologists to prepare the family and NICU for their delivery, to Dr. Richard Ivey to ensure they were born safely and of course a team of cardiologists to prepare for their post-birth and CV Surgery team to prepare for their open heart surgeries. Each of these teams were supported by countless nurses, clinicians and administrative professionals. Each member with an important role in the team success. The goal was for the twins to be as healthy as possible for neonatal heart surgery and to discharge them home to their parents.

After witnessing the successful birth and surgeries of the twins, I started thinking about all of the talented people who had worked, prayed, planned and practiced so hard along the way to ensure that the 2 little girls had the healthiest start to life possible. It took my breath away to realize the twins may never have the chance to meet any of these people who were cheering for them even before they were born.

In total, more than 40 talented physicians, nurses, anesthesiologists, clinicians and administrative professionals came together across state lines, centers and departments to put all of their hard-earned knowledge to work for these 2 precious little baby twin girls who had yet to arrive. The pictures of them from ultrasounds and ECHOs were impressive but when I met them in person, as always, I was in awe.

I've realized it truly does take a village to raise children. And for some of our patients, it takes a village to give them opportunity. The experience with McPhetridge's once again humbled me and made me proud to be a part of the village at Texas Children's. I can not imagine working anywhere else. It is truly an honor to be part of this team.

Post by: