It was a typical clinic day. We were seeing the usual post-operative patients, pre-operative admissions, and new referrals for surgery. Then I heard Dr. Mel’s sweet voice, “Hey Sheryl, can you take a look at something with me?”
A young woman lay on the clinic bed with a noticeably pregnant abdomen. She looked to be in her 8th month of pregnancy. But she wasn’t. Dr. Mel informed me that fetal ultrasound showed 14 week old twins! The rest of her abdomen was filled with a huge cystic mass, likely ovarian in origin. There wasn’t enough room for the babies to grow to term. Upon further history, I learned that she had three children at home; her second pregnancy had also been twins.
|14 week twins|
We informed her that in order to carry the babies to term, she would need surgery to remove the mass, however there are risks to any procedure, especially during pregnancy. We email-consulted an OB/GYN who volunteers at Kudjip regularly and he advised us that 20 weeks is the optimal time to operate. Two weeks before the scheduled surgery, Martina came back to the clinic. She was short of breath, complaining of back pain and difficulty eating and sleeping. An ultrasound showed the babies growing appropriately, but the mass was now pressing up so much on her stomach and diaphragm that she could no longer tolerate waiting. We admitted her to the hospital and moved the surgery up a week.
On the day of surgery, my heart was racing with excitement but also apprehension. Mr. Joe, our anesthesia provider, and I had reviewed the anesthesia plan and double checked medication safety in pregnancy. Then we prayed with Martina and asked God to protect the babies while we operated. The operation went smoothly as Dr. Ben and I removed the 40cm ovarian mass and 5 liters of thick mucus. We praise God that Martina and both babies continue to do well post-operatively. Please join me in praying for the remainder of her pregnancy and for a safe delivery in a few months.
(Patient name and picture shared with permission)