A local woman running in memory of her baby daughter has raised nearly £800 for the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.
Pamela McFarlane took part in Saturday's 10k road race at Bute Highland Games in memory of daughter Olivia, who died shortly after she and her twin sister Sophia were born in 2014.
Pamela said: "In March 2014 we were shocked and delighted to find out that we were expecting another baby, and that in fact we were getting two for the price of one! We were expecting identical twins.
"At 24 weeks pregnant we were told the devastating news that we had Stage 2 Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). Following a detailed scan [we were advised that] we needed an emergency operation in order for one or both of our identical twin girls to survive.
"We were one of the first to undergo this piorneering surgery in Scotland."
Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) is a rare but life-threatening condition that affects 10 to 15 percent of identical twins that share a placenta (monochorionic twins).
The blood vessels within and on the surface of the shared placenta connecting both twins should allow blood to flow evenly between the babies so that each baby receives the same amount. However, in TTTS part of the blood flow is diverted from one ‘donor’ twin to the other ‘recipient’ twin in what is effectively a blood transfusion.
A lack of blood supply can affect the donor twin’s growth so they are smaller than average. The recipient twin is usually larger and has a higher blood volume, which can strain their heart as it works harder to cope with the extra blood supply.
The following morning after her scan, Pamela underwent placental laser surgery with around two litres of excess fluid drained from her uterus.
"I am happy to say that our surgery was a success," Pamela said, "and the twins went from strength to strength at each scan and surpassed all expectations.
"At 28 weeks I went into labour and our identical twin girls, Olivia and Sophia, were born weighting 2lbs 7oz each. I briefly saw them before they were whisked away to NICU.
"Sadly on day four Olivia contracted a gut infection. The hospital did all they could to save her but she was just too small to make it and she passed away in my arms with her daddy by her side, too.
"Sophia had a few ups and downs during her NICU/SCBU ten-week stay but she is now a very happy, fun and lively 2 year old.
"Without the surgery at 24 weeks we would have lost one or both of our girls so we have made it our family mission to raise awareness of TTTS as well as raising much needed funds for the Fetal Medicine Unit so that they can continue giving other twins the best possible chance of survival."
Pamela has raised £785 so far for Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity (formerly Yorkhill Children’s Charity) and completed Saturday's 10k in one hour and ten minutes.
If you would like to make a donation to Pamela to help with her fund-raising efforts you can visit her JustGiving page by clicking here.
To learn more about Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome click here.