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Two UC Davis doctors put their faith and trust in UC Davis Children’s Hospital to save their identical baby boys, Bodhi and Bear, before they were born.
Their mother, Lindsey Malik, was diagnosed with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome which happens when identical twins share the same placenta in the womb and one does not get enough blood and nutrients.
Their twins, Bodhi and Bear, share a story of survival.
"From the second we’d found out that we were having them to sitting here with you. It’s been a crazy journey," Malik said.
Malik is a cardiologist at UC Davis and her husband, Jake Dima, practices family medicine.
"Being a physician I know what ultrasounds look like. So when they started and he was taking his time and I was watching the screen and he said, "Are you seeing what I’m seeing. Are you sure? Can you keep looking?'" Malik explained about the moment she found out she was pregnant with twins.
It was that moment; looking at her ultrasound, their lives would change forever.
"We didn’t even know the half of it," Dima said.
During a routine check-up, the look on the doctor’s face said it all. There was a chance Bodhi and Bear would not survive the pregnancy.
They shared the same placenta and they were not getting the same blood flow. Bodhi was getting significantly more than Bear.
To save their boys, they decided to have surgery.
"Why we do this is to try and save babies," said Dr. Shinjiro Hirose, Chief of Pediatric and Fetal Surgery.
Dr. Hirose and his team at UC Davis Children’s Hospital have performed five surgeries for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.
"Of all twins that share one placenta this happens about 10 percent of the time," Dr. Hirose said. The rate of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome is increasing.
UC Davis Children’s is one of three centers on the West Coast specializing in the procedure.
Hirose’s team helped save Bodhi and Bear while they were in Malik’s womb.
"It’s a testament to her faith and our medical care. She could go to a center that had a lot more experience that had a lot more patients. She put her faith in us," Dr. Hirose said.
Malik said it was a scary experience overall but she felt extreme relief when she welcomed her boys into the world.
"I think that moment was when they were born. They pulled Bear out first and when we heard them scream I knew they were going to be okay," Malik said.
Seeing their boys grow happy and healthy has been remarkable for Malik and Dima.
"Without support we wouldn't have these babies," Malik said.
That support comes from people’s donations to UC Davis Children’s Hospital.
"In all honesty we couldn't continue without those donations. Not only does it allow us to grow but to do research. The existence of this procedure was funded by donations. It’s truly critical," Dr. Hirose said.
Being doctors themselves, Malik and Dima know it takes a village to make a success story happen.
They are incredibly thankful for the gift of their boys' lives, given through generosity.