Meet Vivianne and Veronica, Premature Fighters that are Now Dancing Through Life

Meet Vivianne and Veronica, Premature Fighters that are Now Dancing Through Life

Vivianne Grace and Veronica Faith Stowell were born fighters. They came into this world weighing less than 2 lbs. each and at only 26 weeks gestation. Now nearly 9 years old, their battles began in the womb, and some would say, with each other.

In the womb, baby Veronica stayed hidden during the first ultrasound. When she was discovered, it turned out she was battling for nutrients with baby Vivianne.

“When I was pregnant, it was determined the girls had unequal placenta sharing,” explained the twins’ mother, Carrie Stowell. “Which means too much of everything for one baby and that she is working harder, and too little for the other baby who is getting low oxygen. It hurts their hearts.”

Carrie was diagnosed with Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) early in the pregnancy. TTTS is a condition unique to identical twins or higher multiples pregnancies and occurs when multiples share one placenta (monochorionic) and an imbalance of vessels between the twins exists, explained Marvin Williams, D.O., maternal fetal medicine specialist at OU Health. TTTS is found in about 20 percent of monochorionic twins.

The result is in one twin “donating” a majority of its blood supply to the other twin who becomes the “recipient” twin. The recipient twin receives too much blood, which causes problems with heart failure while the donor twin can become small and develop organ failure.

“We monitor the pregnancy very closely with ultrasounds,” Williams said. “We assess the severity of TTTS and, if necessary, recommend various treatments. It becomes a matter of expectantly managing the pregnancy.”

In some cases, TTTS results in only one twin surviving. But in this case, Vivianne and Veronica come from a long line of fighters who defy the odds. Even their mother Carrie getting pregnant was a miracle in itself since she had previously battled cervical cancer.

“I’d heard for years it could be too risky,” Carrie said. “The hand of God was over my entire pregnancy.”

During the emergency C-section, baby Veronica decided to “cut in line” ahead of her sister Vivianne, something the doctors had never seen before. Veronica apparently wanted to see the worldfirst.

Born at 1 lb. 12 oz., Vivianne was the larger of the twins. Veronica was born at only 1 lb. 2 oz. They were labeled “micro-premature” and could be held in one hand.

“They were so tiny. They couldn’t even be clothed until they reached 4 lbs.,” Carrie said. “It was a roller coaster, they were always checking for eye disease, blood pressure problems or kidney issues. They were on meds for everything. I signed them up for every health study they could be in. I wanted everyone to be able to learn from their case, hoping it could help.”

Vivianne came home from the hospital with no oxygen tube and eating regular food, but Veronica continued to face the challenges of needing oxygen and a feeding tube. Veronica was diagnosed with Dandy-Walker Syndrome, a developmental issue of the brain that coordinates movement. The condition required outpatient treatments. The twins still see gastroenterologists at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital for routine checkups.

Vivianne in particular, doesn’t seem to mind these doctor visits.

“The doctor pushes on my tummy to see if it hurts or not…and it usually doesn’t,” Vivianne said with a smile. “Sometimes they do X-rays and it shows what’s inside of me...and afterward they give me a sticker!”

The whole family is grateful for the expert care they received. At 8 years old, the twins are in second grade and third-year Girl Scouts. They love to dance and shine like their silver screen namesakes.

“We had an amazing experience at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital,” Carrie said. “The doctors and staff have been wonderful. We were fortunate to have the doctors we did.”

That’s a win-win.

Learn more about the pregnancy and high risk pregnancy services at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, and watch Vivianne and Veronica in our latest Oklahoma Children’s Hospital commercial at