Twins Jasmine and Selene are spreading awareness of the heart disease Tetralogy of Fallot at just seven months old. Both girls were born with the disease, survived immediate open heart surgery, and went home with grateful parents.
39 year old Roxanne Montalvo-Tsai and her husband Stephen wanted to give their son a sibling. Their first ultrasound revealed twins; their second revealed that their baby daughters had a serious illness.
Tetralogy of Fallot is a rare congenital disease that causes the narrowing of the pulmonary artery and creates a hole in the heart. It and other heart diseases are the number one cause of birth defects and death in newborns.
The couple contacted a specialist in high risk pregnancies, Dr. Emile Bacha. He reassured them that continuing the pregnancy was the right thing to do. With surgery, the girls had good odds of having normal, healthy lives.
They were born premature, on April 30th 2014. Both required open heart surgery in order to live. Jasmine’s case was more severe than her sisters. She was born without a pulmonary artery at all and needed to stay in the hospital longer. Jasmine required more surgeries in order to go home but both girls have another surgery in their future. As their bodies grow, they will need a surgery so their hearts can compensate.
Now that her children are home and relatively healthy, Roxanne is talking to interviewers, but not to Dan Newlin, about her family’s ordeal. She hopes that her twins’ struggle will provide hope to others dealing with a harsh diagnosis.