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Rady Children's Specialists

A Tiny Miracle: Katelyn’s Story

KatelynAt 26 weeks into her pregnancy with twins, Amy Hetzer went in for a routine ultrasound that changed her life. Her doctor discovered something was wrong – terribly wrong.

The twin baby girls inside her had a condition called twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, a serious complication whereby one infant has too much circulating blood, and the other doesn’t have enough. Amy was told she had to deliver immediately – before her husband Dave could get home from his business trip to Oklahoma – and that it was unlikely the girls would survive.

As Dave rushed to Amy’s bedside, Julianne and Katelyn were born, more than three months early and clinging to life. Weighing just 1.7 pounds and 1.3 pounds respectively, the girls were so heartbreakingly small that you could hold them in one hand.

Tragically, Julianne didn’t survive. But thanks to the expert care and lifesaving equipment in Rady Children’s NICU, Katelyn pulled through – and had a chance at life. From daily magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to specialized incubators to warm her body to a ventilator to help her breathe, Katelyn had the technology to help keep her alive.

To the delight of her parents and the NICU staff, Katelyn went home just in time for Mother’s Day. Today, she’s a happy, healthy and sweet little girl.

Says her father, Dave: “I truly believe that if Katelyn wasn’t at Rady Children’s, she wouldn’t have survived. They had the technology. They had the staff. And they were thorough. From the very beginning to the time Katelyn was released, they watched her 24 hours a day. They really cared about my daughter and wouldn’t let her go home until they were 100 percent confident that she was well.”