Akron woman gives birth to identical twins with spina bifida


AKRON, Ohio (WCMH) – A northeast Ohio woman is celebrating Mothers’ Day early after delivering identical twins with spina bifida.

Linna Nieves, 35, was told that her twins, Micah and Cairo, both had spina bifida when her 19-week ultrasound revealed openings in their spinal areas. Spina bifida is a neural tube defect where bones don’t  form properly around the spinal cord. The condition affects about one in 1,000 babies.

Doctors say this may be the first documented case of identical twins with the condition.

“It’s never been reported before in identical twins where both babies have spina bifida,” said Dr. Katherine Wolfe of the Cleveland Clinic Akron General Medical Center.

Nieves and her husband have a 10-year-old son, and after several years of trying, the couple found out Nieves was pregnant with twins. After the diagnosis, the couple had lengthy conversations with doctors about what the twins would face, including life-long physical challenges and a 60 percent chance of having learning disabilities.

“I kind of told my husband, I said, ‘We can’t determine how God decides who’s going to parent special children,’” Nieves told WEWS. “There’s a reason why we were chosen. We just have to have faith that we’re going to provide them with a great life.”

The twins underwent surgery that closed each of their spinal openings. Dr. Gwyneth Hughes, the pediatric neurosurgeon who performed the surgeries, said it’s possible that Micah will walk one day, but Cairo will not.

The doctors who worked with Nieves’ family are inspired by her strength.

“To find a family that’s so steadfast in their desire to want to have these children, even knowing what comes along with it, it is really unusual,” Dr. Hughes said.

For now, the twins are in the NICU. Nieves isn’t sure when she will get to bring them home, but she knows this Mothers’ Day is special.

“This is the most life-altering Mothers’ Day that I’ve ever had,” she said. “It just makes you look at the things that we go through just to have that title ‘mom.’”

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