CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Caitlin and Brad Hinson love their young son, Nolan, but they have room in their heart to love more children.
Blaine Garrett was born on June 21, 2017. He was stillborn. Blaine's parents took pictures in the few moments they spent with him.
A few months later, the couple received word they were going to have a girl. They named her Grace but lost her 15 weeks into the pregnancy. Doctors believed she had Trisomy-13.
With two angels in the sky, the Hinsons later welcomed two miracles.
"I think I prayed every night that it would be twins," said Caitlin. "I just really wanted two [babies] since we have had two gone to heaven. I prayed and prayed and so when we went to our ultrasound at seven weeks, we went in and saw both of our babies on the ultrasound machine and it was twins!"
Caitlin and Brad soon found out the girls were at high-risk by sharing a placenta. It is a rare condition called twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.
It happens when one twin, called the donor, becomes dehydrated and the other sibling, called the recipient, develops high blood pressure and produces too much urine, overfilling the amniotic sac.
Dr. Courtney Stephenson is the director of the Charlotte Fetal Care Center, the only hospital in the southeast that is capable of performing the complicated procedure.
"You never breathe easy until they are in your arms," Dr. Stephenson said. "It's just one of those dangerous, life-threatening conditions."
The complex surgery is performed with a laser. Dr. Stephenson operated on Caitlin on June 21, 2018, one year to the day after Caitlin gave birth to her angel baby, Blaine Garrett.
"It was almost like a comfort in that it's not where I wanted to be but I felt like [Blaine] chose that day, so that's what I was thinking about the whole time I was in surgery," said Caitlin.
The procedure was a success. In September, Isla and Iris entered the world more than two months premature. On Monday, they were moved out of the NICU. Dr. Stephenson is hopeful they will lead happy, normal lives.
"Our story is one of hope, and prayer, and faithfulness," said Caitlin.
"There is a purpose for these girls and they change our lives already but who is to say that they would be here if Blaine hadn't come before them?"