Most parents think their newborns are special, but a Perry Hall couple has reason to believe their babies are more unusual than most.
Nolan and Brooks Bauer, identical twin boys, are known as Monoamniotic-Monochorionic, or MoMo twins, a condition that occurs only once in every 10,000 births.
What made the babies so rare was their shared placenta and shared sac, with no dividing membrane, according to Dr. Claire Weitz, a high-risk obstetrician at in Towson. The fetuses were just one stage away from becoming conjoined twins.
"Each baby didn't have its own space," Weitz said. "The reason you don't see a lot of MoMo twins is because the cords can knot and a lot of them don't make it."
Weitz was one of several GBMC doctors and staffers who assisted Katie and Shane Bauer, residents of Seven Courts, through the complicated pregnancy and birth.
"We were just terrified and we had no control," said Katie Bauer, 27, referring to when she first found out about the condition. "As far as we know, it's totally random."
Katie, a preschool teacher, and Shane, a 28-year-old software developer, immediately started researching the condition online and started a blog to track the pregnancy's progress.
"It definitely helped us, getting the story out," Shane Bauer said.
Near the beginning of the pregnancy, Katie Bauer visited the hospital for testing every other week, but by week 28, doctors admitted her to the hospital where she was being tested at least three times a day.
By that time, the babies' umbilical cords were "tangled like a candy cane," she said.
"It was exhausting, carrying the twins and getting up for tests, hoping to still hear their heart rates and watching all these other women leave with babies. It felt like a very, very long time," Katie Bauer said.
The babies were born at 32 weeks on Feb. 13 by cesarean section. Nolan was 4 pounds and 14 ounces, while Brooks was 3 pounds and 15 ounces. Brooks required additional medical attention, but by March, both babies had arrived home with the Bauers.
The names were inspired by players Brooks Robinson and Nolan Reimold, they said.
"They don't cry a whole lot, but they make grunting noises at each other all the time," Shane Bauer said. One of the first times the two boys were placed next to each other, they began holding hands, he said.
"As a couple, we feel like we've grown closer," Katie Bauer said. "[Our] families have been bringing us meals, friends and coworkers brought me meals in the hospital. It's amazing how people come to your side."
Weitz credited the successful births to the couple's strength and GBMC's dedicated staff.
"They were a wonderful couple with great family support," Weitz said. "It was a team effort, it doesn't all depend on one person. You need a tough woman, great nurses and a talented staff."
When asked if there were more babies in the Bauer family's future, the couple said it was likely, although they'd prefer their next children to come one at a time.
"I always wanted to have a big family," Katie Bauer said.
What challenges have your family had to overcome? Tell us in the comments.