A woman whose unborn baby was being slowly drained of life by its twin is facing a tense wait to see if it survives following surgery.
Sarah Garratt was suffering from an extremely rare syndrome known as Twin Reverse Arterial Perfusion, or Trap, which affects one in every 30,000 pregnancies.
The condition meant that although one of her identical twins was growing and able to move, it had no organs, head and torso.
It was also risking the life of the healthy baby, whose heart was having to pump blood around the other twin.
Earlier this week Professor Mark Kilby, Professor of Maternal and Fetal Medicine at Birmingham Women's Hospital, used delicate keyhole surgery to stop blood circulating around the abnormal foetus.
Mrs Garret, aged 26, now faces a wait to see if the normal twin will survive the trauma of surgery.
Professor Kilby said the danger period for miscarriage was about a week.
The operation - which Prof Kilby has performed about five times in the last two-and-a-half years - was carried out under local anaesthetic.
"I put a needle into the abnormal baby that doesn't have a heart and passed a laser fibre down to the blood vessels that connect the pump twin to the abnormal twin," he said.
"There is a risk of miscarriage because of putting something into the womb. We have to see whether the strain of that is too much and whether the remaining twin will survive."
He said ultrasound scans did not show that the normal twin was in any distress during or following the procedure.
"Sarah had a scan about four hours after surgery and that was fine. The first week is the danger period. Hopefully the baby will get quite a long way through pregnancy before needing delivery."
Mrs Garratt said she had only learned she had Trap a month ago.
"The way we've coped is by keeping hold of the fact that the other one is the normal baby," she said.
"It has been an incredibly lonely experience. I've gone through every feeling it's possible to feel.
"We still have to see whether the procedure has worked," said Mrs Garratt, who lives in Nottinghamshire. "It is not over yet. If the circulation has not been stopped it will have to be done again.
She said was dismayed to find out how little was known about the condition.
"No one seems to know much about the condition. I thought someone in my village would say they had had it and everything was fine, but no one had. My midwife had never heard of it and was really shocked."
She was given the choice of undergoing delicate keyhole surgery or a complete termination.
"What really persuaded me and my husband, Neil, was that if we had gone for termination we would always have wondered what might have been," she said.
The couple, who have a daughter and two sons, said they had not planned another pregnancy.
Remembering how she found out about the abnormality, Mrs Garratt said: "After I had the scan I was told that one of the twins had not survived but was given a letter to give to a consultant at another hospital. I opened it and saw the word Trap.
"I looked it up on the inter-net and was utterly horrified.
"I barely slept since and keep seeing nightmarish images of foetuses without heads or limbs. It was a horrifying and surreal experience." ..SUPL: