Wednesday, January 31, 2007

visit with the specialist


I don't know where to start.........

We had our appointment with the specialist today to go over how our babies are doing. Ugggg I'm having a hard time putting this into words. It did not go terrible but the news certainly was not good.

Our babies have been diagnosed with TTTS (twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome). I'll copy an explanation from a website so I don't mess anything up.

"Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is the consequence of unbalanced blood flow from one twin (the donor) to the other (the recipient) across transplacental vascular communications and results in the polyhydramnios/ oligo- hydramnios sequence and can include growth discordance."

In other words, the blood flow from baby to baby is connected via the placenta. One baby is working harder and forcing the fluid to the other baby's amniotic sac. If untreated, the fluid is drained from the donor's sac and will die of dehydration. The recipient may also die because she can't cope with the extra blood flow so her heart will fail.

What can we do? Well not much right now. Lisa is going on bedrest. Our doctor said that although there are no studies that prove bedrest can reverse the effects, he believes that may play a significant role in balancing out the blood flow between the two babies.

If that doesn't work, there is a procedure that will help regulate the flow by "closing the blood vessels on the surface of the placenta so that the babies' blood is no longer shared." It's called fetoscopic laser ablation of chorioangiopus vessels or FLOC if you want to look it up. The hospital would fly us down to Portland, Oregon for the procedure. I read that is performed/available in only a handful of hospitals in the world. We will be going once a week so the doc can keep a close eye on donor's amniotic sac to see if we need to intervene.'s the downer and why I was having such a hard time writing this. Against my better judgement, I looked up TTTS and FLOC to see what I could find about the success rate. The specialist told us that the success rate is "very good". "Very good", I'm learning, is a relative term.

I found two case studies where severe TTTS were treated by FLOC. In both studies, both twins survived in 50 to 55% of the cases. One baby survived in 70%. That means that in 30% of the cases, neither baby survived.

I've been staring at those numbers for the past hour. I don't know what else to say.

We're having a hard time with this news. We were cautiously optimistic after the doctor's visit but now after finding some numbers to go along with the diagnosis, we are pretty devestated. We've both had a hard cry tonight.

...right now I can hear Lisa in bed reading a Dr. Seuss book to the babies and it's breaking my heart.

We need your prayers. We love these babies so much. 4 months ago, I couldn't imagine life with a I can't imagine my life without both of them.

Please pray for us.

Andy, Lisa, and our two angels

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Baby news

We got the call we've been hoping we wouldn't receive. Our doctor called us to let us know there is a concern in the difference in the babies weights. They are an estimated 10 and 12 ounces which is 20% and enough to send us to a specialist. We have an appointment next Wednesday to see the twin specialist. Honestly, we don't know what to expect and are trying our best not to worry and have faith that things are and will continue to be perfect.

A bit of good news...Lisa felt one of the babies moving around today for the first time. On Sunday, she called me to tell me there is a lump in her stomach. I told her to push on she says while she's gently pushing on her belly "baby? is that you?" Well the bump responded and simply disappeared.

Today was a different story. One of the little ones decided she was bored during a mid-morning meeting and thought it would be fun to stick a butt or leg out. I still don't know how Lisa kept from interrupting the meeting and telling everyone what just happened. The baby continued to move around for a couple minutes and then fell back asleep or wandered off to the other side of the playground.

Later this evening, Lisa felt another movement but by the time I came over and put my hand on the spot, it had stopped. So I'm going to go to bed now, say a prayer, and fall asleep with my hand on her belly...waiting patiently for that next kick.

Keep us in your prayers and we'll update as we find out more.

Here are some more pictures from our last visit.

This was the only one with both babies in the same picture. See all the fingers?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Jan 19th baby checkup

Sorry all you faithful readers, it's been a while....

Lisa had her last checkup on Friday and it was a good one. This is the appointment that most pregnant women look forward to because it's the first time they get to see their baby for 45 minutes while they do all their measurements. We are spoiled because twins require one of the apppointments every month so this is the third time we've seen the 3d pictures and we get 45 minutes PER BABY...but this was the "scheduled" 20 week checkup. We are so spoiled with these twins.

Lisa's mom was also in town so she was able to accompany us and see her grandbabies in action for the first time. They put on a great show. Both were very active to the point where we thought they were fighting. There was a lot of squirming, punching, kicking, and dancing. These are going to be fun babies.

The doc printed out 14 pictures for us.....14!!!!! Here are a few.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Neuschwanstein Castle

On December 30th, we took a road trip to see the most famous castle in Germany, Neuschwanstein. While we were flying back to Anchorage, Lisa and I talked about our favorite parts of the trip and we both agreed that day was #1 for both of us. For me, the castle was amazing but I most enjoyed driving through the countryside and seeing all the picturesque villages along the way. One of the highlights was when we stopped for lunch on the way back off the beaten path. I'm still not sure what the name of the village was but it was not a place many American tourist probably stop. Anyway, here are a few pictures from that day.

One of said picturesque villages enroute to the castle. This one was in Austria, I believe. We actually drove through Austria for about 30 minutes.

Carriage ride up to the castle.

...view of Schwan (Swan) Lake from inside the castle

Lisa outside of Neuschwanstein

Ludwig built his castle so he could keep a close eye on his Mommy and Daddy down the road who lived in this little castle.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Ski Jumping

Dec 31, 2006 qualifying jump in Garmisch, Germany.

Ski Jumping on New Year's Eve

Some pictures from our New Years festivities. The way I understand it is that Garmisch is 1 of 4 ski jump hills on a circuit in Europe. It is a huge anual event and one of the main reasons why we wanted to be in Garmisch during this time of year. We went on New Year's Eve for the practice and qualifying rounds. Finals were the next day and it RAINED...hard. We watched the finals live on tv in a lodge down the street and were amazed to see how many people braved the rain. Here are a couple of shots from that day and then that evening during the party....and a "Andy and Lisa's Adventures" first, a video from our digital camera.

We're HOME!!!

We finally made it home early Friday morning after 3 days of travelling. We left Garmisch on Tuesday and took the train to Munich. After an overnight stay at a nice hotel near the airport, we left around noon for a 9.5 hour flight to Philadelphia. We couldn't get a connecting flight out of Philly that same evening so we stayed overnight in Philly and left Thursday afternoon for the last 2 flights back to Anchorage. They were each 5 hours long and proved to be more exhausting the than the initial pond crosser. Luckily we were able to use miles to upgrade to first class on the last two legs but even so, we were both VERY anxious to get off the plane.

This first picture is the sunrise on our last day travelling from our hotel room in Philly. Obviously, our clocks were a little messed up so we were up a little early.

Before we got on the plane, we found an AWESOME Philly cheesesteak place down the street from the hotel. It was perfect. Here is Lisa washing down her cheesesteak with some water (I haven't seen her eat that much since we found out she was pregnant) with some of the decor in the background. The article on the wall behind her was about how President Bush and his entourage ordered 80 cheesesteaks a couple years ago while there were visiting the city. There was a signed picture on the wall from the crew of Air Force One.

Home...we knew it had snowed while we were gone but wow were we surprised to see just how much. Our next door neighbor kept our driveway shoveled but left the snow on top of the Bronco to show us how much it had snowed. I'm still in shock. The road back to our house is one lane because the snow is stacked up so high on each side. Our deck had more than 2 feet of snow stacked up so I got a little worried about the weight and shoveled some off. Madison ventured out into it but didn't like it too much.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year from Deutschland

Lisa and I are still in Germany and having a blast. Our vacation is coming to an end and will be begin our long journey back to Anchorage tomorrow. I can't wait to share photos and stories with everyone. For now, I thought I would give a little teaser of some of our adventures.