Thursday, March 29, 2007

Week 30 Checkup

We had our weekly checkup on Wednesday and.........managed to buy ourselves another week. Actually our next appointment isn't until next Friday so we'll be at 31 weeks and 2 days at our next appointment.

As strange as it seems, the condition has continued to reverse itself. Just 3 weeks ago, Alyssa had 75% of the placenta and Kaitlyn only had 25%. Last week was the first sign that it had stabilized or maybe had reversed but this week's appointment confirmed that. Ms. Katy seems to have the majority of the fluid in the placenta and Alyssa is becoming pinned to one side.

Although it was explained as being very rare, the doctor was not at all concerned. He said that the girls aren't in any more danger than they were before...that it won't progress to the point of putting them in danger. They won't let it. If it gets to that point now, they'll just deliver. We will continue to go in once a week for the next 2 weeks and then begin going in twice a week after that until delivery. We get the impression that they are shooting for a 34 week delivery.

We are still focused on April 11 (32 weeks) especially after the minor scares we've had this week. Lisa is getting more uncomfortable every day so it will be a test of endurance, that is for sure.

All in all, it is great news and we continue to feel very fortunate. Thank you for all your is definitely helping.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

unscheduled visit to the hospital

Lisa woke up this morning and had some pre-labor "symptoms" so after calling the 24 maternity clinic, we decided to go in and check everything to be on the side of safe.

The best part of this story is as I was rushing home from work at 5am, I have to admit that I was a little freaked out. That's the first time I was faced with that reality that they could be coming today. So my heart was racing and I happened to look up at the sky and saw an incredible northern lights display. I haven't seen the northern lights in months and it wasn't from a lack of trying either. It was as if God was telling me, "Hey, slow down. It's okay. I'm in control. Check this out...look what I can do!" It really helped slow me down and take some deep breaths and remember it was going to be matter what.

The girls were hooked up to monitor their heart rates and Lisa was hooked up to watch for contractions and wouldn't you know within a minute, Lisa started to have a contraction. The nurse asked Lisa if she could feel it and Lisa looked up at her and said, "contraction?" She obviously couldn't feel it but we watched it come and go for about 5 minutes.

We talked with the nurse for a while and she called the on-call doctor. They decided that everything was "normal" and nothing to be concerned over. We were sent home a couple hours later with the instructions to follow up with our OB tomorrow.

Here is a pic I snapped of Lisa literally half an hour ago watching the heart rates from her bed.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

the power of prayer

Sorry for the lack of updates but I have been speechless these last couple of days. I honestly don't know how to put what has happened into words. Bear with me.

Wednesday, we had our appointments scheduled back to back...the first with our OB and the second with the specialist. Our OB is great! but at times has been quite the pessimist...or it could be interpreted as having realistic expectations or maybe even preparing us for the worst. Whatever the case, she did it to us again. Last time we saw her, I asked if a vaginal birth was possible and whether or not we should sign up for a birthing class. She definitively answered "no" and continued preaching that a C-section is a sure bet..."there's not enough time anyway because you'll probably have these kids in the next couple of weeks".

This week she started out the appointment by giving us a pre-admission form to fill out and hand in because we were certain to be admitted soon. She stated again how excited she is that we've made it to 29 weeks and she'll be REALLY happy if we make it to 31 weeks. Her expectations from the beginning (since 20 weeks) have been very low. She doesn't take into account the power of prayer evidently.

We ended up waiting about 45 minutes between appointments which was waaaay too much time to think about all the things that were just said. I turned in the form and had a funny conversation with the lady at the admission desk. She wanted THE date we were coming in to have the babies. I said that I didn't know and I just figured I was letting them put us in the computer so when we did check in, that it would be a smoother transition. I said it could be tomorrow or it could be in May but...nope, she wanted THE date. I finally wrote down April 11 (Lisa's birthday and end of week 32) to make her happy. I have no idea how that's going to pan out.

Anyway, back to the waiting. We tried to keep calm but in the back of both of our heads we were thinking "This could be it. This could be the day that they tell us that we need to be admitted", or even worse, "we're going to take the babies out now". We didn't know what storm we were about to walk into.

Like the day we found out we are going to have twins, I had no idea this would or ever could happen. In the first few minutes of the ultrasound, it looked different to us. While the tech was doing the initial checks to see how the babies were situated and a quick scan of their vitals, I could tell the membrane that separates the two was not up against Katy like it has been for the past 2+ months. It seemed to be in the middle and even bowing a bit toward Alyssa!??!? The first measurement the tech does is the MVP (maximum vertical pocket) of fluid surrounding each baby. We've become accustomed to 3 to 4 centimeters around Katy and anywhere from 7 to 10 cm around Alyssa. This time he measured 4.7 around Katy and 4.2 around Alyssa?!?! After Lisa and I traded a couple of confused glares, I said "am I seeing this right?" The tech said "I'm not making this up. It looks like the flow has reversed". He followed that up with "I didn't even know that was possible. I've been doing this for 15 years and have never seen this before". !!!!!!!!!

So he continued on with the measurements. It had been 21 days since our last full scan so he decided to measure the width of their skulls, the stomach, bones, etc so we could get an updated weight estimate. He wasn't very far into the process when the doctor walked in to check on us. The tech immediately pulled up the still shot of the amnion bowing toward Alyssa and asked if that was possible and if he had ever seen that before. He came to the same conclusion that the flow had actually reversed and Katy has more fluid than Alyssa. He said that it is rare but he has seen it a couple of times in his career.

At this point, I'd like to remind you that 2 weeks ago...2 WEEKS AGO!!...the doctor said their fluid ratio (Alyssa/Katy) was about 75/25. He didn't estimate the discordance Wednesday but to my untrained eyes, it appeared about 40/60!!!

The doctor hinted that we may not need to come see him anymore...that he would talk it over with our OB and let us know if we should stop seeing him and just treat this pregnancy like a normal twin pregnancy.

After the doctor left, we continued with the measurements all the while Lisa and I trading looks of astonishment, confusion, disbelief.... His measurements kind of confirmed what we were seeing. Katy is actually estimated to weigh more than her sister now! The estimated weights are Katy...2 lbs 15 ounces and Alyssa...2 lbs 12 ounces. They are both showing within days of their gestational age of 29 weeks so they are both right on track.

As a reminder, 3 weeks ago they estimated Katy at 1 pound 12 ounces and Alyssa was 2 pounds 0 ounces. We were reminded, so I feel like I should also make this disclaimer, that these are estimated weights and could easily be off. It's hard to tell how accurate they are. Even so, it's pretty freaking amazing!!!!

Where does that leave us? Well...we don't know. We honestly don't know how to react. We are ecstatic and immediately thanked God for His hand in this. We happened to run into our OB on our way out and shared the news with her...she, too, was SHOCKED. We assumed the OB and specialist would get together Thursday and talk about how they want to handle our appointments....if we should continue with the weekly or step back to the once every other week. We didn't receive a phone call yesterday so we are probably going to call today to get an answer. At this point, we feel like we would like to see the specialist again to confirm what Wednesday's measurements were showing but we'll leave that up to the doctors.

I'm sorry that was a little long-winded but I wanted to share all the great news. Please continue to pray for us and our little girls as they grow big and strong. Pray for strength for Lisa. She has gained....a lot of weight and is feeling the affects on her body. The aches and pains are constant as she is very uncomfortable nearly 24/7 as you can imagine.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers...obviously it is paying off. We will keep you updated.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

28 WEEKS!!!!!

We've made it! 8 weeks ago after our 20 week ultrasound, our OB told us "let's just make it to 28 weeks. If we can get to 28 weeks, I'll be happy". Well, we've done it.

Our weekly checkup went really well again today. The doctor had an emergency so he stuck his head only in for a minute but looked at the essential stuff and said "Looks great. We'll see you next week" and he was off. The technician spent 20 minutes or so looking at the dopplers. The ladies were VERY uncooperative. I was actually entertained but the tech didn't seem to be so enthused. Alyssa and Katy were moving and dancing and giving him all kinds of fits. We theorized that it was the music we were listening to on the way to the hospital. I popped in a pop cd I burned for Lisa a long time ago. When it got to Will Smith "gettin jiggy with it", the girls started DANCING. I was driving with one hand and feeling Lisa's stomach with the other and boy were they moving around. It was pretty funny.

Alright, we thought it was time to update the belly shots. These were taken today after our appointment.

...and now for the latest on the nursery. Lisa's dad helped me put together a new closet. Here are a couple shots of the before, during, and after.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Snowboarding on Friday

Ben and Lisa R. took me snowboarding on Friday. The three times I've gone this year were all pretty crappy. It seemed like when I could go, it was warm and the snow was hard and icy. Finally, we had some fresh snow earlier in the week so Lisa B was cool enough to let me go out for a couple hours.

I had a blast. I should have worn one more layer but the snow was very nice...probably the nicest I've ever been on. Ben took this picture of me at the very bottom of the lift. The view of Anchorage and the Alaska Range was incredible. Mt. McKinley and Mt. Foraker were HUGE!! (not pictured)

Thanks Lisa R and Ben for taking me (and letting me steal your picture) and Lisa B for letting me go!! I love you babe!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

whew....went well today

We were worried for no reason. Things went very good today.

The OB was very positive and assured us that those new aches and pains that Lisa's been having this week are "normal". After talking about it, she ruled out contractions and said it sounds more like the babies are just getting big. Her blood pressure is right in the middle of normal and the babies heart rate were both in the 140s....again, normal.

We moved down the hall to the perinatologist. Again, they had nothing but good news for us. The dopplers were all "perfect" and the fluids were acceptable. Dr. Isada came in and said it appears to be a 75/25 ratio but Katy (the donor) still has plenty of fluid in there with her.

The biggest revelation was that Katy has flipped over. She must have plenty of room if she can flip over. This would also explain why Lisa has felt different these last couple of days and has been feeling her stick out in ways she hasn't before. It was funny to see them both upside down, face to face, and almost fighting for room. Unfortunately, we didn't get any pictures. This was our first ultrasound that we didn't leave with at least one picture. There's always next week.

They also spent some time looking at the cervix. What may ultimately lead to a premature birth is the weakening of the cervix. We were told today that if it measures less than 3 cm, then there is some concern and they'll take a closer look. We didn't realize this but last week it was close to 3 cm. This week was measuring almost 4 cm so they felt much better about that.

It ended with Dr. Isada telling us to "continue doing what you're doing and we'll see you next week." I asked AGAIN if he had an idea of how early we may deliver and he said that he didn't see why we wouldn't make it past 30 weeks. We still got the impression that 30-32 weeks is his best guess.

For now, we bought another week. We'll be at that magical 28 week milestone next Wednesday...a HUGE milestone. Keep us in your prayers.

prayers please

We have two appointments with the OB and one with the specialist.

The babies have been acting different this week. Hopefully, it is nothing but we both kinda have a bad feeling. Katy doesn't move as much as she used to. She now just stretches and makes Lisa's belly stick way out on the right side. Lisa's having more pains then normal...but they could be Braxton Hicks contractions or just growing pains. Either way, she's been very uncomfortable these last couple of days. We will definitely have lots of questions for the doctors today.

Keep us in your prayers and I'll update late tonight.

...and by the way, today we have reached 27 weeks!!!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Iditarod 2007

The iditarod started on Saturday so we went down to check it out. Lisa went out too!!! Yeah, I know what you're thinking. "You took your 26 week and 3 day pregnant wife out in 15 degree weather while she should be on strict bedrest????!!!!" The simple answer is well, yeah. It is the Iditarod. Actually, we bundled up really well and were only outside for maybe 30 minutes. We took a lawn chair, that sank about a foot into the snow (imagine that), and Lisa spent the whole time sitting back waving at the Iditarodders. It was pretty fun.

Last year, we went downtown which was a litle more exciting but there are SO many people. On the way home, we saw where the trail went under one of the main drags and into a park. We pulled over and were able to wish the Iditarodders well with less people and fencing. This year, we went back to that spot where we could easily find a parking place across the street and have plenty of room to snap some good photos. Speaking of........

Lisa and I as the mushers go by for their 1100 mile journey to Nome

Thursday, March 01, 2007

26 weeks, 1 day

We're inching our way to 28 weeks and beyond. Actually it seems to be going pretty fast. I can't believe it's been since Sunday that I've posted. It feels like that was yesterday. Lisa may have a different perspective.

The checkup on Tuesday went very good. Again, the perinatologist said that it appears the donor has less fluid and the recipient has more but it isn't anything to be concerned about. Actually, let me take this moment to share the names so I don't have to refer to them as donor/recipient.

The donor/smaller/feisty one is Kaitlyn Marie
The recipient/bigger/has a swimming pool to mover around Alyssa Renee.

Kaitlyn is already being shortened to Katy. The name Katy, to me, is perfect for her personality so far. She's a fighter...she's the one that is ALWAYS moving and giving the ultrasound tech fits eventhough he keeps saying that she should be easier cause she has less room to move around in. Every time it happens, Lisa and I kinda laugh and look at each other and say..."that's SO Katy".

Lately, Alyssa has been making her presence felt too. She's been more and more active and sometimes when they're both going, we picture them having a dance-off in the middle of Lisa's belly. They just go back and forth. It's fun to watch and feel.

Anyway, back to the appointment. All of the dopplers looked good and the doctor again said that there was no reason for hospital bedrest or even to start coming in twice a week to keep a closer eye on them. The impression I'm under is that will be the next step. At some point, Katy's dopplers will show signs of distress so we'll start going in twice a week until it progresses enough that they want to monitor it daily or hourly at the hospital.

Their estimated weights were the most exciting to us. Last time we had a full ultrasound (which led to the first peri visit), they were 12 and 10 ounces. Just over a month later, Alyssa is 2 pounds and Katy is 1 pound, 12 ounces!!! NOT TOO SHABBY!!! My girls are bulking up nicely. It must be all those protein shakes.

I had them print out the summary so I'll scan that in so the people that check this with more experience can look through and add anything they'd like to.

So we bought ourselves another week. Our next checkup is on Wednesday. Lisa had her second steroid shot on Tuesday that helps develop the babies lungs in case they're born early. It is great to have that under our belt.

In other news, Lisa's dad is here!! He arrived Tuesday afternoon and will be here through Monday night helping us out. He's been great. He spends the days keeping Lisa company while I've been sleeping (night shifts). He has definitely taken some pressure off me by helping clean up, assisting with dinners, and walking the dog....which I'm not sure he's enjoying too much considering it's been in the single digits and now it's windy too. Yikes it's cold.

I'll leave you with this moose that's been hanging out in our yard lately. We think he's about a year old and a boy.

I also updated the nursery pics below.