Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Halfway to the Finish Line!!!

I am 28 weeks today, yippeee! That's right, 7 months and my belly is a big'n folks! The waddling has begun! The "oh my goodness you've gotten big's" have begun! The "if I dropped something I might not be able to pick it up", has begun! I have been in the hospital one month, and if we can keep these babies in that means I am halfway done and just have one more month until delivery day! This first month flew by so fast! I can't believe I just do that again and then I will have 2 tiny miracle babies! Identical momo girls who made it! When I was admitted, the doctors told me that day, 24 weeks, was the first milestone because it meant the babies were viable. The next milestone they said, was reaching 28 weeks, and here we are so that is really exciting! 28 weeks is huge because if my babies are born anytime after now, they have a great chance for survival. The next and final goal is 32 weeks when the babies have a 99% chance of survival as preemies! This doesn't mean that they may not have disabilities of some kind, all preemies have these risks, but many 32 weekers live a completely normal life and that is exciting. I will get another round of steroid shots over the next 24 hours, and then a final round just before delivery at 32 weeks. If everything looks perfect from now until then they might consider letting me go a few more days but that is something that my doctors and perinatologists are in discussion over, the great debate! 34 weeks is the maximum any doctor will let a momo pregnancy go but most deliver before then because the morality rate rises each day beyond 32 weeks. However, 34 weekers have a lot less preemie risks than 32 weekers and need less help breathing. My doctor described it as a game of tug of war. At 24 -28 weeks you have wimpy preschoolers playing tug of war with the knotted cords. At 30-32 you now have college football players playing tug of war. Over the next few weeks the babies are getting bigger and stronger than ever in there and it becomes more and more risky the longer they are in there. At least getting them out means that there is more that can be controlled even if they are preemies. At least they are alive. I am choosing to trust God and my doctors on this decision because when I think about it I get overwhelmed with the decision. If we kept them in until 34 and they died everyone would wish we had gotten them out sooner. If we take them at 32 weeks and one struggles or has a complication as a preemie that is long lasting or deadly, we'd wonder if we should have kept them in longer. Like my doctor said, a momo pregnancy is all gray zone and you just have to make a decision.

As we get closer I get more emotional! Emotional as far as super excited, knowing that I love them already but once I lay eyes on them and touch and hold them I will fall hard and fast in deep baby love! I dream of that moment and can't believe it will be real very soon! Also emotional knowing we got to this point, they are still alive and my other kids are doing well all things considered too. And, emotional feeling some anxiety: about the C Section - mostly the recovery, the real potential of having an emergency C Section at any minute and not having anyone by my side especially my husband, having preemies and the challenges that could present, balancing life at home with my older girls and life in the NICU with the babies, and then adjustment once we bring the babies home with four kids under 5. But I am also excited to experience all these things as well. When I walk around the antipartum floor, there are often women down here who just had their babies and I hear the little baby crying in the room with them, and two days later they are gone, home with their new baby. I think that they don't realize how lucky they are! But I also think how blessed and grateful I am that I got to experience that normal birth story myself twice before. I think of my momo friends online who lost their babies and am grateful to just be walking around with mine doing so well.

Yesterday was a day of some good news and some bad news. During my morning monitoring session it was discovered that one of the babies has a heart arrythmia. This is an offbeat and sometimes is a sign of a greater problem and sometimes not. There is nothing they can or will do about it while I am pregnant, but once the baby is born they will get on top of it and decide what if anything needs to be done. It is not a huge concern at the time and is actually something that single babies can have as well. Occasionally it resolves itself on its own. That's what I am praying for! During my evening monitoring session however, I got some good news! The babies were not cooperating during the monitoring, they were moving all over and between that and my placenta laying in front of them the nurses just could not find the babies' heartbeats and keep them on the monitor (this happens more often than not with my little movers and shakers!) so they called for an ultrasound to come up and find where the babies were laying. They change positions a lot, for example on Friday they were stacked on top of each other laying sideways. Last night they were both head down and feet up. Anyway, the Dr. did a biophysical profile on the babies and it showed not only that everything looked good and there is plenty of amniotoc fluid around them, but it showed they are practicing breathing movements and at 28 weeks this is a great sign! They are strengthening their breathing muscles and respiratory system. Usually this doesn't happen until a little later but it is a sign of maturity and means a whole lot since we know they will be preemies. Babies do not actually breathe in the womb, they get oxygen through the placenta/umbilical cord (which in a mono mono pregnancy like this if the cords compress then the baby can't get oxygen) and when they are first born is when they take an actual first breath. But they do practice these breathing movements and you can see their chests and ribcages heave up and down, and that is what we saw. I was so excited!!!! Good news is always welcome but especially in this situation! Also my insulin has to keep being increased every few days which also is a sign the babies are growing and growing! I'm gonna go ahead and chalk my 10 pound weight gain over the last 2 weeks to the babies growing too haha!

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made!" Psalm 139:13-14

Last Saturday, Baby A's heart rate was accelerated to almost 220 for 14 minutes. The normal heartrate for them is between 130 and 160! Were the cords compressed and that baby was in distress from lack of oxygen? Was the cord around her neck? Something else? We didn't know! All of a sudden there were 3 nurses in my room, ready to hook up an IV, and I was whisked down to labor and delivery where I was on a continuous monitor from lunch time to about 9pm. Everything looked fine throughout that time and luckily I got to come back up to my hospital room, home sweet away from home, and ever since there have only been small variables. I was lucky that I had a dear friend here with me which helped me not to panic during the whole tizzy of events, and she sat with me, brought me magazines to keep me busy throughout the time I was just in bed. God puts people in your path at just the right time sometimes! If the baby's heart rate hadn't gone down it might have meant an immediate emergency C Section and I would have been SO glad to have a friend there or I would have gone through it alone!!! That day was scary, but it was a wake up call for sure. It first of all was a reminder that THAT is why I am here! First of all to detect a baby in distress, and second of all if a baby needs to come out stat, I will go from chilling in my room to being in delivery within minutes to get my babies out safely. It was kind of like, "wow, it can happen that fast!!!" I am grateful they are still cookin'! I am also grateful I am not on a continuous monitor or total bedrest because after just 10 hours my back and behind were sure sore! The nurse told me that in my situation this is exactly how "it" might happen though...a red flag during a monitoring session and then minutes later I am in the delivery room having a C-section - no husband or anything. I am hoping that we make it to our scheduled day for the babies health but also so my husband can be there for the birth of our girls!

This last week was a week full of special events that being in the hospital kind of threw a wrench into or I could not attend and missed, but in the grand scheme of things is no big deal... Abigail turned 2 on the 11th, I had my birthday on the 16th, Emma turns 5 tomorrow, Emma had her first day of preschool, my cousin got married, and I missed the baby shower for my fellow best preggy who happens to be just a week ahead of me and is having a baby girl as well!

 I was really sad to miss the shower, the wedding, and to see Emma off to school. But we've made the best of the birthdays, celebrating in here, and I think it was memories in the making. Special people made my birthday special and it was a great day that I will always remember! I feel blessed to even be here to celebrate my girls' birthdays and I would rather be in here for all of those events and be out for trick or treating, Thanksgiving, and Christmas so I can't complain! Since Emma was in preschool before I wasn't as sad since I got to experience her first day of preschool before. I think it is cool her daddy got to do it this time around instead of being at work. And once again, I feel spoiled by the love and support and encouragement from so many!

For one of my birthday gifts, my mom gave me a frame with four openings and in each opening is each of my daughter's names and the meaning of the name with a verse. Looking at the names I've given my daughters - life from within me and made from the love of my husband and myself: Emma, Abigail, Ava, and Aubrey and thinking how blessed I am to have been given each child.

  "Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them".
Psalms 127: 3-5
This quiver is complete! And I think about how all my life all I wanted to be was a wife and mother. I have an art teaching degree but I always knew I wanted to raise my children first. In my mind's eye, my adolescent and young adult dreams, I thought I knew exactly how it would go and that I would plan it just so. I never expected that my first pregnancy joys would be dashed by a miscarriage. I never planned on or thought I would have 4 children. I never expected to have a complicated pregnancy, be in the hospital like this, or have twins so rare they happen in only 1% of identical twin pregnancy. Last year at this time I didn't even plan to be pregnant this year at this time. Out of the last 5 Septembers, I have spent 3 right here in this very hospital for the birth of my 4 girls! My plans weren't the plans God had for me but isn't it cool to see what His plans are as they reveal themselves over time? To know that HE knows better than I know. To know I have been blessed with a quiver that I never thought I'd have?
"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11





  2. By the way, I love that belly....just beautiful!

  3. I also had to celebrate my birthday in the hospital~ not the most fun, but certainly memorable! I am so happy that you have made it to 28 weeks!!!! That is a big one! I remember all my nurses coming in to congratulate me on making it to that milestone.
    We had 4 "events" where they were debating on whether or not they would be delivering babies within minutes. It can be really stressful and scary. I hope you don't have to go through any more of those.
    It sounds like you have a lot of great friends helping you through this time~ it helps so much!
    Our miracle girls are doing really well. They are 3 weeks today! They both just had their first bath yesterday~ it was so fun!
    Good luck with the next month! It is so worth it!!! We will be praying for you.
    I'm not in any on-line groups or anything, but if you ever want to talk more, or if you have any questions you can email me at jenlee721@hotmail.com