Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pregnancy part 4

Twin to Twin transfusion Syndrome is basically a placental disorder. The babies share multiple blood vessels in their placenta. One baby gets the bulk of the nutrients, grows much bigger, and gets surrounded by a swimming pool of amniotic fluid. The second baby gets far less nutrients and gets shrink wrapped in his amniotic sac. If left untreated, the smaller baby perishes due to lack of nutrition and organs shutting down. The bigger baby also will not survive due to his heart working too hard to process nutrients.

You *can* Google it...but I wouldn't recommend it. Searching the internet for information is great, but when you are researching any kind of information related to illness, Google is never your friend. You always seem to find horror stories and scare yourself even more.

It makes sense though...we often talk about the bad things at length. Think about it, how much longer do you focus on a bad experience at a restaurant versus a good one? With bad news, people are often looking for support and get out and post their stories out there.

So...we went to the perinatologist and initially she didn't see a problem. Great! I went back for a follow up and we noticed a discrepancy in the fluid amounts. The amount of amniotic fluid surrounding each baby is often an indicator of TTTS. In this case, our Baby A had noticeably more fluid than his brother. Our Dr. gave us a bunch of information, recommended restricted activity and suggested I start drinking protein shakes, as some research indicated the disorder is aggravated by lack of protein.

I went back a week later and the discrepancy was severe. My Dr. gently told me she was faxing all of my information to a Dr. in Cincinatti that routinely performs a laproscopic laser ablation to correct the syndrome. Time was a factor and if I wanted a chance to save one or both of my little guys, I was going to need to get up there and get evaluated, and most likely have surgery.

I couldn't breathe...My mind was filled with all of the "what if's" and I was overwhelmed with everything. I knew without hesitation I would make the trip, and if I was a candidate, get the surgery. I was 19 weeks at this point...I had to give my babies every chance I possibly could.

Friday, January 22, 2010

What work out?

Ugh. I MISS working out. I stopped somewhere around finding out I was pregnant because I was so exhausted all the time, I just couldn't do it. Then, I wasn't allowed extra movement...then I was on bed rest.

So it has been nearly a year since I have gotten any kind of real exercise in.

I miss running, I even have a new pair of Asics.

There is NO time. I wake up at 5 to shower, get ready, feed the boys (with help from hubby) out the door by 7 to get the boys to daycare so I can get to work. Pick the boys up around 5, get home, feed the boys, try to wolf down food while loving on the babies who have missed Mommy all day, feed the boys again and then it is 10 or 11pm.

I think I am going to dig out the Moby wrap, strap one of them to me...and get some squats and lunges in that way....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pregnancy part 3

Due to my advanced maternal age (that just doesn't get old to make fun of) I opted to have a nuchal translucency versus an amniocentisis.  Basically, my perinatologist took some blood and had it tested, as well as performs a sonogram and measures the folds on the neck of the babies to check for genetic issues.
The sonogram was cool.  My doctor had a HUGE screen in her office, so I got to see my little gummy bears on a big screen.  It was amazing.  They were squirming around but did not give us any hints on gender...Booooo!
All went well with the screen and we were not worried about Down's Syndrome or any of the Trisomy defects.  At 16 weeks, I went into my ob's office for another routine sonogram.  I told my in utero children that they were welcome to show off their "stuff" this time, and it was likely the only time I would ever give them that permission.
Amazingly enough, they cooperated quite well.  Almost right away, our tech said "Baby A is a boy"  (Baby A was QUITE proud of his boyhood!) a minute or so later, she said "Baby B is a boy as well!"
Two boys.
Oh Lord...I was outnumbered in the gender category.  My house was going to be filled with 3 males...and the testosterone overload.
I was so excited.  And yes, I cried again...seriously, the crying thing was getting old.  I am not a crier, but the pregnancy hormones were having a field day with my emotions.
We had one name for a boy, we needed to come up with another one.  And now I could get the adorable blue cribs from IKEA we had loved. 
Then we went over the other results with my ob.  She told us she was concerned about the fluid levels around Baby B.  We needed to go back to the perinatologist for another sonogram (a better software) to check.  A certain discrepancy could indicate something called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome.
And here is where our fun began.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Timing of milestones

So, I am fairly certain God plans things like babies hitting certain milestones at exactly the perfect time. The boys have been starting to smile here and there, which has been a long time coming. It is one of the disadvantages of 8 week early preemies...when most 2 month olds are smiling, the boys just were not there. Now, at 4 months they are really getting to smiling socially. It can be hard on a parent. A baby smile is such a reward, it is very difficult to wait for them to start.

Last night, the boys were not having anything to do with sleep. G kept waking up crying, so he was sleeping on my chest while I was curled up on a small portion of the couch. Then, E would let out his ear piercing shriek to let me know he was not happy about not having Mommy time. Awesome.

I was exhausted and cranky when I got up this morning, so I was really dragging. When I turned on the light to get Elias up for changing and feeding, he saw me and gave me the biggest smile. I started talking to him and he kept smiling...then Griffin started doing the same thing. I completely forgot how tired I was, it was just so much fun playing with the boys and making them smile.

Also, Griffin's laugh is hilarious. He sounds like an Edsel (to quote Randy). He makes this sputtering cough type sound that completely sounds like a car trying to start. I'll have to try and catch him on video...it is great!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Interjection and picture

Because they are preemies, the boys may develop more slowly than their chronological age peers.  They are 4 months but may only exhibit milestones of 2 month olds.
So far, they are doing pretty well.  They are meeting most of their physical milestones for their actual age.  Smiling and some of the cognitive development is closer to their adjusted age. 
But..they are really starting to smile and laugh and I love it.  Makes me want to do nothing but make silly sounds and faces simply to get a smile or giggle :)

Pregnancy part 2

I will interject some posts about the boys as I continue to tell the pregnancy saga :) They are almost 4 months old, I can't believe it!

When I last left you, it was April Fool's Day and Randy and I had found out we were having twins. At this point, very few people knew I was pregnant. In fact, no one in our family and most of our friends did not even know we were trying to conceive. It worked well for us, and we never felt any pressure while trying.

But, the excitement and the shock changed our strict "no telling until the second trimester" rule. Randy wanted to tell his parents that night and called them to tell them we wanted to go out to dinner. I told my lead teacher at school who was so excited, she asked if she could show the sonogram picture to anyone I was willing to tell, lol.

I waited until April 2 to tell my mother. She lives in another state, so I would have to tell her on the phone, and since she had no idea I had been trying to conceive, I knew she would never believe me on April Fool's Day. I called her the next morning and asked if she was sitting down. Then I told her I was pregnant...she kept saying "what?" I told her I wasn't finished yet, asked her if she was still sitting down and told her about the twins. I believe her response was "If this is an April Fool's Joke, I will kick your butt all the way from Texas to California!" Then, she handed the phone to my step dad so she could cry.

Our next step was the 12 week appointment for our nuchal translucency (fancy name for the sonogram to check for birth defects). After that is where it gets complicated!

Saturday, January 9, 2010



I am Heather, mommy to twin boys G and E. They were born 8 weeks early in September 2009. I just went back to work as a special education teacher and am learning the balance between, work, mommyhood, and maintaining my sense of self. Oh...and I would really love to be able work out again sometime!

My pregnancy was my first and was the exact opposite of normal almost from the beginning. I had a good idea I was pregnant as my cycle was regular (for me anyway!). I got a faint positive 11 days past ovulation and a positive digital the next day. At first I was scared to death, because I had experienced a loss at 6 weeks the previous fall. I had my doctor draw levels from my blood to check the status-if I was going to miscarry I wanted to be prepared. My first levels drawn at 11 days past ovulation were 39. Two days later they were 94, so I was well on my way!

I had my first appointment and sonogram at 8 weeks, on April Fool's Day. Other than being extremely tired, I had no morning sickness to speak of. My boobs hurt a little, but I did not feel particularly pregnant, so I was worried what the sonogram might show. Pregnancy is different for every woman, but they really don't emphasize how mental you can be when you are pregnant. If another lady feels all sorts of symptoms from her first positive test and you feel nothing, you definitely wonder what is wrong with you!

My husband went to my appointment with me. Our sonographer got out the ....um....Cooter Cam and a picture pulled up on her screen. Some of the ladies in my online due date club had posted sonograms, so I had a good idea of what I was looking for. I thought I saw two little blips on the screen but then decided I simply did not know as much as I thought I did. Then our tech started to chuckle and said "How do you feel about two babies?" I think one of us asked her if it was an April Fool's joke. She smiled and said "No!" and pointed out the two separate embryo's on the screen.

My husband, Randy stroked my hair, his face absolutely shocked. Not being a person who cries, I was surprised that tears started streaming down my face. Not only was my baby ok, I had 2 babies (and virtually no symptoms!). I remember the feelings of shock and pure joy. Excitement and terror felt exactly the same!

My exam went well and my doctor went into great detail about the differences with a twin pregnancy. She would require that I go on modified bed rest in my third trimester, so I would not be able to return to teaching in the fall. She was going to have an ultrasound at every appointment to monitor the babies. I would also have to see a perinatologist for a level 2 ultrasound and to test for any issues due to my advanced maternal age (34).

30 may be the new 20, but 34 is advanced maternal age. That seems to be the equivalent of old...doesn't it?

None of it mattered. I was pregnant, with twins.

Holy crap!