Sunday, September 23, 2012

The TWINS Have Arrived!!

September 15, 2012 at 10:14 and 10:16 pm our dream of a family finally came true. Our twins came into the world at 37 weeks 1 day and made our lives complete. Evan was born first weighting 5 lbs 11 oz quickly followed by Ella weighing 6 lbs 5 oz. Both were 19 inches long. Both were given a completely healthy bill of health and never left our side.

 Evan immediately after he was born                                                                     Ella immediately after she was born

Both of their first names were names we simply liked. I have been in love with the name Ella since college (a friend coached gymnastics and told me several stories about a precious girl named Ella). Evan was a name my husband came up with and I loved it as well. We had no intentions of naming them with similar sounding names (i.e. both names starting with 'E'), it just happened that way. Lee is family name from both sides of our family. Rose has a special meaning to us; I wrote a post about what happened to us back on Dec 3, 2009 you can read here- The rose I found that day in Dec symbolized hope and encouraged me to keep fighting for our 'someday.' It also honors the angel we'll get to meet someday.

Ella and right before we left the hospital in their take home outfits
I'll write up a separate post about the birth will be a long one. I've been meaning to write their birth announcement for over a week and it just hasn't happened! I've been blissfully submerged in baby land and had no desire to come up for air. Well, that, and the babies have kept us a tad busy.

We are completely and utterly in love. I wanted, prayed, hoped and begged for this, but I had no idea it would be so perfect. If you're reading this and you're still in the trenches of infertility, I hope you keep fighting for your someday. We've waited over four years for our family, but I can honestly say it was worth the wait. Keep fighting! It can happen.

Our two beautiful babies.
Here's a bullet list of what we've been up to in the past week:
  • We arrived home Tuesday afternoon. We walked in the door, set the babies down, stood arm in arm and stared at them. The rest of the day we simply held them and soaked it all in.
  • Wednesday we had their first pediatrician appointment at 8 am. Getting out the door for an early morning appointment was insane, but we made it. Both babies checked out as 'perfect.' Evan had a two vessel cord, so the MD suggested getting an ultrasound done to ensure his kidneys were healthy. There is a rare chance of kidney issues when a two vessel cord is present.
  • Thursday we had another morning appointment to get newborn pictures taken. The session was supposed to last 2-3 hours but turned into a 4.5 hour session. Our twins cooperated extremely well so the photographer took extra shots. I'm very anxious to see the results!!
  • Friday afternoon Evan had the ultrasound done on his kidneys. Although we don't have the offical results from the MD yet, the tech told my husband there didn't seem to be any reason to worry.
  • Saturday my husband ran out on a much needed Target run. I survived being home alone with the twins for a few hours.
  • Finally, today, Sunday, we've both been able to be home the ENTIRE day with no appointments or errands to run!! We've also been engaging in endless amounts of snuggles with the babies.
The past week has simply been magical. The babies each have their own personality. Ella is peaceful and calm unless she needs something. She only cries if she's hungry or has a dirty diaper; but when she cries it is loud! Once her needs are met she quickly falls asleep in our arms. She's sweet and beautiful. Evan can be calm, but he goes through periods of fussiness when we have difficulty soothing him. He's been cluster feeding, usually from 10 pm-1am, and it is not easy for mom and dad. He's a tiny little guy compared to his sister. Despite his random fussy times, he's gorgeous and loves to snuggle. We both love watching the faces they make, the random movements they make, listening to their sounds and can't get enough of just looking at them! We are in love. At this moment, life could not be any better.

Time seems to be passing by fast and I want to soak in every moment. I started a notebook where I'm writing down a few things that happen each day to try to savor as much as possible.

We have one more week together as a family of four before family rolls into town (all of our family lives out of state and we wanted some time to bond before we had people staying with us). Although I'm looking forward to our families meeting the twins, I hope this week goes by incredibly slow.

There is so much more I want to say and share, but I'm going to wrap things up-I have a beautiful family I want to spend time with...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hello Gestational Hypertension!!

I don't have amazing legs. I'm short and I don't have long vo.luptuous legs. I'm fine with it. To the left is a pic of what my legs normally look like. If you are feeling brave, to the right is a pic of what my legs have turned into. Yikes. It may be an understatement to say edema has gotten out of control in this pregnancy. It is painful and makes walking difficult. I'm a waddling machine. Why am I discussing my legs? No, this hasn't turned into some kind of leg fetish blog. It will all make sense in a few minutes.

I went in this morning for what was supposed to be a routine appointment. I provided my urine sample, got weighed and got my BP taken. My BP typically runs low (usually about 110/70), but today it was 148/88. I moved on to the ultrasound phase of the appointment and both babies look perfect. They have shifted even lower-I didn't know that was possible?

Next I met with the OB. We have everything scheduled for the induction. I'm 1 cm dilated and 80% effaced. The dilation check was uncomfortable, but didn't cause extreme pain like the last one I had done. Whew! We started to discuss my edema edema has gotten out of control. She classified it as "horrible." I'm not sure if that's a medical term pertaining to a classification of edema or if it was just her opinion. Nonetheless, I've tried to minimize it via elevating, wearing compression socks, drinking obscene amounts of water etc. Nothing seems to help. It is what it is. Believe it or not, my legs are even more swollen today than they are in the above picture. After speaking with the OB, she wanted a follow up BP and stat labs run because she was concerned about preeclampsia.

My follow up BP went up to 155/90. Uh oh. I was then taken to another room to lie down on my left side and have serial BP's taken. After about 45 minutes of repeated BP's, the numbers continued to be elevated. I was sent home and told to wait on labs. The labs they were checking were for hemolysis, elavated liver enzymes and low platelet count-all to confirm if I had preeclampsia. My liver enzyme count was slightly elevated, but still within the normal range. I was diagnosed with Gestational Hypertension.

What does this mean? After a discussion with the MFM office, neither my OB nor the MFM MD could come up with a clear concise line of action. We were given two choices- head into the hospital STAT to undergo an amniocentesis to check lung maturity and induce now or collect a 24 hour urine, bring it in and recheck vitals tomorrow. The 24 hour urine will give more insight into possible preeclampsia developing.

Ugh...what to do?! Yes, I am swollen so much it's painful and I am miserable. The only solution to the edema is to give birth, so do I want to give birth asap? YES! However, do I want to have an amniocentesis done? Hell no. The thought of an amnio and the possible risks it poses did not make this an option C nor I wanted to pursue. We opted for the urine collection and waiting. What happens if my BP is still elevated tomorrow or if my urine has protein in it? I guess we'll be inducing a bit early... I have several questions regarding the urine collection and where we go from here, but I'm waiting on the OB to call me back regarding those.

We are just over 3 days away from induction...I hope my body can behave itself in the meantime and avoid developing preeclampsia. Everything has gone so smoothly throughout this pregnancy, why the issues popping up now? I'm still holding on to hope that the babies will just decide to come on their own (tonight preferably) so we can avoid all of these issues that could come up. When the OB checked my cervix she could feel baby girl's head and said she had to move it in order to feel. Maybe they are coming? Although I'm holding out hope, I doubt it...

In the meantime, I'm a urine collecting machine. The orange container in the fridge is not orange juice so don't drink it!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Date Has Been Set!!!

I waddled my way in for the non-stress test today. It was uneventful. I played mindless games on the iPad while the boy and then the girl were tested. It was fun listening to their little heart beats and seeing the changes in their HB's as they moved around. It was slightly uncomfortable toward the end; my poor back. The OB came in and checked out the graphs and said we passed with flying colors! Everything looked perfect!! She was happy to see I'm having contractions and asked if I could feel them. Honestly, not really. Once in a while I can feel a slight tightening or twinge, but if she didn't tell me those were contractions, I would not have known.

She then lit up when she told me she had good news on setting a date. After discussing my case with the MFM office (they have to give their stamp of approval on a multiples induction), the MFM office wanted me to wait until 38 weeks. They didn't see a reason to schedule it early. My OB brought up the smaller size of the boy baby and they obliged to give their blessing for an induction during the 37 week mark. She did me a favor by pulling this card out of her back pocket, because although the boy is a tad smaller, he's still healthy and hanging in at the 30th percentile. Aside from the initial concern of his slower growth, he's been keeping a steady weight gain so realistically we are not concerned about him. However, if bringing him up as a concern gets me in a week earlier SIGN ME UP!!

At my last appointment earlier this week I begged her to schedule it as close to the 37 week mark as possible. I got my wish!! We're scheduled for Sept 15 which puts me at 37w1d. YEAH!!!! I think 9/15/12 sounds like a lovely day for a birthday!! I waddled back out to my car with a new spring in my step! Of course I had to go through a few 'you're going to have that baby at any time' comments from strangers and I smiled largely and responded 'yup, by next Saturday!' I had an overwhelming sense of happiness and joy wash over me. This is happening. Our day is coming!

My OB still didn't seem too confident that I'd make it to next week, but either way I'm fine. The babies should be healthy and avoid the NICU. What more could a girl ask for? 36 weeks has been my goal throughout this pregnancy and I hit that mark today. What a great feeling!!

To think, we've been trying to bring a baby home for over 4 years. FOUR YEARS!! It's been an arduous journey and a far off distant dream that frequently felt unattainable. Here we are, after dozens of appointments, hundreds of shots, days of tears, weeks of sadness, wishful thinking, heartfelt prayers, and endless amounts of hope, patience and strength on the brink of making our dream a reality. We fought for this. We made abundant sacrifices. When I didn't think I could do it another day, my husband put his arms around me and gave me reason to continue. He was at my side holding my hand through this entire journey. He never placed blame for our infertility on me nor uttered one complaint about our situation. He was my source of strength, motivation and my hope through the past 4 years. This struggle has brought us closer than ever. The pain united us and forced us to work together. We made it through and our relationship has forever changed for the better. We're incredibly blessed to be able to experience one of life's greatest moments. I'll never forget what we went through to get here. We'll hang on to these babies a bit tighter, gaze at them a little longer and love them explicitly more because of what we went through to meet them. Dreams really do come true.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Eleven Pounds of Baby!!

First, thank you to everyone who responded to my last post!! I appreciate the feedback. It helps a lot!!

Every OB appointment seems to be getting more and more stressful as we near the end. It doesn't help that my OB, whom is also expecting twins, is chronically behind on her schedule lately so the wait time helps add to the nervousness. I'm blaming her slow down on her twins, because it's impossible to keep up at the same pace, but it still does not help my anxiety.

We went in yesterday knowing we'd get a growth scan on the babies. Since we went to the MFM and there was some concern over our little guy, we were very anxious to see how his growth had progressed. Our girl was weighing in at 5 lb 13 oz and our boy was weighing in at 5 lb 1 oz. He's still smaller, but both of the babies gained about 300 grams since their last scan two weeks ago. Since they are gaining consistently, our OB did not see any problems with our son's growth. Whew...what a relief!! Once I realized both babies were growing adequately, it hit me that I'm carrying nearly 11 pounds of baby at the moment. ELEVEN POUNDS!! That is a lot of baby!! Yikes!

We are blessed to be carrying boy girl twins that are healthy and I'm so thankful to have made it this far (currently 35w5d), but I have to vent for just a second. I am beyond uncomfortable! The babies seem to have dropped and my bump seems to be descending lower by the day. It's so low clothes cut uncomfortably into my belly and I can't wear most of my wardrobe anymore. I look like a derelict most of the time because I am aiming solely for comfort. Whenever I need to sit or bend, it feels like my lower belly may rip open. Do stretch marks cause pain? I haven't had a mark until the past week; now I have marks appearing on my lower belly and I don't know if this is what is making it so tender? It's painful to even get ultrasounds. It's such an odd feeling...

I know I dislike people complaining, so I'll stop. But, because of how I have been feeling, I urged my OB to set a date for my induction. Thinking back, I'm sure I sounded a tad whiney when I requested we set a date... I am a person that enjoys time frames and deadlines; I like to know what I'm working toward. I figured having a date would brighten up my overall mood and get me through this last stretch. The OB said she'd have to check with the MFM office to make sure they gave their stamp of approval on my induction, but she felt we could set it during 37 weeks. That's a week and a half away!! She did mention twice that she really didn't see me making it that long; she seemed to think this could happen at any time.

Based on how everything looks, the OB also felt that if the babies were born at any time between now and 37 weeks, they should be completely fine and healthy. She was pleased with their size and growth and didn't anticipate any issues. Of course, there is plenty that could go wrong, but I feel very comfortable knowing they should be fine entering the world at any time. That being said, I've said for a while Sept 6 was the day we'd be having babies. Well, that's tomorrow!! At lunch today, I informed the husband I'd be going in to labor tonight. I see it happening in the middle of the night for some reason...we'll see what happens!! Our cats (we have two) seem to think the changing tables and cribs are meant for them. I'm washing up bedding (again) and locking the cats out of the nurseries just in case the babies decide they are ready to come tonight.

A fellow blogger, Mrs. F, blogged about being vaccinated against whooping cough. Because of the recent outbreak of whooping cough, I got vaccinated last week and my husband got his vaccination a few weeks ago. The Midwest has a large outbreak of whooping cough and both our families live there so we asked they also get vaccinated before coming to visit and spending extended periods of time with the babies. It was slightly awkward asking family to get vaccinated, but everyone understood and got their shots. Our families are fabulous!! It's one less thing to worry about...

In other news, I now have two appointments a week! I didn't see that next appointment is Friday. I'm having a non-stress test done. I have no idea what to expect, so if anyone has any words of wisdom please share! We're also setting the date for this twin thing to go down at Friday's appointment...that is if I make it to Friday. I'm going into labor tonight ;)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

DVT and Labor False Alarms

It's been a wild week for us!! First, I had a routine OB appointment last week Wednesday. Fluid and heart beats looked superb via ultrasound and babies were 'breathing' away. My edema is outrageous. We talked about birth options at length. Simply because I'm carrying twins I can choose to have a c-section no questions asked. (I didn't know this) BUT, both babies remain head down and, call me crazy, but if they remain this way I'm going to try for a vaginal delivery. We covered possible complications (baby B flipping, breech extraction, etc.), but I want to at least try for vaginal. Are the odds stacked against me that this will work and go off without a hitch? Definitely. Do I want to avoid surgery? Definitely. We're at an advantage for a vaginal, according to my OB, because Baby A is the larger of the babies and this should make it easier for Baby B to slide on out. Sure, there are complications that could arise, but isn't that life? Other twin mama's out there...what's your take on the birth? Am I insane?

From the mundane to the exciting we go...Friday my husband came home over lunch and commented that my right leg was quite swollen. I can't see my legs so he snapped a photo for me and BAM! It was huge!!! Overnight my right leg had swollen to 1.5-2 times the size of my left leg. Talk about looking like a freak... It was also warm and painful to touch. I immediately starting thinking DVT, but figured I may be over reacting so I placed a call in to my OB. I got a call back immediately and was told to head straight in to the hospital for lower extremity dopplers to rule out DVT's.

I waddled my way in on Friday afternoon panicking about DVT's and PE's...I had a lot of scenarios running through my head. I asked the tech to please tell me if he saw anything unusual rather than making me wait for a call from the OB; thank goodness he obliged. He scanned both legs and both were DVT free. Crisis averted. I just had a seriously unfortunate case of edema.

Crisis one done. On to crisis two. I have been having an increase in cramps/pain (not what I'd really call contractions, just an annoying uncomfortable constant period-like feeling whenever I'm mobile..which, let's face it, I spend as much time on the couch with my feet up as I can, but that's beside the point). Over the weekend I started to experience nausea/vomiting, upset stomach with a side of diarrhea. I ate antacid pills like they were candy. I also started to experience lower back pain on Sunday night. I was so uncomfortable Sunday I decided to simply go to bed because I was tired of feeling so crummy.

I woke up at 1:15 am with damp underwear and pajamas. I woke up the husband and informed him of the situation. Had my water broke? It wasn't a lot of wetness, so I was unclear what it was and I wasn't having any contractions. We talked it over and decided to go back to sleep. I changed clothes while the hubs rolled over and started snoring instantly (yeah so that's a bit of an exaggeration perhaps...), but I laid in bed slightly panicking and analyzing every twinge and feeling. A few hours later I woke up to a similar situation; although dampness was present it wasn't as damp as earlier. Still no contractions. We both hopped on Google and found that water can slowly leak rather than break. So maybe that was it? Back into a fitful sleep we both went. Around 7 am we both got up and started getting ready/packing. I placed a call in to the on call OB and she said to come on in to L&D with bags packed to determine what was going on.

We went in about an hour later and I got placed on the monitors. The OB used a speculum and had me cough to see if any water was leaking. This hurt like a mother f%^&er, but came out negative. She swabbed my cervix to see if there was any fluid present. Negative. She thought maybe I had a UTI and had peed myself so she tested my urine. Negative. (I knew I didn't pee myself...I'm not stupid!)

According to the monitors I was having a lot of false contractions, but nothing to show I was in labor. I had an ultrasound and both babies had plenty of fluid present. The OB checked my cervix and I was only a fingertip dilated (first time I've had this done and it also hurt like a mother f%^&er). Do these things hurt this bad or was this OB just rough? I'm not sure, but both were quite unpleasant. It was determined I was not in labor. So why the fluid? Apparently, it could have stemmed from an extremely small leak that is too small to detect or it was just an unusual amount of drainage. It was not significant and the babies were fine so home we went.

I had an OB appointment today and I'll write about that was much less exciting than what we've been doing the last few days. Today I'm at 35w4d and I'm more than ready to have these babies. It's such a weird feeling to be sitting around waiting for something to happen...