Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Triplets with a Momo Pair

In November 2012 my husband and I decided to try for our second baby. Our daughter McKenna was almost 4 and really wanted a baby brother or sister. She prayed everyday to God to put a baby in my belly. In march 2013 her prayers were answered. We received our positive pregnancy test. I was 4 weeks pregnant and immediately started my prenatal care. McKenna was overjoyed and started praying daily for twin girls. She named the babies she prayed for Mallory and Celery. I had a normal singleton pregnancy besides terrible morning sickness. It was much worse than with McKenna. Maybe we were being blessed with a boy this go around, we thought. 

At 19 weeks we went for our routine ultrasound. I asked McKenna if she wanted a brother or a sister. She replied she was going to have both. Before we began the ultrasound the tech asked if this was our first ultrasound and If we wanted to know the gender. It was our first ultrasound and we were going to have the gender put in an envelope to be revealed later. We started the U/S and the tech immediately stopped and asked again if this were my first ultrasound. I said yes. She then asked if I were taking fertility treatments. My reply "NO. WHY? IS THERE 2?" She responded, no there's 3. McKenna was right she was having a brother and Identical monoamniotic sisters. We were shocked. It's the only way to put it. 

I had no idea what having monoamniotic babies meant. I went home and googled. I was scared to death. My ob told me statistically there probably was a membrane and they would surely find it at my MFM appointment. At 23 weeks I headed to my anatomy scan. Knowing in my heart my girls were momo. It was confirmed that afternoon. That scan also put my son in a high risk category for Down's syndrome and told me one of the girls had a issue where her cerebellum was not formed correctly. I was urged then and there to terminate my girls. To sacrifice them for my son. No way, I loved them, all of them. 2 weeks later I went for another scan. No markers for Down syndrome and my daughters brain looked perfect. By this point I had disconnected from the pregnancy. I didn't believe I would bring any of my babies home. 

I went inpatient at 27 week 2 days. I would have went sooner but my baby B was suffering from IUGR (Intrauterine growth restriction) and wasn't at a viable weight. I checked in to the hospital expecting to deliver at 32 weeks. But at 29 weeks 2 days I had developed preeclampsia. We did our last ultrasound that morning to find out my sweet baby B Marissa was having reverse blood flow. We delivered that afternoon. Mallory and Marissa (no we didn't go with Celery) were born at 3:33 pm and Maddox arrived at 3:35. Sept 9, 2013. The day of their great grandpas birth and their other great grandpas death. Mallory was 2.5 lbs Maddox was 3.5lbs and my tiny Marissa was born with the smallest cord the Drs had ever seen at 1.15lbs. The doctors couldn't believe she was alive. They even cried with me.

 My triplets spent 7, 9, and 11 weeks in the hospital with little hiccups. They were for the most part healthy feeders and growers. Marissa, the last to come home came home, on her due date November 22nd. Today they are healthy, happy 6 month old's reaching all milestones for their adjusted age. They are my miracle babies.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Monoamniotic Twin Boys Success Story

      My name is Abby and I delivered mono mono twin boys on November 26 and wanted to share our story.  I found out I was pregnant on Mother's Day 2013 after going through a miscarriage. I went in to see my OB a week later and had an ultrasound to date the pregnancy. At that ultrasound the tech saw one sac, one placenta, and one heart beat, so we assumed there was one baby-little did we know there were actually two, one just hiding behind the other! I continued going to my regular appointments throughout the summer and each time we listened to one heart beat! I thought I was having a normal singleton pregnancy except for the fact that I had such horrendous morning sickness and I was showing much faster than I did with my first son, Jack.

     At 20 weeks I went in for the big ultrasound-my husband and I were so excited to find out if the baby was a boy or a girl! That's when we got the surprise of our lives! And by the look on the ultrasound tech's face so did she! We were actually expecting twin boys! I didn't have a doctors appointment scheduled until the next week so we went home and were shocked, but so happy to learn we'd be adding two more bundles of joy to our family!

     We had a wonderful weekend celebrating and then on Monday, my doctor called and explained that she could not see a membrane in my ultrasound photos and what that means. I was devastated. I made an appointment with a perinatologist and after several more ultrasounds it was confirmed that our boys were definitely monoamniotic. I was so scared, especially having had a miscarriage right before this pregnancy!

     My husband and I met with my new high risk doctor and we decided that I would check in to the hospital at 24 weeks for my inpatient stay. It was unbelievably hard to leave my son who was then 18 months old, but my mom took a family medical leave from the university where she works and took care of him! I was lucky enough that I was able to work from the hospital, which gave me something to do while I was there. I also finished writing my dissertation while inpatient. I have to say that I really learned what amazing people I have in my life during that hospital stay! I didn't go one day without a visitor in 10 weeks and people brought me books, DVDs, and crafts to keep me from going crazy! My sister came up every Friday night and we'd have a slumber party-eat pizza and watch movies! Between my husband and my mom, they got my son up to see me almost every day!

     I was on intermittent monitoring (1 hour out of every 4) with ultrasounds every two weeks right up until the very end. Two days before the boys were born, we finally had some bad tracings on the monitor and I was kept on 24 hour monitoring. It was very scary-twice during the middle of the night doctors and nurses rushed in and rolled me over onto my side. Both times the boys heart rates recovered, thank god! The second time they actually put in an IV and got me into a hospital gown!

     The next night I started having regular contractions. They started getting more painful and were coming every 2 minutes. I called my husband who got my parents over to our house to stay with Jack and he made it to the hospital just in time. Since we were trying to get to 34 weeks and we were 33 weeks and 5 days, the OB didn't see any point to stop my labor and they went ahead and prepped me for my c-section. They wheeled us down to the operating room and they were all so calm-it was very reassuring! Plus, I knew all the doctors and nurses so well by then that they were more like friends than doctors!

     The boys were born within one minute of each other-Henry at 4:57 and Oliver at 4:58 AM and they were 5 pounds 1 ounce and 5 pounds 6 ounces respectively, which I'm told are great weights for that gestational age. Their cords were a mess-they were all braided around each other with one true knot! They did absolutely wonderful! They were off oxygen by the end of the first day and needed no other interventions-they just had to learn to eat and grow. They came home exactly two weeks later. The NICU stay was the hardest part of the entire ordeal-it was very hard to leave the hospital without my babies. Luckily they did so well and we had them home for Christmas! They are such blessings and this has truly been the best holiday season ever!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Rare monoamniotic twins delivered at Packard Hospital

A momo  mom contacted me to say she had been in the news! She wrote this introduction and the news story and pictures are below! (source:  http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/show_story.php?id=27924)

You're about to embark on a crazy, stressful and oftentimes scary journey with a momo pregnancy. I was inpatient and delivered my twin girls at a very reputable hospital and I was lucky to have wonderful, experienced care. My best advice is to educate yourself and be your own advocate. And remember, you're now part of a very exclusive momo- mommy club! And we are all here to support you!

Palo Alto Online News, Uploaded: Friday, December 14, 2012, 10:34 AM     

Rare monoamniotic twins delivered at Packard Hospital
Kate and Annie Carlson shared same amniotic sac

"A dramatic delivery at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital has saved the lives of twin girls who might not have survived to their first Christmas, the hospital has announced.

Kate and Annie Carlson were born Nov. 7, but they shared the same amniotic sac in their mother's uterus, which is a rare and dangerous condition, hospital officials said.

The twins, who were born to first-time parents Kevin and Allison Carlson of Menlo Park, underwent an emergency cesarean delivery after their umbilical cords had created a knot. The infants were only 30 weeks old, 10 weeks before a full 40-week term.

In normal twin pregnancies, a thin membrane forms to separate the twins; less than 1 percent of U.S. twin pregnancies are monoamniotic. Cord entanglement and compression and resulting blood flow problems kill 20 percent of twins with this diagnosis, hospital officials said.

Allison checked in to Packard in October as an inpatient. With no membrane dividing the twins, Dr. Jane Chueh and her prenatal diagnosis and therapy team balanced the risk of Kate and Annie being born prematurely with the risk of a cord entanglement. Doctors delayed delivery as long as possible to prevent the twins from developing lung disease and other complications associated with prematurity.

The girls were tiny: Kate weighed just 3 pounds and Annie weighed three pounds, two ounces.

"It was a testimony to the skill of the obstetricians to allow the twins to grow in the womb as much as they did, so that their lungs were able to mature," said neonatologist Dr. William Rhine, whose team cared for the twins in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

The twins could soon be released from the hospital and their parents have their room ready at home.

"We're really grateful. Despite the chaos surrounding our delivery and pregnancy, Packard Children's really put us at ease with their experience and expertise, and it's one of the best holiday gifts a family could ever ask for," Kevin said. "

"Kevin and Allison Carlson with their twin daughters, Kate and Annie, at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. The twin girls were born Nov. 7, but they shared the same amniotic sac in their mother's uterus, which is a rare and dangerous condition, hospital officials said. Photo courtesy of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital."

Thursday, January 24, 2013

4tunate: Quadruplets with a Momo Pair

**The following entries are taken with permission from www.4tunate.net.  Please visit that blog for updates on the family as well as frugal living, faith journey, family-friendly foods, and finding joy in the every day!***

On February 2, 2007, we became parents to quadruplet boys: Henry, Brooks, Clark, and Isaac. Originally, this blog started as a way to keep family and friends on board with updates and prayer requests during our extreme high-risk pregnancy. Since then, it has “multiplied” into a collection of our family adventures, frugal living on a “quad budget”, our faith journey, family-friendly foods, and finding joy in the every day.
We thank God for His immeasurable blessings and hope that our blog can be a source of encouragement to your faith as well!

From http://www.4tunate.net/2009/03/keepin-it-real-rewinds-10/
I don’t know if I’ll get through this post without fighting back tears, but I’ll give it my best shot…
Two weeks after the shock of our lives, (finding out we were expecting triplets), I found myself back on that same cold table, staring blankly at the black and white screen.  I immediately saw the three oval-shaped sacs, and watched breathlessly as she examined each one closely for a heartbeat.  Tiny little blips flashed on the screen proving life still existed. We knew that during the first trimester, there were certainly no guaranties. As she scanned the final sack, something caught my eye.  Before a word was spoken, I saw it.  I knew with certainty that this sac was not like the other two. Time stood still in that defining moment. There were two flashing heartbeats in one sack. 
All 4 babiesc

History was written in a conversation that went down something like this:
Me: "There’s two in there, aren’t there?"  
Nurse Lisa: "What?"
Brad: "Huh? What? Are there? Are we talking four babies?"
*Blurry screen*   
Our Doctor took over the ultrasound from there…
He examined it closely in what appeared to be disbelief.  He confirmed soberly there were indeed four and waited for me to get dressed to meet with him in the conference room.  
I remember looking at Brad who was standing behind me, making sure he wasn’t going to pass out.  He looked so dismayed and distraught. I was instantly flooded with emotions and ten thousand questions.  I felt overcome with guilt, fear, panic, grief, pain, disappointment, and disbelief; Yet I remained emotionally unresponsive in appearance.  I couldn’t cry… I couldn’t laugh a nervous laugh… I couldn’t scream… I just wanted to pull the white sheet over my head, and disappear from this new reality. 
Instead, the nightmare worsened. We learned that not only did we have an even higher risk pregnancy by the increased number, but we were facing, (I quote), "Pretty much the worse case scenario".  Our worst case scenario involved a rare form of twinning, called mono-amniotic twins. Monoamniotic twins are rare identical twins that occur in approximately 1 in 35,000 to 1 in 60,000 pregnancies, but had not been documented to exist within a quadruplet pregnancy.  
A complicated pregnancy lends itself to a complicated explanation. (For the record the incidence of mono-mono twins or even having identical twins for that matter were unrelated to the mild fertility treatments we underwent.) Without getting too ridiculously medical, let me try my best to explain monoamniotic twins through a compiling of these resources, for those of you who may not be familiar with this terminology. (Illustrations can be found here.)
Monoamniotic twins are identical twins that develop inside the same amniotic sac. They share a placenta within their mother’s uterus, but have two separate umbilical cords for nourishment. This means that both babies share the same living space. They don’t just share their house, they share a bedroom, bathroom, and playroom! Where as other identical twins share an outer sac, but not an inner sac.  They are separated by an important membrane. Unfortunately, monoamniotic twins are at great risk for health complications due to the close proximity of the two umbilical cords in the amniotic sac. This makes it particularly easy for the twins to become entangled in each other’s cords, or to compress one another’s cords, endangering their oxygen and food supply. The survival rate for monoamniotic twins is approximately 50%, but incalculably less within a quad pregnancy scenario. 
We walked out of our 8 week appointment in anguish, after what seemed to be a death sentence for our four little heartbeats…
But God had other plans.

From http://www.4tunate.net/2007/02/page/6/

QUAD DAY – Birth Day x4

Hello everyone,
Our boys are here and doing really well. The birth went very well and Jen is recovering in our room again now. They all came out crying and breathing room air on their own.
One of the boys is now on ventilation as he was not able to continue to breath without assistance. The other three have continued to breath without a vent, but they all have a long way to go before we can breath a sigh of relief. But, God has given us five hours of life with our little boys already, and we are thankful to finally get to meet them.
Okay, here are the names and weights that you all have been waiting for in the order in which they entered the world:
Henry Samuel Murray
Born at 12:33pm
2lbs. 12oz.
Brooks Layton Murray
Born at 12:34pm
3lbs. 0oz.
Clark Thomas Murray
Born at 12:34pm
3lbs. 7oz.
Isaac Edward Murray
Born at 12:35pm
4lbs. 0oz.
Here is a picture of the boys just minutes after they were born, right before being hurried off to the NICU.
Left to right: Henry, Brooks, Clark, Isaac 

(Post copied from www.triplet-update.blogspot.com)

From http://www.4tunate.net/2007/03/page/2/

Our Family of 6 is Complete!

Friends and Family,
Wednesday evening we finally went up and got Clark and brought him home! We are so excited to finally have our family at home complete. After over two months in the hospital, we finally have no reason to go to St. Vincent Women’s Hospital anymore. We want to thank everyone at the hospital for the amazing care that Jen and the boys received.
We took our first trip out with all four boys yesterday since Clark got home. The boys went to the pediatrician for a check-up and weight check. Our boys are thriving and continuing to gain weight.
Updated Weights:
Isaac: 6lbs. 13oz.
Brooks: 5lbs. 11oz.
Clark: 5lbs. 1oz.
Henry: 5lbs. 3oz.
This will be the final post for this blog. We are so thankful for everyone who has followed our progress here for the past 7 months. God is so gracious and continues to provide in amazing ways for our family. If you would like to continue to follow our family, please check out our new blogspot, I will be posting pictures there in the near future.
(Post Copied from www.triplet-update.blogspot.com)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Aeden and Noah's Story

     I found out that I was pregnant New Year's Day.  We were surprised and excited and anxious.  Of course, we had to wait several weeks before we actually got to see a doctor, so 28 days later we made our way to the doctor excited to hear our baby's heartbeat for the first time.

      At our first appointment we went in for the sonogram and it was very exciting until the technician said, ,"Oh...wait a minute..."  It got very scary for a few seconds until she identified a second heartbeat.  We were having twins.  Next the technician checked for several other things and was worried that she could not find a septum (the line between the babies indicating that they were in two separate amniotic sacs).  However, she and our doctor assured us that they would probably be able to see it at our next appointment  and scheduled a follow up for one month later.

     At our next appointment, one month later (13 weeks gestation) they were only really concerned with finding the septum.  I was amazed at how my little beans had turned into little people and looked like they were boxing each other.  When the technician excused herself to get the doctor we got worried.  It was kind of like one of those moments in movies when the doctor gets a concerned look on their face and give the parents terrible news.  The doctor came back to the room with the technician and started giving her instructions.  After a few minutes the news came..."We can not find a septum between your babies.  Let's go over to the exam room so we can talk about what this means."

      The details were scary.  Mono-amniotic/Mono-chorionic twins happen in only one in 10,000 twin pregnancies.  There was a 50-60% chance that one or both babies would be still born.  In addition, because they were split from one egg, there was a high chance that one of the babies would be born with some sort of defect ranging from heart, lung, spinal, renal, or brain defect.  It was a lot of scary stuff to hear, but there was still a chance that there was a septum and the ultrasound equipment was just not advanced enough to locate the divide.  We were referred to a perinatal specialist in Shreveport, LA (which was two hours from our home) first in hopes that their advanced equipment would find the septum, and second to give us a physician would could properly care for our very high risk pregnancy if they did not find the septum.

      The following week we made the trek to Shreveport to find out for sure what we were dealing with.  They did not find a septum.  The doctor also gave the ultrasound technician a series of directives, "check the hips, check the stomach, check the back, check the chest, etc." and then finally informed us that he was worried that they were conjoined based on the photos he had been sent.  What?!?  We had no idea that was even a concern.  Immediately following the ultrasound we met with the doctor where he gave us all the gruesome details again.  He also offered a selective termination in which they could terminate one of the babies in order to give the other a better chance of survival.  No Way!  I responded by simply saying, "no...that's actually isn't an option."  He warned us of the tough road ahead.  I would see him in Shreveport monthly, unless something more serious arose, I would see my doctor at home every two weeks.  I would go on bed rest at home at 20 weeks and begin seeing my home doctor every week.  At 24 weeks I would be admitted into the hospital for continuous monitoring and would remain there until the babies were born.

      Then the fun began.  We continued living our lives knowing that one way or the other our lives were going to change.  We both still had the stress of our jobs, preparing and taking bands to contest, in addition to the stress of the pregnancy.  Everything went along without a hitch until our appointment at 20 weeks in Shreveport when they began to check out organs.  The organs looked fine, but they did discover a single umbilical artery in twin a which could be a sign of defects that could not be detected on the ultrasound.  We would just have to wait until they were born to find out.  (This is probably the reason for Aaden's hemi-vertebrae and horseshoe kidney)

      I also began bed rest at home at 20 weeks and so instead of my days being filled with the stress of my job it was filled with the what ifs of my pregnancy.  The only thing that kept me sane was feeling them move and the security of having weekly appointments to be sure they were both okay.

      At 24 weeks I was admitted into the hospital where they monitored the boys twice a day for a few hours.  At first they were still small enough to move around quite a bit so it was very difficult to monitor them effectively so many times the monitoring sessions took quite a long time.  Things went along nicely for two weeks, then one night, right at 26 weeks, the boys began having issues.  Twin A's heart rate was dropping pretty low and staying down for too long so they began to prep me for surgery and gave me the steroid shots to speed along the boys' lung development.  For about a week I stayed hooked up to an IV while they continued to monitor the boys 24 hours a day.  I also began having contractions during this time so they gave me all sorts of drugs to try to keep them at bay.  When I was finally taken off continuous monitoring and allowed restroom privileges again (and allowed to take a real shower!) things seemed better.  I was at 27 weeks and had only 5 weeks left until they would take the boys.  Things seemed fine.  My parents came to visit and my mom was going to stay with me for a couple of weeks.  She just had to make one trip back home for a doctor's appointment and then she would be back for the long haul. Josh was busy doing drama camp in Henderson during this time so the plan was that mom would keep me entertained so that Josh wouldn't have to travel back and forth so much.  Mom left on a Sunday for her appointment (Father's day actually).  The next day I was feeling down so I called Josh to ask if he would come for the night.  He agreed without any argument and I immediately felt better.  He brought me food (it's difficult to live on hospital food) and I enjoyed that before I began an unusually late monitoring (there had been a ton of births that day so I didn't start my first monitoring until late, moving my second monitoring back later).  This turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  About 8pm Twin A went into distress and stayed that way for too long.  The next hour was one of the craziest hours of my life.  People were in and out of my room, nurses, doctors, anesthesiologists, all the while all I can think about is my baby being in distress.  I was finally wheeled (ran really) down to the operating room and within 15 minutes my babies were born and I entered the most stressful time of my life.

 Noah at 28 weeks gestation

Aeden at 28 weeks gestation

      Aaden was born with an APGAR of 0 and had to be revived. His umbilical cord was completely white and the doctors had no idea how long he had not been receiving blood. His 5 minute APGAR was a 3.  Noah was born with an APGAR 3 and his 5 minute APGAR was an 8.  Noah was only on the vent for a few hours, Aaden for a few days.  It was so difficult to see my babies hooked up to so much equipment and not be able to hold or comfort them in any way.  The first week was pretty uneventful until Sunday.  We had just left the hospital for the night and decided to go to Henderson and stay with Josh's parents.  We got a phone call from the NICU before we got there telling us to come back immediately.  We got no other info except to come back.  I have never prayed or cried as hard as I did during the 45 minute drive back to the hospital.  We called once during the trip to get the same info, keep coming.  When we arrived we ran to the NICU and the doctor met us at the door.  Aaden had been in distress.  He had fluid on his lungs and he had almost died.  He was stable, but still considered critical.  I'm still unclear as to what happened, but it had to do with his pic line.  He was returned to the vent and that was how we experienced our first thrill on the roller coaster ride of the NICU.  I still get teary when I think about it.

      Noah had a similar scare later that week, but it did not escalate to the same level that Aaden did because the nurses were much more attentive because it had happened to Aaden.  The boys continued to slowly improve.  They had good days and bad days and our days directly correlated with theirs.  The were in the NICU for three months and came home one week before their due date.  They were still on heart monitors when they came home, but they were home.  Besides some developmental delays they have been great.  They are perfect.

      This is why I march for babies.  If I can help prevent even one family from experiencing the same scary things we went through then it is worth it.  Since the boys were born, just three years ago, they have upgraded the percentage from 50-60% chance of stillbirth to 70-80% chance of survival in mono mono twins with proper care and monitoring.  March of Dimes helped with that and so I will continue to march so that one day maybe mono mono twins will no longer be a high risk pregnancy.

     I never thought I would experience something like this, but it happened to me and it could happen to anyone.  I am thankful for all the people who donated and marched before me, and I will continue to pay it forward as long as I am able.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Our Babies Without Borders

 Our Babies Without Borders
Belladonna Marie and Blaize Andromeda
    On September 9th I was watching a rather gory movie "Parana" and all of a sudden began to crave a sugar cookie so badly I could smell it! I then remembered how sensitive and sore my breasts had been the past few days and all of a sudden it hit me.... I must be pregnant. The next morning in pajamas and all, I went to the store with my husband and got a test. I rushed home to take it and sure enough, the line was dark as could be, I was pregnant. It seemed a little early to me to be experiencing such strong symptoms, seeing as I could only be about 3 weeks along, but I didn't over think it. I scheduled a doctor's appointment and went in later that week. My mom had been joking about it being twins, considering I had 6 sets on my Father's side of the family and one set on my Mom's that had just been born that month.

      I was sure to ask the Doctor on the first appointment if there was one or two babies. He said it was too early to tell, but so far it only looked like one. The second appointment I made sure to ask again and same with the 3rd... Still one baby. When I was 12 weeks i had an appointment with another doctor to get the baby's neck measured to check for down syndrome. The ultrasound tech began the ultrasound and had the strangest look on her face. She kept looking at my file and back at the screen. She excused herself from the room, at which point my husband and I looked at each other, both worried something was wrong. When she came back in about 3 minutes later I finally asked her what was going on, and she asked me what we knew about the pregnancy, and I told her not much considering it was so early, just that THE BABY had a really strong heart beat at our last two apts, enough that the doctor had even commented on it being so strong... She said, "Well that's because there's 2 in there!!" She then continued to say that a specialist would be coming in to talk to us though, because she didn't see a membrane and he would have to look. At this point I was unfamiliar with what this meant or whether it was a good or bad thing. My husband and I sat staring at one another both overjoyed and overwhelmed. I didn't know what to think... or feel... excitement? nervousness? anxiety? fear? happiness? I was one big bundle of feelings that just couldn't settle! The doctor came in and did his own ultrasound. He continued to tell us congratulations; However... There was a however...

      He explained the difference between Mono/Mono and Mo/Di. That mine did not have a membrane to separate, and this could often be troublesome. He told us to tell the family but be aware and make others aware that there was a 50% chance we wouldn't be having these babies. My hopes weren't crushed quite yet though because he seemed confident, so I was too. He told me to schedule an appointment for tomorrow with my regular doctor and that he, being a high risk doctor would see me back in a week to discuss it further. When we went back to our normal doctor and told him what was going on, he moved us from the US room and into his office, closing the door. All I could think of was every movie where the doctor was giving a negative prognosis in his office, and wondering how many hearts had been crushed in this very room. he was very nonchalant and to the point. "There's a 50% chance your babies wont make it. I've delivered 2 sets of Mo/Mos and both ended badly with dead babies and the mother was almost to term. The cords were so jumbled it was a huge mess. I recommend termination, but hey, take 2 weeks to think about it and come back and let me know and we'll schedule a D&C." I couldn't even think of anything but how badly I didn't want to be anywhere near this jerk! On our way out he opened the door for us patted me on my back and said, "Don't worry, your obviously fertile, you can always try again." Smiling. I left shattered and in tears, going home and climbing into bed, wanting to escape this huge decision I was actually considering!!!! I hopped online and did even more googling... Negative Negative and more Negative stuff.... Finally a page, Monoamniotic.org BBS stream. A Chat? Okay. A support page. I immediately started and account and began talking to people. Everyone told me the same thing. Stop considering termination. Give them a chance. Yes its risky, yes its scary, but 50% is a chance. They didn't have to tell me twice! Looking at all the pictures of healthy, beautiful, happy twins, was all I needed to turn around my attitude and get positive. Yes, we had a long hard road ahead of us, yes, we would be traveling it. The next morning I went to my Doctors office to tell him I had made my decision to keep them and get my file to transfer over to the high risk group because I didn't want to see him anymore. He had me wait for 3 hours. I walked back, got my own file, and took it to my new group of Doctors.

     Day after day I woke up positive, but terrified. Would I feel them move today? Week after week we went to the doctor, Would they see two heart beats this week? Month after month was so bitter sweet. We had hit another milestone, and as the risk for strangulation went down the risk of compression went up. My doctors and I decided to do inpatient at 28 weeks. I was admitted and we planned to do the C-section at 34 weeks.

      Unlike many, my inpatient stay was uneventful. I had small contractions I never felt, no significant decels, no problems at all.

     On March 26th, 2012, I was 34 weeks pregnant. I went into the surgery room scared out of my mind at 7:45 AM, and at 8:17AM I saw my first beautiful baby girl Blaize Andromeda, and when they pulled her out my second baby girl's legs came with her... They unwrapped my second miracle baby Belladonna Marie from the cord that was loosely wrapped around her tiny self 3 times. Blaize was 4.6 and 16 inches long. She came out crying, eyes wide open. Bella was 4.1 and 16 inches long, but came out grunting. They suctioned the fluid from her lungs and let me kiss them both before they went to the NICU, my husband followed behind them.

Beautiful Bella!!

 Gorgeous Blaize!

     8 Hours later I met my sweet girls. Bella had been on Cpap for 3 hours but had already come off. Both were breathing fine on their own and Blaize had minor problems with her blood pressure but after a shot it had straightened itself out.

      They were both perfect, healthy, beautiful little girls!

     Over the next 3 days they moved rooms 3 times! Each room closer to home. The 3rd room was called the Fat Farm. Only for feeding and weight gain, and then they would be home. On Wednesday, April 5th, only 10 days after birth, Blaize came home! On Saturday Bella followed! :) Both back up to birth weight after dropping into the 3 lbs range. Our girls were home and our life could begin.

     My girls are now exactly 5 weeks old and doing wonderfully! Blaize is 6.3 and Bella is 6lbs! They are both 18 inches now! Neither one has health problems of any sort and they are so smart and strong!

     I am so thankful to all the people who supported me along the way from the MoMo Site and Facebook pages. I'm thankful to my husband, family and friends, and all their support and prayers along that rough journey. I'm thankful for my doctors, and nurses and for them doing all they could to make sure we were all safe, healthy, comfortable, and well taken care of. I'd like to give a big middle finger to my first doctor who had no faith in not only me and my babies, but in himself as a medical professional. Thanks for being an inconsiderate ass and chasing me into the care of the best doctors anyone could ask for! :)

     We are so fortunate and happy!

     So to Mommys struggling with the same or similar situation, just keep hope, keep faith. Everything will work out as it is supposed to.

     Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself, your care, your babies care, and your rights as a Mother and Patient.

     And don't be afraid to talk over your feelings with someone supportive that is in a similar situation. Its okay to be scared. Its okay to be stressed out. Its a scary situation. But stay positive for you, and for your babies. :)

-Dani DiCapua
and Blaize and Belladonna

Friday, April 13, 2012

Against all Odds ~ Ruby and Megan's Story


           It was decided quite soon after having my son, now 2, that I wanted a 4th child.  I hated the odd number it seemed my daughter was always pushed out.  So when in the summer of 2010 I found I was pregnant again I was over the moon.

At around what I thought was 6wks I was sent for a scan as I kept spotting.  When we arrived we were sat in a room full of bumps as I was looking at a display I noticed a poster about multiples and I pointed and said to Danny, “can you imagine if they found this!” His reply was, “don't joke Sarah, 4 is going to be a handful.”
Ten minutes later we found ourselves being asked if I would mind an internal scan.  It was very quiet in there and the sonographer didn't say too much and I agreed for the internal.  After a few minutes she said “could you excuse me for a minute” and came back with a doctor.  We were then told they had found on the internal scan 2 little pulses!.

We were then told we would be left for a week then sent for another scan to see a little more.
We went for another scan at 9wks and this is when we were told they thought they were mo/di but they could see where a membrane started but couldn't see where it finished; it just seemed to disappear.  We were told very minimal at this point as it was still so early.

I was told I'd be sent for a more in depth scan at 16-18wks.  Only I didn't get that far.  I was picking up my son from school a few days later and he was running ahead.   I was 2 streets from home and I suddenly doubled over in pain and then the gush! Blood everywhere! I started crying and my son, love him, managed to call my mum. My mum came to collect me (she works in our maternity department) she told me she'd take me home because there was nothing the hospital could do so early.
We went home and she called the hospital again they told us they couldn't do anything other than let nature take its course.

I went to the hospital the following morning again for a scan only as soon as the scan started saw one heart beat.  I started crying and saw the other! Wow what a relief!  They went on scanning and again a doctor came in and this is when I was told I had a ruptured subchorionic hematoma.  The sonographer said it was a miracle they had survived the stress!  The doctor now thought he should talk to us about TTTS! and we were also told that the membrane was floating around so my babies had become mo/mo.  This is when selective abortion was discussed to give the stronger twin a better chance.

We didn’t even need to talk about it as they had come through so much already!
At around 12 weeks we were told there was quite a size difference and TTTS was high risk as one of the twins (smaller) was showing a large nuchal translucency but this also occurs in Downs!  So much to take in! We were also told that something called the Ductus venosus was reverse flow on the smaller twin when you would expect them to both be positive flow!

At 14.6wks I was referred for a cardiac scan and another ultra sound with a consultant.
At this point I was really worried still about reverse flow and that large nuchal.  Nothing looked in our favour  and I was told to go back again at approx 16wks.  At 1 day short of 17weeks I had another scan and everything had seemed to stay the same, happy nothing had got worse and we waited to see the consultant. We were taken into a side room again and the selective abortion was again discussed by him! and if we wouldn't consider that then at least consider an amnio (no no no) leave them be!
We were told these type of twins were a freak of nature and not fully understood! and that 1 in 4 of these pregnancies will end badly!

We left with his words hanging in our minds, “you have until 24wks to go ahead with selective abortion.”  From then on for 48hours before an appointment I felt so sick and nervous!  I was at the hospital fortnightly and my community midwife the weeks in between! At 24 wks we were back again with the consultant and was told they could see a totally disconnected membrane floating around and the cord was very tangled;  he told us it looked like a pretzel.

We were still told at this point the smaller twin was showing lack of life and had only 25% chance of survival and by not having the selective termination we were putting both at risk! No, we'd made the decision we were giving our babies both a fair chance!  At 26wks at the next scan I had gone in extremely upset after what had been said at the previous scan. We saw a lady consultant this time and we were told by the consultant that our previous consultant we had didn't mince his words and wasn't very compassionate!  We nick named him Dr doom!  Anyway I told this consultant that I was worried about her growth and she told me she was looking to be improving.  She then asked if I would like to see them;  I must have looked confused as she said its ok, we can have look with a more advanced scan.   I was so excited and wanted to see this twin more than the other. 

She was perfect so how on earth could we terminate her!  I managed to get to 27wks and I was little uncomfortable most of the day and was advised to go to the hospital if anything got any worse. By early evening I had what I would describe as intense contractions so to the hospital we went! Here we go!,  I was so scared, they put me on steroids and after a week of being in I was discharged and told to come back if anything, no matter how small, happened!  When I got home I got the 3rd degree about taking it easy feet up etc from Dan and my mum.

My mum knew more than she would tell me or Dan, although she’s told me since that on many occasions she said to my dad that if something was going to happen to these babies, let it happen sooner rather than later! My dad maintained to my mum all the way along they'd make it, they had their mother’s blood running through them.

I started research online and actually got quite scared that my consultant actually didn't seem at all worried!  When we saw him again I put this to him and he said it’s not proven that inpatient or increased monitoring increase the survival rate. He believes it depended on life style and how you could harbour these babies.   So we carried on and made it to 33.1wks.  I had been booked for a section at 34wks after being told the cords would start getting real tight because of the size!

Although this would depend on the state of SCBU and space.  At 33.1wks I had really bad back pain at the bottom of my spine and I'm thinking “woozers these buggers are breaking my back.”
I had just settled down for an evening in front of the TV and Dan was getting ready for work when Eastenders started. We watched it and just as it finished I stood up and got a shooting pain around my lower tummy!  I shot to the toilet and as I sat a sudden rush blood everywhere!

It really looked as if someone had been attacked there. Dan rang my mum and she got there in less than a min (she lived a street over), straight in the car, no belongings nothing, and I was in hospital in 4 minutes. Thank goodness we lived behind the hospital!  Dan rang my dad to come over just in case he had to get to the hospital.  When I got there they hooked me up to a monitor; only the smaller twin had serious decels and they tried to examine me and it was too messy.

They decided section now, Danny had to be there in 7 minutes which he managed.  All that went through my head was he told me the chances were slim they'd both survive if either.  I remember having the spinal and he hit a nerve, which resulted me in kicking my midwife.  Apart from that I just remember bodies buzzing around and Dan coming in.  The next thing I remember was someone saying 11.51 .  I looked at Dan and he said twin one out (smaller).  Didn't see her,  just heard a door.  7minutes later I remember them saying twin 2 out and I saw her beautiful little cheeks and nose the rest of her was covered.  Ruby was  4lb 6oz and Megan was  4lb 11oz.

As I was being stitched my mum had followed my girls and had managed to get a message back to me to tell me the girls looked to be doing well. I was stitched back up and moved to recovery! Wow when everything started wearing off I felt sick and itchy it was the most weird thing in my life and the shivers. Wow not an experience I would ever want again!  I got wheeled along about 6hours after to see them but the warmth from the room hit me and I felt I was going pass out so they wheeled me back to recovery.  It was 14hours before I saw them.

I couldn't see Ruby (smaller twin), she was quite high up, but saw Megan and she looked amazing! I was shocked she looked so well as I was used to term babies!  The 1st week and 4days were quite eventful back and forth between rooms as Ruby needed more than Megs to begin with, only for Ruby to progress quicker Megan in the end.  At 2wks and 2days I finally had my babies together and feeding well and at 3wks 2days, a day I never thought would come, we brought our babies home!!!