Monday, April 30, 2007

A New Week

It's a new week, and we are back at it. Randi went in this morning at eight for more fluids, heart rate scans, and ultrasound scans. Randi went through three liters of fluids and an hour and a half of heart rate tracings. Everything appears to be holding steady. The babies had good heart rate accelerations and no elongated decelerations during contractions.

The perinatalogist finally arrived around six in the evening for the ultrasound. Wyatt and Parks had turned 180 degrees from Saturday with Wyatt now head down and Parks head up. This is a real good sign that they are staying active and have enough energy to move this much. The doctor spent a lot of time on Wyatt's heart and wasn't saying much, which got us pretty nervous. Finally, he broke the silence and told us that Wyatt was developing slight tricuspid valve regurgitation. With so much pressure put on his heart, it is becoming hard for him to completely empty from the right ventricle. In this case it, produces a backflow into the right atrium (see picture below). At this point, the regurgitation is minimal and not clinically significant. It can potentially become threatening, although it will probably take longer to develop than the number of weeks we have left. It is just another indication of the overall stress that Wyatt is facing.

We also got a little more clarification from the doctor today about a few issues. Since it is asymmetrical growth restriction, Wyatt's head is much larger that his belly, and we have been watching these babies closely, he does not feel that there is any reason to believe that the IUGR is chromosomal in nature. We have seen no markers so far that would indicate this. His growth restriction is simply a function of trying to suck a large oxygen supply through a small straw. Also, the perinatalogist feels that we will deliver these babies at 34 weeks, at the very latest. This would be the point where both babies would have the greatest potential for survival without permanent injury. We don't know; however, that Wyatt's placenta will give us that much more time, so we are thankful for every day, but praying for at least 33 weeks.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Lets Go Duke!

We sent Duke, A.K.A. Solivia's Charleston, off today until the end of July on his quest for an American Championship. He will be shown with the help of the kennel where we got Duke and Dante, Soliva's Pointers. Dante, A.K.A. Solivia's You Wish, won his American and Canadian Championships years ago. He will be in good hands while we get the babies here and settled. We are going to miss him while he's gone.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

31 Weeks Today!!

Note: We are going to start getting into the habit of using the boys real names. I would hate to be in the NICU trying to make an important decision and call them by Pooh or Tigger. So, from here on out Pooh is Wyatt and Tigger is Parks (Randi won, of course).

Randi went in today for more fluids, monitoring and ultrasounds. The babies are loving the IV fluids. Both babies had very full bladders and their amniotic fluid levels are good. Parks's umbilical blood flows look stellar, and Wyatt is holding steady with absent end diastolic flow. Randi is returning to Labor and Delivery on Monday for more IV fluids and peace of mind. We will look at the heart rate tracings to determine whether to call the doctor up from his off to do an ultrasound scan. If we don't get one Monday, we will definitely get one on Tuesday at our regularly scheduled appointment.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Where We Are

"No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; He'll never let you be pushed past your limit; He'll always be there to help you come through it." -I Corinthians 10:13

Wow!! The roller coaster continues. Randi returned to the hospital fro her second steroid shot and continued heart rate monitoring on the boys. The heart rate tracings looked really good for both Pooh and Tigger. Following the trip to Labor and Delivery, we returned to the perinatalogist's office for our scheduled ultrasound. On this visit, we saw NO reverse end diastolic flow on either of them. We actually saw some solid diastolic flow again, mostly a positive side affect of the steroid shots, and the doctor was "doing cartwheels," as described by his nurse. That's right, we are back on the upswing. It really wears down your emotions.

"Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

As I look back over the course of events that led us to this point, it is amazing to see the Hand of God move. We are thankful for our upbringing that provided us a strong foundation of faith, patience, and temperament. We are thankful for those like JenMom and the triplets that have come before us with similar experiences to give us a frame of reference of what to expect. We are thankful for Randi's subchorionic hematoma early in the pregnancy that alerted us to seek out a specialist. For, I am certain that we would have already lost Pooh if we had not already sought out additional treatment. We are thankful for this blog and the outpouring of support we have received. It started out as a funny way to show off belly shots and ultrasound pictures.

"The question, O Me! So sad, recurring- What good amid these, O Me, O Life? Answer: That you are here- that life exists and identity, That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." -Walt Whitman

The perinatalogist also gave us some more sobering warnings. There is still a real chance that we could only go home with one baby, although he stated that "we had every right to be optimistic and celebratory that we have made it this far." He also gave us a little confidence that Pooh might have actually gained more weight than we previously thought. He's just not sure how accurate the measurements were from Tuesday. He said that determining weight through ultrasound measurements is just a little more technical version of Navin R. Johnson at the carnival guessing your weight. He'd look you up and down, look at your hat size, see how big your waist line is, and figure out what the inseam was on your boot cut jeans to get a number. Sometimes it's accurate; sometimes it's not.

"Prayer is something we do in our time. The answer come in God's time." -Father Cavanaugh in Rudy, the movie

"Let the day's own trouble be enough for the day." -Matthew 6:34 (Paraphrased)

So, we are plowing along and preparing ourselves the best we can. Whether we like it or not, this is the way life is going to be for a while. Every appointment brings with it the joy of making it to the next appointment, but it can also be extremely disconcerting to see your child suffering. Randi returns to Labor and Delivery Saturday for more IV fluids and ultrasounds. Then, it's back to the perinatalogist's office on Monday for our regular appointment.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Quick Update

We wanted to post a quick update on the events yesterday. Randi went into the hospital in the morning. She got setup with two more liters of IV fluid to help halt the reverse end diastolic flow that Pooh was experiencing again on Tuesday. She also received her first steroid shot to stimulate lung development. Then, she was put on the heart rate monitors for around five hours. During this time, Pooh had a couple of bouts of tachycardia, sessions of accelerated heart rate patterns, we believe were caused by the steroid shot. Fortunately, he was able to regulate these sessions on his own without any interventions. This did have us a little spooked, since it was only happening to Pooh. The nurses assured us that, although alarming, it was a very good sign that he was able to lower his heart rate on his own.

So, Randi was finally taken off the heart rate monitor and off the IV fluids. We had not gotten a clear answer from the nurses all day whether or not the perinatalogist would be coming in to take a look at the heart rate tracing or do an ultrasound scan on the babies' cord flow. Around 8 p.m., we asked one of the nurses to page him and get an answer. We found out that he was not coming, and I told Randi that if we were not going to get monitored, get additional IV fluids, or see the perinatalogist that night, there was no point in her staying at the hospital overnight. We got our discharge papers and left. We are returning to Labor and Delivery today for Randi's second round of steroid shots. She will then stay on the heart rate monitors until we return to the perinatalogist's office late this afternoon. More updates to follow this evening...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Eviction Notices And All-You-Can Eat Buffets

Randi returned to the perinatalogist today for our regularly scheduled appointment. We did not get great news. I'll try to break everything down, baby-by-baby.

Eviction Notices: First and foremost, Pooh has already slipped back into reverse end diastolic flow within a day of Randi receiving IV fluids at Labor and Delivery. Apparently there are bad patches on the umbilical artery that are not working effectively or efficiently. There are spots of reverse end, absent end, and slight diastolic flow depending on where a sample is taken. Also, he only gained 1 ounce in the last two weeks. We believe that the placenta has hit a wall and has grown all that it will grow. He is now topping off at 1 pound, 11 ounces. For Pooh, he is sending us a lot of signs that he is ready to get out of his current location into a bigger, brighter world. On the bright side, Pooh was very active today, moving and interacting with Tigger. His heart rate scans were also very positive. Randi is returning to Labor and Delivery tomorrow for more fluids and, finally, steroid shots to stimulate lung development in preparation for delivery. Although this new is daunting, delivery is not necessarily imminent. These shots are effective for two weeks as we continue to administer fluids and monitor extremely closely.

All-You-Can-Eat Buffet: Tigger, on the other hand, thinks that he is at a carnival and doesn't show any signs of wanting to leave. He is having too much fun on the "Tilt-A-Whirl" and spending a lot of time at the snack bar. He gained 13 ounces in the last two weeks and rounds out (pun intended) at 3 pounds, 10 ounces. He has obviously been benefiting from all the Ensure drinks Randi has had to endure. He has no idea that the party is about to end. His heart rate scans and Doppler are looking great, and he seems to receive great pleasure from kicking and punching at Pooh.

The Long And The Short Of It: Pooh is at risk of brain bleeds because his body has been shunting vital blood to the brain and starving the rest of his body for the last 8 weeks. Likely, since he has been under such stress and has been preparing himself to leave the womb, we are praying his lungs will be in better shape, and he will not need to be on the ventilator very long. Also, he is at an increased risk for N.E.C. due to the fact that his bowels have been starved of blood flow and are the consistency of rice paper. It will be very important that the neonatologists do not try to feed him too soon.

Tigger is oblivious to what is about to happen. With steroids, we are hoping to give him a knock at the door before we burst in. The more he can see coming, metaphorically, the better off he will be outside the womb. He will most likely be on the ventilators longer but with less risk for severe brain bleeds and almost no risk of N.E.C.

So, this is where we stand, more IV fluids tomorrow, our first round of steroid shots, Randi stays over in the hospital tomorrow night for close monitoring, another steroid shot Thursday morning, and return to the perinatalogist Thursday afternoon. We will also most likely also attend our standing appointment with his office on Friday. By Friday, we (or Randi) will have spent every day this week either in the hospital or at the doctor's office. By definition, we are taking it day-to-day.

Monday, April 23, 2007

She Blinded Me With Science

UPDATE: The blood vessels are slightly visible when you look at them with the naked eye, but nothing like viewing them in the infrared spectrum of light.

As a quick update, Randi went to the hospital today for additional IV fluids and monitoring. The perinatalogist, unbeknownst to us, decided to come in and give Randi another Doppler ultrasound. Again, it appears that we bought ourselves a little more time. We are holding steady with Pooh being in consistent absent end diastolic flow. This is the second appointment that I have missed this entire pregnancy. The first appointment being the one in which we found out that we were having twins, although I was on conference call the entire time. So, as you can imagine I was a little bit more nervous about the phone call from Randi, because, as we all know, God loves streaks and He wouldn't want me to break a streak.

Now on the lighter side, we recently made the purchase of a new camcorder for the arrival of our sons. One evening, I was trying out all the new features on the camera. One feature, in particular, I was having the most fun with was the night-vision infrared lens. A guy would love that. I was taking pictures of the dogs and other things in the house, furniture, plants, etc. Randi had her shirt lifted to watch the babies moving. I turned the camera on her, and I just about lost it. She had no idea what I was freaking out about. I snapped a few shots of her belly (as seen below). It was one of the weirdest things I have ever seen. You can see all the blood vessels close to the surface of the skin, and you can also see the bruises near her belly button from the Lovenox shots she has to give herself twice a day to assist with blood flow. It should be noted that it is much to Randi's chagrin that I am posting this picture and the one above. For some reason, she thinks they are not very flattering.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

What A Difference 4 Weeks Makes...

Pooh at 30 weeks

Pooh at 26 weeks
We have been unable to get a good shot of Pooh's face or profile for weeks due to the fact that he was prone (facing inside of me or towards my back). All we have been seeing is his spine. He has finally turned a little and I was thrilled to see his little face again. If you compare the two photos above, the first at 30 weeks gestation and the second at 26 weeks gestation, you can see that he now has cheeks. As you can tell, he's still a tiny little thing, but I was so excited to see that he's putting on fat stores. He doesn't look as much like a skeleton anymore and is beginning to look more like a baby. This fat will help him tremendously in the first days after birth when babies generally drop weight.

On another note, I was in the hospital all day receiving fluids and being monitored. Afterwards, all signs of reverse-end diastolic flow were gone. We have managed to buy a couple more days. I will be back in the hospital on Monday and at the perinatologist's office on Tuesday for dopplers and growth scans. Please pray that by Tuesday we'll have a 2 pounder in Pooh. If so, it will be worth every Ensure I have had to drink.

Oh, and in case you all are wondering why we are still referring to our boys as Pooh and Tigger, it's because Todd and I are still deciding whether to call Tigger Emerson or Parks. Todd and I have differing opinions. Neither one of us is willing to back down just yet, so we'll see what happens.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Week 30 Ultrasound

Tigger's Chubby Cheeks
Pooh Smiling For The Camera

We pulled double duty today for office visits. We first went to the OB for our 30 week check-in. Nothing new here to report. We mainly wanted to make sure that the doctor was aware of everything that has been going on over the last couple weeks with the IV fluid surge. The "bad news" is that the last dictation and ultrasound report the OB had from the perinatalogist was from April 3rd. The "good news" is that the perinatalogist ran into the OB in the hospital on Monday of this week and updated her on our situation. The OB was still her upbeat self, with a lot of "at-a girl"s and "no worries"s, but it did appear that she was a little more understanding about the boys' situations.

Next, we had another appointment with the perinatalogist this afternoon. The babies are looking GREAT on the heart rate monitors. Randi had a couple of contractions while we were hooked up, and neither of the heart rates decelerated significantly. When we got on the ultrasound machine, both babies were showing excellent movement and acted like normal 30 weekers. They were both showing regular practice breathing, and Pooh even had a case of the hiccups. Although we did not do a growth scan, Pooh finally looks like he is gaining some baby fat. The downside is that Pooh was showing intermittent to consistent reverse end diastolic flow again. Randi will be going back into the hospital tomorrow morning for more IV fluids to see if we can buy ourselves some more time. As for how long we can keep this up, I think the doctor said it best today when he stated, "We will take as much time as God gives us and maybe steal a little from the devil too." We will try to update everyone after Randi finishes with fluids tomorrow. Thanks again for your continued prayers and nice comments and emails.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Finding A "Next Step"

Randi checked into Labor and Delivery at 8:30 this morning for more fluids and a new round of fetal heart rate monitoring and ultrasounds. When she got there, the doctor's office had forgotten to send in the admission orders. They went ahead and checked her in but couldn't start fluids until they got the orders from him. Oh, did we mention, that his office isn't open on Wednesday's? So, it took a little bit longer to get going than she wanted. Finally, she got fluids started around 10 a.m., and I was at work this whole time. I arrived to be with Randi at the hospital for the ultrasounds at 1 p.m. The perinatalogist didn't show up until 2:30 p.m. After all, we didn't get home until 4 p.m.

Now, as far as the monitoring, both babies have very good heart rate scans for the hour that Randi was being monitored. She did have a couple large contractions, but they were not frequent enough to be concerning. The ultrasounds on Pooh are still showing absent end diastolic flow with intervals of intermittent diastolic flow. We did not see any reverse flow on him today, happily. What was concerning to us was a decrease in the amount of amniotic fluid surrounding him. He is obviously dehydrated, not from any fault of Randi's. These periods of dehydration in between IV fluids is starting to have an effect. To explain better the role of IV fluids versus oral hydration, the doctor said that it is like telling a person to eat an orange for vitamin C as opposed to telling them to take a hand full of vitamin C pills. Metaphorically, Randi is close to having scurvy. So, we are hyper-hydrating her to attempt to repair deficiencies in hydration, which in turn can stimulate better blood flow and also inrease Pooh's amniotic fluid level.

Tigger's blood flow was completely corrected from the hyper-hydration. He is showing little to no signs of increased blood flow resistance or absent end diastolic flow. Also, we pressed the doctor today about what the "next step" is. This is the gist of what we were told. We will be in this new ho-hum routine of fluids, monitoring, and doctor visits three times a week--it's amazing what you can get used to. At any point if we don't see significant improvement in the blood flow from IV fluids, Randi will be admitted to the hospital for steroid shots to stimulate lung development. We will need 48 hours before delivery for the babies to get the full effect of the steroids. After that time, we will reevaluate whether to deliver Pooh and Tigger, if the situation remains bad, or try to hold off a little longer, if the vitals improve.

"If you will it, it is no dream." Theodore Hertzl

Monday, April 16, 2007

Status Quo

The status quo is a lovely place to be. We hope and pray for so much more, but the status quo keeps our babies healthy and keeps me pregnant for the time being. We are at 29 weeks, 2 days today but are still praying for much more. The status quo is what has been maintained today after our perinatalogist appointment. Both boys are holding steady at the present. We didn't do any growth scans this week, only blood flow doppler and heart rate monitoring. I will return to Labor and Delivery on Wednesday for more IV fluids and additional scanning. Then we'll go from there.

Also, I have been having contractions all weekend and today; however, everything looked good at the doctor today and there does not appear to be any signs of pre-term labor. The doctor did tell me that if I did go into labor he probably would not stop things. This is due to the fact that there is a built-in protective mechanism that allows the babies to trigger labor if they sense that they need to be out of the womb. Pretty amazing, huh? Pretty scary too. I never even thought I could potentially go into labor.

So, as the doctor said today, "we will play out this hand we've been dealt," and see where it leads us. Thank you for all of the sweet comments about the names we've chosen.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

And The Winners Are...

We have names. Names, names, and more names. We went through our baby books, and marked down any names that struck us. Of the four names that we needed, we came up with roughly 120. This was our long list. On this list, we had such notables as Thor, Mohawk, and Ulysses. These were my fun names, and Randi wasn't too thrilled with them. We made our first cuts and narrowed the names down to a short list with about 60 names. Finally, we made our last cut, and came up with our "short, short" list of 20 names. We worked the names into combinations until we finally found two we loved. So, without further ado, the names are:

Baby A, a.k.a. Pooh, is Samuel Wyatt

We named him Samuel for the biblical prophet and judge who was the son of Hannah. She was barren, prayed and asked God for a son. She promised that if He granted her request, she would dedicate him to God's service. So, Samuel means "given to God."
"'I prayed for the child and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him.' So now, I give him to the Lord. For his whole life, he will be given over the the Lord." I Samuel 1:27-28

We named him Wyatt because it means "little fighter" or "ready for combat." We felt that this little guy has had to fight this whole pregnancy, and he deserved a name appropriate with this.

Baby B, a.k.a. Tigger, is Emerson Parks

We named him Emerson after one of my favorite authors, Ralph Waldo Emerson. His writings have been influential throughout my life.
"Trust thyself: every heart beats to that iron string. Accept the place the divine proidence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events."
"We are never tired, as long as we can see far enough."

We named him Parks, well, simply because we like that name. We joke that it came from my affinity for the National Parks, of which I've been to more than 150, or Rosa Parks, or Cherokee Parks, a former Duke basketball player.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Settling Into A Routine

We returned to the hospital this afternoon for fluids and additional monitoring. Randi and I checked into the hospital this afternoon at 1 p.m, got settled in, and I left to finish some work. They pumped two liters of fluid in every three hours. At around 4 p.m., I returned to the hospital, and they hooked her up to a fetal heart rate monitor for two hours. Both babies were very active, constantly knocking their heart rate monitors off. Their heart rates also looked very good with appropriate accelerations. Randi had only a couple small contractions during the monitoring and everything, overall, looks great with her; no preterm labor problems. Around 6:30 p.m., the perinatalogist arrived to scan the cord flow on the ultrasound. He spent a good amount of time checking the blood flow of both babies. Pooh still has absent end diastolic flow, but is still showing some intermittent diastolic flow which is good. Tigger also looked noticeably better. Both boys thoroughly enjoyed the fluids and had very full bladders. We finally left the hospital at 8 p.m.

We will see the doctor in his office on Monday. If at anytime Randi feels decreased activity from the boys or just feels that something isn't right, we will also go in for fluids and ultrasounds and monitoring. Hopefully, this good "mojo", in our doctor's words, will sustain Pooh and Tigger for a few more weeks. We're 29 weeks tomorrow and couldn't be more excited that we've reached this milestone. It's still way too early to feel good about delivering, but just a few weeks ago we weren't sure if we would even make it this far.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Today's Peri Visit

We visited the perinatologist this afternoon for more doppler flow scans. Unfortunately, there are still periods of reverse-end diastolic flow; however, it is not as bad as it was on Tuesday in his office. Mostly we are still in an absent-end diastolic flow situation, but there were periods where we could see some diastolic flow. The doctor really felt like we could make it to Monday when we have our next appointment. This is based upon the fact that the baby is moving and behaving as he should for his gestational age. I, however, did not feel comfortable with almost 4 days between visits. So, I am being admitted tomorrow for more fluids and the doctor will come up between patients and do more dopplers. We will see him in his office on Monday, at the hospital with fluids and dopplers on Wednesday and back in his office on Friday. As hectic as that sounds, I am praying this will be our routine for at least three more weeks. At least that means we'll still be pregnant.

Thanks again for all of your prayers and sweet comments! I have been humbled by the level of support and encouragement we have received. This week has definitely been a roller coaster and I expect no less from here on out. You all being here has helped us tremendously!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Collective Sigh

It's a quarter until midnight, and we are still at the hospital. The perinatalogist just got finished checking the blood flow for Pooh. He is not showing any signs of reverse-end diastolic flow anymore. He is showing significant improvement from earlier. Depending on where they measure the blood flow in the umbilical artery, it is showing absent-end flow, the status-quo recently, and even intermittent diastolic flow, an improvement. Thank you all for prayer and support. We have been watching the blog and reading your comments. We go back again on Thursday to see him again. We are finishing up Randi's last bag of fluids before we are allowed to leave, but hopefully, it will be soon. We are both exhausted.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Back To The Bad News

Some of you might have heard already, Randi was admitted into the hospital today following our perinatalogist appointment. First, the gist of it. Pooh's umbilical blood flow is worse than it was two weeks ago, when things were looking bad. He is actually in reverse-end diastolic flow, which means that blood is flowing out of the heart in between beats. The doctor admitted Randi to the hospital to pump fluids in her to make sure she is not dehydrated. After a few hours of this, the perinatalogist is returning tonight to do another fetal ultrasound to check the umbilical blood flow. If everything looks better, we can go home and see him again on Thursday. If things looks the same or worse, he will administer steroid shots to her to stimulate the babies lung development, and we will be in the hospital for the next 48 hours. During those 48 hours and afterwards she will be monitored continuously in the hospital. At any point that Pooh's status declines a c-section would take place immediately. Instead of week-to-week, we are now living day-to-day.

Now, here's some of the good news. Pooh gained six ounces over the last two weeks, doubling his total from the previous two weeks and coming in at 1 pound, 10 ounces overall. He is showing excellent movement, as well. Tigger has gained 11 ounces and is weighing 2 pounds, 13 ounces. His blood flow is not optimal, but it is far and away better than Pooh's. Also, Tigger is showing signs of regular respiratory activity, getting ready for the outside world. We are just waiting now to see what will happen. We thank you all in advance for all the prayers. We are hoping for the best.

Monday, April 9, 2007

The Second Trimester Remembered

Well, here we are again. Another trimester down, one more trimester to go. This period can best be summarized in two words -- "roller coaster." Here's a top ten of the things I remember most about the last two to three months. Enjoy.

1. The onset of preg-nesia, the loss of all short-term memory and diminished brain function during pregnancy.
2. "Innies" turn into "outies."
3. Purchasing the same shirt in extra small, small, and eventually medium. The third trimester may bring a large.
4. Reminiscing the movie "Alien" as I watch Randi's belly move.
5. Seeing all our friends and family again at the baby showers.
6. Wondering aimlessly through the sporting goods and toy aisles of stores.
7. Having our hopes dashed, only to be restored again through the thoughts and prayers of others and good medicine.
8. 101 ultrasound boy thimbles pictures. (future blackmail)
9. Naming another human being. (times 2)
10. Hearing Randi sweetly utter, "brace me" or "stiff arm," knowing that it is my cue to help her up to a seated position.

Getting Everything Ready

We have now passed the 28 week mark, a major milestone for us. There was much rejoicing this weekend in our household. We spent most of the previous week setting up the nursery. We still have a long way to go, but the major components are in place thanks to JenMom for the furniture and my parents for the transport service. All the gifts we received from the baby showers are starting to fill the cribs, closets, dressers, and overflowing into other rooms. Strollers, swings, car seats, entertainment centers, and much more have been assembled in anticipation for our big, big day (one "big" for each baby). Thank you all again for your generosity.

As you can see from the pictures, Duke decided to get in on the action, being the ever-inquisitive puppy that he is. Don't worry, the sheets will all be washed thoroughly before we use them. We love the crib bedding from the Pottery Barn, and Randi's mother is coming this weekend to sew us some crib skirts and curtains from similar material. Wow, as mundane as this is, it is so much better writing about than some of the subjects of the past couple months. We have more belly shots of Randi, I am coming up with a top ten Second Trimester list, we go for growth scans tomorrow, and we have names finally picked out. We will hopefully be able to get it all on the blog this week.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

3D/4D Ultrasound Pictures

Randi and I went to our 3D/4D ultrasound today with a doctor that Randi calls on for work. The technician, although, was one of the women that works for our perinatalogist and was the biggest reason we decided to have it there. We took our VHS tape in with us ready to chronicle the miracles of modern technology...not exactly. They have a long way to go before that technology is perfected. Most of the pictures looked like Van Gogh, and we needed an art history professor to explain what we were looking at. Our expectations for the prints must have been too high. We got a few good shots of Tigger, as he was the most cooperative. Pooh was being a little more difficult, and we have no pictures of him. He is tucked into Randi pretty deep and is facing her spine. This must be why it is so hard to get a heart rate for him. I guess there is still no substitute for the real thing.

Hip, Hip, Hooray

We visited the perinatalogist yesterday for our checkup. We were put on the fetal heart rate monitor first, and again Pooh was being difficult. It took forever to get his heart rate on the monitor and had us worried again. The technician had to move on to find Tigger's first before returning for Pooh's again before finally finding it. Randi had no contractions for the 45 minutes we were hooked-up and both babies showed good heart rates and movement.

Next, we move to the ultrasound room hoping that Pooh's diastolic flow on his umbilical arteries had not worsened since last Friday. We, having become well versed in procedural matters of fetal ultrasounds now, watched intently as the technician measured ambiotic fluid volumes, cervix length, and blood flow from a variety of areas on the babies and Randi. When we got to Pooh's umbilical artery, we saw a blip. The blip was what appeared to be diastolic blood flow for the first time in weeks. Randi and I were both cautious, and we turned to each other in unison and said, "Did you see that?" We also got another lot of ultrasound prints, and, of course, we got more pictures of their boy thimbles. I feel that we could probably chart those little organs growth better than any other throughout this whole process.

We finished up the ultrasound and headed to the consultation room to wait for the doctor. A significant amount of time passed. Randi was able to make it through a whole People magazine and two trips to the restroom. At one point, we heard nothing in the halls for a while and thought that everyone had gone home. Finally, the doctor came in. Almost immediately, he confirmed what we suspected. For the first time in weeks, Pooh's umbilical cord exhibited diastolic flow. Although, it was still not a normal flow graph, it was significant. The doctor also mentioned that he could see some placental growth as a result, which will ultimately allow the baby to grow. What was most encouraging to us was the doctor's very uncharacteristic behavior...for the first time since we were 17 weeks, he was genuinely optimistic for the outcome.

He said that "obviously" something we were doing was working, since Randi has been on bed rest, staying more hydrated, and consuming three Ensure shakes a day. All that is great, but we know what it really was. It was the combined thoughts and prayers of all of you out there, and we really appreciate them. Hopefully, we can make it to 34 weeks now.