Thursday, July 31, 2008

27 Weeks

We are 27 weeks today. We got great news at the doctor this week. Kourtney (the recipient) now has a normal level of fluid!!! PTL!!! Her heart looks normal - no thickening of the walls could be seen. What a miracle. In theory, this should have happened shortly after the surgery but for some reason it did not so our doctor seemed to think that maybe it wouldn't. But, things have changed. The doctor said if he was seeing us for the first time he would think it was a normal twin pregnancy. He also said that he would "bet" that we would make it past 31 weeks (which was sort of our goal after the surgery). Yeah!! Ken and I are a little cautious about getting too excited. We want to make sure that it was not just a random thing or that it doesn't continue to go down and end up too low. The doctor says we really need to see how things look next week and then he will have a better idea of whether the fluid level is stable. As our OB said - 27 weeks is great but we still have a long way to go. So, the dreaded bedrest is working - I guess I'll stop complaining now. There are pictures of each girl and the last picture is of both girls and they look like the are fighting. I hope it is not a sign of things to come!



Fighting Like Sisters

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Back To School . . . But Not For Me

Since I am not going back to work this fall, I went by school yesterday to pick up some things out of my desk. I got to see all of my 9th Grade Academy folks as well as some other school people. It was a little sad - I will actually miss going back. I had already gotten my room ready - my bulletin boards were done and everything. I love my job - I work at a great school, with great people and pretty good kids. Fall is one of my favorite times of year - I love the excitement of back to school. I love to go school shopping for markers, glue sticks, new clothes and other school supplies. Believe it or not, teachers get just as excited and nervous about the new year as the students do. Oh well, I will do what I have to do for the babies. Bedrest is best! On the subject of school, Karlee will be going back to Friendship Preschool this year. She will be in the 5 day 4 year old class. We love Friendship!! Karlee had a wonderful year last year - mainly because of her great teachers -Ms. Leslie and Ms. Amy. I hope she has as great a year this year as she did last year.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Scrapbook from Philly

Check out our scrapbook of the girls in Philly. They still managed to have a good time even though I was confined to the hotel room the entire trip.

Click to play Fun in Philly June 2008
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

26 Weeks

We are 26 weeks today and our check-up this week looked good. "Steady as we go" is how our doctor refers to our situation. Kamryn (the donor) is doing great!! Her fluid levels are normal measuring between 5-6 cm of fluid. Kourtney (the recipient)has more than a normal level of fluid measuring 10-11 cm. This could cause problems for her heart. This is not ideal but at this point my doctor here and my doctor in Philly agree that thre is no reason to do anything at this point. This biggest risk (in addition to the heart problem) is that the excess fluid could cause contractions and pre-mature labor. So, for now we will just watch and wait. And stay on bedrest!!

Be sure to check out our summer pictures at the bottom.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS)

We went to our 20 week check-up expecting everything to be fine. But when we got there, the doctor told us that the rare condition we were at risk for with these type of twins, was happening.

It is called Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome or TTTS. Twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is a disease of the placenta that affects identical twin pregnancies. The shared placenta contains abnormal blood vessels, which connect the umbilical cords and circulations of the twins. Depending on the number, type and direction of the connecting vessels, blood can be transfused disproportionately from one twin (the donor) to the other twin (the recipient). The transfusion causes the donor twin to have decreased blood volume. This leads to slower than normal growth than its co-twin, and poor urinary output causing little to no amniotic fluid. The recipient twin becomes overloaded with blood. This excess blood puts a strain on this baby’s heart to the point that it may develop heart failure, and also causes this baby to have too much amniotic fluid. Without treatment, most of these babies would not survive and of the survivors, most would have handicaps or birth defects.

We were stunned. We immediately asked "what do we do to fix it?" Our doctor said that we would go to Philadelphia to the Children's Hospital (CHOP) and have laser surgery to find the connecting vessels and disconnect them. This was discovered on a Thursday we were scheduled to go to Philly the following Tuesday. We spent the entire weekend calling everyone we knew and asking them to pray. We had to get plane tickets, some where to stay, decide what to do with the girls, and somehow not go crazy with worry. We were terrified - Tuesday seemed so far away and we had so many questions.

We went back Monday to recheck things and make sure it was okay for me to fly. We received more bad news. The babies condition seemed to have gotten worse over the weekend. The fluid levels in the recipient were even higher and she had some limited blood flow. The donor had so little fluid that they couldn't even measure it and she also had significant decrease in blood flow. Our doctor was very concerned and even called to see if we could come sooner. Philly was not as concerned so we kept our original flight on Tuesday afternoon.

When we finally got to Philly we actually breathed a huge sigh of relief. We were so glad just to be at a place where they could help us. My Aunt Kay came up on Wednesday and she went with us over to CHOP. We spent the day having several tests - ultrasound and fetal echocardiogram. The ultrasound scan took over an hour and a half and then I had to lay superstill for about 45 minutes so they could do the fetal echocardiogram to determine if there was any damage to their hearts. After studying their results, they presented us with our options. It was really scary to see the statistics for all the different options. If left untreated, there would be a 80-100% chance that one or both of the babies would not survive. We chose the fetoscopic laser surgery which had the highest survival rates - 60-75% chance that both babies would survive.

The surgery was scheduled for Friday morning. I was not put to sleep so it was weird to be able to see and hear things even though I was heavily sedated. They estimated that the procedure would take about two hours. There was a team of three surgeons led by Dr. Bebbington plus two nurse practitioners that did the surgery. They were able to find and "disconnect" 10 connections between the babies. They also removed 2000 cc's of fluid which is about 2 liters. I spent the night at the hospital and then got to go back to the hotel Saturday morning. We had to stay in Philly for a week following the surgery and I had to be on bedrest the entire time. Ken's parents brought the girls up so I would not have to be away from them for so long. They ended up getting to do some pretty cool things. Ken took them to see my Grandmother Mickey in NJ and then he took Karlee to the Children's Please Touch Museum. She had a BLAST!!! There was a mini grocery store where the kids could shop for groceries, produce and meat. On Tuesday, he also took them to see the Liberty Bell. Karlee was very impressed with size of the bell - I guess she was expecting it to be small. Over all - I think the girls really enjoyed it.

I had a check up after a week and things looked great!! The fluid level in the donor had risen and the fluid level in the recipient was much lower. Kamryn (the donor) was basically a miracle - she was in really bad shape when we arrived a week earlier. Kourtney (the recipient) had shown some signs of heart problems when we arrived and her heart looked much better when we left. We are so grateful to our doctor here for picking up on the problem so early and sending us to CHOP - one of the best fetal surgery centers in the country. Everyone we encountered at CHOP was wonderful - they were so caring and concerned. We received the best possible care.

God is so good - I can't imagine how someone would get thorough a situation like this without knowing that God is in control and that he has a plan - a plan to prosper us and give us a hope and a future!!

The Beginning (Sort of)

I have been trying to decide where to begin our story. I could go all the way back to the very beginning when Ken and I met but I decided to start in March when we found out we were expecting. We were suprised to find out that we were going to have another baby but imagine how we felt when the OB told us it was twins. It took us a few weeks to get adjusted to the idea but once we got used to it we were sooooo excited. We later discovered that the twins were identical and what they call monochorionic diamniotic twins. This means that each baby has its own amniotic sac but they share a placenta. We were told of a rare condition that could occur with these type of twins but the chance of it happening was pretty low - 10-15%. So, we were just chugging along, enjoying our summer. We were regulars at storytime and working on our summer reading, we spent tons of time at the pool and we had big plans for VBS, swimming lessons and the beach at St. Simons. Well, God had other plans.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Welcome to our blog!! I am attempting to do this since I am on bedrest until forever - or when ever the twins are born.

Hope you enjoy! Please feel free to offer any comments or suggestions and bear with me as I am learning.