Thursday, October 30, 2008

30 Weeks Today

Another week bites the dust!!!

Today marks the 30th week of our pregnancy and exactly 9 weeks that April has been in the hospital on bed rest. It is hard to imagine that April has spent the last two calendar months in the hospital without stepping foot outside. When the time comes for April to leave the hospital, I am sure that she is going to enjoy the cool air and the sun in her face more than anyone I know because to some degree we all take it for granted on a daily basis.

I am getting used to sharing the bed with only Tyson (our cat) but miss having my wife by my side and waking up to her every morning. April's attitude and perseverance has been amazing over these past 9 weeks and I know she will continue to do whatever is needed to ensure the birth of two healthy babies but I am looking forward to having her at home again.

In addition to today marking our 30th week, we also had our weekly sonogram which consists of the following:

A doppler sonogram which checks the blood flow from the placentas to the babies.

A Bio-Physical Profile (BPP) which checks breathing, tone, movement and fluid of the babies.

Today's doppler was the same as the past few weeks with Patrick still having restricted blood flow and Savannah doing great as usual. The BPP was perfect with both Patrick and Savannah scoring an 8 out of 8. The doctor was pleased with the movement of both Patrick and Savannah and we are looking forward to our growth sonogram which will take place next week (31 weeks)

April also received her second and final dose of steroids to help mature the babies lungs. This does of steroids is given with two shots 24 hours apart. She received a shot today around 2:00 PM and will receive her final shot tomorrow around 2:00 PM.

Moving forward, the doctors want to watch the babies very closely so they will be performing a doppler sonogram and a BPP every Monday and Thursday.

Tomorrow is Halloween so Happy Halloween to all you ghost and goblins out there.

More Contractions

Yesterday morning (October 29) April began felling light contractions around 3:00 AM. She knew that she was scheduled to receive her medicine (Procardia) at 6:00 AM and hoped that the contractions would pass with the help of this medicine. Unfortunately, they worsened between 6:00-7:00 at which time she informed her nurse and was quickly hooked up to the monitor to track her contractions.

The contractions ended up being strong contractions taking place every 2-3 minutes at which time the doctor was called. Around 8:45 April was given a shot of Tributaline which stopped the contractions.....temporarily.

After a few hours of needed rest, April began to feel contractions again around 12:30 at which time the doctor was immediately called and April was hooked back up to the monitor and was given another shot of Tributaline. An IV was also started in April's right hand and fluids were administered for a good 24 hours. An additional oral medication was ordered to be taken every 6 hours for the next 48 hours in order to keep the contractions at bay.

Throughout this entire ordeal the babies looked strong and healthy and did not falter in any way. At this point the babies age is still a concern to us but we are much more confident in the event that April goes into labor and the babies are delivered.

St. Joe's Women's Hospital has a fantastic NICU and an amazing staff that specializes in high risk and multiple births so we feel comfortable when the time comes to deliver our children.

Finally Caught Up

Our Readers Digest version of the first 28 weeks has been completed.

Moving forward all updates will be completed as close as possible to their events.

Growth and 2nd Major Milestone

We hit our 2nd major milestone on Thursday, October 16 when we reached the 28 week mark. This is a major accomplishment in the eyes of ourselves and the doctors. At this point the doctors feel much more confident in the event that Patrick and Savannah were to be delivered in the upcoming days.

In addition to hitting that milestone we also had another sonogram and both Patrick and Savannah continued to grow. Patrick gained 3 ounces and now weighs 18 ounces (1 lb 2 oz) and Savannah gained 10 ounces and now weighs 34 ounces (2 lb 2 oz). These numbers are also very important because it means that Patrick is now over 500 grams which is further indication of his viability. The sonogram also showed that Savannah's blood flow continued to be good and Patrick's was status quo with the restricted blood flow.

The Name Game

Over the past 26 weeks our babies have been named Baby A and Baby B or the boy and the girl. We felt that it was about time that we actually unveiled their names. On October 1 we sent an email out to all of our family and friends to inform them of the names that we had chosen.

Baby A, our son will be named Patrick Christian

Baby B, our daughter will be named Savannah Grace.

We decided to honor our mothers and use their first names as our children's middle names with a slight variation. April's mom's name is Christina so we altered that to Christian for Patrick's middle name. My mom's name is Grace so we used that for Savannah's middle name.

Growth and Contractions

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

On September 26, April was 25 weeks and 1 day pregnant and the doctors performed their weekly sonogram. Baby A (Boy) was still having restricted blood flow but did gain 6 ounces which we thought was great. His total weight is now 15 ounces. Baby B (girl) gained a whopping 11 ounces for a total weight of 24 ounces and her blood flow was great as usual. As excited as we were about our son's weight gain, the doctor shared with us some concerns. He was happy with the 6 ounce gain but the overall weight gain was still under par.

Our second major scare so far took place on September 30, 2008 at the 26 week and 5 day mark when April started feeling contractions around 6:00 in the morning. She was placed on a monitor around 7:30 at which time the nurses confirmed the contractions and contacted the doctor that was on call. The doctor came in around 8:30 or so and wanted to start an IV to pump some fluids into her but April was not having any of that so the doctor opted for a shot of Tributaline which immediately stopped the contractions.

These contractions led the specialist to administer April's first dose of steroids. The steroids are given via two shots 24 hours apart. The steroids are used to help mature the babies lungs and are generally given with the thought that delivery is imminent within the next seven days.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Weeks 21-24

At the 21 week mark when we were admitted to the hospital, the doctors gave us a pretty grim outlook. They informed us that our pregnancy was not considered viable at 21 weeks and that they could not do anything for the babies if they were born before 24 weeks. This was a very tough conversation and day but we knew that whatever happened was completely out of our control at that point. We kept a positive attitude and focused all of our energies on making it to week 24.

On September 4, 2008 (22 weeks) we had a sonogram to measure the babies growth as well as the blood flow in their placentas and to measure April's cervix. The sonogram showed that April's cervix continued to shorten and at that point the specialist and OB doctors determined that she would stay in the hospital for the foreseeable future.

The sonogram also showed that Baby A (our boy) weighed 9 ounces and Baby B (our girl) weighed 13 ounces which was a decent amount of growth since the previous sonogram. Unfortunately, the sonogram also picked up some blood flow issues for our little boy. The technical term is "absent end diastolic" which basically means that their is restricted blood flow from the placenta which in turn does not allow him to get enough nutrients and restricts his growth.

The restricted blood flow is a concern to the doctors and to us and this will be monitored closely. There is nothing that we or the doctors can do to change the restricted blood flow.

During this time April was given bathroom privileges and allowed to take a quick 3 minute shower every day but besides that it was all bed, all day. She spent a lot of time on the Internet, watching TV, talking on the phone and catching up with all of the visitors that would stop by to see her.

The weeks between 21 and 24 were very tough but by the power of GOD and prayer we were able to make it to 24 weeks and viability. We realize that this is just the beginning but at least we hit our first major milestone.

At the 24 week and 1 day mark, another sonogram was performed and the blood flow for the babies was status quo meaning that Baby A (Boy) still had restricted blood flow, however, it did not worsen. They also attempted to measure April's cervix, however, it was determined that there was no measurable cervix at this time and once again she was placed on complete bed rest and this time it was for the remainder of the pregnancy.

The Fun Begins (Bed Rest & Magnesum Sulfate)

After our trip to South Carolina, April had a standard OB appointment for her monthly checkup on Tuesday, August 26.

During the sonogram, the doctor determined that April's cervix had shortened in the two weeks since our last appointment. The doctor was not overly concerned, however, did inform April that she would need to be placed on bed rest at home for a week and then come back for a follow up appointment.

Two days later on Thursday, August 28 (21 weeks into the pregnancy), April felt some discomfort and some pressure so her mom drove her to the doctors office to investigate. The doctor's office performed another sonogram and discovered that her cervix had shortened more in just two days. After consulting with our specialist it was decided that April would head to the hospital for further evaluation.

Upon arrival at the hospital, April was placed on a monitor which detected contractions and resulted in her being admitted to the hospital due to pre-term labor. April was taken to a Labor and Delivery Room and hooked up to an IV that would adminster Magnesum Sulfate in hopes of stopping the contractions.

The medicine worked, however, it took a toll on April as it is very strong medicine and she was on it for 24 hours. After spending 3 days in labor and delivery, April was transferred upstairs to room 317 for additional monitoring in the high risk OB unit.

Our First Family Road Trip

On August 20 April & I loaded up the car and headed to Columbia, SC for a long weekend away from Hurricane Faye and to hang out with my brother Chris and sister in law Laurie and our nephew Aidan.

April relaxed most of the weekend and enjoyed their new house and spent time with Aidan while Chris and I worked around the house and enjoyed an adult beverage or two.

Weeks 10-20

After our little visit to the hospital, things kind of slowed down and everything went as planned. We discussed names, made our first trip to Babies R Us, informed all of our friends and family and just enjoyed the fact that we were pregnant.

On July 28, we were 16 weeks and four days pregnant when we had a normally scheduled appointment at the OB office to have a sonogram. It was at this sonogram that we found out that April was pregnant with both a boy and a girl.

There was really not much to report for weeks 10-20 but stay tuned because I have a feeling that things are going to get pretty interesting in the weeks to come.

Weeks 1-10

I am going to recap some important dates and events that took place over the first 10 weeks.

April 20, 2008--The embryo transfer took place and we transferred two embryos. At this point, the wait began. We had to wait two weeks to find out if the transfer was successful.

May 5, 2008--We went to the doctors office and they performed a blood test that confirmed that April was pregnant. We feel so blessed that this procedure was successful on the first try. HOORAY! At this time, the doctors could not tell us if April was carrying one baby or two, but at least we were pregnant. Her Beta results were 827. These numbers should double every few days so hopefully they do.

May 8, 2008--Beta levels are sky high, they increased from 827 to 3297. Maybe we are having triplets:)

May 12, 2008--Another big increase in the Beta levels as they increased from 3297-11286.

May 17--Our first big scare took place on this day. April had some major discomfort and experienced some bleeding on Saturday afternoon so we headed to the emergency room to make sure that everything was OK. After sitting at UCH for nearly 8 hours, a doctor finally saw us and performed a sonogram on April to attempt to find the source of the bleeding. The bleeding was found to be a subchorionic hemorrhage which is like a small blood clot. More importantily, the sonogram informed us that April was acutally carrying two babies with heart rates of 117 and 118 and a Beta level of 38149.

May 19, 2008--Happy Birthday to the Mother to Be!!!

The Introduction

April and I created this blog so we can track our pregnancy and the birth of our babies. Unfortunately, we are late getting started so I am going to complete a recap of the first 30 weeks in Readers Digest style. Quick and to the point.

We hope that everyone who reads this blog finds it interesting and a good way to keep up with the Emrich Twins.