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Shannon's twin pregnancy journal

Week Fifteen
~ Ultrasound, Amnios, Answers, and Help Pushing the Wheelbarrow . . .

April 27 ~ Eleven days with no bleeding. We are doing SO well! I can feel the babies move more frequently, especially at night. Peter always reaches over to pat my belly before he falls asleep and now he has to nudge my hands aside to get to it. He swears he feels them too, but I'm sure it's just wishful thinking on his part.

I am waiting patiently (yea, right) for Thursday to get here. In the meantime, I have been back as an active participant on my bulletin boards again. There's another mom who's pregnant with twins, experiencing complications and due only a few days before me! Debbra is in Utah but we have exchanged phone numbers and spend hours on the phone. It's wonderful to have found someone who is so similar to me. Our husbands will probably cringe at the phone bills, but Debbra and I feel it's worth every penny to share our experiences and concerns with someone who understands. I definitely see a trip to Utah in my future.

Baby A FukuyamaApril 29 ~ The BIG DAY! Although Peter and I both had concerns about what might happen today, we were excited about seeing our babies again. I tried not to show my nervousness about the possible amnio because I knew Peter was really scared about it. We discussed it, made our decision and I had to be brave. There's a quote that I love, by Earl Wilson; "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you are scared to death." I just kept reminding myself to breathe!

We spent some time with a genetic counselor before the ultrasound. She went over our family history (mine took longer than Peter's because he is adopted) and created a family tree. I recently learned that of the 17 children my maternal great-grandmother had, there was one set of identical twins, one set of fraternal twins and a set of triplets (they unfortunately died at birth). My mother also miscarried a set of twins, so now we know how we got to be so lucky! All of my brothers (with the exception of my half-brother with Down's who drowned in a neighbor's pool 21 years ago) and my half-sister are healthy, their children are healthy and mine and Peter's children are healthy. The counselor seemed pleased with our histories, even though she went over different types of chromosomal abnormalities for our information.

Baby B FukuyamaThe ultrasound was incredible. We saw tiny brains, stomachs, hearts, fingers and toes. The doctor explained that he was looking for certain "markers" that would indicate a chromosomal abnormality (such as Down Syndrome). Everything looked great except possibly "Baby A's" pinkies. In Down Syndrome babies, the center of three bones in the little fingers is missing or smaller than normal. "Baby A's" pinky fingers look a little off. The doctor says this may due to a slight developmental delay, or even a bad angle on the ultrasound. In the absence of any other markers, it's nothing to be concerned about. We also learned something else about "baby A" . . . HE has definite, visible boy parts!! "Baby B" was not so accommodating; this one was so active, it was hard to get a clear view. No matter how many different angles they tried, no sex organs appeared on the screen. We are hoping this means "baby B" is a girl, one of each would be wonderful. I was originally hoping for a girl before we knew there were two babies. If they're both boys, I will be disappointed for about the two seconds it takes me to get used to the idea. Healthy and pretty much at term are all Peter and I really hope and pray for.

Things moved so quickly that it barely registered when the doctor told me conditions were good for the amnio. He explained that he usually does only one needle stick and will change syringes to obtain fluid from the other sac through the separating membrane. I was relieved to learn I would only have one needle stuck in my belly. Unfortunately, on closer examination, we saw that one baby's head was too close to the membrane between them and I would have to have two separate needle sticks after all. I steeled myself, knowing that greater pain for me was better than greater risk to one of my babies.

The pain of the first stick was horrible! I dug my fingernails into the palm of one hand and squeezed Peter's poor hand with the other. I watched the needle on the monitor and reminded myself to breathe. Peter watched the needle going into my belly and his face got very pale. It was over quickly, and I barely felt the second needle. The doctor, who only knows what he has seen on the ultrasound, asked me about bleeding. I wonder how he knew, and he explained that amniotic fluid is usually clear to light yellow. Mine was a deep amber color. A deeper color indicates a history of bleeding and the darkness of mine indicated severe and/or prolonged bleeding. SCARY! But at least I've had two weeks with no sign of bleeding.

I was allowed to rest for a short time, and we are told the results of the amnios will be ready in about two weeks. They will either call and tell us everything is fine (99% accuracy), or they will call us to come in for a consultation. In two weeks, we will know if "baby B" is a boy or a girl, and find out if "baby A's" pinkies are indicative of a problem. It's going to be a looooooong two weeks.

April 30 ~ Appointment #2 with the new doc. This is my first trip to Dayton on my own, and I worry I won't be able to find my way around. Luckily, I was only a few minutes late due to some heavy traffic. It takes nearly an hour to get there, and I can't help thinking about making that trip while in labor. As long as Peter's not out of town, and I don't have to drive myself, it should be okay . . .

Dr. T had only a preliminary report on my ultrasound. He wants more information and put in a call to the perinatologist. While we waited, he told me about what information he does have. He said the babies seem a little bigger than expected from the due date of October 25 given me by Dr. A. This had been a point of argument between Dr. A. and myself. I knew when I ovulated and the length of my cycles. According to that information, the correct due date would be October 17. But Dr. A stood by his antique "Estimated Date of Delivery wheel," which assumes every woman ovulates on day 14 of a 28 day cycle. I nearly let out a self-righteous cheer when Dr. T told me the ultrasound put my official due date at October 17! Not that it really matters all that much, the babies will come whenever they are ready. It just felt SO good to be right.

I was smiling as I told Dr. T about the amnio (he wasn't sure if they'd been able to do it). He asked about the headaches I have had since my trip to the ER with the high blood pressure. Last week, he gave me a prescription for Tylenol 3; I only take them when the pain makes me desperate but they seem to help some. I asked him about resuming a sex life since the bleeding has been gone for two weeks. He told me to give it another week's rest after the amnio, then just take it easy. I was happy until the nurse called him to the phone, and he returned to throw my newly resurrected sex life out the window. The ultrasound revealed that I have placenta previa. Even though my records haven't arrived from the other doctor (where the heck are they, anyway?? I signed a release on 4/25 and asked Dr. A's office to fax them!), Dr. T suspected my placenta was low. He told me this is quite common with twins because the placenta/s is larger and covers more surface area. Also, women over 30 or so and women with many previous pregnancies have a greater chance of having this. Gee, I guess I "win the prize" for having three out of three. At least I FINALLY know why I was bleeding for nearly a month. Dr. T told me this should have been diagnosed back in March when I first went to the ER for the bleeding. I saw three different doctors and had two ultrasounds done within five days and no one noticed! I should have been admitted to the hospital or at least placed on strict and total bedrest at home with implicit instructions on what to do if the bleeding continued because of the danger of hemorrhage. The fact that bleeding doesn't usually occur so early in the pregnancy with placenta previa may have been why they didn't realize what they were dealing with. Oh sure, give the idiot doctor and the idiot hospital a break . . . it STILL doesn't change the fact that they are idiots.

I wanted to hug Dr. T for giving me answers, even though it wasn't great news. And I wanted to hug him again when he said to come back in two weeks (call before if any problems or questions), but "Let's listen to the babies before you leave." He knew without asking that I was a little concerned about them after the amnio. What a nice man! The babies were too active to get an accurate count, but we could tell they were doing just fine. Surprisingly enough, I felt pretty darn fine myself on the way home. Maybe it was because I felt like I've got someone else to help push my wheelbarrow full of worries.

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