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Shannon's twin pregnancy journal

Week Seventeen
~ Amnio Results . . .

May 11 ~ The flu is still keeping me occupied. I am wheezing and coughing so much, I can barely breathe. I keep thinking I should call the doctor, but I have a regular appointment on Thursday, so I'll try to hold out until then. Maybe I'll feel better before that anyway. Peter asked me this morning if it was about time for the amnio results. We really haven't talked at all about it. I haven't stopped thinking though. I have pretty much come to the conclusion that there is no way I could end this pregnancy. At my last appointment with Dr. T., I mentioned "baby A's" pinky fingers looking a little "off" to the perinatologist. Dr. T. asked if I'd heard of the option known as "selective reduction." I quickly interrupted him; it wasn't something I even wanted to discuss at that point. In fact, I'm sure it's something I don't want to discuss at any point. We (me, my two babies, my husband and the rest of us) are all in this together. Whatever will be, will be.

May 13 ~ The phone rings at 7:45 AM. Peter is on his way to work and sometimes calls me from his car phone if he forgets to tell me something before he left. I expect to hear his cheerful, almost melodic "Hello" and am somewhat confused at the feminine voice on the other end. My sleep fogged brain (I've been up for an hour and the kids are getting dressed for school, but I'm still not quite awake) doesn't register her name, or who's office she is calling from. Suddenly, I hear the words "amnio results" and I am instantly alert. "The chromosome studies look great . . . no sign of Down Syndrome . . . no neural tube defects . . . do you want to know the sexes?" I can barely manage the word "yes." "Baby A is a boy," she informs me. "Yes, yes, we knew that from the ultrasound," I sputter. "Well, now you have confirmation. And Baby B is . . ." she trails off, stretching out the moment. "YES?" I ask, impatiently. "Baby B is a GIRL!" she announces. "YES!!! A GIRL, THAT'S WONDERFUL!" I squeal in her poor ear. I don't remember if there was anymore conversation between us, except that I remembered my manners enough to thank her for the call. By then, the kids had gathered around, wondering what my excited squealing was about. "We're having a BOY and a GIRL!" I tell them, and there are five of us squealing in the kitchen.

Once I get Kait and Alex (Emily stays home sick) off to school on the bus, I have to drop Graham off at pre-school. Then Emily and I make a trip to the store so that I can buy some balloons. I buy one with Minnie Mouse that says "It's a girl!" and one with Mickey that says "It's a boy!" Then I drive over to where Peter works and tie the balloons to his car. It's going to storm, and I don't want the balloons to blow away before Peter gets a chance to see them. So I go in and ask the receptionist to wait five minutes and then send back a note to him that his car was bumped in the parking lot. I'm halfway home when my car phone rings. He's laughing as he asks, "We're having a boy AND a girl?" "YES, YES, YES!" I answer. "And they're okay . . . you wouldn't tell me like this if they weren't?" He sounds a little worried. "They're fine; they're WONDERFUL!" I reassure him. "Our own little Mickey and Minnie," he sighs. "Uh . . . no!"

May 14 ~ My wheezing is audible, and I can't control the coughing as I wait in the exam room for Dr. T. to come in. It seems like a long time before the nurse pokes her head in to tell me that Dr. T. had to run downstairs for a delivery and will be right up. Thinking about him coming straight from a delivery gives me a warm feeling. This place is so full of life! He doesn't like the sounds of me when he walks in. I tell him I have been sick since Mother's Day and he asks if I have seen my family doctor. I explain that my family doctor is a D.O. who doesn't like to treat pregnant women. He listens to me breathing/wheezing and shakes his head in concern when I cough at his instruction to "take a deep breath." "Coughing is not allowed," he tells me. Yeah, right. "A woman can cough a baby out quicker than she can push one out." Now I am concerned, all I need is to cough my way into pre-term labor! He gives me prescriptions for a cough medicine with codeine and an inhaler for the bronchial spasms. More drugs, sigh.

Then it's on to the babies. My little girl's heart rate is a little slow but picks up when she moves. My belly is growing right on target (HUGE!). I gained five more pounds this month, for a total of twelve so far. He doesn't say anything about the weight, so I guess I'm doing okay with it. I feel rather fat and lazy, but he tells me again that I cannot exercise at all. I'll just have to deal with it when this is over. Go home, take my medicine, rest, drink lots of fluids and come back in two weeks. Call if I'm not better in a few days.

On the way home, I stop by the perinatologist's office to pick up the video of my ultrasound and go to the drug store for my meds. The kids have been waiting to watch "Baby TV" so I pop in the tape for them while I start dinner. I take a teaspoon of the cough medicine, and before dinner is even finished the codeine kicks in and I can barely keep my eyes open. I haven't slept much since Saturday; the coughing keeps me awake. I don't wake up at all this night, not even to use the bathroom. In the morning, the pharmacist at the drug store where I filled my prescriptions calls. She tells me that she has been on the phone with my doctor because she is concerned about the cough medicine he prescribed for me. She wants me to know that this medication has not been proven safe in pregnancy. There is no evidence that it won't hurt my babies. On the other hand, there is no evidence that it will hurt them. She tells me that no doctor in this area would prescribe this drug for a pregnant woman. I thank her for her concern. By this time, I have already taken a second dose. I look up the drug in my PDR, something I usually do BEFORE I take a new medication. There is no warning against its use in pregnancy and a dose is given for children under one year old. Basically, it's a matter of risk vs. benefit. The possible risk of an effect on my babies from the drug vs. the risk of my coughing bringing on pre-term labor. If my babies are born at only 17 weeks, there is no possibility of survival. I decide to trust my doctor and myself and continue the medication as long as I need it. I am getting better at dealing with things instead of letting all my worries pile up.

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