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Shannon's twin pregnancy journal

Week Twenty-Eight
~ Subtle Changes?

July 26 ~ We made it another week!!! Somehow, I never thought we'd make it through this week. One thing after another seemed to try to bring it all to an end. My red blood cell count was down from the bleeding. Extra iron helped to boost that up a bit. My blood pressure fell very low several times. Extra fluids via my IV-line helped bring it back up. My white blood cell count has been slowly rising indicating an infection lurking. I am on antibiotics and my temperature is being closely monitored. If any further signs of infection show, the babies will have to come out. My greatest concern is that our son's heartbeat has become somewhat irregular when we monitor them. His heart skips beats every so often. It is more noticeable at some times than others. My doctors don't seem as concerned as I am. My heart nearly stops beating every time I hear his skip another beat.

Two weeks ago, I was terrified of giving birth to my babies before they could survive outside of me. I begged my doctors to do everything they possibly could to keep me pregnant. I trusted everything they told me, every decision they made. Now I am beginning to wonder. We are all just biding time until a major sign appears to let us know the babies would be better off on the outside. My fear is that we might miss more subtle signs and wait too long. An ultrasound this week showed there is now very little fluid surrounding our son. I try to visualize him and all I can see is this tiny little baby curled up in a ball with huge, questioning eyes. I can feel our daughter kick and turn and when the nurses try to position the fetal heart monitor on my belly, she's always hard to pinpoint. Our son, on the other hand, no longer moves except an occasional twitch. I can point to the spot near my right hipbone where his heart rate can always be picked up. This terrifies me. He should not be so still inside me. The doctors tell me it is harder for him to move because he is the lower twin and is in the head down position. While that does make some sense, in my heart I know it's mostly because he is getting tired. Right now, I'm still trying to trust my doctors, but I think there may come a point where I start pushing to get the babies out. I wonder which of us will give in first ~ the doctors, me, or our son?

I just realized that I haven't shared some pretty big news with all of you. Our babies finally have names!!! Should I keep you all in suspense? Naw, I think we have enough suspense going already. Our daughter is Abi Marie and our son is Kai Alan. Although these were the winning choices in The Baby Name Game, that's not why they were ultimately chosen. Peter and I had a rather sad discussion about the possibility of losing one, or both babies. I felt very strongly that I did not want to be faced with naming a dead baby. Peter agreed and I left the final name choice up to him. The next day, he came to my room and began talking to my belly. Among the things he said was, "Hang in there Kai, hang in there Abi. Keep up the fight!" I asked why he chose "Abi" when he'd previously hated the name. He told me since I am working so hard to take care of these babies, our daughter should have the name I like best. AWWWW. I'm actually glad that he made the final decision, since I really liked "Kenji" as well.

In other news . . . I am off the Magnesium Sulfate!!! After nearly two weeks of this stuff it was decided my body needed a break. Partly because the drug can create electrolyte imbalance when used for extended periods, partly because its contraction stopping powers can mask signs of infection. An infection would irritate the uterus, causing contractions. Magnesium stops contractions. Fortunately, my contractions have been minimal even without the Mag Sulfate. Sometimes, I have several per hour and the nurses increase my IV fluids which seems to help. I have to be careful not to lie on my back for too long, as that can initiate contractions. No big deal, since there are more interesting things to do than lie on my back counting ceiling tiles ~ like sit outside in a wheel chair!!! YES . . . I have two 45-minute periods of relative freedom per day. In the beginning of my "confinement," I wouldn't allow the nurses to open the drapes because the sight of outside was so painful. I didn't want to see where I couldn't go. But now, I have my two periods of escape to look forward to each day. I plan my whole day around them. If I know I'll have a visitor, I make sure to save my chair time. It's so much nicer to visit out on the patio than here in my room with all of the medical equipment. At least one of my free periods is for Peter. We sit outside and hold hands and he usually manages to keep me out there past my time limit. No one ever comes looking for us. Imagine being in intensive care and being allowed to spend unsupervised time outside each day. HEAVEN!

More news . . . Dave, our 16 year old has finally managed to finish his driving classes (his last class was postponed because Mom wasn't able to get him there) and will be taking the test for his license this week. I'm sad that I can't be there with him on this momentous occasion but looking forward to him driving down to see me in his new (used) car. Our youngest, Graham, turned five on the 23rd and Alex (my youngest "original kid") is nine today. Happy Birthday boys! There was no cake and ice cream, no party or even a special dinner to mark these occasions. We'll have to make up for that as soon as I can come home. At least they received their gifts (Graham got a new "big boy" bike and Alex a Discman), thanks to Peter. He is doing such a great job of holding everything together. I don't know how I would survive this without him. And on that note . . .

I really want to thank everyone who has sent me encouraging e-mail. I can't express how much your prayers and warm wishes mean to all of us. This "hospital thing" is one of the hardest things I have ever done, but I know it would be so much harder without all of the support and caring from my Internet friends.

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