Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
They gave her some things to help the swelling and she seemed to respond quickly. Yesterday, there was so much swelling gone from her face that for the first time we could really tell they are identical...now we're worried again about not being able to tell them apart! (I'm happy to worry about that:) Last night we came in to hold them again, hoping we could hold Sophie. We each got a girl and held them for about 2 1/2 hours. Yesterday we felt much better about everything in general.
Today things are still going better for both girls. They continue to hold steady. Amber's checkup for her blood pressure is much better and she is doing really well. They are moving up how much they are eating... they are up to a whole 7 cc (7 ml, I think) of milk through a feeding tube. We are about to go up and hopefully hold them for a couple of hours again. That will make today great!I wanted to post the picture a couple of days ago when I was holding the feeding tube up. I didn't think it would be possible to feed either baby as the dad before amber did. I'm not sure if "with God all things are possible" applies to this situation, but I'm claiming a miraculous ability for the dad to be the one feeding the babies. :)
There is another family in the house with us- a husband and wife. The husband has a brain tumor and is on bed rest trying to get healthy enough to have surgery. We haven't seen much of him because he has to stay on so much medication. His wife is running herself ragged and has made herself sick with worry and taking care of him.
There has been absolutely nothing that we have needed that hasn't been provided for by members of the Fairlane, Spring Hill, and Natchez Trace congregations, family members, friends, and friends of our family members that we don't even know. Galatians 6:2 has taken on a whole new meaning to me. I can't imagine going through this alone. We are passing on some of the food that people have sent. They are feeling the love from the Natchez Trace congregation and have already noticed the care that we have recieved from our family in Christ. Paul said that caring for each other and helping them carry the heavy stuff is how to fulfill the law of Christ. The law of Christ is to "love one another as I have loved you." That means sacrificial love. I am so thankful that God's love is being shown to this couple by you. They know that you belong to God because of the love that you are showing us. And they know that God is love. Thank you. Your prayers have been so effective, I'd ask that you would include this couple in your prayers as well.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Today, we are both feeling much better, and I am sitting in the car after seeing the girls for a few hours. They have both continued to improve a little at a time. This morning, both of them had their breathing tubes removed. I can't tell you how much better that makes us feel. They already look so much more comfortable. I can't imagine what a shock it would be to have a tube stuck down my throat all day every day for the first 5 days of my life outside the womb! The Doctor says taking the tubes out is a trial run and that they might have to go back in, but that will be normal and ok. For now, we are thankful to see even more of their (in my opinion) beautiful faces. :) Mattie kept trying to do what looked similar to a push up, and Sophie is working on her pacifier like there is a reward if she can find out how fast she can get to the center of it! We keep hearing of how many people from all over the nation and world are sending up prayers for the girls. Thank you. We can't wait to show off the fruit of your prayers on the other side of all of this!(Madelyn is on left in both pics and Sophia is on Right) (Sorry Grant. I'm afraid the freckle was a false hope. I can't find it anymore!)
Monday, March 22, 2010
We got to spend a lot of time with them last night. I checked on them again this morning, and they are both doing really well. No major improvements, but just a calm uneventful day...which is what they need. This morning, Sophie was sucking on a pacifier...which has to be difficult going around the tubes! Apparently she was sucking on them so much the nurse decided to try the pacifier and she went to town. Sophie also had her first bowel movement. Once again...sorry for details you might not want. It's funny what you get excited about that you never thought you would.
We are both growing tired of Amber being poked and prodded on and groups of doctors and students coming around, so we are looking forward to getting out of the hospital for that reason, but we are not ready at all to leave the girls here. There is something that just hangs in the bottom of your stomach when you can't take care of your own children. We ask that you keep praying for the girls to have calm days. For us, we really don't feel anxious as much as incompetent and helpless. Please pray that we will have patience and be able to get over some of the irrational guilt and sense of worthlessness. We know that a lot of people who go through this have felt the same things, but knowing that doesn't do much to take the feelings away. Also, we know there will be times of ups and downs as far as the girl's progress. Right now, we are thankful that it has mainly been ups. Pray that we will be able to handle the downs when they come as well.
Mattie finally calmed down when Amber held her
Sophie slept most of the day after a long day Saturday.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
2. Urine. Weird maybe, but both girls are starting to urinate more. We are still waiting to hear about what they saw when they looked at the kidneys, but the nurses are very excited that they are peeing a more normal volume.
Here are some pics for you to see. Sorry Grant. I can't get a good shot of the freckle yet. :)
Mattie (above) and Sophie (below) soaking up some rays for their jaundice.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
As thankful as I am for those gifts of calming touch, today I learned what it felt like to hold my daughters hand...sort of. I was just trying to ask the nurse if the girls would suffer from not having enough skin to skin contact and while I was trying to figure out how to word it, she said I could touch them. Of course I ran to the sink to wash and was told that light touches are too stimulating right now so I needed to be firm. I was able to reach inside Sophie's incubater and cradle her feet for a few minutes. She has monitors and IVs in both hands so I couldn't really touch her hands. Then I got to reach inside Mattie's incubater. Mattie likes to sleep with one arm as far back as she can get it and the other by her face. I put my pointer finger in the palm of her hand and barely pushed and her tiny fingers reached halfway around the tip of my finger and held tight. The nurses had to give me space since my eyes started watering so badly (I know that's hard to imagine since I usually am not a crier) I think I don't have a chance at all when I can finally hold them next to me.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
We had a new ultra sound technician who had just been filled in a little on the circumstance, but hadn't been involved yet. She did the exam and talked to us most of the way through about how much trouble we were going to have with our daughters once they were here. (I've already threatened both of them with spankings as soon as they come out if they don't start cooperating better!) When she was finally done, she took the results to the doctor. When the doctor came in, for the first time since we met her, she was in a full smile. Her comment to the technician was something to the effect of, "Are you sure this is the same patient?"
God is incredible! Not only had things not gotten worse, which is really what you hope for with TTT- a prolonging of the pregnancy until it gets bad enough they need to come out- they had improved so much that it looks like there was nothing ever wrong in the first place. Both fluid levels are very normal. Both girls are getting the proper amount of blood. Both girls are the exact same normal size and weight!
Amber told Natalie Thomas about the exam and the doctor's comment about them looking like completely different babies and Natalie passed the word on to Joseph. Joseph, I imagine, rather sincerely then exclaimed, "Oh no, their babies got switched!"
I believe very strongly in the power of God. I don't have it worked out in my mind yet how God answers prayers exactly, but I believe without a shadow of a doubt that prayers for our peace throughout this week were answered. The phrase "peace that passes understanding" comes to mind. Our babies weren't switched for healthy ones, they were saved for a life in God because of prayers.
We will continue to go twice a week to keep a close watch on the situation and when the time is right, Amber and I will welcome two beautiful girls into God's world. I've been told that I'll never get another good night's sleep for the rest of my life. That's ok. I know there could be another scary time before the girls are here and I know there will be plenty of scary times as they grow. But I also know God is powerful enough and loving enough to die for my daughters, so I know He will do what's best for them today and for the rest of their lives as well.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
So...we are in Spring Hill at Amber's parent's house. She is finally sleeping peacefully without worrying about when the nurse is going to come and hunt another heartbeat, which never really seemed to work out anyway. :) We will go back on Tuesday to monitor everything and if everything still looks good, we will have another checkup on Friday. Basically, we are waiting on "go" to take the babies out as soon as the womb is no longer the best place for them to thrive. TTT is not something that can be fixed, it's just monitored and postponed as long as possible. Once the babies are born and not sharing a placenta, we get to look forward to the rest of parenthood. :)
Amber and I have both been blown away by the number of calls, texts, messages, and prayers that have been said on behalf of our family. To be honest it is overwhelming. On the ride to to Spring Hill today, we talked about how humbling it has been. It opened our eyes to how needed it is to show that kind of support to others when they are going through a hard time. I want to say personally that I am sorry to anyone that I have not shown this kind of attention to when you needed it. We are eternally grateful for the outpouring of love and support, and most importantly prayers. We know that whether the babies are born today, Tuesday, Friday, or in June, they are in God's hands and He has overwhelmed us with His love through all of you this week. We have no doubt of His love. The passage that kept running through my head all day Tuesday is "He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us. Will He not also give us all things freely." (at least that's how I remembered it in the moment anyway. Your love reinforced that knowledge. Thank you.
Lord-willing, this will be the last post until Tuesday after the appointment. This time, though, we'll take an overnight bag just in case. :)
Friday, March 12, 2010
A monitoring session consists of the nurses bringing in a machine, putting straps around Amber's belly and then using palm size monitors that are basically digital stethoscopes. They position one monitor over each baby and the monitor tracks the heart beats...ideally.
The problem is that our children have apparently inherited Amber's stubbornness and my hyperactivity. Since Tuesday night, nurses have been finding heart beats, pulling the straps on, losing heart beats, re-finding heartbeats, pulling straps on, losing heart beats again as soon as the strap gets on. The general rule is that the nurse gets Sophie "online" first since she has less room to move around and is therefore a little more stationary. Then she'll go to work on Mattie who has plenty of room to move, and apparently hates sound monitors. After several minutes, they will finally find Mattie and just when she settles in, Sophie gets lost and the process starts all over.
We've become something of a legend among the nurses because it usually takes two of them closer to 45 minutes to get a 20 minute session. They have finally given up on the straps and just hold them the whole time. Needless to say, Amber's belly has been gelled for somewhere around 20-30 hours since we've been here! I say "keep it up girls! I wouldn't want someone pointing a monitor at me either!"
Thursday, March 11, 2010
The Amnio reduction went well yesterday and at first glance the heartbeats seemed to improve a little. They were already pretty good and the sizes and weights of both girls are fairly normal, so these are all good signs. Unfortunately, Mattie's heart beat still isn't exactly right, and they have not been able to confirm Sophie's bladder on ultrasound or through monitoring yet, and that is what we are waiting to learn tomorrow. From what I understand, if both girls are doing well, and Sophie is producing fluid, we will continue waiting with Amber on bed rest. (Not sure if that's at the hospital or at home). Every day the babies can stay in the womb safely increases the odds of health after birth. If Sophie is not producing fluid or if they are not responding well, the doctors will discuss how soon a c-section needs to be performed.
Amber has recieved two doses of steriods which will help jumpstart the girls lungs and other organs when they are born early. Basically, it's a game of trying to decide which environment is better for the girls at 28 weeks, in the womb or the NICU. Obviously, the first choice is to stay in the womb as long as it is safe for the girls. Either way though, we know God is in control and we're trusting in Him. If you see this tonight, please pray for the ultra sound to reveal Sophie's bladder and both girls practice breathing.
We have so much to be thankful for already and we look forward to thanking God for bringing us through all of this.