We have. Just a few minutes ago in fact.
This morning was the "moment of truth." The sonographer, Massey, walked Meghan and me back to her room to take a first glance at the result of the surgery. We readied ourselves, as much as we could, for what could be the best or worst news we've ever received. The sonographer looked all around her belly and exclaimed "I see three heartbeats!" No four words ever sounded so sweet. Of course we held each other's hands and cried tears of joy. Massey then proceeded to take all of the measurements she needed to start keeping track of each babies' progress so that Dr. Quintero could compare it to the pre-surgery measurements. It was the most amazing sight I've ever seen. For the entire pregnancy, I've only seen still images of our girls that were shared with me over e-mail and video conferencing. All of our girls were extremely active this morning. It's as if they knew that there was a reason to celebrate. We saw lots of waving, kicking, and, I swear, what looked like a "thumbs-up!"
So far, all signs are pointing in the right direction. What still has yet to be seen is how much of the placenta is dedicated to Sophia and to Isabelle, independently. I'm not sure how much I explained about how TTTS works in previous posts but, basically, both of them each had their own blood supplies, but they also had blood vessels shared between the two that altered how much blood each was getting. The trick to success with the laser surgery is to remove the blood vessels that connect the two and then hope that their independent blood supplies are strong enough to sustain themselves. We'll continue to monitor the girls and make sure that the negative effects of TTTS slowly begin to reverse themselves. Only time will tell at this point and this is the one thing we have to hope and pray developed correctly as each baby started to grow, because it's what each will need to survive and grow to term.
Meg sure has been a trooper through this (pic below) and so has Madelyn. To her, this has been just one big inconvenience and a lot of extra fussiness over her two sisters.
I also wanted to include a shot of the entry point for the surgery. We asked the sonographer how Dr. Quintero was able to perform this surgery so easily when other said they could not. She described it as definitely being a more difficult surgery due to the fact that it was an anterior placenta and that, in this case, it was as if Dr. Quintero had to paint a picture on the ceiling, which is not easy. Well, he is definitely our Michaelangelo!
As I wrap up this post, I can't stop thinking about how close we came to taking the acvice of the doctor at CHOP and choosing to "selectively reduce" babies A and B--our girls. Meg and I keep pointing this fact out to each other because I think we're still in such shock/awe that the option to keep all three girls was never presented by, what some consider, an amazing children's hospital. I'm sure they have helped a lot of families, but if I've learned anything from this experience that I can share with you in hopes that you never have to feel what we felt on Thursday night it's this--Don't be afraid to ask for a second opinion! You need to be your own advocate and do your own research. Don't be scared of what you might read and don't use that fear as an excuse to keep you from learning as much as you need to to feel confident that you can have a meaningful conversation with your doctor. I think most people have a ton of respect for our doctors and wouldn't want to risk insulting them by second guessing them. We have this innate feeling that, because they're doctors, they must know everything about our specific situations. Don't get me wrong, they're very smart and capable, but the medical field is changing and improving all of the time at a very fast pace, which is good if you can keep up with it. The fact is, most doctors are actually busy treating patients and don't have to time learn and master every technique and treatment plan. On the same token, don't fool yourself into thinking you don't need your doctors, because that can be just as dangerous. Be an advocate for your own care. Speak up! Good doctors will respect the fact that you care enough about what's happening to you to ask questions and learn more. If you do, you may just earn yourself a new nickname, like the one my wife has given me--"Superhero!"