Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ever Seen Three Babies Doin' the "Happy Dance?"

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!"

14 comments:

  1. So flippin happy for you ALL!!! I have not stopped checking your blog and FB since you left for Miami!! This is amazing news Jeremy and Meg!!

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  2. So relieved for all of you. Meg, your picture above says it all. God bless you and your precious family. Let me know if I can help in any way.

    Mary
    TTTS Foundation

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  3. I'm so happy that things are looking good! I've been thinking of you all and praying. My boys are alive today because of the surgery, and I pray your girls will continue to do well!

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  4. I am SO happy for you and Meg and your girls!! Continuing to pray that everything goes smoothly from here on out!! So glad that you decided to get a second opinion :)

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  5. Wow! What an amazing story! I have tears flowing from my eyes and I don't even know you! Our God it SO good and so amazing! I will be praying that the girls continue to grow strong!

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  6. Meghan & Jeremy you are already wonderful parents. Good job on being your daughters advocate. You have been in my prayers and will continue until November when you are holding the three little ones. Then the prayers will be for a good nights sleep. God bless!
    LOL Shawn & Jeff

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  7. Meghan and Jeremy - I came across your blog from The Bunchkins (Ami is my cousin!) and I have been following along with you through this whole journey! I had to let you know how happy I am and relieved for the FIVE of you! :) I'm studying to be a nurse and this post really hits on a big reason for that.... Giving patients the BEST care there is, no matter how many opinions it takes or how far you might need to travel. Hang in there and keep doing what you're doing.... Awesome, awesome, awesome news!! :)

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  8. I was in tears reading your post! So happy that all your girls are doing so well! What an amazing story to share with them someday....they will already think their Daddy is a superhero, but now they have proof. :)

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  9. Praise God! So happy for all of you! Continued prayers for healthy progress! Can't wait to follow along with your journey!

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  10. Welcome, Jeremy 'Superhero' DeBauche, to the Other Side of Medicine... Where you Conscientiously Object to the Charlatan, and your babies are Thus Delivered (no pun intended there) from that guy. What a feeling. I took my trip around late summer / early fall '06 following the birth of my daughter Astrid. She had Hydrocephalus from Aqueduct Stenosis and we first heard that all they could do was Shunt. We didn't want that. Mom & Dad had to find out about ETV & hook up with a practitioner of our own choosing. Her next pregnancy didn't work out so well. We had faith that Amnioreduction would work, and it did not. RIP Morgan Mark Aaron & Brian Raymond Lee OVERBY. We continue to pray for You & Yours here in California. It gives me great pleasure to welcome another Informed Daddy to our Fraternity. Welcome.

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  11. I would not be too hard on the docs in Philadelphia. They have earned their good reputations many times over. It is their duty to evaluate and tell you honestly what they think they can and cannot do or what they should and should not do. They did that and suggested alternatives. It is the duty of us who go to doctors to realize that they are human and to take the suggestions and recommendations as expert opinions but not the only opinions. The person seeing the doctor must then choose to accept the recommendations or seek other advice. In this case that is exactly what Jeremy and Meaghan did and so far it looks like the right thing for them. They have all my support and respect.

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  12. WOW! What wonderful news! It sounds like a 'Made for TV Movie'. Love it :) We continue to lift your family up in prayer!

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  13. Hi Jeremy and Meg, I started reading your blog through a mutual Triplet Dad friend whose blog I follow. My husband and I have triplet girls and when my water broke at 31 wks 3 days and we delivered we found out at that point that our 2 identical girls had some twin to twin transfusion going on. Addison was bright pink in color and Reagan was very pale. Reagan was given immediate blood transfusions and recovered nicely. My husband is the same blood type and he was able to do a direct blood donation to all the girls while they were in the NICU. I am so happy that you were able to have some corrective surgery to improve the chances of ALL of the girls' survival. My husband and I were very much against selective reduction from the beginning. I hope you'll stop by our blog http://husegals.blogspot.com. And I hope you don't mind if we start following your journey as well. Our girls are about 21 months old now and all little rascal toddlers :). And we are expecting surprise baby #4 as we speak.

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  14. I saw your blog link on my Triplet board regarding TTTS for another member. I too myself developed TTTS at 20 weeks and went to Dr. Quintero in Miami and he saved my boys. Isn't he AMAZING???!!! You got over the first hurdle of 3 heartbeats 24 hours later and I will pray for you that everyone hangs on. We are a survival story. My boys (BBB) will be 1 year old on June 27. Once again, I am so happy you were able to go see the best TTTS doctor in the world. I owe my boys life to him.
    Randee Duncan

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