Wow! It's been so long since our last post! We apologize to all of you who have been emailing us to request updates. You shall wait no more. :)
Well, today we're 29 weeks, but I'll need to go back a bit to fill you in all the way. Our first glitch happened at 27 weeks and 5 days. I went to my normal appointment at our MFM that Wednesday and sat for my hour-long appointment. As far as I could tell everything was ok...then the doctor came in to talk to me. My cervix had shortened to less than 2.5cm, so he wanted me to go to the hospital to have contraction monitoring and receive our steroid shot in case we had to deliver soon. He told me I might not be going home so I started to get a little worried.
When I got to the hospital, they checked me in to a room in labor and delivery and had me change into a gown. Actually checking in this early was a bit scary, but I kept telling myself they were just being cautious. They gave me the first dosage of the steroid, which helps the babies' lungs mature more quickly, and hooked me up to the contraction monitor. It showed I was having contractions every 6 minutes. That coupled with the shortened cervix was concerning so they put me on Procardia to relax the uterus. Luckily, after 5 hours in the hospital they sent me home for the night. The next day I went back for the second steroid shot and more contraction monitoring. The machine did not pick up contractions in regular intervals that day, which indicated the Procardia was working and I could go home until the next week.
At the next MFM appointment one week later, this past Wednesday, August 17th, things got a bit scary again. They told us the doplar measurements for our donor baby weren't looking as good as they had been. During our scare with TTTS, her doplars showed lack of blood flow in the umbilical cord. Over the weeks following the surgery, this reading got better and better. However, as of Wednesday, instead of continuing on the improvement track, they seem to be getting worse. Also, her weight gain, already slow, has slowed even more. Six weeks ago, Isabelle weighed 11 oz., measuring in the 7th percentile for growth. The doctor had told us that was ok as long as she continued to grow and narrow the gap between her and the other babies. Three weeks ago, she gained 6 oz, measuring at 1lb, 1oz. and falling in the 9th percentile. This week she only gained 7 oz., measuring 1lb, 8oz. and dropping to the 5th percentile for her gestational age.
Her slow growth is probably attributed to the issues with the blood flow in the umbilical cord. Although the doctors, decided she's growing enough to put off delivery for now, they seem very concerned. My 1x/week appointment has been upped to 3x/week. So now, I see the MFM Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and the OB on Tuesdays. Four appointments each week! You may be wondering why. The doctors explained that there is a high chance of Isabelle being stillborn if she stops getting nutrients from the placenta and we don't catch it in time. They also believe there is risk of Sophia having a stroke if she senses something has happened to Isabelle. The goal is to let them keep incubating as long as possible without pushing our luck too far and experiencing these complications.
Next week they'll check the umbilical cord blood flow on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and one more time on the following Monday. As long as it's holding steady, they will let us keep progressing. On Wednesday, August 31st, they'll do another growth scan. Because only 2 weeks will have passed since the previous scan, they will probably not gain as much. The doctor today said they'll be looking for her to gain at least 4 oz in those 2 weeks. If she does, we'll be in the clear to keep going to 32 weeks. If she doesn't we'll deliver then or within the next day or two.
All of that being said, there are a lot of positives to be thankful for. First of all, we've made it to 29 weeks and we'll most likely make it to 30. Something feels much better about getting to the 30s. :)
Second, I met with a neonatologist from the NICU today and had a great conversation with him. He said he's very happy they were able to get the steroids in before we had to rush to delivery. He explained to me what a big difference it makes for lung development in preemies and told me with as far along as we are we can expect healthy babies that should come home around their due date (November 4th). They also told me we'll qualify for the Early Intervention program at the hospital. From the beginning, we'll have a speech pathologist, working on swallowing and eating in general, a physical therapist, working with muscle movement, and other early intervention specialists whom I can't remember because it was information overload. :) The greatest part of this though, is our girls will have follow-up appointments with these specialists until they're 3 years old. Which means they will be helping me figure out when to worry about any type of special needs and make sure our girls are on the right track from the beginning. For those of you in education and probably nursing and other health care fields, you know how important early intervention is and why this made me so excited. What a wonderful resource!
Finally, let's not forget about Sophia and Madelyn. The two of them are growing wonderfully! Their last measurements were 2lb, 7oz (Maddy) and 2lb, 9oz (Sophie). By our next growth scan both of them should be in the 3lb range, which is great for 30 weeks. Also there is good news for Izzy too. The doctors reassured us that development progresses in a standard way regardless of weight. Even though her weight is behind the others, her lung and brain and other organ development should be standard for a baby at her gestational age, whether it be 29 weeks, 30 weeks, etc. And, the doctor also told us sometimes the smaller of the multiples does better out of the womb than the others. Because they've been fighting to live and grow, when they come out they're more prepared to continue to do the same. The other babies that had less stress in utero may not have as much fight in them. :)
Either way, we're nearing the time we'll finally get to meet our babies. They'll be here sometime between now and September 15th. With less than four weeks to go, we've been trying to get as ready as we can. In the next blog post, we'll share some photos of the girls' bedroom, the playroom and a couple of bonus pics of our finished bedroom!
In the meantime, we'll leave you with a photo of Abigail warming up one the babies' sleeping spots.
She wasn't the only one who wanted to help out... (thanks Patrick)