I started writing this post Sunday, before needing to make the trek back to the hospital and being admitted for monitoring overnight. This road, y’all. I am feeling pretty exhausted. But we made it another week. Not without unexpected turns, overnight hospital stays, and trips to the hospital assessment center.
I’ll recap and update, but first wanted to say how thankful we are that we aren’t on this journey alone. Your prayers are carrying us, every hour. Thank you for praying, for texting, for loving our kids, for providing endless meals. (A special thank you to our parents–My mom has driven countless hours already to and from appointments, learned more about ultrasounds and findings than any grandma should, and takes care of our kids and me so selflessly. My dad has loved on our kids, taken Grayson potty, and even started doing the dishes! And Daniel’s parents, Craig and Sheila, love our kids, drop them off, pick them up, and jump in for appointments at a moment’s notice.) God is so faithful and each of you are an answered prayer. We have so much to be thankful for this week set aside to reflect on all of God’s blessings.
This is a long one, so I’ll jump in. I had an encouraging appointment last Monday. My belly was measuring 25 weeks! Both of their fluid levels were 3.9—almost normal. Blood flows and heart rates were stable. Piper’s heart was still enlarged, thickened, and had a little bit of fluid around it but overall Dr. Espinoza was very pleased and suspected that my membrane had miraculously and spontaneously sealed because I was no longer leaking amniotic fluid and their fluid levels were looking great! He said it was truly a miracle.
“With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27
I came home and was feeling some unusual cramping. By about 6:00 that evening, I decided to text the nurse practitioner, Florence. She immediately recommended that I text Dr. Espinoza. He advised to watch it for a couple of hours but to head to the hospital if things were worsening. Things weren’t getting any worse, so we decided to stay home and see how the rest of the night went. Long story short, he called Tuesday around lunch to see how things were going. After explaining what I was feeling, he requested that I go to the assessment center to be evaluated. My mom and I immediately grabbed the kids from school and drove back to the medical center. As soon as the nurse hooked up the contraction monitor, we realized I was contracting every two minutes. What have I done? I made a horrible decision. What if it’s too late? Thoughts flooded. My heart sunk. And tears began to fall. Thankfully, Dr. Espinoza came in just a few minutes later and I was not dilating. PRAISE GOD! He put me on medicine to stop the contractions and did want to monitor through the night to see how my body responded to it.
The contractions were controlled by the medicine and their fluid levels the next morning were okay—3.2 and 1.8. Avery’s bladder was the biggest it had ever been. Another praise! There was a lot of fluid between the two separated membrane layers, and they weren’t able to tell me exactly what was causing that but all of their dopplers looked good. Stable is good. I was monitored until late afternoon when Dr. Espinoza came by and reiterated that everything on the scan looked stable. And since the contractions were under control, I was able to be discharged.
I was feeling pretty anxious after such a long day and knowing I wouldn’t see Dr. Espinoza all of Thanksgiving week (he’s not on call) so I asked to keep my appointment for Thursday afternoon. So, the next afternoon, we headed back in for an ultrasound and prenatal appointment. Their fluid levels were WAY up—4 and 5 cm! The velocity of blood flow in their brains, however, was concerning. Piper’s was very low, meaning her blood is too thick, and Avery’s was high. Her blood is too thin and she is becoming anemic. Dr. Espinoza mentioned the possibility of the girls developing TAPS, a type of TTTS involving red blood cells not being shared equally. There is an intervention to try to help the imbalance but it carries a list of risks. His threshold for intervening is pretty high, so for now we will just watch them both very closely. Feeling slightly unsettled, I focused on the good news, praised God for His goodness, and looked forward to Daniel and Noah getting here on Friday.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
Unfortunately, I woke up Friday morning with blisters all over my lips. I have never had anything like them, so I text Florence to see if there was anything I could take or put on them. She was in a conference with Dr. Espinoza and he requested that I come in to be sure it wasn’t a viral infection. By this point—this made it day 5 of driving to the medical center. And day 5 of the constant reminder of just how high risk this pregnancy is. Long story short, they weren’t exactly sure what was causing the blisters but didn’t think it was a viral infection. Since we were there, the doctor decided to check their MCAs (velocity of blood flow in their brain) again because Thursday’s results were a little concerning. Piper’s was a little better and Avery’s was about the same—stable. Stable is good. We headed back home and looked forward to Daniel and Noah making it later that evening.
We had a relaxing day on Saturday and Sunday was off to a fun start—the kids, Daniel and his parents went out for a fun brunch. As I was resting I realized I was feeling some abdominal cramps. I started to pay closer attention and noticed my back was hurting and coming in waves. I took the medicine to stop contractions around lunch. A couple of hours later, I woke up from a nap and noticed that my back pain wasn’t letting up. It was just a few minutes later that my amniotic fluid started leaking—I immediately knew my water had broken again. I sent my doctor a quick text and he advised that if the back pain wasn’t subsiding with the medicine then I needed to return to the hospital. I’m not sure what words to use to describe the emotions I felt in the next hour, except weary. The on call doctor arrived shortly after us and agreed, my water was leaking heavily. He explained that my white blood count was elevated and if I were to have an infection, my uterus would begin contracting in an attempt to rid itself of the invading bacteria. So we were admitted overnight to monitor for signs of infection. I continued leaking fluid, contracting occasionally through the night, and begging God to protect our girls. Protect them from infection, protect them from losing all of their fluid, protect their hearts.
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27
He was quick to answer. Yesterday was another stable day. Their fluid levels were significantly lower than they had been, but they both still had about 2.5 cm. Praise God! They also did their growth scan—Piper is measuring 21 weeks 3 days and weighs 15 oz (59th percentile). Avery is measuring 19 weeks 3 days and weighs 11 oz (3rd percentile). They are both growing. The echo also came back stable. Piper’s thickened ventricles are still thick but not any worse. Both of their valves are leaking, but she said not any worse or better than the last echo. And there was no significant fluid accumulation on either one. All praises! We will press on.
Phew, I don’t know who made it through the whole thing, but I’m sorry I hadn’t updated sooner. This week was full and unexpected, but a week where I was consistently reminded that we have a God that loves us without measure. He is our hope and our refuge.