We are celebrating today! We made our first goal—24 weeks. The girls are “officially viable.” Although I feel a little breathless today, (They are starting to take up some significant space in there.) I feel like I can finally take a breath. Being at Texas Children’s, they would have “significantly intervened” and worked to save the girls had they needed to be born last week, but 24 weeks is more of a well-known benchmark for medical intervention. This is a huge day and every day after today is a win.
I have already received one round of steroid shots for their lung development and the plan for now is to receive another “rescue dose” around 27 weeks to make sure they are covered. We had a tour of one of the NICUs, here in the Women’s Pavilion, and met with part of the neonatology team this week. They gave us some numbers, although grim, and explained what interventions they will immediately plan for in the delivery room and went over quite a few of the major complications many extremely premature babies face. It is all very overwhelming, but God continues to carry us every step, and I know he is protecting my mind and heart from walking too far down the road of fear and anxiousness. The enemy creeps in often, but oh how the Lord is faithful. We continue to cling to His promises. He has performed miracle upon miracle in our girls’ lives already.
We celebrated many of those miracles this week. Friday we had a growth scan—Piper measured 1 lb 7 oz and Avery measured 1 lb! Dr. Espinoza looked at us both and said, “This is truly a miracle.” Avery’s measurements are 2 full weeks behind Piper’s but she is growing at her own pace—meaning her share of the placenta is able to sustain her right now. This could change as her needs become greater, or if the placenta isn’t able to keep up, but for now we are praising God for His miraculous hand on our girls’ lives.
A few hours later, we went downstairs for our follow-up fetal echo. Echo appointments have given me significant anxiety. They are long (at least 2 hours) and until the doctor comes in to explain the findings, we know nothing except what I’ve learned in the past six and a half weeks in a crash course on fetal cardiology. As Daniel and I sat waiting after all of the images and measurements had been saved, these lyrics kept repeating in my head—
After all You are constant
After all You are only good
After all You are sovereign
Not for a moment will You forsake me.
The cardiologist came in and did a few measurements of her own. Finally, she turned to us and explained that after looking back at the previous echo findings, she felt that Avery’s heart looks to be “good” and Piper’s has shown much improvement. It is still healing—her ventricles are thickened and the heart, as a whole, is enlarged and takes up much of her chest, but she feels confident that it will continue to improve and heal with time. At this time, she doesn’t see the need for any follow-up echos! As soon as she left the room, I wept. For the second time that day, God had shown His power. He is the God of miracles. He heard our prayers and showered His goodness on the lives of our precious daughters.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
I haven’t spoken to Dr. Espinoza since Friday morning (I think this weekend has been super busy for the entire fetal intervention team), so for now I believe the plan is to continue with ultrasounds every other day—checking fluid levels, dopplers (blood flow in certain parts of their body), and every 2 weeks we will check growth. We also monitor the girls’ heart rates for any signs of distress and contractions every 6-12 hours. Everyone has been amazed at the “tracings” of their heart rates. For “23 (now 24) weekers,” they’ve had great variability which indicates a healthy, developing nervous system and healthy brain development. Our next goal is 28 weeks, which falls on January 8th. We pray that the girls will continue to grow and thrive for at least 4 more weeks. We are specifically praying against infection, labor, and preeclampsia. I am at a high risk for developing preeclampsia because I’ve had it three times, I’m having twins, and Avery’s placental share is thickened because of how hard it is needing to work. We know that the Lord already knows the exact minute the girls will be born and we find peace and rest in Him.
It has been such a gift to have Daniel here for four days this trip. I know the kids and I have both enjoyed it. Emery came home sick from her little school on Thursday, and Grayson started running fever on Friday afternoon. Sheila took both of them to the doctor each day and together with Craig and Daniel, they got them all feeling better. It breaks my heart that I’m not able to care for them, to hold them when they don’t feel well. We facetimed this weekend, but the hospital has pretty strict rules in place during flu season that kept them from visiting.
Hospital living is tricky. It is lonely and boring, but it is also chaotic and busy. I no longer have set appointment times and it feels my door is always revolving—between monitoring, checking vital signs, social workers, nurse managers, “Bedrest Boogie” groups :)…if I’m not able to get back to you right away, please know that I appreciate your thoughts and texts and phone calls more than I will ever be able to tell you. I’ve had a hard time communicating the emotions of hospital bedrest. I miss the kids, more than I could ever have imagined possible. Making them breakfast and snuggling with them on the couch. Getting them dressed and brushing their teeth. Laughing at the simple things they find funny. I miss every moment. I feel like they are growing up as I am stuck in this hospital room. I also miss my husband. We were able to have a few “date nights” this weekend, ordering food, catching up, watching a show together on the super comfortable hospital couch. (ha!) I know, though, that this is exactly where I need to be for Piper and Avery. They need me right now, and this is what I’m able to do for them. There’s not much information about the day to day details of hospital bedrest, of leaving older siblings at home, of the support necessary to not completely lose your mind—again, God has showered His blessings on us. Our families and friends not only love and care for our kids, they have set up visiting schedules, bring meals, and are here for literally every need we have.
So, thank you. Thank you for praying for Piper and Avery. It is truly a miracle that they have made it this far, and we know that you won’t stop praying. Thank you.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7