Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Update

Thank you everyone for praying for Abby and asking about her. I thought I'd write a little update.

The pediatrician's office called last week wanting to see Abby to see how everything was going, especially since the pediatrician hasn't seen Abby since this whole new treatment started. Well today she saw Abby and she noticed quite a visible difference from the last time she saw her. I think she was pleased with the results up to this point.

Also last Tuesday/Wednesday Abby wore another holter to monitor her heart to see if it was safe to increase her dosage. This medicine, for hemangioma purposes, is increased cautiously. The cardiologist did decide after reviewing her 24 hour holter, that her dose will be increased to the maximum for her current weight. We start the new dosage tomorrow. Next week, Abby will wear another holter just to make sure this increased dosage is working properly and not having negative effects on her heart rate. The two big concerns with this medicine that I see are heart rate and blood sugar. So far, so good.

Next Tuesday, Abby sees the dermatologist and it's very likely he will laser again. There still seems to be some ulceration activity. She still is wearing bandaging and hates it. The two topicals are still being used. We'll see what he says next week when he looks at it.

The dermatologist is working on the surface of the hemangioma and the cardiologist is working underneath to shrink the size of it. Both doctors are excellent and we are seeing progress on both fronts. :)

Both girls are doing well. Abby weighs 18 lbs. 4 oz. and Rachel weighs 19 lbs even. Both eat solids, crawl, play with toys, etc. Rachel sits up without the use of her hands. Abby trys to pull herself up on everything. I think she wants to skip the sitting up and start walking. Both have already grabbed doggie's food!!! Everyday is an adventure.

I'll post another update next week.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Summary of it all

Abby has been home from the hospital for two days now. She is happy to be home where she can be with her sister, play with her toys, sleep in her own bed, and watch Baby Einstein and Heathcliff.

To answer why Abby was on a heart monitor and had to stay in the hospital...

After going to UIC and Hope Children's Hospital, Abby was still suffering from an ulcerated hemangioma. Our pediatrician called Children's Memorial and set us up with another dermatologist. This dermatologist prescribed two topicals, one to be applied in the morning (an antibiotic ointment) and one to be applied in the evening (a medicine to help heal the ulceration). He also wanted Abby to start an oral medication that has been known to shrink down hemangiomas. The medication needed to be prescribed by a cardiologist since it is normally used as a heart medication. By coincidence a doctor found that this particular medication used for cardiac purposes, also does wonders for hemangiomas. It's used in people with high blood pressure, after heart attacks, etc. In order for her to start this medication she needed an EKG and to wear a holter (heart monitor) for 24 hours prior to starting the medication for baseline purposes. After doing these two things, she was admitted into the hospital where doctors and nurses observed her for 4 doses. She wore a heart monitor during her stay and had blood pressure readings taken. An ECHO was also performed to see how her heart was functioning. The cardiologist thought she was well enough to go home and continue the medication at home. Her hospital stay was about 24 hours. We were given a stethoscope to listen to her heart before and after the medicine is given. She receives three doses a day.

Also during her hospital stay, I had the staff speak with pain management. Everyday Abby gets her bandaging changed twice so the topicals can be applied. Every time she screams and seems to really not want me to touch that area. She was on Tylenol with codeine and she was bumped up to Hydrocodone by the pain management team. Even on this medicine, she seems to still hate her bandaging being changed but seems to recover quicker afterward. This hemangioma has caused her stress, anxiety, and pain.

Tomorrow Abby sees the dermatologist again. He may laser the ulceration. Afterward, we go back to Children's Memorial for another holter for her to wear for 24 hours at home. The cardiologist wants to see how Abby's heart is doing and if all is well, increase the dosage on the heart medication.

The goal is for the hemangioma to start shrinking down and for Abby to be bandage free. Thank you for praying for her.

This is a link to a publication about the heart medicine Abby is taking for the hemangioma.
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/358/24/2649

Monday, June 29, 2009

Fun in the City

Today was Abby's appointment to see the specialist at UIC for her strawberry birthmark. The doctor thought everything was progressing the way it should. The blood vessels in the birthmark have broken up more even though it is still significantly large and elevated. I was happy to hear that the doctor still thinks treatment is not necessary. We are scheduled to see her again in three months.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Teeth

Rachel has two little white teeth poking through on the bottom of her mouth. Abby has one little tooth coming through on her bottom gum as well! The teeth are starting to come in!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

4 months

This past Monday, the girls had their 4 month doctor visit. Rachel weighed in at 14 pounds 12 ounces and 25 inches long and her sister Abby weighed in at 14 pounds 6 ounces and 24 1/2 inches long. This is the first time ever Rachel has passed her sister in height and weight! The girls did receive shots and the doctor thought they were doing quite well. She would like them to start eating solids with a spoon! Just one tablespoon a day during the fourth month and two tablespoons a day in their fifth month. The girls did scream at the medical assistant and doctor. After further discussion about them doing this with others made it very clear to the doctor that they are in the "stranger anxiety" phase.

The doctor does want Abby to go back to the pediatric dermatologist at UIC about the strawberry birthmark. An appointment was made for the 29th of June.

Enjoy a couple videos:

video video

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Latest Update

Okay, so it has been a while since we have posted an entry on our blog. Since the twins were born, we have been very busy and transitioning into parenthood.... parenthood to newborn twins no less as our first child(ren) experience. It was certainly a rough beginning. The twins both have GERD (a reflux disorder) which was causing them to vomit quite frequently. Abigail has a strawberry type birthmark on chest which was checked out by a pediatric dermatologist at UIC. She had an ultrasound done on it and everything has come back good.

We certainly appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers. We're still not quite into a regular routine. In other words, life is not quite back to normal but we're getting there. There must be a term for this... perhaps "baby shock" or "twin shock".

More later....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Doctor Visit - Gastro-Esophageal Reflux

Wow! Life with twins is definitely different from anything else I have ever experienced. They are such beautiful and good babies.

Yesterday Andy and I took the girls to the doctor because the vomiting started again. They are now on an additional medicine Raglan (three times a day) and the Zantac has been increased to three times a day. The hypoallergenic formula is still being used and rice cereal is still being added as a thickener. The pediatrician says the girls have gastro-esophageal reflux. The good news is by or before their first birthday the issue usually corrects itself.

Thank you to everyone for the cards, flowers, gifts, encouraging words, and prayers. We miss all of you. :) Pictures will be added to the site hopefully by tonight. As embarrassing as it is, I don't know how to fully do that without Andy's help. I'll have Andy show me the process so I can add pictures often.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Twin Update: Midweek of Week 2

Hello everyone! Well, it has been 17 days since the twins were born and Jennifer and I are getting adjusted to life with twins. It has certainly been challenging both for us and the girls. I'll give just a brief couple update items:
  • To everyone who has called or Emailed or Facebook'd that we have not gotten back to: We really appreciate your phone calls and have listened to every message. We wish we could get back to everyone but at this time it's just not happening due to the schedule with the twins. So, please know we appreciate and love everyone of you who has called, written, etc.
  • The twins have had a rough start in a couple different ways. Long story short, they have had a hard time feeding. We've been through multiple formula's including soy. We're currently on a formula by Similac called Alimentum. It's a hypo-allergenic formula which is supposed to be the easiest to digest. Both girls are both on Zantac for acid reflux. They both, interestingly enough, can't stand the taste.
  • While at the pediatricians on Tuesday, the doctor fed both girls to observe. After she fed Rachel, she vomited all over the doctor. After Abigail had been sitting in her car set for half an hour, she vomited as well. They sent us to Hope Children's Hospital where both girls had ultrasounds of their stomachs. Apparently there is the possibility of a muscle in the stomach that doesn't form correctly. Both girls were negative so that's great. However, finding the cause of their discomfort has proven to be a challenge. I believe we now have a handle on it. The Zantac with the hypo-allergenic formula appears to be doing the trick.
  • We believe we can now begin to get the girls on a schedule that will be doable for Jennifer while I am at work (going back tomorrow). We would greatly appreciate your continued prayers both for the girls and for us.
Again, we'd like to thank everyone for being so understanding and helpful. It's great to have the family and friends that we have. We are a truly blessed family.

P.S. Pictures will be posted soon.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Twins Have Arrived!

After 38 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy, I am happy to announce that Jennifer gave birth to two healthy little girls this afternoon. Rachel Ann was born at 12:12pm and Abigail Jean was born at 12:13pm. They both were amazingly each 7 pounds and 20 inches long. They are not identical but fraternal but apparently wanted to come out weighing the same. Jennifer did great and is recovering wonderfully. We arrived at the hospital a little after 7:30am. The C-Section was scheduled between 9:30 and 11:00 but other cases came up so we ended up in there at 12ish. It was amazing to see the system the hospitals have in place. There were 15 people in the Operating Room: 5 for the surgery aspect and then 5 for each baby. After post-op, Jennifer was wheeled to her room and the babies came up shortly. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers. The adventure begins today. :)


This is Rachel Ann


This is Abigail Jean

Going to the Hospital


Today we are going to the hospital. I am 38 weeks and 6 days and have gained 57 pounds. These little girls do not want to come out on their own, so they are going to be taken out. :) I'm sure they are going to scream.

Andy will post pictures sometime within the next couple of days. Happy Birthday Girls!!!

Andy and I love all of you!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

7:30 a.m.

I just got off the telephone with Advocate Christ Hospital. The hospital would like us to be there at 7:30 a.m. to start all the preparation procedures. The scheduler estimated that the surgery itself would happen between 10 and 11 in the morning.

Tomorrow before we leave, I will post one last belly picture and give you the total amount that I have gained during the pregnancy.

Thank you everyone for all your prayers. I believe they have truly made a difference and God has heard you. :)

Friday, January 30, 2009

38 weeks today!


Today I am 38 weeks. I have gained 55 pounds. I weigh almost as much as Andy! The NST went well and everyone is doing great.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Still pregnant

Even though a c-section is scheduled for next Thursday, my doctor still wants me to continue my regular schedule of appointments until delivery. So tomorrow I will have a non stress test to monitor the babies. They will do an ultrasound if necessary as well. Next Tuesday will be all three, ultrasound, non-stress test, and doctor visit.

Tomorrow I will post a new belly picture and new weight gain seeing that I will be 38 weeks.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It may be awhile

Today I had a ultrasound, non-stress test, and doctor visit. Everything looks good. Now that I'm 37 weeks and 4 days, talk of getting these little girls out was discussed. Baby A is head down and Baby B is laying transverse. With Baby B being in a not so ideal position, Andy and I along with some family members felt a c-section was the best option. We could "attempt" a vaginal delivery but the risks are higher that I would have one vaginally and need a c-section with the other baby. A c-section was scheduled and confirmed for February 5th. We asked if it could be sooner, but that didn't seem to be possible due to others also having scheduled c-sections. With that date in mind, I would be 38 weeks and 6 days and these girls would surely have to be over seven pounds each when born. However, if I go into labor before that, they will do the c-section at that time. We'll just have to wait and see. :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

New Belly Picture


Today we have made it to 37 weeks. I have gained 52 pounds! We had an NST (even an unscheduled ultrasound (biophysical profile) and quick chat with the doctor). The girls are doing well.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

36 weeks, 6 days

Well, let's see, nothing new to report. Still pregnant. Which is wonderful news. Tomorrow I will be 37 weeks. This is considered "term". I feel much better knowing the babies will be born after this point. My mind is at peace. Andy and I are surprised that we made it this far. Thank you for your prayers!

Tomorrow I have a non stress test just to monitor the babies for a little bit to make sure things are still going well. I will also add another belly picture and the new total weight gain thus far.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Progress

Today was an ultrasound, non stress test, and doctor visit. The ultrasound and non stress test went well. The ultrasound technician measured the girls again. One measured 6 pounds 6 ounces and the other 6 pounds 2 ounces. She said because the girls are getting big to measure that the measurements are estimates and may be anywhere up to half of a pound off.

The doctor visit went well. He said everything looked good. Group B strep results were negative, so that's good. He also said to go into labor whenever I want. An appointment to see him again was made for next Tuesday if I don't have the babies by then.

Monday, January 19, 2009

No babies yet

It doesn't look like the babies will be born on Martin Luther King Day.

Tomorrow I have an ultrasound, non-stress test, and doctor appointment. I'll let you know any interesting information on tomorrow's blog entry.

These are fraternal twins in the womb at 36 weeks.

http://www.babycenter.com/fetal-development-twins-images-36-weeks

Friday, January 16, 2009

36 weeks!!!


This is a picture of the belly.

Today I am 36 weeks and 48.5 pounds heavier. I am amazed I have made it this far. One more week and I am completely full-term.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Vaginal Infection?

I was worried today (okay, not just today) about the whole "vaginal infection" thing, so at the doctor appointment we discussed this some more. He said it's just the normal bacteria flora that is slightly out of balance. To say that there is an overgrowth of normal bacteria, he felt, was even an overstatement. So not anything to be worried or concerned about. I was glad to hear this because I was quite concerned/freaked and approaching a panic state.

Other than that...the girls are doing well. The doctor swabbed me for Group B Strep and he thinks the babies will be born next week! Oh also...no cervical length was measured today, so I have nothing to report on that.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Week 35 and 3 Days Update

On Friday I was scheduled for an NST. The girls did well. I have another NST tomorrow.

Also on Friday, I was not scheduled for an ultrasound, but they did perform one. The girls looked great. Everything seemed well with them. The ultrasound tech even showed us Rachel breathing. Her little stomach was going up and down.

The doctor even came in during the ultrasound. He had me go for a urinalysis last Tuesday because I thought maybe I had an infection. It turns out that I do have a vaginal infection. He didn't seem concerned and did not want to treat it with antibiotics; just over the counter medicine. I was also concerned that I was leaking amniotic fluid. The urinalysis showed no protein in it, so I'm not leaking amniotic fluid, which is great news.

Everything seems to be going well. I am 35 weeks and 3 days. This is excellent. I pretty much have most things packed in my suitcase for the hospital.

Tomorrow is another big day of appointments. Ultrasound, NST, and doctor appointment. I will update with the new cervical length and any other interesting information.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The time is coming...

Yesterday was full of appointments. First an ultrasound was done. The girls were both measured. Rachel is 5 pounds 3 ounces and Abby is 5 pounds 4 ounces. The cervical length was measured. I am now at 17-18mm. This means I am more than 50% efface. Heart beats and all other things looked at by ultrasound were good.

The NST was next. This showed to be fine as well.

Finally, we saw the maternal-fetal medicine doctor. He thought everything looked good and that delivery would be soon. Somewhere between 35 and 36 weeks. He wants me to continue what I have been doing the past two weeks for one more week. This being trying to limit standing and sitting up and try lying down as much as possible to keep pressure off the cervix. He wants to see me again next Tuesday. That is when I will be swabbed for Group B strep. He did say that funneling was present. This is widening of the end of the cervix nearest the uterus. He also said at this point if labor were to start, they wouldn't try to stop it. I am far enough along where they would let the babies be born.

I will be 35 weeks on Friday. This is what Nancy Bowers, author of The Multiple Pregnancy Sourcebook says, "For many pregnancies, the optimal times for delivery are at 35 to 38 weeks for twins, 34 to 35 weeks for triplets, and 31 to 33 weeks for quadruplets."

Friday, January 2, 2009

34 weeks

Today I am 34 weeks. The last time I weighed myself, I gained 45 pounds.

The NST this morning went well. (I have these every Tuesday and Friday until delivery.)

Tuesday, January 6th, will be a big day. I have another NST. I have a biophysical profile. I have another cervical length exam. I'm curious to see the results of this particular test! The ultrasound tech is also going to check the growth of the babies. They do this every four weeks or so. The last growth check was on December 9th and one weighed 3 pounds 10 ounces and the other weighed 3 pounds 9 ounces. Hopefully, this weight check both girls will be five pounds or more. I also have an appointment with the maternal-fetal medicine doctor. It will be two weeks since I last saw him. We'll see how he thinks things are going based on all the tests.

Otherwise, the girls are doing great. Both are active and even have hiccups at times.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 Babies

Well, it's official. With the year 2008 at an end, our girls will be 2009 babies. Happy New Year!