29 week twin update

Today I am 29 weeks and 5 days pregnant with my twins.  I’m thrilled to have made it this far!  At this point, if the babies were to come early, they would have a greater than 90% chance of survival.

I am now having ultrasounds weekly.  I see my MFM (high risk doc) weekly and my regular OB biweekly.  At each weekly ultrasound, they are now doing biophysical profiles.  They watch for each baby to make a certain amount of movements, and also practice their breathing, within a given amount of time.  My first biophysical profile was last week, at 28 weeks.  Baby A passed the test right away, but baby B didn’t pass, because we didn’t see her doing any practice breathing after watching for quite a long time.  So they sent us to do a non-stress test, where they strap heartbeat monitors around my belly and graph the babies’ heartbeats for twenty minutes.  That is no easy feat with twins.  The babies kept moving away from the monitors, and kicking super hard against them.  Eventually they got the info they needed, and we were able to go home.

I had another biophysical profile ultrasound at 29+1 weeks, and this time we saw both babies doing the breathing movements right away!  I’m happy to see they are growing and maturing, doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing in there, preparing to meet us on the outside.

At each of these weekly ultrasounds, we’ve seen equal fluid measurements (they are usually in the range of 4-5), visible bladders, and strong heartbeats.  No signs of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome!  At 28 weeks they measured the babies’ growth (something that gets done every 3-4 weeks) and estimated them at 2 lbs 8 oz (Baby A) and 2 lbs 5 oz (Baby B).  The last two times they had been measured, they were both exactly the same size, but I expected at some point we would start to see some variation.  This was a 5.5% weight discordance, which is really quite low.  My MFM was not concerned at all.  Hopefully we won’t see Baby B continuing to fall behind in growth, which can indicate unequal placental sharing.

At this point now, almost two weeks later, the babies are probably around 3 pounds each, which means I’ve got more baby in me right now than I did with 5 lb 12 oz Lennon (or possibly, 6 lbs 1 oz Juliette) at full term!  Not to mention one massive placenta that could weigh up to 4 pounds, and two sacs of fluids!  I never thought I could carry so much in this small body of mine, but somehow, I am doing it.  And we’ve got a lot more growing to do!

I’m definitely feeling the affects of carrying all this weight out in front of me.  I am carrying quite high, which makes it really difficult to eat large amounts of food in one sitting.  I have to graze throughout the day.  I often feel as though I can’t breathe.  All my organs are being squished!

I’ve said this before, but being pregnant with multiples is not easy.  In fact, it’s more difficult than I even imagined.  Now, toward the end, I’m not just exhausted from my energy and nutrients being depleted in order to grow two babies, I’m physically uncomfortable too.  My body just HURTS.  All over.  All the time.  Just walking short distances gives me contractions.  Leaning over the bathtub to bathe my kids is a nightmare.  Getting out of bed is ridiculous.  Forget about leaning over to put on socks or shoes!  LOL

I get very discouraged some days.  But I am really trying to stay positive.  My babies are still alive.  They are growing and sharing well.  I am so incredibly thankful for how well things have gone so far, especially after seeing so many losses in mo-di twin pregnancy groups.  We are very, very fortunate.  ❤ ❤

Oh, speaking of being fortunate, this reminds me that I have a couple other things to update y’all on.  I haven’t talked about my E antibody situation for awhile.  That’s because it hasn’t been an issue thus far into the pregnancy.  My blood titers have been tested once per month, and beginning at 28 weeks, we will now be doing this every two weeks.  At each titer check so far, my E level has been “undetectable,” basically lower than 1:1.  We would only be concerned about the babies becoming dangerously anemic if my E levels were to climb to 1:16 or greater.  So, either the babies do not carry the E antigens (which they have a 50/50 chance of carrying), or my immune system just isn’t attacking the E antigens if they are present.  Either way, good news so far!

Another potential issue had cropped up.  I had been having occasionally itchy palms.  I figured it was just some weird, random pregnancy thing (of which there are many), but I finally googled it, and found out that it can indicate a potentially dangerous liver disease called cholestasis.  It is relatively rare, but having multiples increases your risk of developing cholestasis.  I had to fast and do two blood tests.  The first, a liver panel screening, came back with two numbers (albumin and total protein) out of range (low), so I was a bit concerned.  However, the second test, a bile test, came back normal, which means I do NOT have cholestasis, yay!  My OB says the albumin and protein being lower than normal is typical of pregnancy, and basically just means that the babies are taking some of my nutrients.  He said that with twins, he would actually expect these numbers to be even lower, so I must be doing fairly well, nutritionally.  He said that being pregnant with twins means you are putting your body into starvation mode for several months.  It’s nearly impossible to eat enough to keep up with the babies’ needs and your own, and of course, the babies will always take what they need first.  Little parasites!  Cute little parasites, though.  LOL

Here are some pics!

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Image is a series of three 28 week ultrasound photos, arranged in a vertical column and edited to remove my name. The top one is a 3D pic of Baby A’s face, second is a 2D pic of Baby B’s face, and third is a 2D pic showing both babies’ heads together.

 

 

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Image is a series of three photos, arranged vertically. In each one, I am standing sideways with my hand on my hip, showing my twin belly. The photos are labeled 24 weeks, 26 weeks, and 28 weeks. Surprisingly, there seems to be very little change in belly size! I bet we are due for a big growth spurt soon!

IEP meeting day

My baby girl…she’s almost 6 now.

We had her IEP meeting today. She no longer qualifies for any special education services. I suspected that would be the result, and came in ready to fight for her.

There was really nothing to fight for. They are right. She’s doing AMAZING. Next year she’ll be in full day Montessori kindergarten, and I have no doubt she’ll do wonderfully, mainstreamed with no IEP. Her teachers have gotten to know her, and they love her. They will provide individualized support, regardless if it’s mandated by a document or not.

This girl, at two years old, barely responded to her name. She only spoke in a few scripted phrases. She was way behind her peers in speech and social skills.

Now, at nearly 6, she scored a perfect 100% on her PALS academic testing, something her teachers have never seen before. In speech and language evaluations, she tested at the level of 6.5-7 years old. The SLP tried a higher level social communication assessment, just out of curiosity, and she scored at the 4th grade level!

She is a leader in the classroom, an example for the rest of the children. She handles social conflicts with grace and maturity well beyond her years. Academically, she’s ridiculously bright. She has this wonderful, unexpected, contagious enthusiasm for life.

I thought I’d leave the meeting today filled with anger if they tried to take away her services. But I don’t feel that way at all. All I am filled with is overwhelming gratitude and pride.

She would not be where she is today if I hadn’t made a phone call to Early Intervention when she was two, my voice shaking with fear as I described how my daughter was “different,” which started us down the road to an autism diagnosis at three, two years of special needs preschool, and hours of therapy. She has had so many wonderful people helping and supporting her along the way.

Look how far she has come.

I am so proud. I can’t hold back my tears.

I am so proud of my smart, wonderfully different, absolutely perfect baby girl.

 

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Image is Juliette’s spring school photo.  She is seated, with her arms crossed in front of her, with a sweet smile and big white bow in her hair.