Monday, March 31, 2008

Some good and some not good news

Let's see, where to start. As you know I mentioned that it was just a week ago that my water broke on my last pregnancy and every day seems surreal to me that I go past being pregnant and am not lying in bed! Brian was able to find my box of practically new (with tags on them) maternity clothes from before that I never was able to wear.

Here are pictures of me on March 10th, taken when I was 16weeks 2 days (my water broke before at 16weeks 6 days). I was on my way out (yeah) to my monthly meeting with my fellow gtube moms (my sanity savior friends).

Here is telling Kaitlyn to look at the baby in mommys belly - very cute!

I'm now 18 weeks and 5 days and bigger than this, (have to take a new picture). Hard to believe that last time around we were so good and took pictures every week of my pregnancy (guess that shows how different it is with having a toddler around!) I feel great!! no more headaches, no more ill feeling, just generally really great. I remember this from last time, thinking how sad that I finally felt great when I had to go on bed-rest. It's all very surreal to me.

Last week, at 18 weeks we had our fetal survey ultrasound where we found out the sex!!! (I'll get to that in a minute). (yes, I'm going to make you keep reading!)

First of all (and most importantly) the baby looks great!

Here are some pictures of the little one:

Almost looks like "he/she" is smiling doesn't it? Will you look at all the beautiful amniotic fluid around the little one (only a PROM mom looks at the ultra sound and says wow, I love seeing all that fluid!!) It makes me giddy!

This 4D picture was hard to get, as the baby's top of head was up against my placenta, hence the elongated funny looking forehead. But wow, amazing none-the-less!

OK, now for the not-so-good news:
I have Placenta Previa (PP).
What is that? Well it means that my placenta is covering the opening to my cervix. What are the complications of PP? pre-term labor! Holy shit. This can't be happening.

Basically, according to the Mayo Clinic website: "If you have placenta previa, the placenta will detach (called Placenta Abruption) from the lower part of the uterus as the cervix begins to open in preparation for labor.
"The Mayo Clinic says these are the risk factors for PP:
  • Have already delivered at least one baby (yes that's me)
  • Had a previous C-section (yes that's me)
  • Had placenta previa with a previous pregnancy (no)
  • Are age 35 or older (yes that's me)
  • Smoke (no)
  • Are carrying twins, triplets or other multiples (I did before)
  • Have had a previous uterine surgery, such as myomectomy to remove uterine fibroids or dilation and curettage (D and C) to scrape the uterine lining (Yes that's me, I had a Myo to remove MANY (10 large) fibroid tumors about 4 years ago,which is basically a c-section but much more intense, I was in surgery for 3 hours for my Myo).

    Now, before you get too worried, there are different types of PP, thankfully mine is the type that could take care of itself. It means that it's the edge of the placenta that is over the opening to the cervix. We (and the docs) are hoping that as my uterus grows with the baby that it placenta will clear the cervix opening. Please, everyone out there in blog land, please send us your prayers for this to happen.

    I will be going back for another ultrasound in a month. We are seeing the same doctor (no, not the one who did the fateful amnio- I REFUSED to see him), but the one who finally gave us a clear picture of what were looking at when my water broke before. We like him, he's very matter-of-fact, and we appreciate that. I think he was really bummed to have to tell us the news.

    I did a bit of research on PP (you know me, the research queen). First of all, many women I have spoken to had PP like mine that cleared up (so I'm going with those thoughts).

    PP usually means bleeding, thankfully I've had none so far. and it means bed-rest!!!! OK, I really, really am trying to keep this positive!

    Well, to end on a few good notes, as I said earlier, we found out the sex! We are having a


    Brian was just thrilled. He KNEW it was a boy. (now it's not 100%, as the angle of the little guy was a bit difficult to tell for sure), but we have another ultrasound in a month anyways now.


    Miss Kaitlyn got some new glasses! They are big girl glasses and are so cute on her! They are a little bit big, so she has to push them on her temple (they can't be adjusted) but she can grow into them.

    She's talking up a storm! Full sentences now too.

    Here's a little conversation I'll have to catch on video:

    As she's looking at my belly, she'll knock on it lightly and say: "knock-knock, who's there? It's baby! Open peeze!" Too cute!

    We started giving her a new drug called Periactin. It is an antihistamine, that has the side-effect of being an appetite stimulant. After the first dose, things started going GREAT. we had only 1 vomit in 4 days, and she even asked for breakfast one morning. Now this morning we had a vomit (and we hadn't had a morning vomit since we started the medicine), but yesterday again was vomit free!

    Oh, and she finally hit 25 pounds a few days ago. She's been 24+ since Mid December!

    I'm still paranoid about her sensory issues. Yesterday for example, we had her up on our bed and she spent the entire time flopping herself all over the bed, rolling, flopping, rubbing. She does that all the time on the couch too. She's HYPER and is always moving and on the go. She hates being held.
    On Easter we went to the Oakland Zoo and I took her on the train. She "melted" into my arms (a rare experience) as the movement of the train calmed her. This is clear Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) behavior. The only other time that she is willing to be held/cuddled is when: she' really tired in the morning and hasn't really woken up yet, when she's in the shower with me, getting hit by warm water, or on the swing in my arms. All clear SPD stuff here.

  • Saturday, March 22, 2008


    Just a quick post here...

    My husband and I are talking a lot about priroties. (I've taken down my previous post if you are just tuning in.) I feel terrible that I really didn't write enough of all the things he does to help out in our family and relationship, I was mad frustrated and let it all hang out there which probably wan't the most appropriate thing to do.

    Many mothers have written me in response and I have to say that I feel that I'm not alone, and in many, many cases I have it much better than other moms/wives out there, my husband really does do a lot to help. A lot. In his defense, I need to do my share in talking more about how I feel to him before I blow up (and post it to the world), I love my husband dearly and want us to be a family together. I can't imagine life without him. I need to do a better job of carving out time for myself and that is my issue not his.

    Monday, March 10, 2008

    It's the March of Dimes Walk for Babies Time again.

    Hello to all of you Friends, Family, Mothers or Children of Mothers!

    Many of you know a bit about my story, but here is the way you can help support in the name of Prevention of and research into saving Premature Babies. I thought I'd tell you again briefly about my story and about what the March of Dimes does. Before I had preemies, I had heard of March of Dimes, but never gave much thought about the organization.

    My story: I went through years of Infertility issues and finally became pregnant with triplets from IVF. I lost my triplet when I was 10 weeks pregnant. As I'm an "older" mom, I was told to get an amnio. Unfortunately, (due to the way the doctor did my twin amnio) my water broke on one of my girls from the amnio at almost 17 weeks from an amnio on my twin pregnancy. I was told to abort the pregnancy, as I would deliver in 24 hours and SHOULD I last longer, there was no way that I was going to have "healthy" babies. I defied all odds and lasted 10 weeks on bedrest. As the doctors predicated, I did get an infection (and almost died) and went into preterm labor at 23 weeks, my labor was delayed until I delivered very prematurely at a bit over 26 weeks. My first born daughter, Corinne, passed away in my arms a few hours after she was born due to her poor lung development from no amn iotic fluid for 10 long weeks. My surviving twin daughter, Kaitlyn, spent 4 longs months in the NICU. Both my daughters weighed 1lb 10 ounces. My daughter Kaitlyn was very very ill during her 4 months in the Neonatal ICU. She had a heart surgery when she was 4 days old, which cased her vocal chord to become paralyzed, had eye laser surgery to stop the Prematurity related blindness disease (ROP) (it's why Stevie Wonder is blind), has a feeding tube, had countless infections, blood transfusions, and we almost lost her many times.

    She is now almost 2.5 years old and is doing quite well for how sick she was. She wears glasses. She still has a feeding tube. She speaks very quietly. She still vomits a lot (better than the 20x a day she used to). She still gets therapy 4 times a week (yes a week). Her first year of life we had well over 280 doctor/therapy appointments. Can you imagine? But she is my joyous miracle and she has her special guardian angel twin-sister looking over her every day.

    I've since started a lot of support groups: I run a Micro Preemie on-line support group (for babies born under 2 pounds) that has over 225 members globally. I run a local Preemie support group in the bay area. I help with a Feeding Tube support group. I've been told I've touched a lot of lives. I want to give back to this incredible community of children and parents whose lives have been changed forever by their early arrival into this world. And I really want to publish my story and get the word out! Preemie life doesn't end when you leave the NICU. It's a hard road to be on.

    I've chronicled my story since my water broke: here's a link to my story if you'd like to read more:

    Why am I telling you all of this and about the March of Dimes?
    Well, the March of Dimes does a lot of research into the causes and recovery of Premature babies. My daughters were both given Surfactant to help their lungs. (remember they were born each weighing 1.5 pounds) It's what saved Kaitlyn. Did you know the March of Dimes was responsible for this life-saving treatment of preemies? My daughter wouldn't be here today with us if it weren't for the March of Dimes. Maybe their research in the future will be able to help babies like Corinne. Did you know that the March of Dimes was also r esponsible for the life-saving research and funding to find the cure for Polio?

    Every year the March of Dimes has a walk in honor of Premature Babies. It's called March for Babies. People have been walking in support of The March of Dimes for a long time, (hence the name, March for Dimes.) Initially the walk was about raising dimes in support! Last year I was chosen to stand on stage at the San Francisco walk and speak about my story. I cried on stage. Kaitlyn joined me not long after she learned to walk. It was very emotional for me (and for the audience I was told). I feel very strongly about supporting the March of Dimes in their prevention and research in support of the March of Dimes.

    If you click on the link below you can do a number of things:

    1. Walk with us and help raise money on your own in support of the March of Dimes in names of my twin daughters. There is a "register to walk" button at the bottom of the page. I can get donation envelopes and posters for you to take to your offices/families/friends. Just let me know what you need! Please walk with us and help raise money!

    2. Donate to the March of Dimes in the name of my daughters without walking. You can donate directly on-line (link below), or you can send a check to me, whichever is easier for you.

    3. Just walk with our team without donating. (again, click on the register to walk button)

    The details of the walk: It's a 10K (that's about 6 miles, but there is a short version too if that's too far) 4/26/2008 9:00 AM - Fort Mason, San FranciscoBay & Laguna StreetsSan Francisco, CA This year I've set a goal to raise $2,000! If you register to walk with us and help raise funds at your office, this will be an easy goal to make!!

    Wednesday, March 05, 2008

    The loss of a twin

    Many of you may or may not know that I started a forum for mothers of Micro Preemies. When I first started it it was so that I could communicate easier with some of the friends I had made out there in blogsphere that chronicled the lives of their miracle babies. Hard to believe but I now have over 225 members! Members are from all over the world. I hear all the time that this group brings a lot of support to the members and it makes me feel proud that I can help give back. There are quite a few of us on the group who have lost a twin/triplet. A new mom just recently asked the group for support in dealing with the tragic loss of her twin.

    I sent this reply to her, but I became so emotional as I wrote it, I felt I should post it here, for others who have lost a twin, or know someone who has lost an angel baby.

    I too am so sorry for your loss of your precious angel, and know that she is playing with my daughter Corinne, as well as all of the the other missed and cherished angel babies from this forum. My water broke (PROM) from an amnio at 17 weeks, and my Prom Princess whose water broke grew perfectly fine in utereo but after birth her lungs just weren't helped by the steroid shots and she passed away in my arms 4 hours after her birth. Corinne is my mothers name and I ALWAYS knew I'd have a daughter and would name her Corinne. We hadn't chosen which daughter to give the name Corinne Margaret too. (Margaret is Brian's mothers name) My mother didn't know this. We had to tell her that we had named our first born daughter after her but that she had passed away, as my mother wasn't there for the emergency delivery. My husband felt strongly that our PROM princess needed our strong mothers spirits and we decided at birth to name our first born daughter Corinne Margaret with all the the hope that she will beat the odds.

    As a side note, I'm pregnant again, and in a way feel that my daughter can now finally have the sibling she was supposed to have. I've wanted another child (daughter) since the moment we lost Corinne so Kaitlyn could have the sister that she lost. but am a loss as far as names go. Corinne is supposed to be here with us, especially in honor of my mother. I have no idea what we'll do for names. Sometimes, (if it's another daughter) I think of a variation of Corinne's name. Our twin Kaitlyn's name was chosen because it sounded nice together with Corinne. Corinne and Kaitlyn. (We don't know the sex yet, 3 more weeks from today we'll find out)

    I had to wait to figure out what I wanted to write you before replying. Here are some of my thoughts:

    1. Find others in your community who have lost a twin. It was helpful for me to meet a mom who lost a daughter/twin not long after we came home from the NICU, we went on a walk together, with our surviving twins. I also bonded very closely with a mom who lost a twin and was in the NICU the same time that we were. We became and are still very close. We called our surviving twins "each other's twins" even though he is Chinese and my daughter is as blonde as you can be. We are still very close today and I have a great caring for her son.

    2. Join CLIMB stands for Center for Loss of Infant Multiple Birth. They send out a quarterly newsletter that has a lot of stories from parents. on their website they have great suggestions for announcing your children's' birth and ways to memorialize your angel.

    3. I have a terrible, terrible time seeing newborn twins in strollers. My heart drops to the bottom of my stomach every time. Still, and my daughters were born 2 years and 5 months ago. I have a terrible time hearing of moms pregnant with twins. I just heard JLo delivered her twins and I feel horrible that I couldn't deliver 2 healthy twins. Older twins don't get that emotion out of me, just infants. I'm actually friends with a LOT of local twin mothers, I still belong to my local twins club. Crazy I know. Sometimes I think I'm torturing myself. But the club was soooo helpful when my water broke, as I imagine any of them could think that it had happened to them. They NEVER EVER told me, "well, be thankful you have one." Twin moms would never, ever say that. And they were so strong in telling me that I'll always be a mother of twins. That really meant a lot to me and I feel comfortable with them. I have made a lot of wonderful supportive friends in the twins group.

    4. We had Corinne cremated. Our plan was to spread her ashes on a mountain top with Kaitlyn once Kaitlyn came home from the NICU. I have her small little bit of ashes in an angel keepsake box in her memory box in Kaitlyn's room. It comforts me knowing that they are in the same room together. I remember how I wanted to delay the funeral home picking up Corinne's body from the hospital as I didn't want my daughters to be away from each other. I remember that day so clearly. (wow, I'm really crying as I type this). In her memory box I have her footprints/handprints, some of her hair, her NICU bands, her NICU hat, and a pair of booties that were hand-knit for me (by a fellow prom mom) the specifications of her foot size.

    5. As others have said, the pain does get better with time. I know I heard that all the time, and I didn't want to hear it as it didn't help me now at the time. I think all the time of the loss that Kaitlyn will feel over the loss of her sister. I 100% plan on telling her about her sister, in a healthy way. I know for a FACT that Kaitlyn has the most special guardian angel looking out for her. Corinne defied all odds and lasted 10 weeks without amniotic fluid. I now strongly believe that she did this to save her sister. My Mother-in-law made me 2 beautiful plates that we have hanging in Kaitlyn's room. One is of a little girl sitting in flowers (with K's name and birth date on it), the other is of a little girl laying asleep in flowers, with Corinne's' name and birth date on it. I recently have been pointing the plates out to Kaitlyn and say, "this is you" and "this is your sister" She repeats the word sister to me. It breaks my heart. Sometimes I can tell others that I lost a daughter calmly, other times I tear up. I still never know what to answer when asked how many children I have. In the beginning I always said I had 2, and when now asked if this pregnancy is my first child, I say it's my 3rd. But I don't always any more. Sometimes I keep it to myself, as I get tired of the looks of pity and the not-knowing-what-to-say-to-me-look

    6. I remember so clearly when I was first able to go back into the NICU 4 days after their birth. I was in the NICU to hold Corinne when she passed away (I was rolled in on the recovery gurney), but then I became very, very ill with a septic blood infection and couldn't leave my hospital room. The first moment I went back in all I could do was look at the empty bay where Corinne was supposed to be. I completely broke down. It was empty. This was so horrible. This wasn't supposed to happen. When I finally looked at Kaitlyn I of course as all of us where, taken aback by how small and sick she looked. I'll be honest, It took me weeks, maybe months of being in the NICU of not being terrified of loosing Kaitlyn also. I felt I wasn't in a very good mental health state to be as supportive to Kaitlyn as I would have liked to be. I always made comments to the nurses about my missing my daughter and they sort of brushed off those comments. I wanted to be validated that I was a mom to twins. It was a very very hard time.

    I think I'm going to post this entry to my blog. I think others who read my blog who have lost a twin could benefit from it too. My husband just walked in (he just got off work from the fire department) to find a crying hysterical pregnant wife typing this.

    In Memory of all the angel babies playing together and watching over their siblings:

    ^Corinne Margaret^ loved and missed by her twin sister Kaitlyn Elizabeth (26w6d)

    and sadly many, many more that I personally know (via blog or in person):
    ^Olivia Skye Eble-Schrader^ twin to Hallie Rose Eble-Schrader, 23 weeks, 4 days
    ^Cameron Reid^ 20 wks
    ^Noah Allen Silliboy^ Twin to Nathan Laine Silliboy born at 24 weeks and 3 days
    ^Madilyn Angelia^ (middle name means angel) (21w6d) twin to Caitlin Gean (24weeks)
    ^Kaleigh Grace^ twin to Braden John born at 24 weeks
    ^Bailey Renae Grace^ twin to Brooke Lynn Victoria born at 24 weeks
    ^Georgia^ and ^Livia^ triplets to Nina born at 24 weeks
    ^Logan William^ (25.1 weeks) twin to Cooper Scott (25.6 wks)
    ^William Bruin^ (23 weeks) twin to Kathryn born at at 24 weeks
    ^Lily Grace^, twin to Sophia Bess, born 23 weeks and 6 days.
    ^Julianne Beth^ (18 weeks) twin to Beth Marie born at 26 weeks
    ^Braedon Jacob^, twin to Conner Evan born at 23weeks 2days
    ^Olivia Grace^ (22 weeks 6days) twin to Emma Elizabeth born at 24 weeks
    ^Rebecca^ (23 weeks) twin to Sarah born at 26 weeks