Never A Dull Moment

Yesterday started off as a normal day at the maternal fetal specialist. The ultrasound tech was doing her thing, and then asked, “Are you sure Baby A (Gabriel) is on your left and B (Zeke) is on your right?” Having had about 100 ultrasounds at this point, I replied, “If there’s one thing I am sure of it is that A’s on the left and B’s on the right.” So, she studied her paperwork more closely and then notified me that the twins had swapped sides. If it hadn’t been for Zeke’s CCAM – the only distinguishing feature between Gabriel and Zeke — we would have been none the wiser to the twins repositioning. I mean, I knew my wild boys had been moving a lot, but I never expected a complete reversal. 

Rebecca's belly at 28 weeks with the twins.

Mommy @ 28 weeks. (The red dot on my belly is the tiny scar from the laser surgery.)

The ultrasound and biophysical profiles went fine. However, the differences in the boys’ weights are of growing concern. Zeke is currently 3 pounds, 3 ounces, which puts him in the 34 percentile for a typical 31-week gestation. But Gabriel is only 2 pounds, 10 ounces, putting him in the 11 percentile. Dr. Joy decided to do a non-stress test (NST), which monitors the babies’ heart beats and my uterus. The findings can help determine if all is still going well in the placental environment. Gabriel and Zeke were pretty uncooperative, bouncing around like crazy monkeys. But what the test did show was that I was having minor contractions toward the top of my uterus every 3-4 minutes — minor, yes, but consistent, patterned contractions nonetheless. And here I thought these pangs were just more cool karate kicks.

Therefore, Dr. Joy and company sent me over to maternity admissions, so that Dr. Stringer — my OB who just so happened to working at the hospital that day — could give me an internal exam to check out my cervix and an RN could continue my NST. Thankfully, my cervix hadn’t either dilated and effaced (thinned) — two telltale signs of labor. Dr. Stringer also opted to give me a fetal fibronectin test. The exam tests for a hormone that is only present in a woman’s body during labor. Kim, the wonderful midwife who brought Houston into the world, notified me that my test results were negative, explaining that this means there is a 97% chance I will NOT go into pre-term labor in the next two weeks. Kim passed along the good NST readings and fibronectin results to Dr. Stringer, who finally gave the okay to discharge me around 8:30 p.m., nearly seven hours after my arrival at the hospital for my weekly ultrasound.

 The twins at 31 weeks gestation.

Mommy at 31 weeks.

As it stands now, I will have ultrasounds, biophysical profiles and an NST every Monday and another NST every Thursday, and the babies’ weights will be measured in another two weeks. If at that time their weight discrepancy has increased, that will be evidence that my placenta is indeed pooping out and the twins will need to be taken by c-section. I’m 31 weeks now, so gestation then would be 33 weeks … not too shabby for my atypical pregnancy, but still premature.

You know how some weirdos have been rumored to have eaten the placenta (a.k.a. the afterbirth) once their child is born? Well, being that my bum placenta has caused Gabriel and Zeke a bunch of problems during this roller coaster of a pregnancy, Stephen and I are toying with the idea of stomping on my afterbirth, taking it to the shooting range and riddling it with bullets, and then letting a pack of wild dogs devour it. Like I said, it’s just an idea.

Progress On All Fronts

“For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!”

– Psalms 139: 13-17

Gabriel at 30 weeks.

Well, I’ll be 31 weeks on Tuesday, and Gabriel and Zeke are still hangin’ tough, growing like crazy and beating my insides nearly nonstop. Their latest ultrasounds and biophysical profiles have been excellent, so if I can just make it another few weeks, the boys will hopefully not have to be subjected to a long-term stay in the NICU and can come home from the hospital with me. Click the ultrasound images to see some more 30-week photos. Don’t the boys look like Houston? And be sure to note Zeke’s unabashed crotch shot, which brought much pride to his Grumps!

Zeke at 30 weeks.

Everyone has been swamped around here, trying diligently to turn our former office into a nursery for the twins. We’ve moved a bunch of our office and music equipment into the master bedroom, and lots of random items have been put into into newly organized closets and the attic. During our fleeting Houston breaks, we’ve been busy been assembling furniture (Stephen), spray painting hand-me-down furniture (Gramsey) and washing newborn clothes (Granny). I, of course, have only been able to assist with recommendations and ideas, which is a pain for both me and others involved. The nursery is still light years from being ready for two little dudes, but we’re trying to dwell on the positive progress made and not the negative.

Running wild with Auntie Merdy in September 2008.

Houston has really grown accustomed to his (and Mommy’s) many caregivers: Gramsey during the week, Granny and Grumps on the weekends, and our good pal, Meredith, on Fridays. Click the above photo of Meredith and Houston to view all of the September pics. We try to make sure he has an occasional play date with some of his neighborhood buddies, like Dixie and Gracie, and he always enjoys hanging out in the church nursery on Sundays. Our social butterfly has also attended three birthday parties and a neighborhood bash since all this craziness began. Click the photo below to check out Houston having a ball at Gracie’s 2nd birthday party. 

Going nuts at Gracie's birthday party in September 2008.

In addition, some ladies from our church and a few gals from the neighborhood threw us two separate baby showers last weekend (click links to view photos). Since I’m on bed rest for the duration of the pregnancy, both showers were held at our house. I did make myself look as presentable as possible, but I ate cake, chit chatted and opened gifts from my living-room lair (i.e., the pulled-out futon, which is always covered in an array of pillows and blankets). Being so utterly confined to the house for nearly 11 weeks now, it was wonderful to have so many caring people visit … just another reminder of how truly blessed we are!

All Is Well

Just wanted to let y’all know that Friday’s ultrasound showed that all is well with both twins. Dr. Joy says that the “slight change” found in Zeke’s Doppler readings are back to normal. He explained that the reading earlier in the week could have been something as simple as him lying on his own cord. We’re just fortunate that all of my healthcare providers are so vigilant in making sure that these babies have the healthiest and longest gestation as possible. And the fact that they’d all rather be safe than sorry makes for a happy Clan Dillingham.

One more tidbit is that Zeke (the baby who was once “stuck”) has a bit more amniotic fluid than does Gabriel. The minimal discrepancy is totally normal for a twin pregnancy, the docs say, but isn’t that interesting how things change? Gabriel has plenty of room to move, though, ’cause both boys are kicking and karate-chopping up a storm!