Our Journey with Conjoined Twins
Abby & Erin
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.
This week has been very surreal. It is still hard for me to even fully grasp all that is happening.
I want to start out by thanking everyone so much! The amount of love and support we are receiving is just unfathomable. I had never thought in a million years that this much support would come flooding in. First of all our families have been so wonderful. Their support is really what has helped keep as going as we learn more and more about this journey we are taking. Their check ins with us to make sure we are doing alright, their kind words, and offers to do anything we need has been so wonderful! We truly love you all so much! And then there are all of those people in our social media world. I seriously cannot believe the amount of people our story is reaching, and it is all because of you guys and we are so grateful! Right now we don't know much, but what we do know is that more and more people are learning about conjoined twins and that maybe someone who learns about them from our story will go on to do research and make incredible medical advances towards helping those who find out they are having conjoined twins, that is one of my many prayers.
I am also so incredibly grateful for those who have donated towards the Go fundme. It has already covered some of my medical bills and then some. It is such a relief knowing that we have extra help coming in. I ended up giving my job notice this week because of all the time I will be needing off. I am a nanny and it wouldn't be fair for the kids or their family to put that burden on them. So hopefully I will find some source of income to help out but until then, the Go fundme is giving me a sense of comfort. You are all so wonderful and we pray many many blessings on your families!
As the title says this has been a truly crazy week. Learning to fully grasp and understand what is happening hasn't been the easiest. First off I want to let you know Riley and I already love our children more than we could possibly imagine, and I think that is what makes it all so hard. There are so many thoughts that run through your head on a daily basis, will they make it? If they do make it will they be able to be separated? Will they be able to live a full happy life? Are we doing the right thing? It is really so difficult to process all of these questions and many times the thoughts bring me to tears. It is not an easy road but we want to give our children every possible chance at a full life. They were given to us for a reason and there is a plan in all of this, that we know for sure. Jeremiah 29:11 (For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.) We are choosing to believe that verse for a children, that God has a plan for them, and it is to prosper them and give them hope and a future.
A little bit of good news, tied in with a prayer request. I found out this week that I will be receiving pregnancy medicaid! That is a relief that brought tears. The prayer request part of this good news is that we are not sure if they will cover any out of state care. So please pray that we will be able to speak to the right person who will be able to get us the right coverage so that we can have help with all that costs that this is going to have.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers. Knowing we are having so many people praying is such a wonderful thing. We feel like we have family all over the world because of the many prayers we are feeling. Pray for a healthy pregnancy. I had a scare this week as I am having some issues with acid reflux that caused me a lot of discomfort this weekend. I ended up throwing up and there was some blood in the mix and that was very scary. They have me taking some medicines to help heal whatever caused the blood. They think it was caused because of all the stomach acids. So please pray this subsides and I will feel normal again because every little thing scares me now, and it is exhausting. Like I said in my last post this is my first pregnancy so everything is new, and this was not just new but very scary for me.
Please also continue to pray for Riley and he also deals with all these emotions. I can't speak for him, but I know he is dealing with everything in his own way and could use all of your prayers as well. I am so lucky to be going through all of this with him. I wouldn't have it any other way!
Again thank you so much for all of your prayers, encouraging words, and support. I wish I could thank each and every one of you personally. You have all been such a blessing in our lives.
I want to leave you with an encouraging verse that has also been encouraging me...
1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. 6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. 7 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. 8 Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. 10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 11 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
-medicaid to cover out of state procedures
-myself and riley as we still process all this information
How to start a blog when there is so much.....
I have always wanted children, and those around me know that full well. I have always been the one asking to hold the new baby, or volunteering in the nursery at church, babysitting all of our family friends children, and now being a nanny. The want to be a mother has always been inside me since as long as I remember. So when Riley and I got married just a few short month ago, we knew it wouldn't be long before we decided to try.
On Janurary 11th we found out that we were expecting! It was one of the most exciting and scary moments of my life. I knew I wanted to be a mom but the thought of it actually happening scared me a little to say the least. But as the weeks leading up to our first appointment went by I became more and more excited and less and less scared. Even the thoughts of delivery didn't scare me because of how excited I was to meet my little bundle of joy.
After a few hiccups with insurance (still uninsured at the moment and working on a few options) we finally had our first appointment this past Friday, March 11th. We were very excited to get a chance to see our baby for the first time. I had been thinking about it for the past month. And the day was finally there. We went through all the normal routine, questions, weight, height, blah blah and then finally time for the ultrasound. Riley and I were joking with the Dr. talking about how my mom had twins (sidenote: for those who don't know me, I have identical twin sisters who are now almost in their 20s) and how I was hoping I wasn't having twins. Just because I saw how large my mom got, and how two babies can definitly be trying at times. Then as soon as he turned on the machine, BOOM, there were two of them. Two full blown babies staring at me. To say that was a surprise was an understatement, I mean I knew it was possible, it is possible for anyone, but for my mom to have twins, and then for myself to be pregnant with twins, it blew my mind.
As the ultrasound went on I realized that they seemed to be really close especially near their heads. Now mind you I say as the ultrasound went on, but it in all reality only lasted maybe 3 minutes. I mentioned to the dr. about how they seemed very close and that is when my world was turned completley upside down. Something that went from 100% joy turned into almost 100% terror. He said very abruptly that he thought they might be conjoined. He then gave me about 3 seconds of each heart beat, and then we were done. He seemed to be just as scared as I was which made matters worse.
(sidenote: for any Dr.s who are possibly reading this, be honest with your patient if you have never seen something before instead of leaving them feeling like you tried to get out of the room as fast as possible)
He mentioned that we needed to see a specialist ASAP since i was now all of a sudden considered extremely high risk. Mind you 15 minutes ago I was considered low risk. And that this specialist would have to tell me if they thought my babies will even survive. And that was all I knew, my babies might be conjoined, and they might not even be able to survive.
That ride home from the Dr.s office was one of the most difficult rides I have ever taken. My husband had been at the appointment with me but had his own car, and he had been just as shocked as I was and just as bewildered and not knowing what to think. I was angry, scared, sad, excited about the news of twins, worried, and so many other emotions. That picture you have in your head of a beautiful little baby being handed to you felt like it had been ripped from me, and it hurt so much. I had so many questions and literally no one to ask. I have never known anyone to go through anything like this. Almost everyone I know has had healthy happy babies. Even looking at my ultrasound pictures was hard.
We made an appointment to see a specialist on Monday March 14th. But the span between friday and monday seemed like an eternity. Most of it was a blurr. Between making phone calls to family and friends to start praying for our sweet babies, and answering lots of questions, and making arrangement with work the idea of having conjoined twins became more and more normal to me. And the shock started to wear off. We are so grateful to the people who told us they would pray for our family and support us and all our decisions. That was so humbling to hear about. You don't realize how many people care about you until you need them. They begin to come out of the woodwork and bring such a comfort.
There was a verse that I clung to during this weekend, it was Isaiah 43:2 and it says when you go through the deep waters I will be with you. There were times even though I know my husband is always in my corner along with my family and friends, that I felt alone, like I was drowning. That I felt like It was just me dealing with the weight of the world. And that verse made me remember, that the God that was with me when I had issues in my teens, was still with me now. And he has a plan for all of this. He knows my babies better than I ever will. He knows the outcome of this and has it already orchastrated. There are no ones hands I would rather put this situation into than his. And that brings me so much comfort.
Today was a day I know I will remember for the rest of my life. We went and saw the specialist, and found out that our babies are in fact conjoined. They are conjoined at the back of the head which poses some very intense risks. I was relieved to hear it was the back of their heads and not their faces (we could see their little noses on the sonogram). But the fact that it is the back of their heads means there could be brain issues. If they are not developing completely seperate brains things are not going to be easy. Not that it is easy in the first place, but you can't split a brain in half. So if that is the case we will have some tough realities to swallow. We won't fully know about this factor until between 18-20 weeks when the brains are much more developed. We go back for an appointment in 5 weeks which will put me at 16 weeks. And once we get to the 18-20 week range I will most likely be traveling to Philidelpia to get a fetal MRI done so we can see exactly what we are working with. We also will be faced with the reality that being conjoined may not be their only issue. Since they developed abnormally there may be other issues but we are praying against that in Jesus' Name! But watching the two of them on the sonogram, you would never think they had a problem. They were kicking and punching and dancing away with not a care in the world, and that made me feel better that they seem to be happy and healthy except for their being conjoined.
This is all so new for me, not just the "conjoined" twins thing, but the whole being pregnant thing. I have never been pregnant before so I don't even know what to expect in a normal pregnancy let alone a high risk, highly abnormal one. So please pray, not only for me, but for my wonderful husband who I would not be able to get through this without. He has been such a rock for me. I know beyond that shadow of a doubt that he is here for me and loves me and these babies more than anything in this world. And we each deal with things in our own way and I know he is feeling many emotions just as well as I am. I know he is not only worried about the babies but about myself as well. And that is a lot to have on your plate.
So as I close out this post I want to leave you all with the verse that has been with me all this weekend:
But now, this is what the Lord says--
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
-Happy Healthy Babies
-A Healthy uncomplicated pregnancy that brings these babies as close to full term as possible
-Both of our families as they are also dealing with the uncertainty
-Both for Riley and I, for strength and wisdom as we walk through this journey together
-For the right Dr.s to be found that will be best suited for our babies issues
Thank you all so much for supporting Riley and I in this. We are so grateful! And thank you for reading this and wanting to follow our journey. We are scared but excited to see what God's plan is in all of this because we know it is a big one!!!!!
My name is Heather Delaney. I married the love of my life Riley on 10/02/15 and we now have two beautiful girls Abby & Erin, who are conjoined twins, that were born 07/24/16. We are trusting that God is going to work all this out for his good!