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.
The amount of changes and curveballs that get thrown your way in life and usually every so often and can get handled and then you move on and wait for the next one to get thrown at you. Well these past two weeks have been nothing but curve balls, twists, turns, and crazy.
As I wrote in my last post my mom and I had relocated to the Ronald McDonald House in Camden NJ and were planning on being there for at least a few weeks until the babies were born, and I was planning on being there until everything was said and done with the girls surgeries and all that. So we had pretty much moved in and were almost settled. We had gotten there on Wednesday June 29th, and had a few appointments in between, but then this past Friday the 8th I learned that the babies needed closer monitoring and so they decided to admit me right then and there. So I called Riley (my husband) and explained what was going on and coincidentally he was planning on surprising me that weekend by driving up and bringing me my car and hanging out for a day. So he got the news I was being admitted and he started making plans and was on his way a few hours later.
I wasn't able to go back up some stuff, I wasn't able to even really think. Within 20 minutes of having my ultrasound they had a room set up for me in the Special Delivery Unit with a nurse waiting to check me in. What a whirlwind let me tell you. They weren't planning on taking the babies that day thank goodness, but just being admitted to the hospital was a little daunting. Again this is my first pregnancy so on top of everything else, this is all completely new to me. And I haven't been in a hospital for myself since I was like 10 years old. So it has been quite the learning experience for me.
So as soon as I was admitted and they had me in the computer they had me change into a hospital gown so they could start to monitor the babies (which didn't really work because they move so much and are such crazy little girls). Once they finally found heartbeats and decided everything was good for the moment they explained what was going to happen. Since they don't think that I will make it past 32 weeks (because of the extensive cord issues) they wanted to give me a few medicines to help the girls develop a little easier and quicker so that when they are born they have the least amount of issues possible (I will be 29 weeks tomorrow!). So I ended up getting two steroid shots for their lungs (OUCH let me tell you my behind will never be the same lol) and then they wanted to start me an on IV drip of Magnesium Sulfate which helps the babies nervous systems and brains develop.
So that process started, and since I hadn't eaten or drank anything since my appointment had started at 1:45 (it was like 6pm by this time) I was swollen, more on the dehydrated side, and I was hungry. So getting an IV into me was difficult to say the least. The ended up trying in two separate places before they finally succeeded in the third spot. And then they needed to get some blood for some labs and of course they couldn't seem to draw any blood from the IV line because my veins were being ridiculous and making everything a lot more painful than it needed to me. So after finally getting the IV in after 3 sticks, they had to stick me two more times to finally draw blood. So that was brutal to say the least. Everyone felt really bad. (I had two nurses and two people from the IV team who are used to putting IVs in babies, thats how bad my veins were being).
At around 8 they started my Magnesium sulfate and boy was that not very fun. They had told me it wasn't going to be very fun so I was prepared but even so...ugh. Within 5 minutes of it being started I felt like I could throw fire with my hands. My palms felt like they were on fire and slowly but surely it spread through my whole body. I became a constant hot flash. My poor mom was freezing because they had the AC turned way up, I had been given ice pack, and a bucket with some ice and towels as well. Thankfully the heat was my only side affect. Apparently it makes a lot of women feel really sick and dizzy. But I just got really really hot.
That Magnesium Sulfate lasted for 12 hours before they could turn it off, and then took another 12-24 hours to finally wear off. I went to take a shower and I had almost a backwards sunburn. I was beat red where my gown had been. It looked like I was wearing a bright red shirt when I took off my gown. (I have very sensitive skin) But apparently I handled it like a champ and my babies are better off for it.
Now it is just a lot of waiting and sitting. Lots of people in and out of the room (which is ok, distractions are nice during the day). Going from having no real restrictions to all of a sudden being confined to one little tiny hospital room when you can only get up to use the bathroom and shower is a pretty big change. I have had my aunt and uncle visit, and also Riley's dad visit so that has helped the days go by. My mom has gone back home to NC since Riley will be here for a while now. The Drs. said that when it is time for the babies to be born it was be go time. There won't be time for anyone to get on a plane and get here, it will be GO and babies will be born within like a half hour. So to make sure he doesn't miss it he will be here for a while. So please pray for us with all the decisions we have to make regarding that. He was originally going to be working as much as possible during all this, but like I said earlier, twists, turns, and curveballs seem to be happening regularly around here. And we want to do what is best for our family, and these are not easy decisions to make.
Pray for our little girls as their cords have been tangling and untangling over and over. That they will be able to grow enough where it won't give them any more issues if they have to be born early. They already have a long road without being little preemies. So we just keep praying that they are doing what they need to be doing and are growing like little weeds.
Pray for me as I get used to all this crazy unknown. The thought of an emergency C-section is very nerve wracking for me. It's all so new and I don't know exactly what to expect, all I know is that it is going to be fast. I have also never had a major surgery, so it is all just scary, but exciting at the same time. For the Lord has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind! And he made these little girls, and he made me be the one to give birth to these two little girls.
Pray for my husband as he also navigates through the unknown of becoming a dad. He is also like my primary care taker at the moment since I can't leave my room. So he gets me drinks, and cleans, and is packing, and unpacking stuff, doing laundry, and dealing with stuff from home. He has a lot on his plate right now as he is trying to keep my plate light so I can focus on our girls and the task at hand. He is an amazing Dad already!
I'm sure I will be updating more and more as I have the time to do so at the moment. But please just keep us in your prayers. This wasn't something we had thought we would be doing. We knew we would be in the hospital for a few nights, but didn't even think that we might have to basically live here for a few weeks. We are so grateful for all the prayers and support! And if anyone has ideas on how to stay busy let me know! :)
I know I say this a lot but Riley and I so appreciate each and every one of you. You are not only making a difference in our girls' lives but in ours as well. We are so touched by all the prayers and generosity. We know God has a plan and we are just here to watch it unfold!!
Well we have officially relocated. We made it to the Ronald McDonald House in Camden, NJ on Wednesday at about 8pm. Our trip up wasn't bad, we didn't have any delays or anything like that. Although saying goodbye wasn't and easy task even though I've been preparing myself for weeks, it still was not easy and still is not easy. Our first night was a little tough for me to be completely honest. Leaving home knowing I won't be back until my babies are healthy enough to come back with me is a huge thought process for me. Everything here is new and not the easiest to figure out and therefore is a little uncomfortable. The Ronald McDonald House is wonderful. Our room is themed from the cheesecake factory so is full of cakes and cupcakes and happy things. We have already found little gifts left outside our door ( I can't wait till my girls are old enough to understand what people have done for them), and have met many wonderful people. It's just a huge transition to go from all the comforts of your home to something like a hotel. We also don't have a car here with us which is I think the hardest thing for me. Going from being able to go wherever I want whenever I want, to having to use a shuttle to get back and forth to the hospital and not really going much of anywhere else is hard. Although my mom and I are working on figuring out some of the trains near us so that we can go out and about and do some fun things while we wait for the girls arrival.
Today we had another round of appointments. It was a little bit of a stressful day since I never know when they are going to make the call to deliver the girls. So every appointment is a guessing game at the moment. So this morning we went to something called a serenity session which was very nice. It was a way to connect with some other moms who are pregnant with babies that have different issues. And it is a way to connect with the psychologist and other staff members that co-facilitate. We do different relaxation techniques and make little crafty things. It is just a nice little quiet spot during the week. And then we had the ultrasound right after that, which went fairly well. The girls still have the same issue that I talked about last week. Abby's blood flow is still irregular and now there is some evidence of some cord entanglement. So they need to still keep a close eye but it isn't t the point where they want to deliver them yet. But they are anticipating that I won't make it past 30-32 weeks, if I even make it there. (I am 27w2d right now) I know we serve a BIG God who is BIGGER than any blood flow issue and any cord entanglement and I am just waiting to see what his plan is for these two little girls.
We also met with the anesthesiologist and the neonatologist. Both were extremely helpful in explaining how delivery is going to go for both myself and the girls. They answered a lot of questions and put me much more at ease about the whole thing. We even found out that those who are going to be involved on the girl's teams when they are born are going to be going through some simulations next week with dolls that are being made to look exactly like our girls which is really cool. So they will be ready and prepared for almost any situation that may arise with them.
And then found out that I may actually have preeclampsia. I have had some pretty extensive swelling in my hands and feet over the past week or so and my blood pressure was also a little on the high side today. So they took some blood and will be running some labs and they will have me back on Tuesday to check me out again and see what my blood pressure is doing and what other things are doing to determine if I actually do have preeclampsia or if it is just another fun side effect of having twins.
I just wanted to also say a quick thank you to those of you who have donated to help with this whole situation with our girls. Your generosity has gotten us back and forth to the hospital several times over the past few months. And plane tickets were not cheap. It has also helped us pay for lodging and food and is now helping me as I am away from my husband and not able to work. We still have no idea what some of the medical bills will look like down the road and so we know that it is going to be a great help then as well. Riley and I truly believe that we are blessed beyond measure to have so many caring people in our lives and around our lives. It really is because of you guys that our girls have been given a chance. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and pray the God blesses you all more than you can imagine.
We also very much appreciate your prayers! This transition makes everything incredibly real for us and my nerves are really starting to settle in. So please pray for peace in this whole thing. Pray for Riley as he is home and not able to be here at appointments. He is terrified that he will miss them being born so just pray for his peace of mind. Pray for my parents as my mom is here with me and my dad is home in NC and being apart is never easy. Pray for the rest of our families as they have to watch and wait from afar which is always difficult. And pray for our girls, that God's will, will be done. That these two little girls will be healthy and happy. That their blood flow gets better so that they can keep growing and have no other complications on top of being conjoined. We already love them so much and are so excited to meet them and hold their tiny hands.
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!