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.
So when I first found out that I was pregnant with conjoined twins, I did a lot of research. I read about other sets who have been separated and the different procedures that they have been through. I had connected with different moms who had also had sets of conjoined twins and learned about what they went through. I looked at pictures and watched documentaries. I did everything I could to try and prepare myself for what was to come. Not to say that researching isn't a good thing, but as much as I thought it would help prepare me, it hasn't.
Nothing can prepare you for the incredible heartache that you feel when you see your child in pain and uncomfortable. And they haven't even had their surgery yet! Today was just a hard day that took and emotional toll on me.
Today we found out that the twins not only needed a blood transfusion, but that they had also (unrelated to the transfusion) had been exposed to a virus, and possibly had that virus.
We had been under precaution because of this virus that the girl might possibly have since Friday, which means that anyone who went into the girls little area needed to wear a gown, mask, and gloves. Now let me tell you when you spend 5-6 hours at your child's bedside you don't want to be sweating because you are wearing all that stuff, but it was something we had to do. I think the biggest thing I hated about it was that lots of people look at you funny as the walk by. They all wonder "what is going on in that area". You just have to look away and pay attention to your situation and not what you think everyone else is thinking.
So when I got to the hospital this early afternoon there was quite a bit of news for me. Erin had been showing a few symptoms of this virus and so they had two different tests done to see if she was positive or not but that the results hadn't come back yet, and also that the girls were going to get a blood transfusion because their hemoglobin levels were on the lower side and didn't seem to be getting any higher. So with all that being said we started getting the girls ready to get their IVs.
Me, being the mushy momma that I am snuggled with my babies before they had anything "poking into them". I also was keeping them nice and relaxed while everything got ready. Now when you think IV you think "eh, no big deal, you get a nasty pinch, but then you are done". Well when you are only 3 pounds and 5 weeks old (technically not supposed to be born for another month) you have super teeny tiny veins. So teeny and so tiny that even the catheter for the IV just makes it. So Erin was the easy one, she got stuck once, cried a bit, and then relaxed and was done. But Abby was a whole different story. Abby got stuck the first time and was a champ, and even was a champ for the second, third and fourth time, but after that she was inconsolable. She was a very loud, very unhappy little girl and it broke my heart because I remember full well what it felt like to be stuck with an IV numerous times since it had just happened to me a few short weeks ago. So then they stuck her again for the fifth time, and then the sixth time. And by this time, my emotions were wearing so thin. They had already had 3 different people try to get her and for some reason no one could. So after the seventh try I just needed a little break. I was stressed, needed to pump, and just felt emotionally exhausted from trying to be calm and soothing to my screaming tiny little girl. So I took a little break to go pump and recollect my thoughts and emotions. When I got back, thank the Lord they had gotten it, but it took 8 tries altogether. I can't imagine how sore her arms and legs must have been. It is miserable! And when I got stuck it was only 5 times, I couldn't imagine 8.
So not only was this all going on, but we still didn't have the results from Erin's labs yet. So I decided to hold the girls for a little bit while we waited for those to come back, and while we waiting for the blood to come up to start the transfusion. Those few minutes were so serene and nice. I wish we could have stayed in that moment the whole day. Abby took a wonderful nap and Erin was awake but very content to just look around and chat with me.
Erin's labs, thank goodness, came back negative. Because of that we were able to come off the precautions. So I could finally touch my little girls without plastic gloves on. They could finally feel a little bit of comfort by the touch of skin. That was a VERY happy moment for me. I could finally relax a little.
The blood eventually came and they set that all up but my poor Abby just was so not happy. She just cried and cried. She would relax for a few minutes, but then she would start again. I had to sneak out at almost 7 because I wasn't going to leave if I kept hearing her cry.
Leaving your child when you know they've had a day like today is almost torturous. You want nothing more in the world than to be there for them, to give them a source of comfort and love. And to leave them is almost overwhelming sometimes. But I remind myself "heather you have to eat, you have to sleep, and you have to shower." I wish I didn't have to do those things so I could be there with them all night long, but I just can't and it breaks my heart.
The other thing that breaks my heart is having to call my husband and tell him these things are going on, and hearing in his voice how much he wishes he could be here. I know he wishes he could be the one who gets to comfort and console the girls. To be super daddy and be there in their every moment of need. And it kills me to hear it in his voice. But he knows that someone has to work otherwise we won't have a home to go back to. And as it is we are barley making ends meet. Being in two separate places not only puts a toll on your family, but also on your finances. And it is by no means easy to have that burden on top of everything else going on. And Riley does such a fantastic job helping bear that burden. I couldn't ask for anyone better to be going through this with. He really was meant for me.
Again we thank you all for your prayers and support. Without it we would not be where we are today. It's a hard road but we are doing our best to keep moving.
We are thinking about making T-shirts in support of the girls. If you might be interested either leave a comment here or on the Facebook post. Just so I can see what kind of interest there might be before I start trying to make them. We are hoping they may offset some of our costs so that Riley would be able to visit more than just once a month for a weekend. Thanks a bunch!!!
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!