“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”
~ Linda Grayson
Everyone needs extra moral support to get through tough situations. Dave has been my rock of support for the past several weeks…mark that – years. But this time, he had to stay in Oklahoma to work and take care of the kids. I drove to Dallas on Thursday afternoon for my appointments on Friday. I am one lucky lady, though. Reason number 1. Because I have Dave and my family. Reason number 2. Because I have my friends. Paula and I have been friends since the first day of college. We were suite mates. She is one of those friends that though time goes by, and communication may be forgotten, friendship is not. When we get back together, not a day has passed since the last time we saw/spoke to each other, but we have more stories to share, and typically big news to update each other on. Our friendship is a comfortable one, and for me, it is a comforting one. She requested to go to my appointments with me, as she knew Dave had to stay in OKC, and I would be going alone. She told me I needed an extra set of ears.
I am glad to say, though, that my first appointment of the day with the maternal-fetal specialist was exactly what it has always been – uplifting, encouraging - and it was surprisingly almost normal. As normal as an appointment to monitor the progress of conjoined twins can be. The ultra-sound images showed my two sweet babies, both weighing approximately 1lb. 3oz. which is exactly on target. The dr. tracked down both sets of hands and feet (which is a task in itself!). He measured their brain structures, determined that they still had their little-boy parts, and that they had 4 chambers in their hearts as well as an aortic arch among other things. While he was looking at their hearts, I asked about the ventricular megaly. I was worried about it, but he had not mentioned anything while measuring the first baby’s brain. The first baby he measured was supposed to be the one with the “issue.” He went back, took another measurement to show me what was being measured and explained that for there to be a concern with ventricular megaly, the measurements would have to exceed 10mm. Baby ‘A’ was measuring at 6.5 on one side and 7 on the other. After he finished Baby ‘A’s measurements, he began Baby ‘B’s – he measured a 10.5 on one side and an 11 on the other; however, the dr. assured me that we are speaking of millimeters, and that he was still convinced that it was due to the scoliosis of the spine. He showed Paula and me the spines, both had slight curves – no bends – to them, simply because they could not achieve fetal positions. Once the spines are able to move freely, it will relieve the pressure, and the fluid will be able to drain appropriately.
My second appointment of the day was with the OB who would deliver my babies. Typically, he does not work on Friday’s, but he came in specifically to meet me because he knew I was travelling from OKC. He explained that in his department, they only deliver high risk pregnancies, whether it is the mother who is high risk, or the infants. The most typical problems that newborns have are heart defects, followed closely by neural tube defects, which is an opening in the spinal cord or brain. I asked about the prevalence of conjoined twins. “We get about one set of conjoined twins a year.”
“So we are your set of twins for 2013.”
“Yes, you are.”
I asked him about the job specifics of the maternal fetal specialist as opposed to him, and basically what I can gather is that a maternal-fetal specialist does the imaging and care for the babies, whereas he would be monitoring MY progress, weight, glucose levels, etc.
I had asked the maternal fetal specialist about the approximate date that we were trying to reach for delivery, and he indicated he would like to make it to 36 or 37 weeks, but that if that were not possible, we would take what we can get. I discussed this with the dr, and he agreed and added that the boys will be the ones who decide when it is time – we are not in control. At this point, Paula asked what would happen if I were to go into labor early – would I have to deliver in Oklahoma and then transport the babies here? The Dr. responded with an ‘Absolutely not. We will fly to you and bring you back.’ At that point, he provided the air transport number.
After much discussion, he had to leave to catch a flight, and we visited with his nurse, who, by the way is AMAZING. She went over my medical history, and then asked if we had any more questions. We talked about delivery and that each boy would have his own team of specialists – neonatal nurses, respiratory specialists, etc. There would be at least 15 people in the room to take care of my babies once they arrive. “You are in the right place, and we are excited to be able to take care of you and these boys. Your boys have a very high chance of success.”
On our way out, they provided parking vouchers for us, asked me the date and time of my next set of appointments, and told me that they would send me an itinerary via email. The nurse also told me not to worry about lunch, they would provide meal tickets for us for the café on site so we wouldn’t have to leave and come back.
I left feeling like Dave and I had made the right decision. We were being taken care of. Our boys would be taken care of. And that is a good feeling.
My next set of appointments in Dallas are on May 2nd. I will be seeing the maternal fetal specialist, followed by the delivery dr. The childlife specialists (counselors) will be coming to speak with me about how to tell Ethan the logistics of the twins (as I have not told him the specifics about the twins yet – he only knows there are pretty big concerns. I told him that they were going to look different. His sweet little curiosity wanted to know if they were going to have the same color skin.). Once we have visited with them, we will have lunch and return for an appointment with the pediatric cardiologist to get a better look at the twins’ little hearts.
Paula and I had a very short, but very good visit, and all-in-all, I am grateful that she volunteered to go with me. In addition, because she lives in Carrollton (just north of Dallas proper, and only 20-ish minutes from the hospital), she has offered to allow me to not only stay with her for my doctor’s appointments, but also to move in on a short-term basis if our house doesn’t sell in time. I honestly have no idea why I have such generous and amazing friends, but I am so grateful for them.