December 24, 2008

Update - Gina and twins

Greetings Friends and Family,

First off, I want to say thanks for all your prayers!

We've had so much support from people all over the country. I sent an email out to friends and family and that email was then forwarded on to their friends and family. My phone number was on the email and I've received a dozen calls or so from strangers across the country saying they were praying for us.

For those who have not heard, Gina was discharged by her doctor on Saturday to remain on bedrest. The other group of perinatalogists (the ones we don't trust) tried to have her discharged earlier, without consulting her physician first. She's been resting since she's been home and taking oral antibiotics.

We went to see Dr. Chavira yesterday and could see both babies were alive with solid heartbeats. Baby B had only 1.4 cm of fluid in his sac, while Baby A had around 6 cm. Next week she will go back for a more in-depth ultrasound with measurements and so forth. Gina will, then, be readmitted to St Joseph's the first week of January so the babies can receive steroids to increase growth in their lungs. She'll remain there until the babies are delivered. I've been told that this time will be very trying on our family. With two little ones at home I will definitely have my hands full! I'm still trying to figure out how I'll be able to visit her during her stay. It's all really overwhelming right now, as you can imagine! Having had the last two weeks of December off from work, has helped quite a bit.

It's all a very humbling experience and has increased our trust and dependence on God. One lady from San Diego sent us a relic of St Gerard Majella, after hearing from a priest friend in New Jersey. We've been praying for St Gerard's intercession from day one and hope that he will obtain the miracle we ask for. But, again, we are willing to accept whatever God has planned for our babies. We completely submit to His Will.

Thanks again for your prayers. We'll continue to keep you in ours. Fortunately, Gina has been able to receive the Blessed Sacrament every day, since she's been home. I also want to thank your for remembering Gina and the babies in your intentions at Mass.

God bless you this Christmas. I hope the Infant Child brings much peace and happiness to you and your family.


December 20, 2008

Email Response from Archbishop Chaput

Dear Ryan,

Thank you for writing. I promise prayers for Gina and your babies and also, of course, for you. This is a very difficult time. From what you write, you certainly have shown courage and a Catholic spirit. Good for you. Please be sure to let Bishop Olmsted know of your experience at St. Joseph ’s Hospital.

I promise ongoing prayers. Please let me know what develops.

May the Lord give you peace.

December 19, 2008

Status of Gina and Twins

Greetings Friends and Family,

I just wanted to let you know the status of Gina and the twins. If you haven't already heard, Gina, who is 20 weeks pregnant with twin boys, had her water break Tuesday night (12/16). She, at first, went to a hospital that was not equipped to handle perinatal high risk care. She was then transferred to St Joseph's Hospital, which has one of the best perinatal high risk units in Phoenix. After reviewing the ultrasound, the doctors determined that one of the sacs was ruptured. Baby B, which is behind the presenting baby, has a severe decrease in amniotic fluid. In fact, at today's ultrasound we could see that there was no fluid in the sac. Baby B did have fluid in his stomach, kidneys, and bladder, which means he's ingesting fluid from somewhere. The problem is that the fluid he urinates is leaving the sac through the tear, or so it appears, and he is not able to ingest much of that fluid. It's likely that there may be a small amount of fluid in the sac that was not picked up by the ultrasound. The sac seems to be closing in on him and will, eventually, limit his movement, which will then restrict his lungs from reaching their full capacity. We've been told the boys are not viable, at this time, outside the womb. So we would hope Baby B could hold on for, at least, 4 more weeks. At that point, they will be given steroids to help the development of their lungs.

Ideally, it would be wonderful if the sac could somehow close again, like a scab over a cut. But, honestly, it would take a miracle for that to happen. This, we all know, is well within the power of God. There's another problem, though. The doctors think that an infection could be the cause of the ruptured sac. If this is so, then Gina would show signs of the infection, i.e. fever, cramping, soreness. She has, so far, none of these symptoms.

Scenarios: If Baby B has an infection, then he will have to be delivered. Sadly, that would mean Baby A, who is in a healthy environment with plenty of fluid, but also blocking the exit, would have to be delivered, too. They would both be unable to survive. If Baby B has an infection and is not removed through delivery, Gina would become septic and the lives of the boys and mother would be in jeopardy. Another scenario would be Baby B does not survive and has no infection. In that case, he would remain where he is and be delivered after Baby A has fully developed. But we do not want to leave a boy behind. We want each baby to make it to a point where both of them can be delivered and be viable. At minimum, that would be the 24 week mark...4 more weeks. Right now, both boys are alive and are not showing signs of distress.

What we'd like from you is many many prayers. Please pray for the little boys and for Gina. It's very stressful for us hearing news giving us glimpses of hope and then finding out Baby B is nearly empty of fluid. I also want you to know that we are not naive. We are preparing for and expecting the worst, but hoping for the best in this situation. We know that God, in His Mercy, has a plan for our babies. We may not like the outcome, but we are ready to accept the Holy Will of God...either way. On the other hand, God may grant us the miracle that we are asking for.

One last thing...the first hospital we went to told us that they would not be able to help the babies, since they did not have a perinatal unit. They said we could miscarry the babies and they would give us comfort care, consisting of warm blankets and allowing us to hold the babies until they passed. We demanded to be transferred as soon as possible to another hospital. Gina and the boys were then transferred to St Joseph's, where the perinatologist surgeon alluded to the option of going off campus and terminating the pregnancies. You can imagine how shocked we were to hear that at a Catholic facility. We then requested a consult from a Catholic physician, Dr William Chavira. Dr Chavira was very compassionate and Gina and I feel very confident in trusting him with the care of Gina and the boys. It also helped that he spoke our "language" regarding our view on life issues. He also said this morning that last night he had dinner with Bishop Olmsted and the Bishop will pray for Gina and the boys.

I've included here holy priests that Gina and I pray for daily and deeply respect. We would like you to keep us in your prayers, too. If possible, we would like you to remember the little boys in your intentions at the Altar and to offer a Mass for them. This would be the greatest gift that we could give them in their time of need.
Please remember that you are all in our prayers. We also wish you well in these last remaining days of Advent and hope that the coming of our Saviour brings much peace and joy to you and your families.

God bless you.