January 29, 2009

Say "Cheese"!

An ultrasound Thursday showed the babies weighing about 29 oz each. That's a 9 oz gain from two weeks ago, which is well above the 10% per week that the doctors look for. It's still a few oz short of the magical 2 lb mark, which they prefer as a minimum birth weight. But if they keep it up, they should pass that up in just a few days.
The little guys move around so much, they're hard to pin down on the fetal monitor. We're supposed to record their heartbeats 20 minutes at a stretch twice a day, but it's a little like squeezing a bar of soap - slippery little buggars won't hold still. We're going to have our hands full with these two.
Thank you to all my visitors, it really brightens my day to have you. I can only crochet and play mahjong for so long before I start to go batty. The solitary confinement isn't too bad though, I just remind myself that this will be my last opportunity to rest... ever.

January 28, 2009

26 weeks and counting

The babies have a significantly better chance of surviving now, but I'll try to stay pregnant for another six weeks if I can.
The bleeding has stopped and all is as well as can be expected. It was pretty scary while it lasted; I'd never seen so much blood before - outside of the movies. I thought someone had put a horse head in my hospital bed, a la the Godfather. But it miraculously stopped after a few hours without any medical intervention. Otherwise, if I started showing signs of shock or anemia from the blood loss, we would have had to get the babies out by cesarian.
A few days later, an ultrasound did show a small
abruption on one placenta, but couldn't tell to which baby it belongs. We'll just assume it was twin B because he's usually the one causing trouble (he takes after his oldest brother). Another test on Monday showed that the blood flow in both cords is good, so the abruption did not cause significant damage.
Tomorrow we will have another ultrasound and measure the little guys to compare the measurements to the last growth study from two weeks ago. They're sure to have grown, with their appetite; I can't even talk about food without getting them whipped up into a frenzy (they take after their Momma there).
I toured the Nursery ICU last week, I imagine we'll become familiar with it soon enough. Those tiny little babies are so sweet, some of them younger than mine. Please add them to your prayers, they all have a long road ahead of them. One of them was taking a ride in a swing - or at least I assume so, all I could see was a tiny bundle of blanket and a pink tuft of a crochet hat

January 20, 2009

I was relocated to the Perinatal High Risk Unit this morning. Yesterday afternoon around 4 I started bleeding pretty heavily, possibly due to a partial placental abruption. Both babies are fine and the bleeding has slowed significantly, but the Peri unit offers a higher degree of monitering for myself and the babies. Also, it is located right beside the OR in case the bleeding gets out of hand and a cesarian extraction becomes necessary. That would, of course, be for my sake because, at this point, the babies are still at a very high risk of severe prematurity. So please pray that the bleeding stays under control and the babies can stay where they are for a few more weeks.
In related news, I find it ironic that in Obama's
inaugural address he expressed the belief that, "our nation relies...[on] a parent's willingness to nurture a child" (paragraph 27), especially when he's already announced his plans to the contrary: "The first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act" (Barack Obama before Planned Parenthood Action Fund, July 17, 2007).
For more obirony, see also
Imagine the Potential.

January 16, 2009

One week down, ___ more to go.

After one week in the hospital, things are still looking good. An ultrasound yesterday showed that both babies are growing and developing normally. In fact, Baby B, who has always been a little smaller than A, has caught up, apparently unaffected by the loss of fluid in his sack. Lung development is still a concern, especially for B, but I have already received a round of steroids to help them out with that. They are very active little boys, much like their older brothers.
Speaking of which, I have enjoyed several visits from my big boys, whom I miss very much and who somehow manage to grow and change between visits. They like riding my bed up and down, pushing all the buttons they can find, and have figured out where I keep my secret cache of snacks. John Paul has asked, “When will Mommy not have to live at the hospital anymore?” but Ryan is such a good father, their very best friend and personal superhero, so I know my boys are well taken care of and delighted to have him all to themselves…for now. In a few months it will be more like: “When can Mommy and the babies go back to the hospital?”
John Paul may not be the only one asking either; I’m trying not to get too used to this idleness, but I’m afraid it suits me all too well. I never had so much time to devote to resting and eating and doing all sorts of other things that aren’t important enough to make time for in real life. I have a private room, books, internet, all the food I can eat... I’m going to end up like the
700-pound man, they’re going to have to knock down walls to get me out of here.

January 11, 2009

24 weeks

By the grace of God, both babies are hanging on in there. One of the babies, "B", is without much water, but apparantly he is doing fine anyway: heartbeat, growth, etc - apparently he didn't get the memo. He may still have complications, primarily with his lungs, which is the first concern, but also with muscle contractures from being saran-wrapped and not able to stretch out very much - although there's lots of movement and stretching from both of them as far as I can tell. We'll know better once he's born, which we don't anticipate being too soon. I'm not really looking forward to the consult from the neonatologist, which I should get in the next couple of days. I imagine I'll be informed in gory detail of all the things that will likely or could possibly go wrong once they do deliver.

If something were to begin to happen to Baby B, especially before 28-30 weeks and depending on the specific complication, there may not be much to be done for him. Attempting a cesarian extraction probably wouldn't be of much help to him, and would put his brother at risk of severe prematurity - I guess it's the old "bird in the hand" thing. Of course we'd like to take them both home, or at the very least, get them to be able to receive the sacraments, even if that's all Baby B can manage after he's born.

Again, there's no reason to anticipate their arrival in the next few weeks unless I develop an infection. I'm in the habit of going on a killing spree with the hospital grade "kill-all" germicidal wipes every time I have to enter the bathroom, which I share with a roommate who has a viral stomach infection.

By the way, we do realize that the current names, "A" and "B", are very practical and impersonal but "a rose by any other name" you know, they're still my sweet little guys. However, you will all be happy to know that we do plan on giving them some real names eventually. There has been some discussion, but we haven't settled on anything - and probably won't until we get a good look at 'em. We welcome recommendations: good strong Catholic Saints' names.

So for now I'm just laying around in the hospital and trying to keep myself occupied until the babies come. I've got a laptop and my cell phone with me. I've also got books to read, right now Wife, Mother and Mystic a biography of Blessed Anna-Marie Taigi by Albert Bessieres SJ, then i'll move on to a biography of St. Gerard Magella, and my sister, Shana Metzger, is supplying me with the Twilight series (it's strictly research,- I teach teenaged girls ;). I've also got yarn to crochet and knit, sudoku to master, plus having to eat and go potty every hour, I keep pretty busy.

I am able to receive the sacraments, I can even attend mass in the chapel if I can coerce someone into wheeling me downstairs, so if there are any local volunteers, the Saturday vigil is at 4pm and weekday mass at noon.

I'd also like to thank the academy...
everyone who is helping Ryan out with meals and childcare during his single-fatherhood,
my father-in-law, Gene Iker, who is doing a great job teaching my classes this semester,
all of you who are praying for us, know that you are in our daily prayers as well,
and of course for my wonderful husband, who has been a pillar of strength during this time.

St. Gerard Majella Prayer for a Safe Delivery
O Great St. Gerard, thou hast been raised up by God as the Patron and Protector of expectant mothers. Preserve me from danger and from the excessive pains accompanying childbirth, and shield the children which I now carry, that they may see the light of day and receive the illustrious waters of baptism, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

January 09, 2009

St. Gerard Majella--Patron Saint of Expectant Mothers

Great article about St. Gerard and his handkerchief. It's fascinating how he became Patron of Expectant Mothers. Gina has his relic in the hospital room with her and we are daily asking for his intercession. Check this one out, too!

One more thing, please keep the hospital staff in your prayers, as well as Gina and the twins. Gina has been very fortunate to have had some wonderful nurses at St. Joseph's. Many fail to notice the amount of work they do that goes hidden to the world and the dedication they have for their profession.

Prayer for Doctors and Nurses
O merciful Father, who have wonderfully fashioned man in your own image, and have made his body to be a temple of the Holy Spirit, sanctify, we pray you, our doctors and nurses and all those whom you have called to study and practice the arts of healing the sick and the prevention of disease and pain. Strengthen them in body and soul, and bless their work, that they may give comfort to those for whose salvation your Son became Man, lived on this earth, healed the sick, and suffered and died on the Cross. Amen

St. Gerard, pray for us!

January 05, 2009

Gina back to hospital this week


Today Gina had an ultrasound and Baby B was measured with 2+cm of fluid. Quite an improvement! She will be admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital this Friday, 01/09, and will receive steroids to speed the development of the twins' lungs. They will be 24 weeks this week and will be considered viable. Of course, we still want them to stay put!

Please continue to pray for Gina and the twins.....Oh...and for me, too! Once Gina enters the hospital a new adventure will take place at the Iker house! It will be me and the boys (John Paul & Josef) roughing it, so to speak. I'll be propping the tent in the living room and we'll be eating hot dogs and smores for most evening meals. John Paul will love it, I'm certain!

Remember that you are all in our prayers. We're still hoping for a miracle, but are content with whatever God has planned.


January 01, 2009

22 1/2 Weeks

Family and Friends,

Happy New Year! First of all, thanks for all your prayers, support, and food! We're definitely benefiting...especially from the baked goods - Gina gained 5 lbs in 3 days.

Yesterday we had a comprehensive ultrasound, which showed that the boys are still growing and doing well. There's still a tear in the sac of Baby B, but some fluid was apparent. Baby A weighs approximately 15 oz and Baby B about 13 oz. The difference is not necessarily cause for concern; Baby B has always measured a little smaller than his brother.

Their growth is proportionate and the organs are developing correctly. It's always comforting to see their little hearts beating and that they aren't under any stress. At one point we caught Baby A trying to put his little toes in his mouth! He is such a little show-off for the camera!

Next Wednesday, Jan 7, Gina will be admitted to St. Joseph's hospital for the duration of the pregnancy. The babies will receive steroids to help their lungs develop better, in the event that they're born premature. However, the doctor doesn't see any reason why the boys shouldn't stay put for a good long while. Basically, if something bad were going to happen, it probably would have happened within the first 4 days after the water broke. The fact that it's been two weeks is a very good sign that we'll get to take two boys home in a few months.

Fr. John Muir came to the house today and celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. John Paul (3) helped prepare the altar, while Josef (17 mos) wreaked havoc before, during, and after Mass. Gina received the
Blessing of an Expectant Mother, and Fr. John blessed our house, including John Paul's Batcave.

Ryan is doing a wonderful job holding down the fort and taking care of everyone.

We hope you had a Merry Christmas and wish many blessings on you and your family in this New Year. You are in our prayers.

God bless you.