The day after we came home, my mom insisted on having a birthday party for my son (a week early), because she was heading to Ohio during his actual birthday the following weekend. I tried to rest, but I, of course, had to come out to sing happy birthday and be with him. He was so unsure about what was going on, and it was hard for him that I couldn’t play with him or pick him up anymore. There were nights when he would snuggle in bed with me, then start kicking or pushing on my belly. He just wanted his mommy back.
When we went for a follow-up ultrasound the week after surgery, Baby B still did not have a visible bladder and she still had little fluid around her. Baby A looked great! Dr. MFM was concerned, so I was to come back in 3 more days for another ultrasound.
Three days later, Baby B finally had a visible bladder! We were thrilled that she was making progress, however she was still much smaller than her sister.
The following weekend was our toddler’s actual third birthday. We had a party planned for our family, and I tried to relax as much as possible as he opened monster trucks. He had a nice birthday and really enjoyed his presents and monster truck cake, specially made by Papa.
That Monday, our toddler had an appointment for his 3-year check-up about an hour after my appointment with Dr. MFM, so my dad came up and brought me to my appointment so my husband could leave work to pick up our toddler from the sitter’s and bring him to the pediatrician.
Dr. MFM again came in during the appointment. He was concerned about the size difference between the babies, and he initially said that he wanted to send me to the hospital for monitoring and likely delivery. Luckily J, the ultrasound tech, mentioned that she saw signs of breathing and movement during the ultrasound, so Dr. MFM loosened his stance a bit. He stated that he thought that the girls would need to be delivered within the next two weeks. Baby B’s kidneys were also enlarged. I was so upset. My dad held my hand as I cried and asked what we needed to do, because the babies were only 27 weeks. I knew we had a long way to go in order to have healthy babies. Dr. MFM provided no additional support. He just explained “the facts” like a robot.
Dr. MFM said, “Well, if you deliver now, you’ll have two very sick babies. However, you can choose to keep the pregnancy going and focus on getting Baby A here safely and forget about Baby B.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was flooded with emotion, and I couldn’t wrap my head around what he was saying. Forget about Baby B? Just move forward with the pregnancy, knowing that I might just have one baby at the end? It was so hard to even imagine.
I left that appointment sad and confused, but I made it to the pediatrician’s office for my toddler’s well-visit. I briefly told my husband what Dr. MFM said, and we just could not make sense of it. So I called Dr. OB, who returned my call and tried to clarify that if there is a problem with Baby B becoming growth-restricted, it would be safer for her health for the babies to be delivered than for her to continue in utero. He answered my important NICU questions. The local hospital has a Level II NICU, but a baby must weigh at least 1000 grams in order to be able to stay in that NICU. He spoke with the neonatologist, who said that if one of the girls is OK and able to stay in the local NICU, but one had to be transferred to APHC in Orlando, they would try to make sure that BOTH babies would be transferred (if they were stable), so that we would have both of our babies in one place. Having a child in the NICU is difficult. The only thing more difficult would have been having two children in two different NICU’s in hospitals an hour apart.
Dr. MFM was going out of town, so we were unable to chat with him for another two weeks. I would still be seen in his office, but I would see doctors from one of the other office locations. Dr. MFM also wanted me to receive a second round of steroid injections to ensure the babies’ lungs matured at birth. I was told I had to have the injections the following week at the hospital. However, when I came back the following week, the new doctor who we saw said that everything looked fine. He was happy, kind, and even joked with us. He did not want me to receive the steroid injections, because it looked like the babies were able to stay put…but I had already had the first injection the night before, so I needed to get the second one anyway. Apparently, a pregnant woman can only receive the steroid injections twice, no more, during each pregnancy. Plus, they were only effective for a few days, so if the babies weren’t born pretty soon, the shots would be ineffective AND I would not be able to get them again.
We were just happy that Baby B finally looked good, and we hoped that this meant she would continue to grow and be healthy and stay put until the end of the pregnancy. Her kidneys were still enlarged, and we were told again that it was just something that they would keep an eye on during the pregnancy and after she was born. She had fluid around her, so it appeared that her kidneys were working. We were never under the impression that it would be a big deal at all.
To read about the rest of our TTTS journey, click here.