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fetal echo part 2

I have to admit, this image is pretty shocking. We had an ultrasound two days ago and even though the girls were facing my back again, the tech was able to capture some breathtaking images of our girls. This isn’t exactly how I thought they were going to look, but still makes me really happy that I can finally see their sweet faces. The best part? They are smiling! And I’ve decided that Willow is the one on the left and Evangelene is on the right. They both kept touching their faces but Evangelene is the one who wanted her arm in most of the pictures. She seems to be saying, “gee wiz mister!”

April 5th, 2019:

The drive to our fetal echo cardiogram at UCLA only took about 3 hours or so, one of our fastest trips yet. Thank God because my back cannot stand it. In almost all of our appointments though, from ultrasounds to the fetal echo, there is always a new doctor or med student who wants to observe our girls. I really don’t mind, if my pregnancy can be used as a learning tool to maybe help future pregnancies like mine, then the more the merrier. But this time my original physician Dr. Holliman from the OBGYN clinic at UCLA is back for good and will be with us during delivery, along with Dr. Datkhaeva, maybe our cardiologist, and another doctor from the NICU. Along with I’m sure many nurses and technicians, and possibly other doctors to assist as well. But the echo was similar to our first one, accept the girls were not cooperating. They were breach again and facing my back. After some time the doctor was able to find a clear view of their heart, with much prodding and changing positions. The conclusion is that the heart beat itself is steady and sounds normal and there’s no accumulation of fluids. Their heart has a few holes, and the left ventricle is still moderately small. Basically nothing has changed since the first echo, which is good news. They are also still not candidates for surgery, I’m assuming since they are conjoined their anatomy is very different than if it was just one child with similar heart problems. 

After the echo we had a tour scheduled with Dr. Datkhaeva and another doctor from the NICU. We toured part of the 5th floor of the Ronald Reagan hospital to check out the NICU. Its a very large hospital with tight security, so there’s lots of people walking around while others are crashed out in chairs and couches waiting to hear about their loved ones. What struck me was the sterile smell, which is something I’m just going to have to get used to. The NICU itself is a long hallway of “pods” as they call them, that can hold up to 4 mothers in each with a nurses station adjacent. These pods are just oval cutouts in the wall with equipment for the babies (like those clear plastic incubators you see on TV with holes to put your arms in), and a chair for the mom or dad, but there is no door just a large opening. I do feel good that the nurses are so close. At the very end of the hallway is a room we couldn’t enter, which is where I will be having the c-section. In another hallway are private rooms for the mother, partner, and baby. I will be staying in one of those rooms, the daunting question is for how long. Being there made everything very real and slightly overwhelming.   

April 17th, 2019:

This was our last ultrasound at the prenatal center. It’s bitter sweet because it’s one less appointment I have to go to, but I am truly going to miss Dr. Lin and her team. She is one of the most genuinely caring doctors I have ever met. She and her team were also the one’s who made the initial discovery that we were having conjoined twins, and they always made sure that we had plenty of ultrasound pictures to take home. As far as the ultrasound went, the girls were upside down this time and facing my back. Their measurements are in normal range but there is a lot of fluid in my uterus. Since there are two babies sharing the same placenta this could be normal, giving them plenty of room to swim around. Or they aren’t swallowing enough of the fluid, which makes sense because of how their mouths are attached together. There’s really nothing I can do at this point, accept pray that it doesn’t cause me to go into preterm labor.

I can sense the end of my pregnancy is coming, and I have to say I am afraid. I have never been more afraid of anything else in my life. Its not just the anticipation, but the more crucial question of whether or not the girls are going to make it. And for how long? How long will the girls have to stay in the hospital? Will we be able to take them home? And I worry about being away from my daughter, we are so attached and have never spent a night apart. But I know she will be fine with my mom, and she will adjust to all of the changes, just like I will.

All I can do for now is just take things as they come and not worry about what hasn’t happened yet, because the future is so fluid and can literally change at any moment. Its miraculous the girls have made it this far, by all accounts they shouldn’t be here at all because their umbilical cord has defects. They surprise me every day with their kicks and jabs and have so much spunk. I still can’t believe I get to be their mom.

Stay tuned for more about our journey. 

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