Thursday, February 10, 2011

Our Baby Girls Are Here!!

Britian's hand grasping my finger
At 26 weeks and 5 days, on February 9th, 2011 at 9:37pm and 9:38pm respectively, Britian Dorothy Mae and Jillian Elaine Marie entered this world ready for the fight of their life.

Before I tell their story, I first want to thank all the prayer warriors that have lifted my girls and I up in prayer. They have the fight of their life ahead of them and can still use your continual thoughts and prayers.

Now for their story: At approximately 4pm on Wednesday 2/9 after a long day running errands I realized that I had not felt either girl move all day and could not remember them moving on Tuesday the day before either. I have been battling a head and chest cold and not been moving a lot myself so it didn't even cross my mind about their movement on Tuesday. When I laid down to count their kicks at 4pm on Wednesday I didn't feel anything, not even a hint of movement. Now I have to tell you that I am normally the type to talk myself out of these early pregnancy concerns. Even with this pregnancy I have talked myself out of other concerns I had and not called my OB, nothing to this scale, but more along the lines of contractions and nausea etc. Wednesday though those thoughts never even crossed my mind, I simply called knowing that not feeling them move at all was a real reason for concern. As I reflect upon this simple decision more, I know it was God telling me it was the right thing to do. He gave me the knowledge and confidence that I was doing what I needed for my girls.

Britian Dorothy Mae
By the time I got ahold of my doctor's office it was just after 5pm and they had just switched over to "after hours". So I was sent to labor and delivery at our local hospital where I would have delivered normally at full-term; about a 40 minute drive from my house in the country. My husband and I arrived at L&D just after 6pm. Shortly after 6pm my girls were on the ultrasound to check for heart rate and movement. Honestly, this was as far as I was expecting my L&D adventure to go. They were alive so all was well. I couldn't have been farther from the truth. After monitoring their heart rates for a while the realized that Britian was not having variations in her heartrate, known as accelerations and decelerations. Her heart rate tracing was a flat line compared to Jillian's tracing which was more of a typical wavy line with accels and decels. They gave me some oxygen hoping to wake up Britian. No luck.

Jillian Elaine Marie
After seeing no change in Britian's heart rate the bigger and more advanced ultrasound machine was called up to check on the girls. Most notably from that u/s was that Britian had a ton of fluid around her in her amniotic sac and also had a huge bladder and possible kidney issues. Jillian on the other hand had little to no fluid around her. Although at the time diagnosis' were not given, it now appears that within 2-3 days my girls had developed acute twin-to-twin transfusion. 3 weeks prior they were otherwise fine and I think it was only within the past 2-3 precious days because my belly discomfort shot through the roof in that time period. I simply thought it was because they were going through a growth spurt, but I now know it was because of all the fluid in my belly. In 3 weeks my fundal height increased 11cm, I was 38cm when I delivered last night. 3 weeks prior I was only 27cm.

Britian and Mommy
Because of Britian's combined conditions the OB on call made the tough decision to deliver my girls. Later she told me that even minutes before surgery she was still questioning her decision. However, once she cut into me she knew she had made the right decision and even thought that she should have rushed me to surgery and hour or more before when she actually did. As she cut into the amniotic fluid shot to the ceiling, there was so much and under so much pressure. Also, ironically on the heart rate tracing Jillian "looked" better but in reality she was and still is the more critical of the two. She did not have a heart beat for the first 20 minutes of her life and received CPR for about the first 45 minutes of her precious life. Britian on the other hand "looks" more developed. She was very swollen with fluid at birth. Her belly was basically one huge oval whereas her sister was just all skin and bones. Now, almost 24 hours after birth her swelling has gone down and she resembles Jillian much more. Both girls' eyelids are still fused shut which is odd. Fused eyelids is more of a 23-weeker characteristic, at 26-weekers their eyes should have opened by now. At approximately 1:30am CST the girls were driven by ambulance from the hospital we delivered at to the closest level 3 NICU, nearly 2 hours from our home. There was concern that Jillian would not survive the drive but thankfully she did.

Jillian's hand grasping my finger
Early this morning, 2/10 I got a call from the girls' on call NICU Dr. saying that Jillian had crashed and was not doing well at all. She was at basically room air oxygen saturation but suddenly crashed and had low blood count as well as low blood pressure. They wanted to know when I would be able to get to see them, there was extreme urgency because Jillian may not be alive for much longer. At this time my OB post partum staff went into over drive. After waiting for insurance approval and receiving a few updated vaccines myself I was loaded into a transport ambulance and brought here to be with them and finish my own recovery.

In an answer to prayers Jillian was alive when I arrived. To date she has received a few blood transfusions and will probably continue to do so because of low hemoglobin. She is also being treated for low level jaundice. Britian will most likely get the bili lights at some point too because a preemie with out a touch of jaundice at some point is almost unheard of. I have been to see the girls quite a bit today along with my husband. I have been able to touch them both, what a blessing that has been. They both seem to be responding to my voice as well, Britian more so than her sister but Jillian is still fighting harder than Britian so her less movement is understandable.

Jillian covered with saran wrap over her to keep her skin hydrated
Blessings for today include: they have both survived (almost) their first 24 hours (we are 1.5 hours away from 24 hours post delivery). Also, preliminary scans of Jillian's head is not showing any bleeding which was a huge concern earlier today.

Britian's bladder and kidneys are still larger than normal but she is peeing a good deal as well. She may have urinary reflux. But in contrast to everything else that could be wrong with her, I will take renal surgery down the road compared to the alternatives

On a personal side of this event I had a vertical c/s incision because of the emergency surgery. Also, I was put to sleep instead of receiving an epidural. During surgery I woke up, it felt like coming out of a deep sleep dream. I could feel my OB tugging on my belly, I couldn't talk because of the breathing tube down my throat, and worst of all I could hear the OR staff counting CPR compressions on my baby Jillian. Knowing how fragile how she was that caused an immediate sense of panic but I couldn't do anything about it. I started shaking my head and gagging on the breathing tube to let the OR staff know that I was waking up. I heard them call the anesthesiologist over to give me more medicine. At 11pm I woke up from surgery.

Again, I want to thank everyone who is praying for my girls. The outpouring of love, prayers, and well wishes has been overwhelming. It will be a very long road for my little girls, but I am hopeful that they will continue to improve.

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  1. I have been praying for you, and will continue to pray. I was so relieved when I saw you were going to be writing a post, and that both of the girls had made it through the day.

  2. Lex, I cannot imagine what you went through last night. You are such a strong woman! We will continue to pray for Jillian and Britian and the rest of the Mathews crew! Thank you for the update and I look forward to more great news in the days to come!

  3. Praying!!! Have been since we heard about it this morning!

  4. Praying tonight for your beautiful baby girls.

  5. I myself had twins that were born at 26 1/2 weeks via emergency c-section. My daughter Izy decided that she was ready to come out and pushed her hand/arm out at home. My daughters were 1.15 and 2 pounds. They spent ten weeks in the NICU. Izy had a level one brain bleed. Both girls have functioning heart murmurs. The girls spend several weeks on oxygen. The picks you posted remind me very much of the pics from when my daughters were first born. It is very hard to leave them at the hospital day after day. Know that it does get better but you just have to take it a day at a time and be happy for the little celebrations. My girls now are almost two and I couldn't ask for my daughters to be any more perfect. What you are facing is difficult but will be just a memory when all said is done. The health of my daughter is due to the doctors and nurses who took care of them. The love that my husband and I gave them and still do. Also the love and support and prayers we received from friends and family. I know I am a mere stranger but if you need to talk to someone who has been through what you are going through, please feel free to contact me. You can find me on face book.
    Melissa Montejano

  6. Oh hon. There just aren't words...
    My prayers are with you, I am praying for those 2 precious lives. Praying for comfort for you as well. I am in tears. Praying to our heavenly Father to wrap you all up in His arms and love on you.

  7. Hi a friend on facebook sent me a link to your blog. I am a mother of 2 surviving triplets. My identical boys had acute TTTS around 26 weeks. We held out to 28 weeks when we delivered. I will be praying for your girls. I kept a blog about my experience as well.

    There is a facebook support group that has a bunch of great ladies on it in all stages of their TTTS experience. Pregant, delivered, NICU, Angels etc.!/home.php?sk=group_106990462706500

    If you have any questions about anything I would be glad to talk, you can look me up on FB

    There is also a great book that a friend of mine wrote about micro preemies that explains all the NICU stuff to make it make sense, Not sure what your background is but I really loved this book. It was not published until after my boys were our of the NICU but I bought it anyway. It is called the Preemie Primer by Dr. Jennifer Gunter they sell it on Amazon.

    It is in digital and book format

  8. Alexis, I'm crying as I look at your sweet babies and so badly want to hug you! I know your Mommy heart must be hurting so much. We are praying for you all and your precious daughters.

  9. You don't know me but my heart goes out to you. I am the mother of identical twins too. I haven't been where you are and I can not even begin to imagine what you are going through. I thought it might help you to know that there are may TTS support groups and sites available to you. There are probably groups in your area. Here is a link to a site I found that offers support for TTS.

  10. Alexis, I followed a link to your blog from a friends Facebook Status. Your girls are absolutely precious and such miracles :) I just wanted to stop by and let you know that we are keeping your family and especially those precious girls in our prayers. I truly believe in miracles, my son is one :) I pray that God's hand will be placed on each of your daring girls and each one will grow and flourish and do amazing things! Much love to your family.

    Kelli Morton

  11. Your post has given me a few flashbacks to when our TTS twin boys were born. I am praying for all of you.

  12. Stopping by from the Crew to give you my prayers. I pray God keeps his hand on your family during this trial and that your girls come through this beautifully in the end. So happy to see the pic of your daughter holding your hand. Thank the Lord your doctor made that call. Wishing I could hug you and be a comfort for you all. Your daughters have one heck of a mommy stay strong and take care of yourself.

  13. Alexis,
    You and your husband are in my prayers as you take the steps necessary to help those beautiful little girls. Thinking of you all constantly.

  14. Praying for those precious babies and for you and your husband. TOS Crew

  15. I'm also stopping by from the Crew to let you know that I'm praying for you, your family, and those two precious little girls. I know without a doubt that God works miracles in the NICU -- mine just turned five.

  16. Praying for you, your husband and your precious little girls. God is in control even when it seems to be chaotic. Praying for you fervently.

  17. Alexis, I wanted you to know I am praying for your entire family! I've never had babies in NICU but I know it will be hard for everyone. Praying for strength, peace and unity for you all ... and health for you and your twin girls!

    April E. from the Crew

  18. Alexis,
    Your story is amazing! It is good to hear both girls are doing well considering everything. They both seem like fighters. God is good and you will be in my prayers.

  19. Alexis, I have had 2 babies both born prematurely (though now as early as your sweethearts) and I know the fear you have. Please continue to have faith and know that you have many people praying for you. <3

  20. My family and my small group will be praying for you and your children. I can't imagine your situation, but the Lord is there for you and will be with you and your husband with His Strength and His love and support. What a wonderful story of God's protection.

  21. Praying for your precious girls.

  22. Visiting from the crew and thank you for a wonderful post letting us all know exactly how they are doing. I've never been where you are (I've had a NICU baby but not for these reasons). You and your family will be in my prayers and I'll keep looking for updates here as well as on the crew forum. Blessings be to God to put it in you to call your OB and the Dr to make the decision to go ahead and deliver. You'll have an awesome testimony to share about God and His miracles.

    God's Blessings be with you always and may His hands be upon the girls every step of the way.


  23. Alexis,
    I am a friend of Naomi's and have suffered three miscarriages and have been recently blessed with a baby girl. Saying this, your story hits home with me and I will be praying for you and those girls. I am in tears for you and pray God's peace and strength as you walk these days. I know that our Sunday School class is praying also.

  24. I just want you to know that My family and I will keep you all within our prayers! God has His hands over your new little angels...Blessings!!!

  25. Alexis, we are praying for Wholeness in Christ Alone for you and your sweet babies. Mindy B TOS Homeschool Crew

  26. Hi, you don't know me (I am Laura Leland's friend), but I wanted to wish you and your girls a lot of strength!!! Another friend of mine went through a similar experience - her boy was born at 21 weeks - and what a fight for life it was!!! So, I know a little bit of such journey. Best wishes and prayers to you and your girls! Many hugs!

  27. Your precious babies are in my prayers....and lifting you in prayer as well. I can tell by your post that you are an amazing and strong woman. Blessings and prayers.....


  28. Fellow crewmate here, praying for you and your precious babies in these critical hours and days ahead.

  29. Our sincerest prayers - praying so hard for you all!!! They will be fine, they will pull through!

  30. Hi Alexis: I meet you at Ambers GNI party back in 09. I heard about your girls via Mags and just wanted to let you know that we are praying for your girls, you and your family. I have sent a prayer request out and people have responded with prayers and concern. I know Heavenly Father will watch over you all and your girls will be a success story in the future!! God Bless you all.
    Danielle Keeline

  31. I'm here from the Crew, and am praying for your family! I had two preemies, so I know a little bit of what to pray for. ((hugs)) Take care of yourself so you can be there for the girls. God bless you!!!



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