"To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art." - La Rochefoucauld

Friday, August 18, 2006

Thursday August 17, 2006

We wanted to give everyone a quick update. We had our weekly perinatal appointment yesterday and were given news that we were not expecting. Everything we have been hoping to avoid quickly became a reality. During our routine Doppler flow study, Ben’s umbilical artery began to show signs of reverse end diastolic flow. He has been holding steady the past 7 weeks with intermittent absent end diastolic flow, continuing to grow at his own pace, but these new findings have triggered some alarm among the doctors. Given these findings along with Danielle’s cervix showing some funneling/shortening, the doctors admitted us for around the clock monitoring at the U of M Birthing Center. They also decided to give Danielle steroids to expedite Ben’s lung development, in anticipation of a possible early delivery.

So, what does all of this diastolic flow talk mean? That is what we have spent the last few days trying to understand. From what we have discussed with the team of doctors, the reversal of the umbilical artery flow means that there is increased resistance in the placenta. This resistance restricts the blood flow to Ben from the placenta and seems to be the reason behind Ben’s slower growth pattern. We have been told that babies can sustain absent and even reverse end diastolic flow for weeks, so long as they continue to show activity and growth. Monitoring the baby’s heart rates and activity is now our primary focus.

My poor wife has become a science project; complete with monitors, wires, I.V and machines tracking the babies every move. The monitors are hooked up to Danielle’s belly 24 hours a day to keep close tabs on both Jake and Ben’s heart rate and overall activity. There is also a diode that detects contraction patterns. The docs are basically looking to see when there is a contraction and how each baby reacts. They are looking for decelerations in Ben’s heart rate upon contraction. Fortunately, Ben is hanging tough and continuing to flip and somersault like crazy. Unfortunately for Danielle, all of this movement is making the monitoring very difficult. The nurse on the midnight shift yesterday was in our room literally every 30 minutes looking for the heartbeats on Danielle’s belly. In order to find the heartbeat, she uses an amplified hookup that blasts their every movement through 2400 watts of surround sound. I may be exaggerating a little, but as I lay there and tried to sleep, I might as well been at a concert. I did manage to get a few winks in throughout the madness, but Danielle was unable to get any rest whatsoever.

Tomorrow we are scheduled for an ultrasound to check the Doppler studies of both the umbilical artery and the ductus venosus. The ductus venosus connects the left umbilical vein with the interior vena cava. It allows oxygenated blood from the placenta to bypass the liver and return to the systemic circulation for distribution to the rest of the body. We will post our results as soon as we can. We don’t have internet in our rooms so it may take us some time to find a good connection.

Friday August 18, 2006

Our ultrasound went as well as expected considering how active these boys are. Ben’s umbilical artery only gave us one reading showing intermittent reverse end diastolic flow, which is an improvement from yesterday. The majority of his reading showed absent end diastolic flow. We also tried to get a good reading on Ben ductus venosus. Ben would not cooperate for the ultrasound and decided it was playtime. We picked up a few readings that looked normal, so the doctor finally gave up and said “given his activity, finding this reading does not concern me at this time”. We think that is good news because we didn’t get a negative reading, which may become a decision-making finding for the doctors. So we bought ourselves another day. On Sunday we will be 27 weeks gestational age. Our goal right now is to make it to 28 weeks. Danielle continues to be monitored closely for heart rates and baby activity. Because of the findings today, the doctors have decided that 24 hour monitoring would not be necessary and have decided to get readings every 4-6 hours. Danielle is ecstatic because now she can get some shuteye.

I almost forgot to mention, but last night the chief resident came in to take a quick Bio Physical Profile test on the boys. This measures their movement, breathing, heart rates and overall activity. They both scored 8 out of 8! They are over achievers already.

We hope to keep you all up to speed over the weekend.

Kevin and Danielle.


Kara said...

Kevin and Danielle -

Thank you for the update. You are amazing people. Ben and Jake are strong and they will make it through this journey.

I am also so glad to hear that today's results were better. I hope that both of you are able to get some rest as I am sure you must be exhausted.

We continue to keep you and your boys in our thoughts and prayers.

Prayers and Hugs -


Amanda B. said...

I must also thank you for the update. Those boys continue to amaze me. I know what you are going through right now, must be a scary...but keep your heads up. We are all praying for you guys. Get some rest!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Danielle and Kevin,
Thanks for the update - I was thinking that something happened to take you away from your blog. We know how hospitals can be - no sleep - but just think you're getting practice for the real thing - when you bring your baby boys home! We're praying for all of you. Kalli and Alex

Anonymous said...

Hooray on some positive news!!I have soooo worried about the boys and I can;t wait to tell them how much you two have sacrifieced and the things you endured to make sure their health is secure! I can not imagine what it must be like for I did not have the advanced tech that is available to you. You two are very strong and are a great parents already! I am very positive that this adventure you must travel will conclude in a very happy event and a perhaps the strenght that you have gained will only aide you in the future of other events that will arrive...like the dent in the car that noone has a clue how it got there! Remember to breath in all the wonders that surround you, hold on to your passions and love big! Bless you both and may the rest of your journey come with few obstacles..Beso, Carolyn

Samantha said...

Kevin & Danielle,

I was wondering where you guys were!! I am sure everything will be fine- the boys sound like they are already keeping you guys up at night(-: Keep the faith. Everything will turn out fine in the end!!
Love ya!
Samantha,Marc Ashley and Michaela

jenny marie said...

You will soon end one journey and begin another, as parents of preemies. This will present it's own set of unique challenges, but ones that you are most certainly up for. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

Hi, guys:
These two boys are probably the luckiest kids in the world to have such incredible parents! They know this too and that's why they are always jumping and flipping cause they are so excited that God paired them with you!! You guys hang in there and call anytime you need to talk or need ANYTHING at all. The four of you are always on my mind and in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Kevin and Danielle,

Thanks for the update. We are thinking about you guys all the time. You are always in our thoughts and prayers. We love you and hope Danielle can get some rest.

Your strength amazes the both of us.

Jodi and Dave

denise said...

We're so glad that you all are doing better then the last I had heard. The boys are just giving you some trial runs to see how mom and dad will cope with practice for baseball, football, basketball, soccer and whatever else they can get to as if them aren't enough to tire the parents out.
Keep up the good job looks like your getting a head start and handling it well ,you just have to convince Ben and Jake that you passed the test.
Praying for you always

Rhonda said...

Kevin and Danielle,
We managed to hold on for 3 weeks after being admitted for daily monitoring. As miserable as hospital bedrest is, I hope you have an uneventful and LONG stay. Best of luck,
The Finberg family

jennifertttssurvivor said...

Hi there kevin and danielle, its me jennifer the ttts mom. I will be praying for you both and your boys. Kevin, bring that preemie book i sent to danielle to the hospital with you so you can have it available if and when the babies arrive, its a great reference and you can feel a little better prepared if need be. I wish the best for you both and will be watching for more information.

Anonymous said...

Hi Danielle and Kevin! This blogging thing is new to me, so here goes. The updates are great and I've been talking to Jeannette to keep informed. You two are absolutely amazing keeping up with all the med terms and all. I continue to pray for you and those angels you are nurturing. Keep up the good attitude. Can't wait to see those beautiful boys. Polish Hugs and Kisses, Mama "T"