Friday, July 31, 2009

Growth & Going Home

We had an ultrasound today. The boys are growing great. Baby A is measuring 2 lb. 14 oz. and Baby B is 2 lb. 8 oz. Dr. Hendricks said this is actually ahead of schedule, so that makes us very happy. The fluid around the babies is larger than it has ever been. That's great news since Crystal is still on the medicine that can affect this.

Since the ultrasound was so good, things are still all set to go home tomorrow. That will be such a relief and we are both excited about sleeping in our own bed. We still have to finalize everything with upcoming appointments, medicines, prescriptions, etc. That shouldn't take a ton of time tomorrow. Kenny has emptied the hospital room and has everything all set to take home. Most of it will go home tonight and the rest tomorrow.

Needless to say, we are definitely excited and feel very blessed to have made it this far and being able to go home says a lot for how far we've come.

We're unsure of when our next post will go up because we don't have wireless at home and Crystal would look awfully funny trying to lie down at the desk to type up posts. We'll figure something out soon, though.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

27 Weeks, 7 Years, and 6+ Weeks

It’s been longer between post that we intended, but Crystal’s been wrapped up in books and Kenny’s been working hard. Here’s what we’ve been up to.

Restful day today. No changes.

Ultrasound – Babies look great with fluid at great levels and the closed part of Crystal’s cervix is lengthening (that’s good news). Dr. Austin said he’d like to send us home in 10 days!!!

What an eventful day! Crystal got full bathroom privileges today which included all potty breaks and a shower!!! Who new that could be so exciting!!! Kenny spent the afternoon fishing with a friend and his daughters. That was a nice break for him.

27 weeks!!! We even had a pseudo date night and enjoyed a movie together. Happy birthday Tennille.

Babies are moving around like crazy!!

Our 7th anniversary, officially 6 weeks in the hospital, and another ultrasound day. The ultrasound was positive and Dr. Austin is pleased with what he was seeing and is still confident that we will be able to go home August 1st as long as the difference between the two babies doesn’t exceed 30%.

For our anniversary, Kenny brought up dinner, ice cream, and some beautiful yellow roses. He also arranged for a manicure and pedicure for Crystal on Thursday. Like we’ve blogged many times, he is amazing!!!

Crystal finished the Narnia series today. Who new she could read all day long?

Another glucose test – yuck!! Crystal passed it, though, so no finger pricking or insulin shots for the rest of the pregnancy. Lots of visitors today and Kenny brought Carrabba’s up for dinner. Yummy!!

Another ultrasound today. They were supposed to do the growth of the babies today, but somehow the paperwork got messed us, so we aren’t able to do it until tomorrow. That’s okay, though because Kenny will be able to go now.

Today is also manicure/pedicure day. Crystal greatly enjoyed the pampering! Today is also Kenny’s last day at Gander Mountain in Coldwater. It was an emotional day for him because the people at that store have become like family and he has learned so much from them. He will greatly miss seeing them daily. Sunday will be his first day back at the Kalamazoo store. He is looking forward to it, but is definitely a little anxious about returning as a manager instead of as an associate.

Crystal finished reading Twilight today. Now she’ll be able to relate to her small group girls even better.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

26 Weeks!!

Well, we hit 5 weeks here on Monday and 26 weeks on Saturday. Here’s what’s been up the last week.

Ultrasound day – Crystal’s cervix is pretty short. Short enough that Crystal’s nurse stood her on her head again. One of the normal doctors is on vacation, so the doctor helping out isn’t very helpful. He didn’t provide much information, so we feel like things aren’t very good. For Crystal, this was one of the harder days since we’ve been here. Just not knowing if things are okay is worse than knowing one way or another. We definitely don’t like the uncertainty.

Kenny had the day off, so just before lunch, he went fishing with his gunsmith. We had a lot of visitors today and enjoyed all the company.

26 weeks! That means another shot today. Crystal’s nurse said that at this point, every day that we can keep the babies where they are, is worth 3 days in the NICU. That helps us feel like every day gains us so much!!

Kenny had today off, so we spent the day resting. It was much needed. Kenny’s been working like crazy and Crystal has just been tuckered out.

5 weeks in the hospital as of today and another ultrasound. The fluid around babies is being maintained, so the change in dosage and frequency of the medicine does not appear to be affecting the babies. Crystal’s cervix remains closed, but is still really short. She also got weighed again today. Even with all the goodies we’ve been eating, she’s not gaining weight, but the nurses and doctor’s don’t seem too concerned at this point. They just said that we need to get back to stuffing the calories down, so we’re going to start with Carnation shakes a couple times a day.

Dr. Austin is back today. He gave some good news. He is still confident that we’ll be able to go home at 28 weeks. That makes us feel so much better. Now we at least feel like the ultrasounds haven’t been bad. We just get so much more information out of him that we do from the “substitute” doctor. During the monitoring of the babies today, Crystal had a great conversation with Nurse Tori. She was very informative and was trying to provide some details for what to expect once we get to delivery as well as what to expect with the doctors and nurses in Labor and Delivery and Mother/Baby. She just didn’t want me to be surprised that we’ll get less attention than we do up here. She is also so willing to provide information on her experiences. We’re grateful that there are nurses up here like her.

Monday, July 13, 2009

25 Weeks!

It’s hard to believe, but today is our 4 week mark. We have officially been in the hospital for 4 whole weeks. Believe it or not, it has flown by and we are amazed that it has been this long already. Good books and movies can make an afternoon fly by, so Crystal has taken advantages of these times. We can’t say enough how much we treasure our family, friends, doctors, and nurses for all they have done for use through this time. Here’s a brief recap of the last week. We didn’t cover all the days because some are pretty uneventful. We did try to cover all the good points

7/8 – 7/9
Crystal’s sister, Jill, and niece, Maddie came up to visit. There were no plans for anything too exciting, but sitting and visiting was really nice. On 7/9, we were scheduled for another ultrasound. This time it was a full anatomy ultrasound to determine the approximate weights of the babies and make sure they are growing well. Since Jill and Maddie were here, they got to see everything too.

Baby A is currently measuring 1 lb 12 oz and Baby B is 1 lb 8 oz. The fluid around the babies has increased back to a normal level; however, Crystal’s cervix continues to be slightly open. According to the doctors, this is what they expected and all it means is that Crystal will have to go back on the Indocin. They don’t like to keep people on it chronically, but it looks like that is our only real option. They definitely won’t keep Crystal on it once she reaches 30-32 weeks because then it could have adverse effects on the babies. Basically, the doctors just need to figure out the correct dosage and frequency to keep the cervix closed, but keep the fluid levels around the babies at an appropriate level.

There was a little concern at the ultrasound that the babies’ heart rates were really low, compared to what we’ve seen during monitoring. Crystal asked the doctor about this and was told that everything is fine. The babies’ autonomic nervous system (the part that makes your heart beat on its own or keeps you breathing without consciously thinking about it) is developing. The babies were resting, so their heart rates were lower, as would be expected.

Jill and Maddie, unfortunately had to take off – something about a camping trip the next week that had to be prepared for (we were supposed to be going with them, so we’re a little sad that we can’t). We were so glad to have them here for a visit and enjoyed their company.

A neonatologist came after everyone left to talk about survival rates of the babies based on their gender (girls fight more than boys apparently), weight, weeks of gestation, etc. Since we had the ultrasound and got weights today, they brought us information on the survival rates of the boys. We are at about a 60-70% survival rate at this time (24 weeks). This will continue to grow quite rapidly as we add weeks to the total. He also discussed what would happen if we went into labor today and how they would handle the babies, etc. He seemed very positive and added, any time we can keep getting where these babies stay put, the better.

The 9th was also Crystal’s mom’s birthday. So, Happy Birthday, Mom!!!!

This is the 25 week mark! Hard to believe we got into the hospital at 21 weeks!!! Today is the first day Crystal has really started noticing how quickly she can get out of breath and how uncomfortable she is on her back. She’s also experiencing some slight indigestion (standing on her head doesn’t help this).

Crystal’s mom, Grandma Hardesty, and Aunt Connie came up to visit for the day today. While they were here, the doctor stopped in and he is still confident that we can go home at 28 weeks if we stay on course like we have been. He filled Kenny in on all the details today since Kenny had been at work earlier in the week. We were a little leery because of the results of the last ultrasound.

While Crystal spent time visiting with all the women, Kenny headed home for the afternoon to try to cut down a tree at the house. Things didn’t go too well, though. He got quite a bit done, but couldn’t get the top of the tree to come off. Thankfully, a friend of a friend is willing to come out during the week to try to get it felled.

Crystal’s visit with her family was great and very enjoyable. Unfortunately, they had to head home that same day. Kenny got back to the hospital to say goodbye to everyone and then they headed out. We were so exhausted by the time the day was over, that we were in bed by 9:30.

Wow! It’s already been 4 weeks here! They boys have been stinkers all week when it comes to monitoring. We have a list of nurses who are lining up to hand out spankings once they are here. Today was much better, though. One baby had hiccups during monitoring which makes it hard to keep them on. The best part about this, though, was that today was the first time that Crystal could tell he had the hiccups. We’d seen them on ultrasound before, but feeling them is completely different.

Today is another ultrasound day. The babies are still doing great and getting 8/8 on their biophysical scans. Crystal’s cervix is short, but mostly closed, so the medicine is working. Her doctors said that the dosage is going to be changed to twice a day at a lower dosage instead of 4 times a day at the higher dose. Hopefully, this change will ensure that we can go home at a time that is appropriate and best for the babies. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Major Milestone and a Little Bit of Normal

We were going to quit doing a day-by-day account of things, but so much has happened in the last week that we think it’s worth it for this week.

July 1st (23 wks 4 days)
Wow, it’s already July!!!! We’re getting closer to our first big milestone. No changes on the baby front today and nothing really exciting happened today.

July 2nd (23 wks 5 days)
Today was a great day. Kenny got to feel the babies move for the first time. We’ve been trying for a long time, but all he could ever feel was Crystal's pulse.

July 3rd (23 wks 6 days)
Ultrasound day with good and not so great news. The fluid around the babies has increased again. This is expected since the doctors had taken Crystal off the medicine. Because of the increase in fluid, that also increases the pressure on her cervix. The increased pressure has caused the cervix to open internally (still only dilated about 1 cm). Externally, the cervix is still closed. The doctors do not seem concerned.

The babies are also doing well. The bio-physical scan done by the ultrasound technician shows that one baby is practice breathing. This is ahead of schedule based on their gestation and is good news.

Kenny’s mom and step-dad came up for the afternoon. Their visit was great. It was nice to just sit around and chat.

July 4th (24 wks)
Happy 4th of July and happy 24 weeks!!! That means we have hit the first major milestone. This gives the babies a 60% chance of survival if they were born this week. This improves exponentially as we go each week. Crystal got another steroid shot today. This is the one that is to help prevent pre-term labor.

We did get a little bit of normalcy today. Dr. Hendricks arranged for all the moms on the floor to be wheeled out to a hallway so we could see some fireworks. She also had popcorn and caramel corn and the nurses brought some pop to enjoy while we watched. It’s nice to know that people think about the fact that life isn’t really “normal” for those of us here who are confined to a small room most days.

July 5th (24 wks 1 day)
Today was a restful day. After watching the Wimbledon Men’s championship match, we took naps and rested. No changes today on the baby front.

July 6th (24 wks 2 days)
Today we hit 3 weeks in the hospital. The 3rd week started off with a flurry of activity. Crystal had a blood draw first thing to look at iron levels and other standard tests. Then one of the two weekly ultrasounds was completed. Both babies were “practice breathing” and Crystal was still slightly dilated. When Crystal got back up to her room, her nurse offered to get her a new bed. Apparently the crater where her rear had been for the last 3 weeks isn’t normal. After getting the new bed in the room and the old bed out, it was time for the standard glucose test for gestational diabetes. Then Crystal had to wait for and hour for a 2nd blood draw. Thankfully, she passed this test. In the afternoon, we attempted to monitor the babies. That was quite the fiasco. The nurse ended up requesting that a doctor come up and do an ultrasound to try to pinpoint where to put the monitors. Unfortunately, this still didn’t help, so the doctor had an ultrasound tech come up. Still no real luck, so we got permission to pass on the daytime monitoring and only do nighttime monitoring.

Kenny spent some time after work at home and was able to finish painting the nursery. I’ll get him to take some pictures and will attach them when we can.

July 7th (24 wks 3 days)
Dr. Austin is finally back from his vacation. When he came in today he said he was very glad to see us still here. He told me that during his vacation he’d been praying for us and praying for the babies to make it to a point of viability. What was interesting is that he said God was telling him to pray for what he really wants – 34 weeks, not just viability. How often do you get a doctor telling you not only that he is praying for you, but that God is telling him to pray for what he really wants for us. He also said that the improvements we’ve made have only been through intervention, not through any of the doctors’ doing. Crazy, huh? Good news is that he told Crystal that if we make it to 28 weeks, he will probably send us home!!! That is a little bit scary, but also a bit of a relief. We like the fact that the doctors and nurses are always just a call away and if we have any concerns, we can ask questions and get answers immediately. It would be nice, though to be in a more comfortable environment. We’ll just have to see how it all works out in the next few weeks and play it by ear.

Kenny got some great news today too. We’ve been waiting for a long time to get a transfer date for him from Coldwater to Portage. Apparently, August 15th is the date!!! This will make a lot of things easier for both of us. We’ll be able to, hopefully, nail down a day care as well as a pediatrician soon, since it will now make sense for them to both be in Kalamazoo/Portage or somewhere between Battle Creek and there.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Minor Milestones

Here’s what’s been up for the last week or so. Things are looking good and constantly improving. We’ll try to get this updated every Tuesday and Friday after we’ve had ultrasounds and actually have relevant baby information to pass along. So far, none of us have gone nuts and we’re able to relax and get some rest.

June 21st (22 wks 1 day)
Kenny got the dogs all packed up today so his mom could take them back to the Lafayette area with her. That is a big stress relief not having to worry about getting them let out and getting them enough attention. We both will miss them, though.

No changes on the baby front. It was a pretty low key day with no visitors, allowing Crystal to get some rest.

June 22nd (22 wks 2 days)
Who new we’d be counting this pregnancy in days at this point instead of weeks for months? Wimbeldon started today and Crystal loves watching tennis, so this has helped keep her occupied. Crystal was reading in a book today and came across the following:

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Ecclesiastes 7:14

We aren’t really feeling like these are bad times, but they are trying times. We had a few visitors and a few phone calls from family today. Kenny was wiped out from early mornings and late nights, so he went to bed early. More good news - Crystal is now done with the antibiotics

June 23rd (22 wks 3 days)
Ultrasound day!!! Crystal gets ultrasounds every Tuesday and Friday. Today is one of those days. They look at her cervix to get an idea of whether or not it is closing up. Today, things look like they are improving. They still aren’t where we want them, but they are moving in that direction. The doctor was very positive and stated that he feels like we’ll be able to get a lot of time out of this pregnancy.

Crystal had a few more visitors today too. The physical therapist also came in to give her some exercises to help keep some mobility since she isn’t doing any load bearing. Crystal read the first book in the Narnia series – The Magician’s Nephew.

June 24th (22 wks 4 days)
Kenny got some much needed rest today and got to hit the lake with Phil and Phil. He needed some time away from the house and the hospital. We received a very nice plant from our church today and had a few phone calls from friends.

Crystal was visited by the dietician today who told her she still needs to be consuming about 3000 calories daily. That’s a ton!!!! Some more friends came up for a visit and brought dinner. Amber got Crystal all set up with a facebook page so she can occupy some of her time with that. She also helped Crystal learn a little bit more about how to make this blog look better. She has to upgrade her internet browser and can’t do that with the computer she is on.

Another milestone today – The nurses taught us how to wash Crystal's hair with real water and shampoo. It’s amazing the little things that you take for granted.

June 25th (22 wks 5 days)
Kenny got up again early today, but it was to hit the lake again with a friend. Unfortunately, it was extremely hot again today, so they didn’t have a ton of luck. Crystal’s sister Tennille came up to visit too. It was great to be able to spend the day just relaxing and talking to each other. Tennille also brought some cards up from Wyatt, Chloe, and Levi. They are great homemade cards! We all hung out in the afternoon and watched a movie. Kenny went home and Tennille spent the night at the hospital with Crystal. It was the first time since we’ve been here that Kenny slept at home.

June 26th (22 wks 6 days)
Another ultrasound day! We headed down to ultrasound pretty early. Everything was looking great and the technician actually said she wasn’t going to measure anything as far as being dilated. The weirdest thing happened though. As she was looking at things, Crystal’s cervix just opened up a bit. She measured after that, but was right at 1 cm. Things are closed up externally, though, so this is definitely progress. We are just hoping that it will be completely closed soon.

Some friends brought lunch up to us and we had a nice visit. Tennille then finished up a manicure for Crystal (yes, she did love it!). Some more friends came up in the afternoon, but unfortunately, Tennille needed to head home around 6. Crystal got a lot of cards and phone calls today as well (who doesn’t love getting mail?).

We did promise some pictures of Crystal so everyone could see how she and the babies are growing. Tennille took a few pictures before leaving.

It's hard to tell that Crystal's belly is getting really big because of the position she is in, but those babies are definitely growing.
Here's a shot of the position Crystal has to be in most of the time. She can roll to either side, but that's about it. The white things on her legs fill with air to squeeze her calves to help with circulation to avoid blood clots.

June 27th (23 wks)
This is the 23 week mark. Only one more week until we hit our first major milestone! Since we hit 23 weeks, Crystal’s doctor decided that it was time to start steroid shots to help improve the babies’ lung development. Boy did those hurt. She had to get two shots today and will have one tomorrow.

Today was pretty uneventful, except that Crystal’s aunt and uncle surprised us with a visit. We also had a card night with the Kilian’s. Not that we’re keeping track, but Crystal and Amber did win 2 games to 1.

June 28th (23 wks 1 day)
It’s hard to believe we’ve already been here for 2 weeks!!! Today was pretty restful in the morning with a few phone calls and a few visitors in the afternoon. My doctor asked that we start monitoring the babies heartrates for 30 minutes at a time starting today. It took the nurses almost 2 hours to try to find them and then we still never got a really good read. They just won’t hold still at this point. After that, they decided to move us again. By then it was about 9:30 at night. The move was well worth it, though. We are now in a very large room. It’s so big that the bathroom has a separate thermostat in it. This is supposed to be our permanent room until we deliver.

June 29th (23 wks 2 days)
We attempted to monitor the babies again today after breakfast. They were much more cooperative today and we actually got about 30 minutes with both babies. Crystal had a few visitors and phone calls, then took a short nap in the afternoon. A friend brought dinner up for the evening to give us a break from the hospital food and from eating out. We had some more visitors after dinner too.

June 30th (23 wks 3 days)
Ultrasound day! Things looked really good in Crystal’s eyes. After breakfast, we attempted to monitor the babies again, but they weren’t very cooperative. The doctor came in to try to help find them as well, but ended up ordering a full bio-scan of the babies to monitor for movement. That meant going back down to ultrasound again. Crystal’s nurse came in after the ultrasound and said her cervix looks fantastic. That’s right – it is all closed up. She also said the scores the babies received for the monitoring were excellent and one is a little ahead of schedule (already practice breathing). Since things looked so good, Crystal’s doctor gave her permission to get up to go the bathroom once a day. Another major milestone!!!!! Crystal was amazed at how unstable she felt getting up for the first time. Her calves are just really tight, emphasizing how important it is for her to do the physical therapy that has been given to her. They are also taking Crystal off the medicine to stop contractions and to limit the amount of fluid the babies are outputting. This was to help relieve pressure off the cervix and get it closed up. From the ultrasound, it looks like the babies’ fluid has decreased quite a bit, so they want that to build up again. Since that’s the case, they are taking her off the medicine. That now means her last set of meds is around 8 p.m. and then she doesn’t get any again until 8-9 a.m. No more waking up at midnight and 6 a.m. for pills.

Crystal’s friend brought lunch up and taught her how to get started knitting socks. They spent the afternoon working on getting that started and enjoying their time together. Some more visitors came up after dinner and then we went to bed as early as possible since we knew we could get some uninterrupted sleep.

Thanks again to all of you for your help and support. We greatly appreciate the cards, flowers, meals, visits, and calls. They all make the days go by fast and break up the monotony!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hospital Fun

Some of you know and some of you don't know what has gone on in the past week with us. Here's a detailed update of what we've been going through in the past few days.

June 15th (21 wks 2 days)
Crystal called her doctor's office in the morning just to check up on some symptoms she was having over the weekend. She wasn't too concerned and neither was the nurse, but they wanted her to come in for an appointment just to be sure. The doctor also agreed that there probably wasn't any issue, especially since the pregnancy is still so "young." The doctor performed an exam and immediately said that Crystal needed to head to the hospital - now! Crystal was dilated about 4 cm, but was not bleeding, not having any contractions, and wasn't in any pain.

Kenny (who was painting the nursery at the time) met Crystal at the hospital and where she was admitted into Labor and Delivery. The nurses got Crystal into a hospital bed and put her in a position that they call "standing on your head." Basically, her head is about 6-12 inches below her feet. This position is used to get gravity to take over and try to keep the babies where they need to be.

An IV was started immediately with antibiotics to ward off any infection as were meds to keep contractions stopped and decrease the amount of fluids the babies are releasing. This decreases the amount of amniotic fluid and should help gravity out a bit to get everything back where it needs to go.

Crystal was told she would be on complete bed rest. For how long, the doctor couldn't say that night and was going to leave that decision up to the perinatologist on Tuesday. Because of the complete bed rest, they put compression sleeves on Crystal's calves. These fill with air and release it to help keep circulation going and prevent blood clots. They also put a monitor on Crystal's belly to look for contractions. The babies' heart rates were also great and they didn't appear to be distressed in any manner.

The biggest concern today is that at 21 weeks, if the babies were to be delivered, they would have no chance of survival. Because of this, it was very important that Crystal stay in this position and be on complete bed rest.

June 16th (21 wks 3 days)
We met with a perinatologist in the morning. At this time, Crystal hadn't been examined since being at the office the day before. The doctor gave us some stats on survivability of the babies and how it improves with each week. At this point, our initial goal needs to be 24 weeks. This is the earliest that we could deliver and there would be hope for the babies' survival.

The doctor ordered an ultrasound to see what things look like without risking any physical exam which could cause infection. The doctor also requested a full anatomical ultrasound of the babies. They looked great and are estimated at about 1.2 pounds for Baby A and 1 pound for Baby B.

We met with the perinatologist again and he seemed very positive about the changes that one night had made. The positioning seems to be working well and things appear to be improving. There doesn't appear to be any infection and the meds are working or else Crystal would have begun contracting by then. The doctor said that it would look like they are doing a whole lot of nothing for Crystal because they just want here to stay in bed and hope that things will get back to where they are supposed to be. Unfortunately, this also meant that Crystal's hospital stay would be permanent until the babies are born. Hopefully, that means it will be a long, boring summer for her.

June 17th (21 wks 4 days)
We made a room move today. Still in Labor and Delivery, but to a bigger room. Kenny continued to stay home from work this day. We were both emotionally exhausted at this point, so Kenny needed some time to relax and get prepared before going back to work. He has been unbelievably strong through all of this and amazing in his support and help to Crystal.

The babies heart rates are still good and we get to listen to them about 3 times each day. They continue to monitor for contractions 3 times daily, but aren't seeing any. The boys are moving around like crazy and are a little stubborn when the nurse is trying to find their heartbeats. (Can you imagine either of our kids being stubborn?)

We are trying to figure out our schedule and determine how long it takes for baths, tooth brushing, putting up Kenny's bed and getting Crystal set up with things to do through the day. One of our big concerns is that if Crystal is in bed for 3 months, how will she be able to have the strength to deliver a baby and how will that affect here mobility, etc after the babies are here. The doctor told us that once they felt she was stable, they would begin physical therapy to help ensure that there aren't any issues. We also got the okay to begin doing some stretching. We started doing this today.

June 18th (21 wks 5 days)
Today was Kenny's first day back at work and he had to open which meant it would be an early morning. He had to be at work at 7 and since he's staying at the hospital, that means an extra 30 minutes of driving.

They moved us up to the Anti-Partum unit today. This is a much more private room, but is a little bit smaller. With the move, visitors, and phone calls, it was a busy day. Once Kenny got back from work, we also got to figure out how to wash Crystal's hair while she's in bed (we always knew she had a lot of hair, but never knew just how much until we tried to do this).

June 19th (21 wks 6 days)
Another early morning so that Kenny could get some things done at home and give the dogs some attention. This was also another ultrasound day. They babies still look great and are still moving like crazy. The doctor said that things look good, but that there isn't much improvement from Tuesday. If there is any change, though, the doctor felt it was positive.

The IV finally came out today so Crystal wasn't having to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes. It should also make sleeping much easier. No more fighting with that tubing!!! Since the IV was now out, that also meant that we started oral antibiotics to continue to help prevent infection.

Crystal got the okay to start wearing her own clothes too. Can you say sweats and t-shirts!!!! She was extremely excited. This was doubled when a friend showed up in the afternoon for a visit with some brand new, still fuzzy sweats and new t-shirts for Crystal. She is now a walking, well lying, advertisement for Western Michigan Women's basketball!

June 20th (22 wks)
We are finally getting into a rhythm, but Crystal was exhausted and spent a lot of time sleeping on this day. Kenny's mom, Joetta, came up to visit and to help with some housework to ease some stress on Kenny. She is also taking the dogs back to Lafayette with her to ease Kenny as well. Crystal's parents will keep Butch and Joetta and Joe will keep Bobber.

This is basically where things stand for now. We are hopeful that things are improving or at least not digressing. Hopefully it will continue to be a long boring summer for Crystal. Our local friends have been amazing with their support and help as we go through this. We thank you so much for the help you provide Kenny to help relieve his stress. This is hard on him because he has no control and is not just worried about the babies, but also Crystal. Thanks to our families for all their support as well. Whether it is help with the house or just a cheerful phone call, it is all appreciated more than you will ever know!

More than anything, we appreciate your prayers. We've been discussing why this has happened and we're sure that God has something planned, even if we don't know what it is. If nothing else, it has definitely slowed Crystal down and has only made our marriage that much stronger. Thank you all again for all you do.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Twin Boys!!!

We had a doctor's appointment on June 3rd along with my "20-week" ultrasound. I was actually only 19 weeks at the time, but this is the standard ultrasound they do for all pregnant women. This is the one that includes counting arms, legs, heart valves, etc. Everything looked great and she was able to confirm that both babies are boys.
Here's a picture of both of them together. Baby A wasn't very cooperative. Apparently he is the one that will be curled up in a ball most of the pregnancy.
Here are a few pictures of Baby A
Here are some of Baby B
Here are the pictures that confirm their "manhood."
Some of you know and some of you don't, but we do have names selected. As of now, the babies' names will be Dane Richard and Nyle Andrew. We are very excited about how everything is progressing and how healthy the babies are right now. Crystal still feels great, but feels like she is getting really big. At our 19 week appointment, the doctor said she was measuring 26 weeks, so we are definitely measuring ahead.
Now that we know the sex of the babies, we have been able to pick out a nursery color. We are hoping to paint it this weekend. We're going with a greenish-blue. Sea green is probably the best way to describe it. We'll take some before and after pictures to post as we are working.
We've also been told that we need to get some pictures of Crystal up so everyone can see her belly growing. She's not so keen on it, but we'll get some pictures up soon.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Since home is far away, and I've been hollered at more than once for not having shared ultrasound pictures, I've decided to put this blog together to start documenting things. Hopefully, this will keep all of you in touch with what's going on and what's happened in the past few months of our busy lives. We're also looking forward to having this as a journal of the path we've taken and all the joys that have come from it.

January 31st
We headed up to Grand Rapids to start the entire in-vitro (IVF) process. This was the day they retrieved eggs from Crystal. After the retrieval, we were allowed to go home and they fertilized the eggs in the lab.
February 2nd
Back up to Grand Rapids again. We got a call on the 1st telling us that all 8 eggs retrieved fertilized. Now, we had to head to Grand Rapids to transfer no more than 2 of the eggs back. This was a painless and quick procedure. Before the transfer, we were given this picture of the 2 embryos that would be transferred. Basically, these are embryos at 2 days gestation and our first baby picture.
Then, the waiting game started. Because of the medicines Crystal had to inject for the retrieval, a pregnancy test couldn't be taken until 16 days after that shot was given.

February 13th
Crystal headed to the lab first thing in the morning for a blood draw to determine whether or not the embryo(s) had "taken." The results were back around noon, but we had agreed to be together when we heard the news. Needless to say we were both pretty worthless at work that day because the suspense was killing us. The doctor's office left a message at home, so we both had to get home. Who knows how Kenny did it, but he waiting an hour for Crystal to get home so they could listen together. Good news when we did finally listen, we had a positive test!!!! One more test had to be done on the 17th to confirm everything and to make sure that the pregnancy was progressing as expected (hormone level going up like they should). Most of our friends and family got calls or e-mails after we got the news.

February 17th
Crystal went to the lab again for the second test and everything was great. No suspense on this day. We agreed that Crystal could get the information from the doctor's office while she was at work.

February 24th
Now it was time for a follow-up ultrasound at the Fertility Center. Good news - everything looked great, but only one baby was found. At this time we thought that only one made it through the procedure. Dr. Dodds was pretty sure that there wouldn't be a second baby hiding out in there either. Here are two ultrasound pictures from that visit.

March 10th
We had a follow-up ultrasound to go to now. This time, we were told we'd get to hear the baby's heartbeat and they would take some measurements. Assuming everything looked great, we'd be "graduated" to a regulary OB/GYN. We got to see the baby and hear the heartbeat. Here are those pictures.

Dr. Dodds went to "check-out" everything else with the pregnancy. What a surprise when he said, "Hmm, Let's look at this dark spot over here. Oh, another pregnancy!" We were shocked, stunned, surprised, happy, frightened, and basically every other emotion at that time. We did get to hear "Baby B's" heartbeat, but this baby was measuring about half the size of "Baby A." Dr. Dodds said this could be because of a genetic problem causing the baby to grow more slowly, in which case, it wouldn't make it, or it could just be that it implanted a few days later. Because of this discovery, though, we got "held back" from going to a standard OB/GYN for another two weeks. Here are the pictures of Baby B from that visit.

March 24th
One more ultrasound. We had been praying that Baby B would catch up with Baby A and be healthy. Good news, once again. Baby looked great and had caught up to Baby A. We got these pictures and the green light to go see a regular OB/GYN.
These are Baby A:

These are Baby B:
Here are the twins together!!!

March 26th
Since Crystal had already started to show at this point (only in my 10th week), Crystal couldn't hold back telling people at work. This was the day.

April 13th
This was our first real appointment at the doctor's office. The baby that is the lowest is typically called Baby A. Even though our Baby B was lower, Dr. Dodd's office called them by order of discovery. This was changed when we went to the regular OB. From here on out, pictures are flipped with their labels. The original Baby B is now Baby A and vice versa. Here are pictures from that visit.
Baby A

Baby B

April 20th
Another ultrasound today. Both babies are healthy and growing well.
Baby A

Baby B

May 4th
A doctor's appointment today. No ultrasound, but still 2 strong heartbeats.

May 18th
Another ultrasound. This one we were supposed to do the anatomy if the ultrasound technician could, but Crystal is only 17 weeks, so the best we could do was check size and sex. Apparently, the kids are pretty modest because the tech really had to work to find out what we will be having. Baby A was definitely a boy!!! Baby B had the umbilical cord between it's legs, but the tech was pretty sure that Baby B is also a boy. We'll confirm this in a few weeks. At this appointment, she did a video and pictures. Once I figure out how to view and get the video loaded, I'll get them posted.
Baby A

Baby B