||Before I proceed with this days information, I must first say that
all the news is not positive. So be warned if there are children who want
to read this. Please read it first and judge accordingly.
Second, I want to say that this Internet Journal is Maureen's
and my way of telling all of you what is happening. That does not mean
you can't phone and talk to us, it is simply a way for us to get as much
information to you, as clearly as possible. This Journal is also
like a diary to us so that we don't forget what happened and how we were
I do not want this Journal to simply be a list of the dates
and facts. I also want it to reflect our thoughts, our hopes, our fears
and even our dreams. I know that the audience varies in age, and I want
it to be direct without being blunt, and still try to cater to all audience
members. On the other hand, I am not holding anything back, because this
story is what we are living and dealing with each day, and I must tell
you all so that you are as involved as we are.
I hope that I am reaching the right balance of factual information
and day to day activity.
Thank you for your patience,
||Finally the day we had been waiting a couple of
weeks for. Today at 4pm was our appointment with Dr Kingdom, reputed to
be one of the top 3 Placenta specialists in the world.
I met Maureen at the hospital, and we arrived on the 12th floor
(have I mentioned before that it is the Mt. Sinai, High Risk Pregnancy
Unit, that is following and monitoring us?) and waited for our appointment.
I think we were finally taken in around 4:45 by Dr Smith, the research
assistant of Dr Kingdom. He began the ultrasound, asking confirming questions
as he went, stopping and looking at the placenta, and the 2 babies for
quite a long time. He was very open, and explained what he (and we) were
seeing as he went. (You see, Maureen is lying down, and he is scanning
the babies through her stomach, and we are watching on a monitor that is
on an arm over the bed. We see everything he sees, though of course with
an untrained eye)
Here is essentially a summary of what he found, which Dr Kingdom
confirmed at the end of the consultation:
It was a lot to take in. We didn't leave the Hospital until 6:30. Maureen
underwent the ultrasound for at least 1 hour.
The graph of the blood flow from the right side of Maureen's
uterus into the placenta, and from the left side of the uterus into the
placenta shows a resistance. This indicates that the placenta is creating
a bit of a blockage. The lulls between the compressions of Maureen's heart
show some forward movement of the blood but resistance is shown.
(i.e. when the heart beats, it pumps blood through the arteries, and in
between beats, the blood should continue to flow in a positive direction)
The Placenta as seen on the ultrasound is not homogeneous, it
is heterogeneous, meaning that it is not the same texture throughout as
would be expected in a healthy placenta. It is uncertain what the differences
are, but they are probably the cause of the resistance that is shown in
the blood flow.
The placenta is across the top of the uterus so that is one reason
why Maureen is not feeling a lot of kicking. Although both of them show
activity on the ultrasound, with the placenta on the top between the babies
and Maureen's stomach, it muffles anything she might feel. That helps explain
why Maureen has only felt minimal kicking. (but she has felt some, and
that has been reassuring). There are most likely 2 placentas but they have
grown so close together that it is impossible to see where one ends and
the other begins. They have not merged though, meaning that blood does
not flow between the 2 placentas.
"Abigail", baby "A", is doing better than "Boris", baby "B".
The blood flow from "Abigail" to the placenta is very good. The graph of
the flow shows some resistance, but it actually looks very good.
The graph of the flow from "Boris" to the placenta shows a a
different story. It shows a great deal of resistance, and in fact it shows
the heart beating harder to force the blood toward the placenta, and in
the lull between the beats, there is NO movement of the blood. So instead
of positive flow, there is none. On its own, that is not terribly bad,
but it does indicate that the situation may worsen. A "back flow" would
not be good for the baby.
Measurements were taken, and "Abigail" is showing a gestational
size of approximately 22 weeks, and "Boris" approximately 20 1/2 weeks
(we are at 24 weeks!). "Abigail" is approximately 490 grams, and "Boris"
approximately 350 grams. The evidence from previous ultrasounds indicates
that both of them ARE growing.
Though oxygen and nourishment is getting to both babies, "Boris"
is showing some of the ill effects in the ratio of his head size to his
body size. In a compensation effort to supply oxygen to the more vital
areas of his body, his head is larger in proportion to his body that it
should be. The head is getting the benefit of better blood flow than the
rest of his body. It is just one more indicator that "Boris" is not doing
To be direct, and not beat around the bush, the bottom line summary
is like this:
We are really thinking as positively as we can. We have in the back
of our minds "only 4 more weeks" which would take us to 28 weeks,
and a good gestation for them to survive outside the womb. We pray that
"Boris" can hold on until then.
It is still too early to be able to make any sort of intervention for
either baby even if it were decided that one or other baby needed assistance.
There is no possibility of bringing one baby out to be cared for by
the neonatal unit, and having the other baby remain inside. That means
any decision would come down to bringing out both babies, or leaving both
No one is giving up on baby "B" but he/she has a really hard uphill
struggle. Baby "B" is not doing as well as baby "A" and we must face the
possibility that baby "B" may not make it. He/she is small, and frail,
and definitely showing the ill effects of the malfunctioning placenta.
As mentioned above, any intervention say on behalf of baby "A" must take
into account the frail nature of baby "B".
Since they are fraternal, and the placentas are separate, the death
of one baby should not adversely affect the other. One can continue to
grow even with the loss of the other. But we are still praying and hoping
for the success of both of our babies. They have both come a long way.
Since we are at 24 weeks, the babies are just barely viable outside
the womb. Every additional day they are inside Maureen, gives them that
much better chance at survival, if they continue to grow. We are hoping
for the best.
Maureen is experiencing more and more activity by the twins, kicking
and rolling and that is a good sign.