Topping Twins

Topping Twins

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ignorance is a temporary affliction, remedied by asking the right questions.

Hello there.

Nick and I wanted to provide you all with a little update from our appointments last week. Last Thursday, we met with my OB - Dr. Lynch for our "regular" appointment. These appointments are great-- we get to hear the boys' heartbeats, see how I'm measuring (31 weeks--- 3 weeks ahead), and of course I get to see how much weight I've gained. :) Although I'm not a big fan of that part. ;) Our appointments with Dr. Lynch are a little less stressful, and I actually look forward to these appointments. Dr. Lynch instantly found both of the boys' heartbeats. Peyton's was registering around 150 and Preston's, around 140. Dr. Lynch thought that maybe since Preston's had decreased his heart rate slightly, that maybe he had turned head down.

We discussed with Dr. Lynch a plan for delivery. More or less, he basically said that he thought we would go to 38 weeks. Basically, deliver sometime during that 38th week. Of course, this could all change based on what we would find out the next day with Dr. Wickstrom, our specialist. Ultimately, Dr. Lynch said that he 100% supported our decision to do a planned c-section and said that at our next appointment in 2 weeks, we could set the date. Woah!

The next morning, we went in to see Dr. Wickstrom for our specialist appointment. Both boys were moving around like crazy, but we were able to capture more pictures and get everything accomplished they were looking to do that day. We discovered that Preston is still breech and that Peyton is transverse. So at this point-- c-section is our only option. (Might just be God's way of making sure that we're able to "stick" to some sort of plan:)). We asked Dr. Wickstrom about delivery--- she said that she would want to take the twins at 37 weeks. Timeout-- my twin brother is getting married that day-- I'm not missing that. So Dr. Wickstrom agreed that we could deliver "during" the 37th week, basically anytime between Sept. 29 and Oct. 3. There is no indication at this point that says I would go any sooner than that, so we are hoping to get that date scheduled next week when we head back to my OB.

Nick and I began asking a few more questions about the actual delivery. What can we expect? Will there be a team there to try to "save" Peyton? What about surgery? The list goes on. We explained that we want to do everything we can in order to make sure that the diagnosis they have given Peyton is indeed correct. However, on the other hand, if it is correct, we don't want to waste any time not having the opportunity to spend with Peyton. Of course, we don't want to overshadow Preston either. We want to make sure that we are able to bond with Preston, nurse him, bathe him, etc. Our minds seriously move a million miles a minute when we start thinking about "birth day". After listening to Nick and I, Dr. Wickstrom recommended that we meet with the NEO NATO team at Shawnee Mission in order to determine what our options are the day of birth. She said that someone would call me this week to schedule.

So we have a plan. Somewhat. Or at least we're heading in the direction of making a plan. :)

After we got home, Nick and I decided that we should call Dr. Andrews--- our pediatrician, just to loop her in on what's been happening over the past month or so since we saw her in June with Kaylee. Dr. Andrews is seriously amazing. She ended up having a conversation with Dr. Wickstrom that same day and they decided that we should actually meet with the Fetal Health Team at Children's Mercy before meeting with the NEO NATO team. The team at Children's Mercy is the best of the best and they will do a series of tests, an MRI, echocardiogram, etc. in order to see if Peyton's lungs are developing, what pace, etc. Once we have met with them, they will help us formulate a plan. Nothing like shifting gears a little bit. But let me just say, Nick and I are not complaining. And we're not giving up hope. Thanks to Dr. Jen (Andrews), she listened to us and helped guide us in the direction we wanted to go without us even realizing that was the direction we wanted. Dr. Jen assured me that this would be the best option for us in order to determine just exactly what should or shouldn't be done on the boys' birth day.

We are currently waiting for a call back from Children's Mercy to set up our series of tests for the twins. We are anxious to find out exactly what we need to know for October. All of that said, we find ourselves a little overwhelmed with emotion. It's hard to imagine that day just yet because it seems like it is going to be a total whirlwind. We just want to make sure that we make the right decisions and have no regrets. We don't want the situation with Peyton to overshadow Preston, and on the other hand we can't even begin to fathom what we will feel like if we lose Peyton. We try not to think about it too much and instead are just keeping faith that God will guide us in the direction we need to go. In the meantime, we will try to keep asking the right questions in order to keep ourselves educated so that we are able to make the best decisions possible for us.

In as soon as 9 weeks, we will be meeting our boys. It is going to go faster than we think! Time to start decorating the nursery and getting some clothes for these little guys. The nesting will begin soon too I am sure!

Thank you all for your continued support!

Nick, Ashley and Kaylee

Friday, July 18, 2014

In the blink of an eye. Everything can change. So forgive often and love with all your heart. You may never know when you may not have that chance again.

It's so crazy how life turns up. I remember 5 years ago at this time, planning for our wedding. At the time, the "theme" for our wedding was "Live the Life You Love, Love the Life You Live". This has been a saying that has become our family motto, honestly, since then. These words ring true now more than ever. 

I'm writing today, with no new update on the twins. I'm writing today, because we simply are overwhelmed by the amount of support that our family has received, from not only family and friends, but strangers and friends of friends (of friends:)). When our path changed a mere 11 weeks ago, we had no idea the impact that Peyton would have on people. We are humbled and honored by the outpouring of prayers from literally across the world. 

This week, Nick and I spent a lot of time talking about what's next. After talking with my cousin, Father Danny, we knew that we needed to make a few phone calls to start lining up how we would honor Peyton. I honestly find myself laughing at the situation sometimes. When making a phone call to a funeral home to talk about burying our child, I seriously feel like I'm in college or something, doing a research project. I even joked with the lady at the cemetery that I'll probably be calling her in October to say, just kidding! We get to take our baby home! All humor aside, we have determined that if we indeed do not get to take our son home, that we will have a funeral here in KC and have Peyton buried at Resurrection Cemetery. They have a beautiful area designated specifically for children where he will be buried. It's one of those things that we don't necessarily want to think about, much less talk about out loud, but we decided it would be much easier to have these conversations now, as opposed to later.

Of course the other big discussion that Nick and I needed to have this week was how I am going to deliver these babies. This part is pretty emotional for me. I think back to when we had Kaylee, and it was seriously the best experience. The delivery was a breeze and Nick and I had ample time to spend with Kaylee, nursing her, holding her and hearing her first cries. When I begin to think about all of the "what-ifs" for this pregnancy, my mind literally starts to spin. After a long discussion, at this point, I think we are leaning towards opting for a planned c-section. This is purely selfish on my part, because this is literally the only thing that I can control. 

There are a few things that are priorities for Nick and I when our boys enter this world. First and foremost, we want Kaylee to meet both of her brothers. We also want to make sure that Peyton is able to be baptized. My cousin has graciously offered to be there when Peyton is born to make sure that that is possible. We would also like our parents and siblings to have the opportunity to meet Peyton as well. And, we want to capture all of these moments through photographs so that someday, we can show Kaylee and Preston just how special of a day it was. The only way to guarantee that even some of these can happen is if we know "when" it will happen. At this point, after weighing all of our options, I think this is the best route for us to go.

We head back to both my OBGYN and our specialist next week to continue to monitor the progress that the boys are making. We have roughly 11 weeks left or so until we will be meeting our little miracles. 

Today, we choose to live with gratitude, for the love that fills our hearts, the peace that rests within our spirits, and the voice of hope that says... all things are possible.

much <3,
Nick, Ashley and Kaylee


Friday, July 11, 2014

Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one remembers to turn on the light

The past month has been quite a month for our family. Full of happiness, full of family and friends, and full of change. One month ago, we moved to our beautiful new home. 3 weeks ago, we found out that Peyton might make it--- with signs of fluid! 2 weeks ago, we celebrated Kaylee's 2nd birthday with family and friends and gave Nick one heck of a surprise party for his 30th birthday. 1 week ago, we spent the entire weekend as a family of 3 (5), relaxing and enjoying the 4th of July holiday. It really has been a month full of excitement and happiness.

Yesterday, we headed back to our specialist, Dr. Wickstrom, to have another sonogram to determine if Peyton still had fluid or not. I can honestly say, that although we should have been prepared for the worst. We were not. We've been so focused on all of the good things going on in our life right now, that we honestly hadn't spent a lot of time thinking that our "good" news from 3 weeks ago would change. Until yesterday.

The sonogram went really well. For those of you that don't know. In a twin pregnancy, with sonograms, they always start with Baby A, and then move to Baby B. Preston, is A and Peyton is B. Preston is looking great! Moving around like crazy, we even saw him kicking his brother in the head several times. Nick and I couldn't help but laugh. He's growing literally on track, to the day. (I'll be 26 weeks tomorrow) He weighs 1 pound 13 ounces right now and is breech. A perfectly healthy baby boy.

By the time the sonographer had completed her measurements of Preston, I was literally exhausted. (45 minutes of looking at Preston). The anticipation of seeing Peyton was killing me. As the sonographer moved to Peyton, I felt a little relief. We weren't able to see his face right away because he was facing my back. But we could see all of his limbs-- his heart beating and him moving around too. In our last sonogram, they had expressed concern for scoliosis (curved spine). In this sonogram, we discovered that that was not the case. Peyton's spine is perfectly straight. I literally looked at Nick and said-- we've got this! If his spine is straight, that's amazing! They were also concerned about club feet. We weren't able to get a good look at Peyton's feet because of the way he was positioned, but I literally found myself saying-- that's something that can be fixed., he can live a happy healthy life too!

Now, I know that I should know better. After all, Nick and I had both said that we were not going to get our hopes up. But as parents, when you see firsthand all of these things that are so important for a healthy child, it's SO hard not to. Peyton is actually head down. Both he and Preston are laying with their heads next to each other. Peyton's stomach has shrunk considerably, but still has a small mass. He's weighing 1 pound 15 oz and is measuring about a week behind Preston. But, unfortunately, Peyton has almost zero fluid around his body. Thus, Peyton's lungs will not be able to develop correctly.

Honestly, Nick and I are both crushed. The pain and anxiety that have been building up over the past 10 weeks hit an all-time high. Dr. Wickstrom explained that we were back to where we were before 3 weeks ago. That Peyton will likely make it to birth, but will not survive past that.

No parent should ever have to go through this. Ever. It just doesn't seem fair. We still find ourselves caught in a fog. Finding it near impossible to believe that our son is actually going to die. Really? Is this how life is supposed to be? You live your whole life, feeling nearly invincible and suddenly you find it hard for even yourself to breath.

We are clinging to our faith right now. Of course, praying praying praying for a miracle for Peyton.

Today, is a new day. Today we begin the process of figuring our what's next. Focusing on a healthy Preston, and planning for how we can make Peyton more than just a memory.

Please continue to pray for us. Pray for strength as we have the tough conversations of burying our child. Pray for strength to celebrate BOTH of our twins. Pray for strength that we are strong for Kaylee. We can use all the prayers we can get right now.

Nick, Ashley & Kaylee

Here are a few pictures of Peyton and Preston:
Babies' heads together. Preston is on the left. Peyton is on the right.

 Peyton - profile pic
 Preston - profile pic
Preston's foot