Sunday, September 23, 2012

Nuchal Translucency Test

if you are somewhat new to my blog, or do not know our story very well, you may have NO idea what that title means. a nuchal translucency test is part of an ultrasound, specifically taken between weeks 11-13 of gestation, to check for certain birth defects. the nuchal fold is on the back of a baby's neck. in a normal test, that nuchal will be 3mm or less. if a baby has a nuchal fold measuring more than 5mm, there is cause of concern for certain birth defects. this is the test that changed our lives almost two years ago. the nuchal translucency test was the first indicator that our sweet Charlotte was very sick.

peter and i got to see our sweet baby for the very first time during this ultrasound. we had actually been delayed a week due to a horrible traffic accident that made us miss our appointment. anyway, we saw Charlotte at 13 weeks on the screen...moving around, heart beating, looking totally normal to our unknowing eyes. we soon found out that not everything was ok. a doctor came in did a few more rush movements of the ultrasound thingy (nice terminology, huh?) and told us that our baby had "a nuchal fold of 15mm, she has severe disabilities". most of you know the rest of the story. if not, here is a link to the main parts.

through our whole pregnancy with Charlotte, i did copious amounts of research. i researched nuchal tests, botched nuchal tests, anything and everything with Turner's syndrome, anything and everything with most chromosome abnormalities, survival rates, how to raise a child with disabilities, EVERYTHING!! i think i drove myself crazy trying to figure everything out. that has led me to probably knowing and worrying about too many things now. i know, according to my doctors and previous ultrasounds, that i should have nothing to worry about with the LOtwins, but that doesnt matter. i know, through my own research and previous experiences, that even when things can look great in the beginning, they do not always end well...they can get worse.

tomorrow, peter and i are going to see our twins again...and they will be having a nuchal translucency test. again, this is not much more than a hi-tech ultrasound. they measure the fluid on the baby's neck, just like when they take their "head to rump" measurements in any and drag a mouse button. i have been almost fearing this ultrasound, this day, since we were told we were pregnant. i fear that we will be, once again, told that there is more than 3mm of fluid on one of both of the babies. that we will be forced to hear the awful words..."your baby is not quite right".

i know many have been in my shoes. and i know that rarely is someone given bad news more than once. the chances of us ever having a second baby with Turner's syndrome is very near impossible. but i also know that there are chances. there are chances for other abnormailities. i will love my children regardless. i know that each child is made in God's image...that He does not make mistakes. but, i just dont know what will happen tomorrow, and that is what i fear.

just wanted to share a few pics, so you know what i am talking about with an elevated nuchal fold test.
above is a picture that i found on the web that shows a very clear example of both a normal and abnormal nuchal. you can see in the grainy ultrasound picture (abnormal) that there seems to be a bubble behind the neck. it doesnt say how thick this nuchal was, but obviously well above 3mm.

this is Charlotte. in her very first picture! i know that it is hard to see...she is face up, head on the right side, legs on the leg side of the picture. if you look closely, you will see her bubble. in this shot it was measuring at 15mm. i was 13 weeks and 1 day.

this is Charlotte at 15 weeks and 5 days. her second picture. she flipped here. so her head is on the left face up and legs to the right. you can see her nuchal looks more like a part of was. it was growing very rapidly. just two weeks later it was up to 24mm. the fluid was now overtaking her whole body, which is why her torso looks very was and all that fluid was already beginning to shut down other organs in her little body. i am not trying to be gruesome, so gain pity. i am merely showing you how things went for us and for Charlotte. to help those that need it, understand more about this test and what can happen.

i will never forget those days. seeing our baby. knowing she was ours but that there was nothing we could do to help her. the pain is just as real today as it was then. but we also have hope. hope for our two babies growing again inside of me.

please pray with us as we go tomorrow. the appointment is at 1pm. i know that God already has all of this worked out...that we are all in His hands. i am praying for peace for myself and peter, for a worry free night tonight, for healthy LOtwins, and for grace as we interact with people tomorrow that do not know us, Charlotte, or these new babies.

thank you for letting me share more of my Charlotte with you!

blessings, ALo

Thursday, September 20, 2012


this is an update on my sweet, ohio friend, susie. remember her...i have blogged a few times about her. susie found out she had a brain tumor at the beginning of the year. not only that but she was pregnant! yeah, brain tumor and pregnancy, as if one is not enough to think about without the other. susie had brain surgery while pregnant, had baby annie only a few weeks year (Praise the Lord!!!) took a few weeks off to be with her family and then started a serious journey of radiation. today, susie finished her last radiation treatment!!! i am so excited for her!! she even made time to blog about it today. i can not believe how upbeat she has chosen to be about this whole journey! and while she is not quite finished yet, she is taking time to enjoy life with her friends and family. i love when she will randomly text me about hair stuff, or to say that she is praying for me...really? if i were her, i am not sure that i would be willing to spare any of my prayers on someone else!! honesty, even if you didnt ask for it. susie has been honest too. she has sad that she gets tired. she has lost some of her hair. she doesnt always feel 100%. but what i always hear susie saying is "thank you". in the midst of the most trying time in her life, she has always stopped to be thankful for what God is doing and showing her. its so inspiring!

it is still so crazy that in a matter of a few months, so much has happened in susie's life, and in the lives of those very close to her. we still do not know exactly how all of this will play out, but there is comfort in knowing our Creator and Healer already knows and has a divine plan! please pray with me for susie. for her complete healing from cancer. please pray for her doctors. please pray for her husband, ben, and their four children (simon, talya, charlie, and annie).

i love you, susie!! wish i could be there to celebrate with you! i wish i could be there for a fun girls day of haircuts!! :) (susie told me this week she and her daughter Talya have been waiting for me to come back to cut their hair...i have been gone for a year!! lol!) you are one of the strongest, most optimistic people i have ever met, not to mention one of the most honest, which is my favorite about you! :) i am blessed to know you! cant wait to see how God is going to continue to use you for His Glory!

check out ben and susie's family blog for the most up to date info and how you can help meet their needs! there are some great pics on there too! can you believe that mask she had to wear...yikes!

blessings, ALo

Friday, September 14, 2012

Not Too Shy

i am so tired and need a nap before we go to a high school football game tonight, but i just got home and wanted to share the babies' new pics. they were not too camera shy, and they were really showing off their moves today. they were both all over the place during the ultrasound. they are both growing right on track. baby a had a heart beat of 164 and baby b's was 168...totally normal! i will give a better update tomorrow, but for now here are a few pics.

Baby A. profile shot. you can see the leg bent with the foot farther away too.  
Baby B. straight on shot. the knees are drawn up here. and you can see the little face and arms to the side.

both babies! they are both profile. baby b is on the left facing the left and baby a is on the right facing the right. so they are head butting each other in this picture. i know its hard to see, but this momma can tell :)

more later! have a great friday!!

blessings, ALo

Monday, September 10, 2012

Wake Me Up

i had a horrible dream last night. see, i am one of those people that has several dreams each night and i can wake up and remember them with very specific details. peter thinks its strange since he is the opposite. he knows that he dreams, but can rarely remember much about them when he wakes up. i have tendencies towards bad think it is a way that the devil gets a foothold in my life. i must be somehow allowing him to continue, because it keeps happening. i need to pray specifically against bad dreams before i go to bed each night.

i wont give you all the long, drawn out details of the dream. but i have been thinking about it all day, it was that disturbing to me. i just told lisa (through text) about it...she probably thinks i am crazy. and i just told peter about the whole thing as i was telling lisa...he knows that i am crazy. i even started crying again retelling it because it just seemed so real and i could not stop it. i dreamt that i went into labor with the LOtwins, which turned out to be 2 boys (give me a few weeks for the real reveal). apparently, something went wrong during delivery because the next thing i knew i had been put completely under and woke up in some strange recovery house across from the hospital. i couldnt understand why i didnt have my boys there with me, so i quickly headed over to the hospital. when i got there i was told that i could not see them because they were very sick and were being "worked on". i fought and cried and screamed and still no one would help me. then peter walked around the corner with bill's donuts (my fav. place in ohio...must be having a craving in my sleep) and i asked why the heck he was not with the boys. he said "they wont let us in and i knew you would be hungry!" (i had bill's donuts just after Charlotte was born too). i said: no, no, no...we have to go in there, they need us...i dont care about donuts, i just want my babies. he said: i know but we cant. we will just have to wait and see, but there are no promises, here eat the sprinkled one, its your favorite. i looked at him in horror then i was screaming and crying. finally, peter woke me up. crazy!! i was sweating so badly! i was terrified. i rarely let myself think about the "what ifs", but apparently my dreams remind me that there is still a possibility of things not going well again. i am not writing all of this to sound crazy, or anything else...just telling you how i am processing some things still. i told peter that i know i am crazy, but i am honest in talking about my fears and concerns and everything any normal person who has been in my shoes has had.

in our prayers together at night, peter and i have begun praying for our children...that they will grow up to be Godly, faithful followers of Jesus. that they will be healthy and strong and smart (and some athletic drive would be nice) :) we prayed for their spouses the other night, that they too would be followers of Jesus and be a perfect mate for our child. we have also prayed that things like my nausea would not be too bad, or that i would wake up without the headache i go to bed with. tonight we will be adding that my dreams will be pleasant, not disturbing emotional roller coasters from the devil! hopefully last night will be the last one! ugh...

in other news...i go for my next appointment and ultrasound the end of the week. be looking for new baby pics on friday!

blessings, ALo

Monday, September 3, 2012

That Sounds Good

so...i have been super sick the last two weeks. not throwing up...just nauseated all day long. yep! it was happening just in the afternoons, but lately it has been all day. the only thing that helps is eating. if i keep things in my system i feel so much better! i am not a fan of sweets (so crazy), they just make me feel much worse. every once in a while something sweet sounds good, but not very often. here is a list of things that i have been craving...some i have indulged, some i have not (for healthy reasons!!) pickles, chicken and dumplings from cracker barrel, oreos, milk (lots of milk), lemon water, nachos, tortilla soup, triscuits, mint chocolate chip ice cream...i think that is about it. so...lots of "salty" things and a few others. i have been trying to not load up on sodium and fat rich foods, but sometimes that is all that sounds good, so i have had some things in moderation. one of my college roommates just had twins this year and she has been a huge help! she stayed away from pretty much ALL sodium (think about how hard that is), but she went to 39 weeks with her twins and gained a "normal" amount of weight. she had over 14 pounds of baby at delivery!! AAAAHHHHH!!!!! but her babies were/are very healthy, so i am trying to take her advise. one of the strangest cravings i have had is the mint chocolate chip ice cream. i can not think of a time in my life where i have ever ordered or "had to have" that flavor of ice cream. today i even went in and brushed my teeth to see if it went away, but it didnt. so...i drove to kroger :) and, it was on sale!!! 2/$4, so i bought 4 of those small blue bell pint chocolate chip, peach cobbler, homemade vanilla, and pistachio almond. peter said he will GLADLY help me! i hope he is serious!!!

even with the crazy food cravings, i have done pretty well with my weight gain and have been going to the gym when i can wake up in the mornings! i have worried about weight gain, especially after learning of twins! i worked so hard to take off just over 40 pounds since january, and thinking about putting that much on with twins makes my heart race just a little (sometimes a lot). i know that by doing the work before hand and continuing to work out, i will be ahead going into both delivery and recovery. right now i am up 4 pound and i am almost 9 weeks. according to the twins websites and books i am reading, it is totally normal to gain anywhere from 10-12 pounds the first trimester. with fraternal twins, i have double everything...placenta, sacs, blood, water, etc. so, i feel ok with four to keep it there for now!

i have started to back off of some of my home hair. i am no longer taking new clients and i am being very restrictive about the times that i am doing hair. i just get so tired by the end of the day at church and then standing on my feet for a few hours does not help me or my sickness issues. so, if i have told you no, please understand! give me a few months/a year and i will be back to normal hair hours! :)

peter and i have had several little conversations about things that will be different once the babies are here (getting ready for church, grocery shopping, going out to eat, etc.) but we could not be more excited!! peter, being the man of my dreams that he is, has already started doing more around the house, offers to help with "my chores", understands when i say "i just need to rest of a sec." and truly wants to know all about the development of our babies and what is going on with my body. he is the best ever, i am SOOOOOO blessed!! last week the LOtwins got their daddy a little card and a treat (his fav. candy, also perfect for twins). they wanted to say "thanks for making us, dad". he beamed when he opened the card with their pics..its was priceless!!

my next appointment is sept. 14th. i will have an ultrasound, physical exam, and talk about the financial stuff with the office manager. thrilling!! lol. hopefully, we will still see two healthy heartbeats! i still get some anxiety about that...please pray God continues to give me peace when those thoughts creep in! thanks so much to all those who have sent messages, comments, love, prayers, encouragement, and advice. it is all more than appreciated! i know you all already love our LOtwins too! :)

blessings, ALo