The Backstory

I wanted to write somewhere everything that led up to the girls birth so that 10 years from now I won't say "I think that might have happened." So, I thought that this blog would be the best place for me to put it, but it may be the longest post ever so I will forgive you if you don't want to read it...it is more for me anyway.

On April 24, I was 19 weeks pregnant and I walked into a room for my very first ultrasound. Once the technician turned on the equipment we oooed and ahhed over an image that I couldn't make anything out of. And then she said it, "How do you feel about 2?" That was the craziest moment of my life. The next 2 hours we checked all the parts, we found out they were both girls, and everything looked great. The only thing left for us to know was if they were identical or not. My doctor made an appointment at 22 weeks for me to go to a specialist since now I was considered high risk with twins. It was there we knew that indeed they were identical and with that brought some more risks. At that appointment, the girls were labeled A (later Liana) and B (Adleigh).

We ended up having a few red flags that made it look like we had the beginning stages of twin to twin transfusion syndrome. Over the next few weeks, Liana wasn't growing as much as she was supposed to. She was 2 weeks behind Adleigh. Adleigh also had what appeared to be fluid on her heart and signs that her heart was getting larger because it was working harder. We were playing the wait and see game of how long they could stay in the womb. So once I got to 26 weeks, our specialist gave us the option of going to Cincinnati, Ohio. In Cincinnati, they had the a hospital that would do a laser surgery to correct twin to twin transfusion. And apparently 26 weeks was the last week that they could do surgery to correct it.

We drove up on June 17 and on June 18 I had a day scheduled of tests. We had an MRI, fetal echo, ultrasound, and then a meeting at the end of the day with our team of doctors. At 5 pm we sat down with them and the good news was that we didn't have twin to twin transfusion and didn't need the surgery. However, Liana did not have enough of the placenta to survive much longer and her heart was beginning to fail. They told us she might could last a week, maybe two or it might not be 24 hours. Somehow Adleigh's heart looked great on her fetal echo despite earlier ultrasounds, but if Liana's heart failed and passed away then soon after Adleigh would have brain damage and wouldn't survive for long. Their advice was to check us into the Cincinnati hospital where I would stay until they were born and ultimately until they would be healthy enough to transport to a Charlotte hospital. The only other option our doctor in Ohio gave us was to book a flight to Charlotte immediately and check ourselves into the hospital, but he strongly discouraged it. We were completely confused as to what to do and we took a minute to think of our options. This was a very hard decision for us, but a peace came over us and Wade and I both knew that we would trust God to keep both girls safe on the journey back to Charlotte.

Wade's parents had went with us so they would be the ones to drive our car back and they took us to the airport. It was almost 6 and our flight was scheduled to leave at 7:30. We were in a race against time because we had no idea how long we had for Liana. Unfortunately it was the worst airport experience of our life. The doctor told me to ride in a wheelchair and we had to wait to get one of those. We had no bags, but for some reason we got tagged for a bomb search. We weren't even sure if we could make it to our flight on time because of this and no one seemed to care about our medical emergency. Then our terminal was across the entire airport and and you had to take a shuttle to get there. Finally, I just had to ditch the wheelchair and the last stretch Wade and I had to run to our loading area. Thankfully, the flight was about 5 minutes late. I had about 3 breakdowns during the time in the airport. It seems like everything was going wrong and I couldn't control any of it. Once on the plane, our flight was delayed twice, once to a technical problem and then again for some runway traffic. On the flight we tried to decide what our names for the girls would be. We had narrowed it down to about 5 names and I said that our little one, baby girl a, had to be named Liana. Liana means in Hebrew "Our God has answered our prayers." And were sure were praying for her and Adleigh.

We landed in Charlotte at 9:30 pm and our good friends Chris and Beth Brown came to pick us up. We got to the hospital at 10:00 and the Ohio people told us that they would let the Charlotte doctors know what was going on. However, when we got to the hospital no one knew what was going on and I had to explain to every person that I needed to be hooked up the fetal heart monitors right then. Finally at 10:45 pm, I was hooked up and they found both heartbeats. About 20 minutes later I got my first steroid shot that is supposed to help with the girls' lungs once they are born. At 11 pm my doctor came in and said that Liana's heartbeat had dipped a few times and he was getting uncomfortable with it. We were told we had to take them out right then. A rush of nurses came in the room and prepared me for surgery. I had never been more scared in my life. I am usually a very laid back, calm person, but at that moment I could not stop shaking. My nurse had to grab my shoulders and hold me because I was having some kind of panic attack.

Liana was born at 11:36 pm and Adleigh was born 20 seconds later at 11:37 pm on June 18, 2008. Only 6 hours after we left Ohio. We had no idea what having a preemie would be like nevermind there being 2! So they we were, 27 weeks into my pregnancy. They were due on September 18th so they were exactly 3 months early. And we had our beautiful but tiny babies: Liana Hope Joye and Adleigh Grace Joye. If you have read the blog you know the rest of the story, but between the two we pretty much covered every general health problem a preemie can face. Each day I am so blown away by how far they have come and how amazing they look. We have been incredibly blessed!


The results

Well our week of doctors appointments went really well. We had the hearing test and both girls passed in both ears! The girls had to be asleep or motionless and Liana completely surprised me. After she ate her bottle she fell asleep really fast and it only took the audiologist 5-10 minutes to check her hearing (they block out a 2 hour time slot for each patient). Adleigh was a little squirmy but it only took about 30 minutes for her hearing test.

I also got news back from Adleigh's pediatrician that all of her test results came back looking good. She is still slightly anemic, but that is going in the right direction. Her liver levels are still elevated, but coming down nicely and her bili is still a little high but it is half of what it used to be. Thank you for all of your prayers for her. Her jaundice is finally showing signs of going away and she doesn't look like a bronze beach baby as much anymore.

Liana went to her neurosurgeon and they just checked her head circumference and soft spot and said everything looked great. She will have another cranial ultrasound in 4 weeks. And then we will finally see the neurosurgeon in January.

Last but not least, we went to the pediatrician and the girls got their second RSV shot and got weighed. Adleigh pushed ahead slightly. She weighed 10 lbs exactly!!! And then Liana was an ounce less at 9 lbs 15 ozs. What am I feeding these girls?

And I leave you with some of the most beautiful eyelashes you have ever seen.




Together time

This week seemed to fly by. My mom asked me when I was going to post another blog and it feels like just yesterday I had posted one, but it has been like a week! And I know this coming week is going to be just as crazy. We have our hearing screens Monday, Liana at 8 am and Adleigh at 10 am. They are supposed to be calm or asleep and that is usually their most awake time, so we will see how that goes. Then Wednesday we go back to the neurosurgery place for Liana's head check. Thursday we go to the pediatrician for our 2nd shot for RSV and to get their weight checked. I am guessing we are between 9 and 10 lbs now. Such big girls!!

SHORT UPDATES: Liana is doing amazing. She had her physical therapy session and PT lady said she was doing way better than most preemies. She is doing some things that a 4 month old can do and we are corrected at only 2 months. Adleigh is doing just as amazing and we are seriously blown away about how strong and smart they are. God is already showing that a brain bleed has no final say over His plans. By the way, Liana's bleed is still resolving and everything is looking like it should. They will want to continue to watch her until she is about 3 years old.

Adleigh's jaundice is doing a lot better. Her liver levels are going into normal ranges. Her skin is still yellow, but looking a lot more pinky pale to me. All the scans and tests they ran came back normal so it is officially just the TPN made her liver stuff all gunky and it is hard for her to get rid of her bili. So we will be on the meds for a little while longer.

Ok so, we all know what time it is...photo shoot time! Here is a group of the girls having what we call "together time," which usually means shoving a baby into the other baby's face (jk...kinda).

Seriously how did I get both of these shots? Back to back too! Too funny.
I would like to hear your caption for this picture .


Then and Now

I loved this post from Kayleigh's blog so much that I had to do one for our girls as well.

Liana: Then

Liana: Now
Adleigh: Then
Adleigh: Now

Liana: Then
Liana: Now

Adleigh: Then
Adleigh: Now

The girls with mommy
The girls with daddy

Haven't they grown?
Liana then: 1 lb 14 ozs and Liana now: 8 lbs 13 ozs.
Adleigh then: 2 lbs 5 ozs and Adleigh now: 8 lbs 13 ozs.