27 weeks

So I have to admit, a part of me feels really silly writing these updates, but the other part of me feels like it's a way I can say thank you to all of you who are thinking about and praying for us. Your support means the world to us, and the prayers are working (and probably what is keeping me sane!).

New stats for 27 weeks: Babies at 27 weeks have >90% probability of survival (still risks but much better outcomes). The latest ultrasound on Wednesday went really well. Both babies are weighing in at around 2 lbs., and I even caught a glimpse of baby B sucking her little hand on the monitor. Also new for the week, I can now hear when one of the babies has hiccups through the heart rate monitor. It makes me smile just thinking about it.  

Once again sorry for the picture quality in most of these pictures, but here are some highlights from the week:
  
Girls Night Out: The Recital.

Yes the girls made me play a little song for them on my favorite ukulele. If only I had the guts to post the video! It was a little pathetic but gave us some good laughs. 


I had my friend Corinne come sing while I played, because then no matter what I played it would sound amazing. (Please appreciate that bed-head bun. It takes a lot of best rest to get a bun that good.)

My friend Lizzie brought up guacamole today. It was amazing after 3 weeks of hospital food!

3 packages from cousins and a sister-in-law with some pretty rad things inside (tell me this stuff isn't rad): DIY friendship bracelet kit, the Babysitters club book, darling puj baby shoes (didn't know puj makes shoes!), homemade dried apple rings with cinnamon, love notes from the kids, a few inspired books, hand care kit, and more. All 3 were major pick me ups. Thank you Heidi, Mauri and Aubrey! (And just as an aside, being on the receiving end of service I am realizing I am not as nice and thoughtful as I used to think I was. I have some MAJOR catching up to do.)


Starting to do a little baby shopping! I think I'm going to love shopping for twins.  
From the darling little etsy shop Plain Jane & Co.
My parents are officially in the Missionary Training Center! In one week they are headed to Brisbane Australia to oversee a mission for our church. I feel lucky to watch them go through the experience of preparing to love and serve a people they've never met yet. They are so ready.


And another big highlight is hearing from many of you about the Small Seed. It's so encouraging to see so many respond and resonate to messages about faith and God on the internet. My week and faith has been brightened by your emails and facebook messages.

Here’s to 28 weeks (and my half-way point in the hospital)!

xo,

Lizzy 

26 weeks

The girls made it to week 26! We're nowhere near out of the woods yet, but we did go from a 50-80% survival rate for the girls to 80-90% this week (isn't it crazy that outcomes are so much better with just one week of growth?!). Waking up Monday morning felt so good, and my heart was full of gratitude for another big milestone.

I'm happy to say there isn't a lot new this week--no news is good news around here! The babies heart rates both look good, growth looks good, and I gained a pound and a half (I love that I'm measuring my progress these days by how many pounds I've gained in a week!).

Some highlights of my week (beware, none of this is going to be very exciting-they all are shots from my hospital room taken from my phone).

I love my Tillie Rose and Sarah time (I think Sarah's become my emotional outlet, when she comes up here I laugh so much and she can't get me to stop talking, sure signs of cabin fever?).

Snuggling in the few minutes I get to stand up when I use the restroom. 
Loved these flowers from Dave's grandma Colleen. Nothing like peonies and pea sprouts (I think that's what they are?), the pea sprouts smell heavenly!


Saturday night Tillie and Dave came up and we had a little dance party. We were cracking up watching Tillie get such a kick out of herself in the iPad photo booth.



I couldn't help but post this, the dog that makes routine visits from the pet therapy program. They come once a week to cheer up the patients. I think it's adorable.


Girls Night Out: Hospital Style. I look forward to this every week. Talk about an angel in my life, my friend Dayna has set up a schedule so that I have a group of friends travel an hour to come see me every week. How can I thank you Dayna?


And a sweet moment yesterday on my 26 week mark--my little hello from heaven, a double rainbow for my little doubles. I posted it on instagram and loved some of the comments, "God's signature is everywhere so that we recognize our own daily miracles", and "God is Good," and my favorite, "Another love note from Heavenly Father." I agree.


Another week down. I We are so grateful for your support and prayers! 

xo,

Lizzy

ps I found a study this week touting the benefit of music therapy and babies in the NICU. So for any of you that were wondering, yes I am seriously learning the ukulele. And my nurses are getting a total kick out it.

Father's Day

With Father's day approaching, I reflected this week on the role my dad has played in my life, from the day I was born even up to the talk we had this morning. Saying I feel pretty lucky doesn't come close to capturing the feelings I have for the man who has sacrificed, taught, and helped me become the person I am.  I’m sure my emotions are even closer to the surface as my parents are preparing to leave in just a week to serve in Brisbane, Australia for 3 years.


So here are just a few reasons that I’m grateful for you Dad:
  •  You give me vision. Growing up I think I had no idea who I could become. But you did, and you showed me. It was even apparent in the way you disciplined me (well, most of the time, ha) that when you were disappointed in me it was because you knew "I was better than that." And it drove me to be better. 
  • You've taught me what really brings happiness, even in a world that is pretty confused on this one. You've always steered me away from things that you knew in the long term just wouldn't pay off.
  • You are honest with me, even when the truth is painful. You aren't afraid to say the things that I need to hear, always with a spoonful of love to help it go down.
  • You are a man of integrity. You set the standard for what it means to be a Henderson.
  •  You let me know that you are real, that at times you've struggled, and maybe even failed a time or two. But you've learned from it. I know if I fail it's ok. I'll learn from it and be better for it, just like you. 
  • You taught me that I’m happier when I make myself mind myself. With most people these days advocating for self-indulgence, you taught me (and showed me!) how self-denial will make me happier in the long run.
  • You taught me to love to work. You helped me feel the joy that comes from it, whether from a full day of yard-work, or those good feelings that come after an intense workout.
  • You never shrink from sacrifice, even if it means getting up earlier or letting go of what you would rather do personally.
  • Your faith and relationship with God drives everything else in your life. There's nothing you wouldn't sacrifice for Him, and your willingness to leave everything else behind professionally and socially for 3 years to serve Him is evidence of that.
  • You've taught us about what matters most, and more importantly you live it. Family and faith are right at the top of your list. There has never been a question in my mind that if I really needed you, you would drop anything. 
My dad with Tillie, just a few hours after she was born
I’ll miss having you closer over the next 3 years Dad. But how can I complain when I've been blessed to have you as a father for 29 years, and now have an opportunity to share you with 300 missionaries who will love you as a  father figure too.

xo,

your daughter

First week down


So happy to say we made it through the first week. From what I've heard it just gets easier after week 1, and I have to say I hope so!

I found out today that the survival rate of preemies at 24 weeks is only 39%, and goes up to 50% by week 25! Another big reason to be grateful for making it just the first 7 days.

I've had some people ask me if I'm really doing ok, and I really can say that I am. No, it hasn't been easy, but it's hard to feel bad for myself when there have been so many angels helping us out and when I think of how much worse it could be. I think the fact that we had to beat the odds to get this far has also helped me keep it all in perspective.

A few other Mono/Mono Moms have asked what inpatient stay is really like, and what some of the low points are. So here are a few of the things that aren't my favorite:
  • Probably the hardest thing about inpatient is being without my Tillie Rose. I've felt my heart pulled out wanting to hold her and snuggle her and let her know that I love her, and even when she's here I'm hooked up to monitors. I feel so torn--a part of me wants her to be fine with our new situation, and the other part of me feels crushed when she happily waves goodbye after a visit. For some reason Saturday was a real low point as I saw all the changes in her in just a week--seeing her new front tooth all the way in, listening to new words and sounds I didn't teach her. Obviously these aren't feelings I try to focus on, but they pull at my heart.  
  • It probably goes without saying that I don't love being pretty much immobile for all of the day, being hooked up to monitors with straps around my belly even when I'm sleeping, and knowing that I'm losing pretty much any muscle I ever had. It's not awesome. Good thing it's worth it.
  • And last but not least being stationary tends to um, back your system up. Also not my favorite. Hoping my body starts to adjust to this unfortunate side effect. 
Some of the highlights of this week:
  • The view from my room. 

  • Girls Night Out in the hospital with the best medicine (laughter and girl talk obviously). Definite highlight was my friend Emily bringing me a ukulele. (Ok, backstory. A while back I had mentioned to Dave how awesome it would be to learn the ukulele while I am here--you can laugh it is a little ridiculous!--so when Emily asked what she could bring to pass the time that's what Dave told her.) So awesome. I can't wait for the nurses to hear me strumming away. 
  • The nurses. Such amazing women. It is not easy to keep these babies on the monitor, and sometimes the nurses will sit and hold the monitor in place in the middle of the night while I am trying to sleep. I haven't had one get short or frustrated with me or our situation.
  • Meeting the chaplain of the hospital. We talked for over an hour about spirituality and the role faith has in helping patients heal and have hope. 
  • My 25 week surprise visit from Sarah and Tillie-Sarah had said they weren't going to come and then showed up with flowers, treats and Tillie. Can I just say that Sarah is amazing for taking all of this in stride? I don't know if I know another girl who could transition so well from the excitement and fun of high school to moving across the country, watching a baby full time, navigating east coast people and roads, and doing it all with a smile. Makes me cry just thinking about it. 
  • Two great men bringing me the sacrament on Sunday. Hearing the bread and water blessed just for me and thinking of the Savior's sacrifice and love just on my behalf filled my little hospital room with a peaceful and sweet spirit that I'll never forget. 
  • Your visits, calls, texts, messages, flowers, and most importantly prayers. On Sunday Dave came up after church and brought with him a stack of notes from those in our congregation. My friend Heidi had punched out cards and had them ready for anyone who wanted to write a little note of encouragement. When Dave brought them out and showed them to me I just cried feeling so loved and supported. I read a few everyday and they're a treasure  

Maybe one of my favorite changes this week is that I'm starting to let myself dream about having these two babies in our family. I have been so cautious knowing we have tough odds, but this week as I've looked at their ultrasound profiles it's starting to become real. I'm starting to feel new love well up inside of me, for each of them. I still can't believe they may be ours. Last night I had a dream where I was cuddling and looking at a new little baby, and I could almost smell that new baby smell. It was a special gift and one I'll be holding onto all week.


Here's to week 2!

xo,

Lizzy

Day 5 in hospital

Happy to say that the Team Twins made it through the first 5 days! (By team twins I mean me, them, Dave, Tillie Rose and Sarah. Quite a crew).

I've promised that this isn't blog isn't going to turn into all about the mono-mono twin experience, or my stay at the hospital, but so many of you have asked for updates so I'll do my best for those of you who are interested.

As of this week the babies are doing great. We had a great ultrasound on Wednesday with full heart scans and everything looks healthy! The babies are both weighing around 1 lb 7 oz. 

There was only one scare this week, at about 1 am this morning where one of the babies heart rates dropped. Hearing the beat slow way down made my adrenaline start pumping, and all I could think of was, no girls--you are not allowed to come yet! It became so intense in the room and the nurse called for the doctor on staff. Gratefully within a minute the heart rate came back up. The nurses later told me this may happen from time to time, and sometimes even happens in completely normal pregnancies. 

The twins profiles
Tillie's profile at the same age
Today I was thinking about the funny unexpected firsts this experience has brought, like:
- Shooting up with steroids. Definitely didn't think I would ever be doing that.
- Living solely in one room, and only moving when I need to use the restroom or when I get my shower time in the morning. Yes, I am so stiff after only 5 days. Yes, I think prison inmates may have it a little better. No, I wouldn't trade places with them. 
- Waking up numerous times per night to people touching my belly and re-attaching monitors.  
- Learning to be grateful for a morning exercise, which only consists of two 4 lb weights and a very creative arm workout. I'm hoping to keep at least one muscle during the 8 week stay.

But mostly I am grateful for those of you thinking and praying for us, and for the visitors! (seriously who would have known how awesome a girls night out is at the hospital!). 

Thought this was too funny with my current situation, good reminder for you to get out and do something fun this weekend!  via 
Hope you enjoy a nice weekend and that you get out and do something fun! And as for me, I can't complain as I have my favorite Team Twins on their way to hang out here. 

xo,

Lizzy

first few days in hospital

Many of you have been so sweet to ask about the situation with our pregnancy.  I will probably post the full story at some point, but thought I’d share a few details now.

In February, Dave and I found out we were having monochorionic-monoamniotic twins (commonly referred to as mono-mono). Basically this means that our babies are sharing one placenta as well as one amniotic sac, with no membrane to separate them. It is extremely rare (only 1% of identical twins, which is only 3% of all pregnancies), and the chances of survival aren't great. When we found out at 10 weeks, they only gave us a 50% chance that the babies would make it to viability (24 weeks). The risk in mono-mono twins is primarily due to the fact that because there is no membrane to separate them, their cords often cross which can cut off blood and oxygen supply to both.

Here is a little diagram of the potential ways identical twins develop, the days refer to at what day the zygote splits and what that means (probably totally uninteresting to anyone not in this situation):
via UrbanMoms (and see the website for more technical info)
The great news is that these two have beat many odds already, and we're only 4 days away from making it to viability! We know they’re identical girls, and we believe these girls are fighters. On Monday, since I'll be 24 weeks and they will be viable, I will be checked in to the hospital so that they can begin full time monitoring. At that point if the girls' heart rates drop, they can hopefully do an emergency Cesarean section fast enough to save them. A huge blessing in all of this is that my sister will be coming out to watch Tillie, and although I’ll be 45 minutes away at the hospital, I'm hoping that it's not too far for very frequent visits!

Mostly I just want to say thank you for all your support. It's humbling. I know your prayers are what have kept me feeling peace through all of this, and have had led to many blessings already.

My mantra. It works. via 
Here’s to Monday!

xo,

Lizzy
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