Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Diary of an Identical Twin Pregnancy, Part V - My Hollywood Experience, Day 1

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

I woke up fairly early Wednesday morning at our hotel in Palm Desert, mostly due to anticipation about the days ahead. It worked out well, because we still had a couple of hours of driving to do, and needed to get on the road early enough to make it through L.A. traffic and be on time for our appointment just before noon. Both the doctor's office, as well as the hospital, are located in Hollywood, which is absolutely terrible traffic-wise at any given time of day. Not the ritzy part of Hollywood, but the crowded, older part of town.

My sweet husband, knowing I would much prefer a hot breakfast from Panera Bread (which we don't have in Arizona) over the one offered by the hotel, told me to stay in bed and relax while he picked up food for us. Breakfast done, we got ready, and were out the door sometime around 7 am.

We got to L.A. with enough time to spare to stop for a quick lunch before heading to the clinic. This appointment was for another in-depth ultrasound and assessment of the babies. A very sweet, skilled, and thorough (!!!) technician spent a good 2 hours going over and over and over the babies, measuring and double-checking everything in great detail. When she was finally done, she reported her findings to Dr. Chmait. We met him shortly thereafter. First, he explained the situation to us - basically, all their numbers were almost exactly those found by Dr. E's office back in Phoenix a couple of days earlier. In order for a diagnosis of TTTS to be made, the deepest vertical pocket (DVP) of the recipient twin's amniotic fluid must exceed 8 cm, and the DVP of the donor twin's fluid measure less than 2 cm. On Monday, our babies had DVPs of 11.1 and 0.7 cm, respectively, numbers that were almost identical in the findings on Wednesday, except that donor twin's fluid had decreased to 0 cm.

As far as treatment options, he reiterated what I had already learned from Dr. E. He also explained that he only carries out laser ablations of the placenta in an attempt to save both twins, but does not carry out the type of laser surgery in which the cord of the donor twin is cut off from the placenta completely, basically killing that baby, but saving the other twin, something he deemed "unethical".

While I am this subject, I would like to dispel an accusation I have received in a number of comments this week: that I am seeking care from "baby killers" and "abortionists". These doctors are high-risk specialists. They work full-time to save babies, not to kill them. I know of many moms who switched their care to Dr. E, after their previous doctor told them he would not continue their care unless they "selectively reduced" the pregnancy, yet Dr. E took them on and did all he could to save all the babies (often successfully). Dr. C does not even have a regular client base - all he deals with are urgent cases, most from faraway and out-of-state, and all he performs are fetal surgeries. Mostly laser ablations, but also fetal blood transfusions, stents placed in babies in the womb, etc. He literally works only on saving the lives of unborn children through highly-skilled, specialized surgeries. That alone boggles my mind - I would never be able to take on that sort of responsibility. Yet he came across as a very down-to-earth, humble man, entirely devoid of the "God complex" so many doctors are guilty of. All that aside - when there is a life (or two!) at stake, I think few of us stop to inquire about the specifics of the person doing the saving. If my loved one were drowning, I would be thankful for anyone to pull them out and save their life. It doesn't mean I condone of everyone and their life styles, just because they also do something good or heroic on occasion. God's laws are there to protect us, to serve us as humans in our best interest. When obeying these laws becomes destructive due to extenuating circumstances, the Bible is clear that they can be suspended in certain, limited instances, such as the ox or ass falling into a ditch on the Sabbath day, and needing to be rescued (even though typically, working on the Sabbath was strictly prohibited).

But back to the appointment - with the decision made that we were going ahead with the surgery the following morning, we now had to fill out all sorts of paperwork, arrange payment with the hospital next door, get my blood and other lab work done, and so on. When all was said and done, we had been there for over 5 hours!

We had a quick dinner of PB&J and milk on the road as we headed to the evening church service at Pacific Coast Baptist Church that night. This was not for their main midweek service, but rather one of the services they offer in the local communities. I am really glad we were able to go - being able to sign the hymns, hear the preaching, fellowship with other believers, and having them pray for us was a great blessing to us.

After church, we headed to our hotel, which was right on the coast in Long Beach. It was a beautiful hotel, with a fabulous restaurant. Being on strict orders not to eat or drink past midnight, we headed there around 9 pm for a late, and hopefully filling, high-protein dinner of steak. It was absolutely fabulous - even if both my husband and I dozed off at the table while waiting for the meal to arrive. :) So as of 10 pm, I really was stuffed!!

I cannot overemphasize how incredibly awesome and accommodating my husband was on this entire trip. He is always loving and caring, but especially on this trip, he was just going out of his way even more to cater to my every need, making me as relaxed and comfortable as possible. Plus, with his mom at home watching our other kids, we both had complete peace of mind about them being cared for completely, so we didn't need to waste any time worrying about them. We were hardly to our room when both of us just collapsed into bed, entirely exhausted from the long day behind us.


  1. Pastor A. is being so wonderful and I know you are in such good care. Oh, and your mother in law is seriously amazing.

    I just read some of the comments and I am mad that people are being so hateful, and I am sure FJ is really eating this all up. I hope you take nothing they say to heart. For them to be nasty in a stressful time is beyond words. How awful. I am sorry, you do not need this.

    Keep resting and trusting the Lord.

    Praying, praying, praying.

    Love to you all!!!


  2. Thank you for sharing this difficult time in your life with us. I am not a mother yet but my heart still aches for you and your family. I pray for God's peace with you. Know that He is in control here and loves you and your twins very much. He has a plan for you and them and I am sure it will be wonderful. Stay strong, and again thank you for sharing such a personal story with us.

  3. Zsuzsanna, even though you and I don't agree on too many things I have to say I think the way you are handling your pregnancy is admirable. Over the years I've seen too many women either die or deliver a stillborn baby because they refuse to get medical help when symptoms indicate that something isn't right. Being a believer doesn't mean you have to forgo all medical help. God blesses doctors with healing to help when needed. Stay strong and know you are doing the right thing! I'll be praying for the best of outcomes and that your smallest twin is healed. Jesus never refused to heal someone in His day, and He still heals in our times. Believing for that healing right now.

  4. I am praying for you, the twins, and the rest of your family!

  5. Our family is praying for you all. Thanks for sharing your story.

  6. Thank you for continuing to update. I would not blame you one bit for not, but I will say I am ever grateful for the update. The other day you were a little too slow in posting the comments from your previous update and I got so anxious. I even told my husband I thought you must have been having trouble as you didn't approve comments for what was too long for my worried mind :) I say that joking that you were too slow as you owe none of us updates, but I appreciate it.

    Still praying....

  7. I can honestly say that I'm downright shocked at the level of discourse going on in your comments right now--and those are just the ones that you saw fit to publish! Wow, people really must need to get their OWN lives in order if they feel the need to comment negatively regarding two little babies, a mother and father of nine in an understandably difficult situation, or any of your medical team who get up every morning and go to work with the sole purposes of saving children's lives. Zsuzsa, don't let any of these naysayers get to you! You and Pastor Anderson have taken the (in my opinion) best possible road that you could in this situation--you listened to the absolute best medical professionals you could find regarding your sons' condition and took an option that will, God willing, spare both their little innocent lives. God only knows that my husband and I would have done the exact same thing you and Pastor Anderson did in your situation.
    With that out of the way--it looks like you two made the best of it and had a nice little mini-holiday together! How lovely that he decided to treat you to a nice hotel and some excellent meals so that you could be in top fighting form! Pacific Coast Baptist Church sounds like a wonderful community of souls and it must have given you great solace to be able to attend their services while you were in Los Angeles.
    Hang in there, my family and I are praying you and your name is on our lips often of late, wishing you the very best! Please let us know if there is anything more we can do. Psalm 31, verse 24--Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. God bless you, Pastor Anderson, and each of your nine. --Mindy

  8. I rarely agree with any of your personal political or social viewpoints, but I've been poking about your blog for years. I very much enjoy watching your kids grow up. I wish your family all the best, as you go through these challenges with your two newest baby boys.

  9. I could have written Diane's comment word for word. I am not a Christian but I just had my fifth baby and love hearing about your children and their education. Good luck my love x

  10. I rarely comment but read your blog faithfully for years now. I so appreciate these updates... praying fervently for you and your sweet baby boys. Have you had to wean baby Stephen due to all the travel you've had to do? I hope you are doing okay with that. <3

  11. I haven't been reading for a while and now am catching up on all the updates. Thank you for continuing to update and share this story, and I am sorry that people do not know when to keep their mouths (or fingers) shut. I often agree with you and just as often disagree, but one thing is for sure. You are a "mama bear" and are going to fight to keep your children safe! I will be thinking good thoughts for you whatever may come. Please let us know what news you learn today one week post-op.

  12. Prayers for all four of you. A lot of people are pulling for those kids all over the world, even those who don't agree with you. Take care.

  13. Hang in there Momma and ignore the idiots on FJ. That is a community of women who are in rebellion to and have abandoned their roles as wives and mothers, so the fact that you and I and people like us infuriate them so much should tell you who is doing the right thing. The judgementalness that exudes from them is uncanny, when they accuse Christians of being judgemental, and just blows my mind. Will be praying for this pregnancy. My last, #8 living, (3 in Heaven) was a major medical event after 7 natural midwife deliveries. It was hard, but God brought us through as He will you as well regardless the outcome. Blessings to you.

    1. You can't speak for everyone. We all want the babies and mother to come through this and hate that this is happening to them.

  14. I don't agree with lots of your political views, but I am a Christian and I believe you are a good Christian mama bear like the other person said. I hope and pray you are happy and this all processes ok. You take care of yourself. Don't let the turkeys get you down! Forget the turkeys. :) Take care, and FYI I love your blog :)

  15. Praying for you and your babies. Hoping all was well at your appointment yesterday.

  16. I don't particularly support many of your (or your husband's) beliefs and points of view and I'm not a Christian, but I love reading your blog, and how you manage to succesfully run your house, raise your kids and be a loving mom & wife. I just wanted to let you know I'll be sending light and good vibes for you and your babies, I hope the procedure works out and they'll continue to grow without trouble until they're ready to pop into this world. Greetings from Mexico City!


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