Saturday, May 17, 2014

Getting adjusted

Let me start by saying that Boaz is the easiest baby we have ever had, hands down. As in, it's almost unreal how easy and predictable he has been, since day 1.

That being said, the last couple of days have been rather challenging for both him and I, due to the fact that he had to have a simple, quick, but sadly not entirely painless procedure done to "loosen" his severe tongue tie. As far as I remember, all of our kids except Isaac have had various degrees of being tongue-tied, but in Boaz' case it was not only causing me extreme pain, but he was not gaining weight like he should.
Until he had the procedure done this past Thursday, I would nurse him, weigh him to see how much he had taken, and then "top him off" with pumped milk to make sure he was getting enough. Between nursing, pumping, bottle feeding, and the severe pain it was causing me, after consulting with a reputed local lactation consultant, we took him to a specialist who "cut" his tongue tie with laser. 

It's been 48 hours, and I finally have my happy baby back, mostly anyway. He still gets a little crabby every time he starts to nurse, but quickly relaxes as he can take much more milk now, and do so much easier. I will write in more detail about the whole tongue tie issue, in case anyone else out there has to make a decision in that regard and wants to hear about our first-hand experience.

My apologies for being slow to post comments, and even slower to respond to them. Plus, I am still writing up the birth story, too!

For now, I will leave you with a couple of sweet photos. These are all from last week, as I have not yet had a chance to download the new photos off my camera this week.

 Oldest and youngest

 "Be careful!"

Miriam giving him a bottle

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Setting the record straight

I am certainly no stranger to comments ranging anywhere from idiotic to hateful, and most all of the time, it doesn't phase me in the least.

Today, however, something came to my attention that I feel I must publicly refute. An article published on the day Boaz was born on a site called is making the slanderous and horrendous claim that rather than Jachin passing away due to circumstances outside of our control, we actually intentionally killed him by way of selective reduction. You can find that article here.

In case you have missed it, I have blogged on abortion and selective reduction in the past. Of course, we vehemently oppose both since they are just murder by another name.

The article on AlterNet claims that:
Christian patriarchs like Anderson pound the pulpit about women thwarting God’s perfect plan, but when push comes to shove in the pregnancy and delivery process, normal human emotions often win out: fear, love and the yearning for children who are healthy and happy. Anderson and his wife did their homework and she underwent a series of procedures aimed at maximizing the likelihood of a healthy outcome. The procedure that ultimately saved one twin — a laser ablation that severed their connection — also killed the weaker one, which was left with insufficient blood flow.

Not only is this a ridiculous and slanderous accusation, it is entirely inaccurate from a medical standpoint.

Untreated, TTTS will kill both twins in 95% of cases. In the other 5% of cases, one twin may survive, but face serious, life-long complications. Until just a couple of decades ago, this was the bleak outlook for twin pregnancies affected by TTTS. Sadly, this is still true today in most countries around the world that cannot offer anything in the way of treating TTTS.

Thanks to modern medical advances, there are now several treatment approaches. All this information can be found and verified on the TTTS Foundation website.

1. Laser ablation of the connected blood vessels in the placenta. These blood vessels were never supposed to be connected to begin with.
2. Draining excess amniotic fluid in the recipient baby

3. In mild cases, a doctor may choose to just "wait and see", as about 10% of TTTS cases resolve on their own. 
Besides these three treatment options, there are two other possible, but unethical ways to proceed:
a. Terminate the pregnancy altogether
b. Terminate one twin (whichever one is the weaker one), typically by severing or cauterizing his umbilical cord. This is often referred to as a "cord ablation", likewise carried out by laser.
As far as survival rates go, option 1 offers the greatest chances of survival for both twins individually, as well as the pregnancy overall. It is the preferred, standard recommended course of action in an attempt to give both twins the best shot at survival.
That is the route we chose to go with our babies. The surgery was a complete success, as the surgeon assured me before I even got to the recovery room. Both twins were healed of TTTS the moment their connected blood vessels in the placenta were severed by way of laser. Without the surgery, both of our babies would most likely have passed away within the next week, one from severe anemia causing brain damage, the other from the excess blood volume causing heart failure.
Unlikely as it was, even just 24 hours after the surgery, Jachin for the first time had a visible bladder on ultrasound (meaning he was no longer so anemic that his body had shut down his urine output), and had even built up some amniotic fluid rather than being "shrink wrapped" in his amniotic membrane. It was as ideal of an outcome as we could have hoped for.
Still, the surgeon warned us that he was only giving Jachin a 50% chance of survival, based on the fact that he had a very small share of the placenta, and that his umbilical cord was not attached to the placenta properly (known as a "velamentous cord insertion"). The doctor was not basing this information just on ultrasound, but rather real-life images from the camera used during the surgery.
Sadly, three weeks after the laser surgery, Jachin did, indeed, pass away. This was not a result of TTTS, or the surgery, but rather the fact that he simply was not receiving enough nutrition through his cord to sustain his ever increasing needs.
What AlterNet is falsely accusing us of, instead, is that we chose option (b) above - cutting off one baby to save the other. Besides being murderous, this option could not have been possible for two simple reasons:
1. Cord ablation results in the death of the unborn within a matter of minutes, not weeks, as the child cannot live without his life-line, the cord.
2. The surgeon I was treated by does not perform cord ablations, as he considers them to be unethical.

I wonder just what kind of person would write such a lying, misinformed article simply out of hatred for our way of life, and then publish it on the long-anticipated birth day of our surviving twin. We honored our baby Jachin in an actual burial just a few days ago, when we were not even legally required to do so (he passed away right before the legal threshold), and in spite of the fact that the vast majority of parents in our situation choose cremation instead. Baby Jachin was loved every moment of his brief life. We never would have chosen a treatment method that favored the survival of one child over the other, even if it had increased our chances of having at least one baby survive. We fought very hard for both, spent over $50,000 in cash doing so, and have no regrets about any aspect of our medical care. 

AlterNet ought to rescind their slanderous article, and issue a public apology. Which would require a minimal amount of decency and human nature, neither of which they possess.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. ~ Matthew 5:11

Saturday, May 10, 2014

In Love

Little Boaz is bringing so much joy to our family. It is impossible to capture just how sweet and snuggable he is in a photo. Everything about him is perfect, from his downy hair to his peachy skin with that delicious newborn smell. He is asleep across my chest as I am writing this, allowing me to really soak in that wonderful baby goodness.

 Bath time

I was able to capture the tail end of his smile on camera 

Doesn't he look so small compared to John? 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Our little twin

Many thanks to everyone who has expressed their congratulations and well wishes. Boaz and I are recovering well, enjoying this special time of him being a tiny newborn. The family is adjusting with relative ease. Stephen of course looks like a giant toddler by comparison now. He is rather thrilled about no longer being the "baby", and absolutely delights in being all over Boaz, pulling back his blanket, patting his head, and the like.

As much as I don't like to talk about it, the fact remains that this was a twin pregnancy. I know many of you are wondering, or have asked, about the other baby. 

(Trigger warning - post contains image of a stillborn baby's hands) 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

He's Here!!!

Boaz Barnabas Anderson, born at home today at 9:14 am weighing 6 lbs 12 oz. He came at 39w 3d, after 6.5 hours of labor. All went well. Detailed birth story to follow soon.
Thank you to all who prayed! We give glory and thanks to God for this precious life.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Quick Pregnancy Update

Just a quick update (since I get asked daily) - yes, I am still pregnant! 

I am currently at 39w 2d, and have been experiencing lots of on-again, off-again contractions and prodromal labor for a couple of weeks now, but no baby to show for as of yet. I think I am setting a new record for how long I managed to stay pregnant after my membranes ruptured at 18 weeks, and the subsequent "amniopatch" fixed that issue.

I will be sure to update here as soon as our little guy makes his appearance, hopefully soon. 

Thank you for your continued prayers! :)