Monday, January 28, 2008


It has been brought to my attention that I have not posted photos of my children recently. Of course, this could not possibly be right. I have become very adept at posting photos. That's why the number of photos still on my camera is...68.

Ooops. Yes, upon inspection, I have not posted photos (or even emptied my camera!) in a very long time. In fact, pictures from Todd's company's family Christmas party on December 3 were still on there, as were photos of the Red Rider Leg Lamp that we put up the day after Thanksgiving. Whoopsie!

So here is a condensed version of our past few months. Thank you to Laura and Casey for prodding me!

The Leg Lamp, proudly displayed in our front window during the holidays

Faith dancing at the Southwest Research Institute's Family Christmas Party. Think she knows what a camera is?

Grace took part in the dancing, too!

Devin was impressed the most by the steam engine outside of Sunset Station, where the Christmas party was held. Sunset Station was, at one time, a functioning train station, but has since been made into a multi-purpose entertainment and concert facility

Santa came! This is what greeted our kids on Christmas morning.

We have an antique church pew in our kitchen and the girls have taken to crawling all over it. It seems that Grace didn't quite understand that it's easier to sit on it when the seat is actually down.

Faith has it figured out, but is about to fall off!

On a completely different note
I just got off the phone with my dad. I admire my dad for a number of reasons, and one of those reasons is that he is in better shape than anyone I know in my own age group. He runs and lifts weights three days a week and walks 18 holes of golf three days a week. Sunday is his "day off." He is also very cognizant of what he eats and makes sure that his mind is never idle. He's an awesome example of discipline.

He and some friends have placed a bet as to who will and will not be able to run a half-marathon (13.1 miles) this spring. Dad is determined to win the bet and set out to prove to himself that he is capable of this feat. On Saturday, he ran 14 miles.

My dad is going on 68 years old.

Jill's Got a Blog!

Shortly after that long post regarding my sis-in-law, Jill's, research work in Senegal, I got an email from her that she has started a blog for the online distance learning course she is conducting. For those who are interested in her work or just want to take a peek into her life of living in a hut and walking 15 miles a day tracking down chimpanzees, here is the address:

Fongoli Chimps

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Why, Oh Why?

Today marks the beginning of the rodeo season here in San Antonio. For those of you who are not from Texas, rodeos are a big, big deal in the Lone Star State. But I guarantee, they are nothing like you are envisioning.

In the defense of Hollywood, there are hundreds of small-town, small-circuit rodeos around Texas that fit the bill of what is portrayed in the movies: small, outdoor arenas with hour after hour bucking broncos and injured cowboys.

But around the major metropolitan areas, namely Houston and San Antonio (Dallas is more well-known for the State Fair each fall), Rodeos are major tourist attractions and huge draws for the locals.

San Antonio's rodeo is much like Houston's, only on a smaller scale. They both last just under three weeks and take up the largest arenas in town (her in town, it's at the AT&T Center where the San Antonio Spurs play). Along with the usual rodeo events like calf-roping, bucking broncos, barrel racing and calf scrambles, there is also a huge midway with hundreds of "lose your money quickly" games and lots of thrill rides. Of course, there are dozens of booths selling Armadillo Eggs (deep-fried jalapeno peppers, stuffed with cheese), funnel cakes, King Henry VIII-style turkey legs and so on and so forth...

There are also a number of other areas around the grounds of the actual indoor rodeo competition -- a pavilion dedicated to all-things Texan, a marketplace where local vendors sell everything from hand-made saddles to jewelry to clothing for your pets. There are demonstration areas where you can sample foods from the different eras of the Old West, an arena for live stock auctions and, of course, rows and rows horses, cattle, poultry and assorted livestock just waiting to be sold or have a prize pinned on them.

Probably the most surprising thing about these large-scale Texas rodeos is what happens after the competitions are done and after you've toured the grounds and sampled their offerings. Every night, at 8:00, a major headlining act takes the stage in the middle of the competition arena and puts on a full concert. When I was a kid, it was the likes of Crystal Gayle, the Judds, the Oak Ridge Boys and George Strait. These days it's Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, Gretchen Wilson and a few surprises like Lynard Skynard and the Jonas Brothers. It's quite a sight to behold because where else, other than Texas, can you buy a bull, eat a funnel cake, ride a Tilt-a-Whirl, try on clothes, get yourself a new cowboy hat, see professional cowboys rope calves and then see a classic rock band perform -- all on the same 50 acres? It truly is a fun time!

But now, onto the topic of this post...

Unique to the San Antonio rodeo is an event that I just can't figure out. Every year, to kick off the rodeo season, the city hosts the Cowboy Breakfast. This is a huge, free event that is open to the public. It's always on a weekday and starts, of course, at 5:00 a.m. Otherwise, it would be called "Cowboy Brunch."

Anyway, this isn't just a grub-fest, but an event with multiple stages of live entertainment, and even an after-party that begins at 9:00 a.m.! Apparently, it's a lot of fun.

But something else that's apparent is the time of year: January.

I understand the allure of free food and fun, but thousands upon thousands of people get up at 4:00 a.m. to make it to this event. They brave what are almost always icy conditions, bitterly cold wind and miles of traffic just so they can get their biscuits-and-gravy, breakfast tacos, menudo and bratwursts. Then, after stuffing themselves with coronary event-inducing foods (most of which are delicious, I admit), they go work an eight-hour day.

Does anyone see anything wrong with this picture? Thanks, but no. I'll stay warmly in my bed and watch the news coverage from the comfort of my couch. The Cowboy Breakfast takes place tomorrow morning. And you can bet that rain, sleet and freezing rain are in the forecast.

Why, oh why? I just don't understand, but more power to those who are braver than I.

Let's Rodeo San Antonio!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Anthropologically Speaking...

More than a few times in my blog, I have mentioned Todd's sister, Jill. She is a professor at Iowa State University and a doctor of Anthropology.

Last year, her ongoing research in Senegal, Africa, made front-page, headline news all around the world when she videotaped chimpanzees fashioning spears and using them to hunt and kill other animals. This put the biological and historical Anthropology worlds on their ears, as now we have to rethink our theories behind who made the first tools and who was first to do what throughout the evolution of man's mind and capabilities.

Jill has been interviewed by and quoted in some of the world's most respected publications, including the New York Times, the London Times, Associated Press, NPR and the BBC. Google the words "Jill Pruetz" and over 7,000 pages are found.

It's been about a year now since Jill released her research. Film crews and documentary-makers are just about done with their footage, while photographers and journalists have gotten their shots and spent days on end in the field with Jill. Now the fun part begins.

Starting in February, you will start seeing Jill all over the news. It will start with her being interviewed on the Today Show on NBC sometime during the week of February 14 - 21. This will be for the purpose of promoting her NOVA special on PBS, titled, "Ape Genius," which airs February 19 at 8:00 PM Eastern.

Also in mid-February, the month's National Geographic magazine will feature Jill's findings as the cover and feature story.

Finally, in March, the National Geographic Channel will air a special documentary about Jill's chimps and her findings.

We are so proud of Jill. Her work has incredible worldwide and historical ramifications -- she has literally caused the world's greatest minds to rethink and reanalyze theories that have been in place for centuries. Text books will be re-written with her findings and long after her time on Earth, the name Dr. Jill Pruetz will be taught and revered. WOW.

To me, this is such a juxtaposition of worlds. I see Dr. Jill Pruetz, renowned Anthropologist, on TV and magazine covers, but I experience Jill, my husband's sister and the woman who calls and sings messages on my home phone with songs that she knows will be stuck in my head for days. She bought Devin a Transformers voice-changing helmet for Christmas, and then proceeded to spend the entire day playing with it herself and chasing her dogs around the yard with it on her head. She drinks Shiner beer, listens to AC/DC and could eat pizza for every meal if she had the chance.

Jill is an extraordinary person not only for what she's done, but who she is. She's a daughter, sister, aunt and friend. I hope you'll join us in supporting her by following her story through the worldwide media.

I'll keep you updated on specific dates and times.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Peidatric Pulmonolgist Appointment

In this, the month 'o illness in the Pruetz house, we continued our tour of medical offices by seeing Dr. Tarak Patel, a pediatric pulmonologist.

Dr. Patel saw Grace in the hospital last week and we both agreed that it would be a good idea for both babies to see him because of their long histories with respiratory infections and wheezing.

We were first seen by a medical assistant who told me that we were going to play a game. She said she usually calls it, "50 questions," but that this time we would play, "100 questions," -- 50 for each girl.

So we started with Grace, which really screwed me up since I almost always start with Faith on stuff like this because she was the first one born and because her name comes first in the alphabet.

The MA took Grace's medical, personal and family histories and asked questions about her environment, including the age of our house and the carpet inside it.

Then came all of the same questions for Faith, which were all answered exactly the same as Gracie's, with a few exceptions:

1) Grace has two heart conditions, Faith does not have any
2) Faith had an MRSA staph infection in the NICU, but Grace didn't
3) Grace was hospitalized with pneumonia, but we caught Faith's in time

After the game of "100 questions," Dr. Patel came in and listened to each girl. He asked a few more questions about their histories, etc and then started to discuss with me what he believes is going on. Here is how he explained it:

Lungs develop differently in utero than they do outside the womb. When lungs are forced to develop outside the womb, they are prematurely exposed to all of the air-born germs we encounter every day. Since the lungs aren't equipped to deal with these germs, they react with asthma-like symptoms, causing wheezing and coughing. This is what the girls' lungs are like every day, even at their healthiest -- always behaving like they are on the verge of infection.

When infections do occur, the lungs spring into attack mode, but already being partially constricted, they constrict even further and thus the respiratory distress begins. That explains why Gracie went from heaving breathing in the morning, but ended up hospitalized that night. Respiratory infections just escalate faster in preemies.

For now, we're going to treat this like asthma and do inhaled steroids every day via a nebulizer. The girls hate their nebulizer treatments, so I am not looking forward to this. But the steroids will help their lungs to remain less constricted on a daily basis and hopefully keep infections from becoming so intense so quickly.

We're still going to do the Cystic Fibrosis test, just to rule it out, but when I asked Dr. Patel how concerned he is about CF he said, "Not at all concerned." So that makes me feel a little better, but I doubt I'll get a full night's rest until I see the "negative" test results for myself.

I have to admit, I'm pretty happy with this diagnosis. There could have been way worse things that they could have been diagnosed with. Asthma is not that bad and their form is highly manageable.

Thank you to everyone for your prayers, happy thoughts and good vibes. Keep 'em coming!

Have a great weekend...

PS - It's a day early, but in case I don't post tomorrow, this will be my yearly birthday shout out to Bridget! Happy big 3-2, sister!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Pediatric GI Specialist Update

And this time, there is one!

We saw Dr. Elizondo this morning regarding Faith and Grace's small statures. I've heard great things about Dr. E -- that he is good with kids, very thorough and caring. He did not disappoint! He was excellent with my girls and they never cried a moment when they were with him. Woo hoo!

First, Dr. E took a long family history of both girls, asking about me, Todd and both of our sets of parents. Then he took a listen and look at each girl, feeling their tummies, checking out the condition of their skin (which can be linked to GI problems. Who knew?)and generally just poking them around. And remember, all of this with no crying from either baby. Amazing!

As we sat and discussed the girls' growth and progress, we talked about how they are very proportionate -- they are small in weight, but they're also short (and being an offspring of Todd and me, this should come as no surprise). He said it's good news that they are so proportionate, but that all of this may be an indicator of something else: Celiac Disease.

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease which prohibits the body from properly digesting the protein gluten. Instead, the gluten causes damage to the small intestine and malabsorption of key nutrients, resulting in decreased weight gain, especially in children.

Celiac Disease is a very common disease, but goes largely undiagnosed. A family with a history of autoimmune diseases is more likely to have children with autoimmune diseases.

Did I mention that Todd was diagnosed with Grave's Disease last week? It's an autoimmune disease. My mom also had an autoimmune disease. Ta da!

The only way to accurately diagnose Celiac Disease in children under five is to do an endoscopy. So, on February 4, we will arrive at our local hospital at 6:00 a.m. and, while the girls are under anesthesia, Dr. E will send a camera down their throats to look at their throats, esophagi (by the way, that is that the correct plural form of the word) and small intestines. He'll look for signs (whatever that means) of the disease and we'll have an initial diagnosis that day. It will be a week to ten days before the final and conclusive diagnosis will be ready.

If it turns out that they are positive for Celiac, then we'll have to do some major overhauling of our diets. Gluten is in everything and most commonly found in breads, grains, cereals, etc. It comes from wheat, barley and rye, so imagine having to cut out anything that has any of those components in it. We'll have to find a dietician to help us out -- it's not something we could do on our own. It's a pretty massive undertaking.

So how am I feeling? Okay, I guess. There is a chance this may not be Celiac Disease, and that keeps me hopeful. If it is Celiac, then we'll adjust. I'm glad to know that my babies are not at risk of having some sort of life-threatening illness or condition, but it does break my heart to know that no matter where they go or what they do, they're going to have to always be cognizent of what they are eating. It's one thing to do it when you're at home, but can you imagine being seven-years-old and at a slumber party where all of the other kids are eating brownies and chips while you get to munch on carrots. Hardly seems fair.

For now we'll just go on with life as we've been doing it and we'll survive, no matter the diagnosis. Like I said, it looks like there's nothing life threatening going on, so everything else can be handled with a little education, support and discipline.

One down, one to go. Tomorrow we see the Pulmonologist. Let's hope for good results.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Perfect Explanation

I started this blog more than two years ago, in the hopes of documenting my pregnancy and subsequent journey into becoming a mommy of two. I did it mostly for my own memories, sharing the address with friends and family, but never expecting to make my blog a major, public deal.

That all changed, though, when we found out we were having twins and especially when we found out that the girls were Monoamniotic -- a rare condition that affects only 1% of all identical twin pregnancies. According to one of my doctors, if you put four OB/GYNs in a room (or is that a row boat? Wait -- it's a room. This isn't a joke), each with 25 years of experience, statistically none of them will have ever seen a patient with Monoamniotic twins. It's just that rare.

This blog became an excellent way of letting loved ones know about what was going on without having to rehash the details over and over again (and thus sending me into a fit of tears). The blog has since evolved into my diary about my family and the ins and outs of our lives.

Friend, mom of Mo/Mos and fellow blogger, Laura, recently created a post recalling her experiences during her pregnancy with her twin girls. Like me, her experience is never far away from her mind and each time she sees her twins, she sees an extraordinary set of miracles.

Her post regarding her Mo/Mo pregnancy was so well-written and such a good explanation of her situation, I just had to post a link to it. This is great reading for anyone who is new to my blog and wants the basics of what a Mo/Mo pregnancy is about without having to read two years worth of posts from me, or for anyone who never quite got the full understanding of why I was hospitalized for nearly six weeks, why my babies were forced to be born no later than 32 weeks and why they still struggle today with respiratory and growth issues.

Thank you, Laura, for taking the time to write such a thoughtful explanation of the condition and your experience with it.

An Explanation of Monoamniotic Twins

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Moment of Apology...

Just a few moments ago, I got a strange comment on my blog (my comments are emailed to me where I can either accept or delete them). The comment was left on a post from over two years ago and it was regarding my switch from one doctor to another. I left Dr. Casiano's office to see Dr. Harden and wrote about it in my blog at the time.

It seems that my just-found-out-I'm-pregnant-with-twins emotions and hormones got the best of me, because I re-read the post and I think I was a little harsh on Dr. C. The anonymous poster pointed out that I slighted the doctor for not knowing that I was having twins.

The truth is, Dr. Casiano is an excellent doctor. He delivered Devin and treated me through endometriosis, including doing my laparoscopic surgery. I trusted him with a lot and never intended to make him out to be a bad doctor.

I am still happy that I switched to Dr. Harden, as she is renowned for her work with high-risk twin pregnancies and I feel I got the best care for my situation.

But if there is any question about Victor Casiano's reputation, please let me put any questions to rest. He is a wonderful doctor who I have and will continue to recommend to many.

If the anonymous poster is reading this, I hope you will accept my apology.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I'm It!

Fellow blogger and mom of triplets, Casey, tagged me with this fun blog game. Here are the rules and my contribution to the game.

The Rules:
Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.

Share 5 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog.


Share the 5 top places on your “want to see or want to see again” list.


Share 5 things you never pictured being in your future when your were 25 years old.

Tag a minimum of 5, maximum of 10 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.

Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

The tagees have a choice of which they want to do.


Hmmmm...what to choose, what to choose. I've already done "Eight Things About Me" and I'm not sure I could come up with five new ones. Casey did "Want to see or want to see again," so I guess I'll go with "5 things you never pictured being in your future when your were 25 years old." That outta be a good one.

Living in San Antonio, Texas
I moved to Dallas when I was 18 to attend college. I immediately fell in love with the city, as it had everything that single girl could want -- restaurants, night life, an awesome singles scene, etc. I just knew I'd live in the Big D until the day I died.

But when I met Todd and settled down, I realized that I had outgrown Dallas. It was no longer fun to put on a full face of makeup and my hippest outfit just to go to the grocery store. I never visited bars and when I called the cops on a production crew filming "Walker, Texas Ranger" on my street at 3:00 a.m., I knew it was time to move to where life was a little slower and a little simpler.

San Antonio has everything I love -- it's pure Texas, through and through and has a great small-town atmosphere. People here value family and faith and do things like camping and hiking. It's a pretty cosmopolitan city, too, with excellent shopping and good eateries. It's a perfect fit for our family.

Goodbye Dallas...

Hello San Antonio!

Having Twins
Really, I doubt too many people see that one coming in their lives, so it should come to no surprise that I didn't spend my childhood dreaming of having identical twin girls. I love it, though, even though it came right out of left field.

Married to Todd
This really applies more to me when I was like 22 years old and planning a wedding to my college boyfriend. If you had told me then that I'd meet someone completely opposite of college boy and marry him instead, I would have laughed at you. But God has a way of making everything right and He did just that for me. If I had gone through with that first marriage, I'd be divorced by now, but instead I'm happily married to the man of my dreams who makes my life extraordinary.

I just love this guy...

Owning a Video Game System
I swore, up and down, my entire life that I would never own a video game system. They do nothing but rot your brains and kids should be outside playing instead of inside, sitting on their butts playing games full of violence and sexual innuendos. So there. Hrmph.

Have I mentioned that I love my Wii?

Okay, I was wrong. Not all games are violent and anyone who is a halfway decent parent knows to keep video playtime to a minimum. Devin gets two half-hour sessions per day and no more than that. Everything in moderation.

Driving a Minivan
Isn't this a horse that I have just beaten to death? I mean many times can a person mention their car in a single blog that has nothing to do with automobiles?

But like video game systems, I swore on the graves on numerous family members that I would not drive a minivan. Give me an SUV or a station wagon, but no minivans. Uh uh, no way.

The truth is, though, despite its shape (you know -- minivan shape) I absolutely love my van. Automatic sliding doors mean no door dings in the Target parking lot and lots of room means I'm able to help Devin get buckled into his seat or sit between the girls and entertain them on long trips (when Todd is driving, of course).

The DVD system is a lifesaver and the little creature comforts like an eight-way seat, bun warmers and a set of little buttons that keep my preferences for my seat, mirrors and pedals (yes, the pedals move) separate from Todd's just make life a little easier. I love that the driver's seat slides all the way back when I turn off the car and that I have a little "table" between the driver's and passenger's seats that can be put up or down and can expand six inches toward the back.

I adore the 17 cupholders, the wireless headphones for the DVD system and the oodles of space we have for all of the crapola that comes with three kids.

So there you have it -- Five things I never thought I'd be doing in the future when I was 25 years old.

So, dear friends, I have some tagging to do. Meg, Susan D., Alicia, Susan N. and Sharon you're it! Start blogging, girls!

A Pruetz Family Blog Song

To the tune of Frère Jacques

Where is Erin?
Where is Erin?
She's with Grace!
She's with Grace!
We've been in the hospital
Wi-ith Pneumonia!
Ain't that great?
Ain't that great?

To clear this all up, Grace has pneumonia, not me.

It all started on Sunday when we drove to Yoakum to visit Todd's family. His sister was in town for a couple of days before leaving for a multi-month trek to Senegal. We were all geared up for a fantastic family day, but it was obvious that something was wrong when Gracie cried the whole way to Yoakum. And not just crying -- screaming. She was so unhappy, but we just chalked it up to her being a bad traveler. Our trip home was exactly the same, although she did finally scream herself to sleep.

Monday morning rolled around and Todd was home for a doctor's appointment. When the girls woke up and we brought them downstairs, we both stared at Gracie for a few moments, wondering if we were really seeing what we were seeing. She was gasping for air, using her stomach and chest muscles to breath. Her breathing seemed awfully fast, as well, with it getting up to as high as 60 breaths per minute (it should be between 25 and 30).

I gave her a Xopenex breathing treatment and when that didn't help, I called the pediatrician who brought us in immediately. She examined Grace, did another breathing treatment, took a pulse-ox, did a chest x-ray and determined that it was pneumonia, caught very early. We did another in-office nebulizer treatment and were sent home with instructions to call if her breathing didn't slow.

Both babies took a good, long nap that day and didn't wake up until after 5:00. I got Gracie up, noticed that her breathing was still really rapid and did another treatment. No help, so I called Cheryl (her pediatrician). She told me to do another double treatment and call her back if I didn't notice an improvement.

Sure enough, despite a huge dosage of the inhaled medication, Grace's breathing never slowed and my call to Cheryl resulted her in sending us to the hospital just a couple of miles from our house.

We got there, settled into our room (where I even had a bed!) and got Gracie all taken care of with an IV in her hand (she just loved that), and bloodwork taken (another treatment she just adored). People were in and out of our room until nearly midnight, doing breathing treatments, getting her antibiotics started, etc. We finally fell asleep, but were interrupted multiple times for vitals to be taken, meds to be administered and breathing to be monitored.

Tuesday was more of the same, with a visit from a pulmonologist who took long family and personal histories and a trip to the awesome play room where Grace played a little too hard and pulled out her IV tubing -- three times. The pulmonologist ordered another chest x-ray to make sure that the infection hadn't spread and the rest of my time was spent trying to keep my little spunky girl happy despite her being tethered via IV.

By the end of the afternoon, my kiddo had managed to pull her IV completely out of her arm and her doctor determined that she'd gotten enough IV antibiotics and could take the rest of her meds orally. We were free from the IV!

I talked at length with Cheryl about what the pulmonologist had to say about Grace (and Faith, for that matter, since they're identical) and where his concerns lie. She never said the words, "Sweat test," but I saw it coming from a mile away. According to the pulmonolgist, Dr. Patel, Grace was looking good, but her history of breathing problems, bronchiolitis and RSV made her a fantastic candidate for long-term lung problems. Not surprisingly he asked to see both girls for a full work-up within the next two weeks.

We got a little more sleep that night and Grace woke up on Wednesday morning all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to play! The playroom opened at 9:30 and we were there, knocking to get in.

Unfortunately, the oral and inhaled steroids made my little girl quite the mean one and after a few toys were strategically thrown around the room, I had to take Grace back to our room -- something she was not thrilled about.

I got to talk to Cheryl again on Wednesday morning and what I knew was coming was finally said -- "We need to do a sweat test on both girls to rule out Cystic Fibrosis." I knew it...I just knew it. Truthfully, I'm not extremely worried about it, but reading into the symptoms of the disease, I do see the need to do the test. The girls display quite a few of the most common symptoms. For more information about it, click here.

We got a visit from one of the San Antonio Delta Society's animal ambassadors -- dogs that visit sick children in the hospital. We were visited by Newman, a Sussex Spaniel, who made our day. My sister laughed at me because she thought I got more out of the visit than Grace did. I think she was right!

Shortly after Newmie's visit, Grace was discharged and we were able to leave. We were home by about 4:30 yesterday afternoon with a page full of instructions and medications. As we were leaving, I told the nurse, "Thank you! See you next week when I'm here with the other one!"

So far, so good, though. Grace is doing really well and Faith has nothing more than the cough she always seems to have. Devin, too, seems to be fine, so we're crossing our fingers. Only the coming days will tell us what kind of fun we are up against.

So now, to put it all on virtual paper, here is what we are doing:

1) Seeing a pediatric GI specialist to figure out why my girls eat like pigs but don't gain weight
2) Seeing a pulmonologist to figure out what we can do to keep these persistent infections from being so...well...persistent.
3) Seeing the pediatrician weekly to make sure all is working the way it should be working

Despite all of this, I feel very, very lucky. A friend of mine gave me a Willow Tree Angel of Miracles figurine that has served as a reminder to me that all of these problems with the girls' health are not problems -- they are miracles. I'd much rather be battling these problems than mourning the loss of my unborn twin daughters. I'm trying to see it all as opportunity and I look forward to the day when I am telling my grown daughters about how they were always sick when they were little, but grew up to be such healthy adults.

I have some catching up to do on my blogging, so I'll try to get more in in the next couple of days. Hang in here with me, though...I'm trying! :)


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Pediatric GI Specialist Update

There is no update. Dr. E. had an emergency and was unable to keep his appointment with the girls. We have rescheduled for January 17.

Frustrated and Annoyed

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Mounting Frustration

This morning was the girls' second Synagis shot to help ward off RSV. I made the appointment for 8:10 a.m., hoping to get in and out before the doctors and nurses got behind on their schedules. You know how pediatrician's offices are.

Anyway, we got into the room (Devin was with me as well, making the conditions even more cramped) and the nurse immediately took the girls' temperatures and then weighed them. Much to my dismay, Faith is still not even 20 lbs. We've been trying to hit the 20 lb. mark for months now, but despite everything, she's still only 19 lbs, 14 oz completely naked and after a big meal. It puts her in the 3rd percentile for weight and her 30 inches puts her in the 4th percentile for length.

Gracie is 21 lbs, which is a little better, but not fabulous. She's in the 4th percentile for weight and at 30 inches is at the same percentile for length.

Apparently, this set off some alarms, so instead of just seeing the nurse, we had to do a full exam on both girls before Dr. T. would okay the Synagis shot.

Dr. T. is very thorough, so it was tempanograms and tested oxygen levels for both girls, to make sure they are getting over their bouts with RSV and ear infections. She listened to their chests, checked their ears and peeked down their throats. After all of that, we were given the go-ahead to do the shots, making our "in-and-out" visit for a shot into a 90-minute full exam for the babies.

I just hate this. Every time I go to a doctor's office, I get more bad news. It's never life-threatening news (aside from the RSV diagnosis), but just enough to add a few more gray hairs to my head. This morning was a perfect example -- a simple shot turns into a question of oxygen levels, ear infections and questions about why the twins aren't gaining any weight.

We see the pediatric GI specialist tomorrow, so I guess we'll get some more answers after that.

Will this ever end?

A Devin's Doozie to Lighten the Mood

Of course, life around here is never without humor and I just have to share this story.

We went to Mass this Saturday night and put the girls in the nursery. Devin went with us to "big church" and did fairly well. But he's a four-year-old boy, so there was a fair amount of squirming and, "Are we done yet?" inquiries.

Toward the end of the Mass is the consecration of the host -- the most important part of the Mass and the hallmark of Catholicism. It is where we believe the Holy Spirit descends upon the altar and transforms the bread and wine into the true body and blood of Christ. It's a solemn and quiet few moments, when we kneel in reverence and meditate on the incredible sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us.

During this time, while Todd and I were on bended knee and had our heads bowed, a gas bubble apparently formed in Devin's stomach. He let out a loud burp and after two simultaneous glares from Todd and me, he said, "Excuse me."

Following his apology, though, was, "Wow -- that burp tasted like peanuts."