25 weeks today! Go me! and go boys! Stay put and stay healthy for a little while longer please!
This week saw Sara go back to kindy, and funnily enough there was no adjustment period for her after winter break. Summer break was longer by 2 days I think, but she was just a mess when it came time to go back to school. Maybe that is just how much she has matured over the last 4.5 months. Akinori is still on vacation. We don’t know when he goes back to work. I’m hoping Tuesday since Monday is a national holiday and it would be nice to have him home if both girls will also be home, and especially since he plans on going to Tokyo for the day on Saturday for a friend’s wedding. But he won’t actually be attending the wedding. I don’t even think the friend had a wedding. It will just be a bunch of friends getting together for lunch or something like that. He claims he will have to send gift money if he doesn’t go, but I think in the end the cost of going to Tokyo and eating lunch and bringing a small-ish present, will amount to as much or more than sending just gift money. He is taking Sara with him for the day though, and I know she will have fun, and it will be much easier for me to spend the day with Amelie alone than both of them alone so I haven’t made too much of a stink about it all. Plus, he is going to be just as busy as I will once the twins arrive, and since he has promised there will be no more drinking until that happens, if this is his last hurrah, who am I to deprive him of it? He’s not going to be able to go anywhere for awhile.
Yesterday Akinori, Amelie and I met up with my good friend H and her husband and son who are here in Nagano skiing. They come at least once a year, and I love hanging out with them. I just wish we lived closer! H used to live in Nagano and moved to Osaka to be with her husband, who is from Osaka. I did the exact opposite. So funny that our lives took the absolute opposite paths and never crossed until I moved to Nagano and she was already in Osaka. We went to lunch and had a lovely time, and I was glad that Akinori could be there. Usually he misses seeing them because of work.
Because Akinori is still on vacation he was able to accompany me to my appointment today, which was also very nice. Originally my appointment was scheduled for Tuesday, but I spoke with a friend who gave birth at Nisseki and had a great experience, and loved her doctor, so I thought it might be worth it to speak to him before deciding to 100% to change hospitals. First order of business (after peeing in a cup) is always speaking to the midwife, who I was firm with and explained that I really could not understand why I would have to be hospitalized if I was healthy and I wanted a 2nd opinion from a different hospital/doctor. She told me to talk to the doctor about it.
Next was the ultrasound. The tech today was a lovely woman. I wish she had been the tech from the start. Anyway, the twins are in a funny position now. They are still kind of one on the left and right, but the one on the left is head up and lower, the one on the right is kind of transverse and head up. Not good. If both babies are head up there is no chance of me delivering naturally, anywhere, in all of Japan.
Both babies have strong heartbeats and are growing well, but one is approximately 700g and the other 860g, which is a pretty big difference at this point, and when I first heard that I had a bit of a freak out. Such a big difference in size is a good indicator of twin-to-twin-transfusion-syndrome, where one baby gives their blood to the other causing the baby on the receiving end to have too much blood, which brings their weight way up, and puts too much pressure on their heart. TTTS is very bad. Right now their difference in weight is 19%, more than 20% is considered significant. Both babies had about the same amount of amniotic fluid and we could see both babies’ bladders, those are both very good things, and indicate that right now there is no problem, but it still worries me. Over the last 2 weeks left baby gained 200g and right baby gained about 340g. The midwife reassured me though that twins are never born at the same size and since mine are identical and sharing the same placenta, they don’t share it 50/50 even-steven. One baby gets more placenta, more nourishment, bigger faster. I’ve been doing a bunch of reading about this on Dr. Google this evening, and at the moment I think we are safe, but I am feeling fairly encouraged that 1. I’m past 25 weeks. If the babies have to be delivered they have a good chance of survival. 2. They are good weights for their age which means they are strong, and 800g is another big hurdle, which one baby is past already, and I’m sure the 2nd will reach in the next week or so. 3. I had an internal and the saloon doors are sealed tightly. Cervix shortening is a good indicator of a TTTS problem. 4. I asked the midwife if there are signs I should look for between now and my next appointment that would indicate something is wrong, and she said that if I feel like the babies aren’t moving around much I shouldn’t “wait and see”, I should come in right away. My twins are of a type where if one starts to fail, the other will too. I asked if the doppler that N loaned me would be able to tell me something, and she said that if I had a lot of trouble finding a heartbeat or heard a really slow heartbeat to come in. She said that it’s not like one would have a good strong heartbeat, and not the other, so if I wasn’t able to find even one heartbeat to come in. Thanks so much N for loaning me the doppler! What a relief that I have some way of being able to tell that my babies are ok. At the moment the twins are both going nuts in my belly, so I think we’re okay for now.
Then I had my moment with the doctor. It was the first time I was seeing him, and I explained I wanted to talk to him because my friend recommended him, but at the same time I wanted a letter of introduction to a different hospital, just to get a second opinion. I explained that I was really not keen on being hospitalized just because it’s hospital policy, if there is nothing wrong with me, that I was not keen on a c-section unless it was absolutely necessary, and just because 1 baby is breech does not necessarily mean a c-section is necessary if the baby closest to the saloon doors is head down, and if I had to have a non-emergency c-section I don’t want a vertical cut. The doctor started explaining yet again why being hospitalized is a good idea, and I had to explain again that I got what he was saying, but I don’t understand why, if both the babies and myself are healthy, we have to be hospitalized. The doctor then said that hospitalization is a precautionary measure and not necessary, if I’m willing to take responsibility for what may happen if I’m not hospitalized. It felt like a pretty stupid threat, but the doctor did agree that if I want to give birth naturally, which is my number 1 concern right now, aside from giving birth to healthy babies, that being hospitalized before 33 weeks didn’t make much sense as women who are hospitalized early do not tend to go into labor naturally. He took a look at my history and saw that I had given birth at a midwife clinic, and it clicked with him that I am not about to sit back and have a c-section just because the doctor said that’s what should happen without a good reason. He promised that if the baby closest to the exit was head down then I could try and deliver vaginally, provided there were no complications, but to be aware that complications can arise at any time, and he said that if I do need a c-section, as long as it’s not an emergency where every second counts, he will cut horizontally. Bottom line, he told me everything I had wanted to hear from the beginning. Well pretty much. He said we could hold off on hospitalization until about 33 or 34 weeks, which is actually pretty news, and I’m not really feeling like I need to fight him on that…yet.
Basically he said that having given birth twice already, and considering both births happened quite quickly, and considering twins come earlier, and are therefore smaller, they come much faster so once labor starts, there’s a good chance it will progress really quickly, and it would be a good idea for it to start in the hospital rather than somewhere else. It will be beginning to mid-March by the time I am 33 or 34 weeks. I will definitely be having weekly exams by then, and I’m fairly confident this doctor won’t insist I be hospitalized if there is no effacement and the saloon doors are still tightly sealed. Anyway, I can handle arguing about this with the doctor in March. I cannot handle arguing about this with the doctor in another 3 weeks time.
I called the midwife after my appointment to tell her that the doctor basically agreed to everything and told me exactly what I wanted to hear, but didn’t write me a letter of introduction. She knows of this particular doctor and said he’s not bad, but all of his patients that she knows have all ended up having c-sections, including the dr.’s wife. Not because of anything he did or didn’t do, just because that’s how it ended up. She suggested I still go to the other hospital even without the letter of introduction, just to see what they say there. I don’t really feel the need to do so, so much anymore, but I don’t want to ignore her advice either. Plus the ultrasound machine is so freaking old at Nisseki I’m a little worried they have the babies’ weights and info wrong, and I want to get a better look at what is going on inside my womb just to make sure everything is okay. So I figure even I go to the other hospital for just one appointment, I know they will do an ultrasound at the very least and we can at least get a better view of what is going on in my tummy to make sure the boys are okay. All in all, I’m feeling lots better about the situation in general. Giving birth to twins doesn’t feel so hopeless anymore 🙂
After my appointment I got my haircut, and I cut off about 40 cm. which felt so good! I just hope it looks better when I style it myself tomorrow. The guy who cuts my hair is great. He always does a fabulous job. But he’s the owner of the place and has experience in Tokyo and London. But after he’s done cutting and coloring, it’s his assistants who do the blow-drying and they really have no idea what to do with curly hair. Having so much cut off though made it so much healthier and it didn’t look as awful as it usually does after the assistants blow dry it. 🙂
Ah, babies have finally fallen asleep. Time for me to do the same!