Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Saturday, November 30, 2013
This week we are celebrating successfully making it to 24 weeks in our pregnancy with these twin girls!
24 weeks has always been a big goal for us as it marks the first date that doctors consider babies viable enough to live outside the womb with medical intervention. While 'Viability' is a word that rings so sweetly to our ears, we have hopes & plans to carry this pregnancy much, much further giving these girls the best chance at growing big & healthy with little/no need for NICU time.
Now that we are the MOST pregnant we have ever been... we look forward to sailing these unchartered waters side by side with our amazing Dr's to guide us.
Our 24 week appointment showed our little girls to be growing very well:
Baby A measured 25w0d (a full week ahead!) at 1 LB 12 oz. and 93rd percentile
Baby B measured 24w5d at 1 LB 10 oz and 86th Percentile
Both girls are BIG movers! I can feel them kicking & hiccuping all day, even throughout the night. Trae and I like to think they're going to be little dancers and they're practicing their moves now.
With all this great growth I have experienced some increasing discomfort in my abdomen & lower back. Any short walk or errand usually results in braxton hicks and a rough nights sleep, so I've cut back on all unneccesary activity. Due to these concerns, we did have Dr Berry check my cervix and do a Fetal Fibronectin test at our 24 week appointment to make sure all these pains were just growing pains and not the sign of pre term labor. The test came back "Negative" meaning my body isn't going into any distress or preterm labor in the next two weeks!! What a relief! I keep telling Trae I can deal with any pain/discomfort that comes with pregnancy, as long as it means the girls are safe & healthy.
This week is Thanksgiving week. We have family in town staying with us, doing all our cooking & helping how they can around the house so I can continue resting. We are enjoying the cooler weather & a few days off work to rest and relax.
We are abundantly Thankful for all God has blessed us with & continues to bless us with.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
23 has been a powerful number to us since we lost Sawyer & Tristan at 23 weeks gestation.
23 weeks 0 days marked the beginning of the end of our innocence in many ways.. it was the last day of my pregnancy, the first of 6 days with my sweet Sawyer & Tristan and the end of my joyous pregnancy. It was the end of our carefree joy and the beginning of our painful "new normal."
Today, Trae and I are taking a leap of faith and trying to change the power of 23 in our lives. Today is a good day filled with bittersweet tears, but hopeful tomorrow's. Today Trae and I find ourselves pregnant again: 23 weeks 0 days pregnant with our 3rd and 4th children. Yes, God has blessed us with twins, again.. this time, daughters due to make their arrival in late February.
This pregnancy has been significantly different than my pregnancy with the boys. Physically, I feel better overall- not as uncomfortable with the back & hip pain that I was experiencing with the boys, but I think largely this is due to my physically conservative pregnancy with the girls. Although my permanent cerclage is in place and will not allow my cervix to shorten, Trae and I have taken extra precautions to alleviate any unneccesary pressure from my body during this time, so all it has to do is grow healthy baby girls. I still work full time at March of Dimes, but watch my hours on my feet and make sure I'm comfortable throughout the day. Trae has taken over most household duties, even vacuuming when I've asked, and now takes the dogs on all the walks by himself.. something I miss doing with them, but will look forward to resuming with the girls in a few months.
We now have 2 doctors watching our progress.. my new OB, Dr Reue and our Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist (High Risk Doctor) Dr. Berry. In the first trimester, we were seeing our OB every 2-3 weeks and our MFM every 3-4. Since 20 weeks, we see our OB every week and my MFM every 3 weeks. We get to see the girls and their growth progress every 3 weeks at Dr Berry's office and Dr Reue checks my symptoms, cervix and blood every week. Trae attends every appointment with me and we feel very blessed to have two doctors so committed to the health of our pregnancy and baby girls.
Despite all the positive signs pointing to a successful physical pregnancy, this has been an extremely challenging time for us & our family both mentally and emotionally. We all feel blessed for the opportunity to be parents again.. and to twins again!! But knowing the conclusion of the "what if's" is a scary thing. Also, knowing that while Trae, myself and our Doctors will continue to do everything we can to be proactive .. that we are not really in control, is a scary thing.
While we do not believe that we are given a specific "plan" by God that we are living daily.. we do believe in God's larger plan- which is to live a life guided by our Lord and to ultimately spend eternity with him after our life on earth is complete. This is the plan that gives us hope, knowing that our life on earth will be spent trying to expand our family, in God's loving guidance... and knowing that when this life is complete- all the joys and pains that have come with it.. we will be with all our family & children.
Today is a good day, a blessed day. Today is the end of the negativity that comes with 23 weeks 0 days and the beginning of our healthy pregnancy with Sawyer & Tristan's sisters. (names to be kept a secret until they are born)
We thank you for all your prayers for our family- we promise to keep you updated on our progress!
Love, Cyndi & Trae
Sunday, October 20, 2013
While working in non-profit was never on my radar before, the job that was offered gave me opportunity to fundraise the March of Dimes mission within my community and be responsible for planning & facilitating one of our top fundraising events of the year: the annual Signature Chefs Auction Gala. It also gave me the priceless opportunity to walk into an office every day where my peers and those I talk to in the community know me first as Sawyer & Tristan's Mommy.. and second as a March of Dimes employee. I knew there was no where else in the world that I would get that opportunity.
With the Gala in October, I barely had time to walk into my office before work started piling up, but I made sure to hang a few things on my walls that first week: our Team Sawyer & Tristan banner we walk with in the March of Dimes walk, pictures of their tiny footprints at my desk and the white butterflies our Moms carried in honor of the boys at the walk. Now walking into my office, I see my sons everywhere around me and remember every second why I'm doing what I'm doing with my life.
Ask any brave "Mission Mom" at March of Dimes: talking about your children and the struggle you endured, or continue to endure is not easy. You do it because you hope the process of telling your story is cathardic for both you and others. You hope the words that you're saying strike a chord with someone who is silently coping, or knows someone who is.. so that they know there are others out there that know their pain. More than anything, you hope your personal story helps someone.. and maybe by telling it through the March of Dimes it can help another Mommy & Daddy not have to go through what you went through with the research so many scientists are doing with grant money raised through March of Dimes. Most importantly you do it... it's a sacrifice that you do for your children.. a way to continue to parent that baby you miss so dearly.
Although many of my days are filled with conversations with lumps in my throat & tears in my eyes, I can tell you that I've never felt more fulfilled by the hard work that I do and I've never felt more of a drive to succeed than I currently feel.
Our Gala was last Thursday: I worked so hard on this event and was so proud to see it come together. Our office goal was to raise $280,000 at the event, my personal goal (which was gawked at by some coworkers) was $350,000.
We raised over $450,000.
Trae and I walked out of the Gala, me carrying my heels in my hand and Trae holding my hand. We looked at each other the same way as we had so many times before this year: with tears in our eyes, love in our remaining hearts and smiles on our faces before we simply said "I love you."
I consider myself so lucky to have found a home with March of Dimes. My office is filled with lovely souls all coming into work daily with the intent to save lives through their talents.
We hug each other through the good times and the sad and everything in between. I know Sawyer & Tristan would be so unbelievably proud of their parents for finding this new family that loves us and them so much.
Monday, September 2, 2013
Throughout the grieving process in losing our sons, Tristan & Sawyer, Trae and I have (thankfully) always been in sync in our thought processes. In our devastation, we both felt strongly that we needed to honor our sweet babies for the rest of our lives, which we have done through our work with March of Dimes. We also knew we needed to regain some control over my health that would make carrying a baby possible in the future.
The doctors immediately diagnosed my losing Sawyer & Tristan at 23 weeks due to an "Incompetent Cervix." Essentially, my cervix was too weak to sustain the weight of my babies. Contrary to our & others beliefs that this was due to me being in an airplane 2 weeks before, or hiking or being on a bike... all our doctors assured us that nothing we did caused my incompetent cervix to happen, or happen when it did- it was all going to happen anyway due to the way my body was built. Dr's went on to explain that this would have (likely) happened if I was pregnant with a singleton baby, as well- I just would have likely gone into labor closer to 28-30 weeks with 1 baby.
While I was navigating my new "normal" at home, I immediately started researching what we could do to fix my cervix. I knew we were going to have to wait to start a family again, for several reasons- but I had to do SOMETHING to be proactive and to fix my body that failed my family. We met with my new OB to discuss our concerns and he sent us to Dr Berry, a perinatologist, (MFM) in town. Our appointment with Dr Berry was a long one where he discussed our options which all included having a cerclage for any future pregnancy and being on strict watch once pregnant. I trusted Dr Berry and know his work is trusted well around Austin, but continued to do research and found a surgeon in Chicago that specialized in a permanent cerclage that can be placed prior to pregnancy. Trae and I had a phone consultation with Dr Arthur Haney where we learned he had been the Chief of Medicine at University of Chicago for over 10 years and specialized in this surgery for over 8 years. He also helped train our Reproductive Endocrinologist here in Austin, which made us feel right at home. Dr Haney answered all our questions and agreed we were perfect candidates for the surgery. I scheduled my surgery & trip to Chicago the next week.
With my brother, Paul's help with his travel points, and Trae's loving support & willingness to help nurse me back to health, we flew to Chicago in mid April to have my Trans Abdominal Cerclage placed. The surgery went well- Dr Haney was able to secure 2 mersilene bands around the very top of my cerix, ensuring my cervix would never again be able to dilate in labor. The cerclage allow me to get pregnant naturally (if blessed that way), allow us to go through fertility treatments ( if needed again) and have normal fluids pass in and out, it just doesn't allow my cervix to contract at all past its normal width. The cerclage does, however, require me to have a C-section with any subsequent pregnancies- a small price to pay for a healthy baby!
After a night in the hospital and a very sore following night in our hotel we returned home where I started feeling back to normal in about a week. I'm left with a 3" scar which will later be the same location as a C-Section, if we're blessed with more children. Our trip to Chicago was a short one, and an emotional one.. but we left with a sense of accomplishment knowing we would never again lose a baby due to this problem. While we wish we could have fixed it to save Sawyer & Tristan we feel certain that they would feel proud of their Mom and Dad for finding the faith and strength to do the surgery for any future siblings of theirs.
|We lucked out with a corner hospital room w/ a nice view of Chicago's city skyline|
|The other side to our hospital room where Trae relaxed while I slept|
|Swollen + Addl Gas from Surgery = Uncomfortable & Pregnant looking|
|Strict no walking rules meant Trae got to carry bags & push the patient|
|Posing in the hotel the night before surgery, feeling proud & hopeful|
|Dinner date the night before surgery with my favorite person/nurse/papa|
Posted by Cyndi Schultz at 10:33 PM
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
- 7,723 babies are born.
- 1,001 babies are born preterm
- 335 babies are born with a birth defect
- 48 babies die before their first birthday
Posted by Cyndi Schultz at 2:19 PM
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Moments after being born, both boys were taken by a team of Neonatologists and NICU nurses. Neither Trae or I got to see but a glipse of either boy before they were being worked on in their individual isolette. Both boys were given a drug called Serfactin to help strengthen their lungs before they were intubated and taken down to NICU in a hurry.
Since I was still going through post delivery procedures with my L&D team, I instructed Trae to go with the boys and to not leave their sides. I knew I had family on their way to me, and I didn't want the boys to die alone, if they couldn't survive before I got to them. It was a completely helpless feeling lying there waiting on my family, my husband gone with our sons born too early, my good friend Heather by my side in shock with me... it was if my whole world had stopped. All the noises of the emergency in my room: the clanging of steel medical utensils, the squeeking of rubber-soled shoes running on the floor, the emergency bells ringing in my L&D unit noting all medical personnel of my emergent-situation, the beeping of monitors and the shrieks I had let out while experiencing the worst pain of my life.... it had all stopped... and what laid ahead of me was simply too much for me to grasp.
Heather, being a mother herself, stepped into a role probably only she could have performed so well. She was responsible for communicating all my updates to friends and family since neither Trae or I was capable of speaking to more people than we had to. She continued this role for over a week.. something I will always be grateful for.
My brother, Paul showed up first, then my parents arrived from San Antonio. I don't remember saying much, or even crying until my Mom showed up.. I simply remember feeling.....nothing.
Mom had been rushing. I could tell she had been running or walking very fast when she grabbed me and hugged me with force. All the feelings I was waiting to have since yelling at Trae to stay with the babies washed over me. My Mom and Dad were here holding me, saying nothing and letting me be their child in pain. I sit here, almost 4 months later and I remember the feeling so vividly that I was feeling in this moment: The overwhelming emotion of trauma/missing information/sadness was one that literally took my breath away. My airway was constricted and I was gasping for air through long sobs, as my mom and dad stood next to me rubbing my back and feet.
I calmed down as Trae came into the room, but my body started thinking of a hundred questions as I saw my sweet husband, who normally has a grin from ear to ear, approaching me with a pale face full of worry and shock. His sister, Carrie had just gotten here from Robinson, TX in time for Trae to tell us all what he knew about the boys status. Trae told us he had run with the doctors down to NICU and he had to step out for the doctors to finish intebating the boys, since no procedures could be done with parents watching. They asked him to come back to the room since shift change was coming and we would be called to rejoin the boys after. Shift change happened twice a day. 90 minutes in the morning, 2 hours in the evening, and during this time- no parents can be in the NICU. Trae was able to see what the boys looked like, a bit and he took a picture of each baby in their isolette for me to see. He only was told that Tristan was doing well on the ventilator, but Dr. Breed, our Neonatologist warned us that Sawyer was not accepting the medication properly and therefore not receiving the oxygen properly. He was not expecting Sawyer to live long, unless something changed. The information was unbelievable. Truly, we didn't believe it and couldn't believe it. We were just getting used to the idea of being parents, the idea of losing one of them without seeing him was an idea we simply wouldn't let our mind linger on.
We started piecing together the story for my parents, Carrie and Trae's parents via phone, who were stuck in another state, trying to arrange immediate travel home. During this time, L&D moved me down to my post partum room, with our family in tow. We met our nurses and was given post partum care instructions. After going through the "check in" I immediately asked to be taken to NICU to see my boys. The nurses were very concerned about my well being and urged me to rest, but I insisted, my only compramise was I agreed to stay in my wheel chair. Dr. Breed informed us that Sawyer passed a mucus plug in his lung and was now breathing properly on the ventilator, at that point. We stayed with the boys and asked a lot of questions regarding what all the scary beeps coming from the machines hooked up to the boys were, and what the plans were for that night's care. The NICU nurses were so patient, answering every question we asked, even though many we were asking twice. They walked us through acceptable things to do, to bond with the babies- despite not being able to touch them.
The boys were tiny, but perfect. I wasn't sure what to expect, as I only knew what size they were supposed to be, according to our sonograms- but they were so much more. Our tiny sons were perfect little boys with 10 fingers and 10 toes, all long like Mom & Dad. They squirmed around and furrowed their brows, as the nurses adjusted them to make them comfortable, proving their normal baby tendencies. Their skin was red and so thin you could see thier tiny blood vessles under their skin and each heart beat, distinctly. We opened up one of the small doors on the isolette and spoke to our boys, as soon as we were told we could, and given instruction on how to do so, safely. Trae and I told each boy how much we loved them and how beautiful they were, through our tears. We asked them to fight with all their might so we could take them home with us where we promised to show them how much we all loved them. We only shut thier little isolette doors after we had sung our special songs to them "you are my sunshine" and the song that goes: "I love you Sawyer/Tristan, oh yes I do... I love you Sawyer/Tristan, my love is true... when you're not with me, Mom's blue.... oh Sawyer/Tristan, Mom & Dad loves you."
We were instructed to return to our room so I could rest and we updated our families. After our families left, Trae and I returned to our room and attempted to rest for a few hours between the healthy newborn cries coming through our neighbor's hospital walls. We were so scared and heartbroken about what had happened and what was to come for our sweet sons.
Posted by Cyndi Schultz at 2:11 AM