Every 3 weeks I go to my perinatologist for an in depth ultrasound of these boys. Think of an anatomy scan that everyone gets around 20 weeks, I get that every 3 weeks. They just want to check and make sure they are growing well, there are no problems and things continue to develop properly. It’s really fun to see them, and to see their little stomachs and brains and such. Things I will never be able to see after they are born. I watch, I ask a few questions, and try not to throw up when the tech gets to Baby B who is on my stomach.
Baby A is finally head down, and Baby B is head up. So they are basically head to feet, B on my left and A on my right. I feel like B is jammed in my ribs and lungs and A is floating down between my hips. They are both about a pound and a half, and their heads are about the same size. This is all good things in the twin world, showing that my body is doing a good job at feeding them both and is not favoring one over the other. Good job. Both placentas look very good and healthy, and they both have great blood flow, fluid, leg bones, etc.
But Baby A, the one on the bottom, was scanned a lot more than B yesterday. The tech spent a lot of time looking at his heart yesterday, and I noticed her measuring a pocket of fluid next to it. I thought that it was probably nothing and just something they were going to keep an eye on. Well, it is something they are going to keep an eye on, but it’s not nothing. When the my perinatologist came in (we’ll call him Dr. SA because he is from South Africa and makes me think of a friend in high school that was from South Africa too every time I see him) and said that there is a problem with A’s heart. I lay back on the table, and he scans the heart again and shows me the problem. It looked like it was jumping every few beats instead of beating. Dr. SA said he thinks it’s probably what is called a premature atrial contractions, where one part of the heart contracts faster than the other.
Dr. SA’s office has a neonatal cardiologist that comes into their office every 2 weeks or so and sees their patients that need her. Yesterday happened to be her day in the office. And she was going to be in in about 30 minutes. Can we wait and have her look at this? Or would we rather go down to Children’s Hospital in DC and have a scan there. We will wait! Of course! I’m glad Juice was with me. We had to take Butterfly this time because my friend Laura’s kids were sick and she was going to watch her. I brought my ipod and she watched movies on it the whole time like a champ. Every time they put the sound on the baby’s heart, she pipes up and says, “It’s the brudders saying hello! To me! Their big sista!” It’s very cute.
Dr. Cardio came in, and flipped the screen away from me and proceeded to scan A’s heart. It was interesting to watch their faces and hear them trying to get a good angle on it. His heart is well formed. It has all 4 chambers, and all the veins look good. The ducts are working properly, as well as the valves. The only issue is the PAC.
Baby B’s only issue is that he is folded in half but seems to be handling it well.
Dr. Cardio explained it to us like this. The upper chambers of the heart beat first, followed by the lower chambers. That’s why you get the thump-thump, thump-thump of a regular heartbeat. In A’s case, the upper chambers are contracting a few 10ths of a second sooner than they should be and the bottom chambers can’t catch up so they don’t beat at all. It’s a pretty common occerance, and even adults will have a few instances of it throughout a regular day. They want to watch A’s heart a little closer, to make sure that these instances of PAC (happening every 3rd or 6th beat) doesn’t interrupt normal heart function and make his heart race. That can be very dangerous because the heart will tire out and stop. But she said there is only a 1-2% chance of this happening.
It will either work itself out in the weeks before he is born, or a few weeks after. If he still has them when he is born, she will order an EKG just to make sure that there is nothing seriously wrong with the heart. And even then, they may not treat it. Most cardiac problems in children even themselves out as they grow. But now they know about it and if there is a problem, they will be looking for it.
Both Dr. Cardio and Dr. SA are not worried. Dr. SA said that I am doing remarkably well for twins. If they were worried, they would have sent me to the hospital, given me medication, or put me on bed rest. They did none of this. I just have to take it easy. Oh, and I’m not allowed to have any sort of caffeine as sometimes that makes these instances of PAC worse. It was funny to hear Dr. SA tell Dr. Cardio that we are Mormons and stay away from that stuff anyway. Wow, we only mentioned our faith in passing to him the first time we saw him and he remembered, and knew that fact! He’s a really great doctor.
No more chocolate for me though. And while that’s kind of sad, it’s not a huge deal. Only about 4 more months until I am full term so I can not each chocolate for that long.