Thursday, May 31, 2012

Week 18

First, I want to let you know I think you can now follow this blog.  In the top right corner there is a button that says Join this site, I think if you click it you can now receive and e-mail when I update.  If that is not the case let me know and I will keep working on it. As always if you want to skip all my thoughts and such you can scroll down to the bottom where it says Baby update.

So, we had to wait two weeks to see what was happening, and man two weeks with this kind of issue is a LONG time to wait.  Before I get down to business I want to let everyone know that Clifford and I  have officially been married for 5 months!!!  Just so you all know, I married the best man I know.  I am so thankful for him everyday.  The more we walk through this life together I am certain that all the waiting for God's choice in a husband was worth it.  He has had to serve me in a way I know many men would not be able to do during the first 5 months of marriage.  Waiting on me, cooking most meals, doing laundry and putting it away, setting up and cleaning our house and trying to do this to my liking.  Dealing with my aversions, sickness, and crying :( Spending countless hours in bed cause that is where I am most days, talking, laughing,  watching T.V. and movies cause there isn't much more to do together on bed rest! And most importantly loving me and leading me spiritually during the most difficult thing I have had to deal with in my life so far.   And he has done this with a  kindness, grace and love that I am thankful for daily!  Clifford Moore I love you more everyday and thank you for how you have changed my life.  You are my greatest hero!  Happy 5 month anniversary!

Wow, what a whirlwind it has been, if I think back to a year ago, I sometimes think "Who's life is this?"  This time last year I was coming down from one of the worst experiences I thought I would go through. I mean a 9.0 earthquake, just having had knee surgery less than 12 hours before, not walking yet or standing for that matter. And being alone in a hospital where I couldn't speak the language. At this time last year I was coming down from my post traumatic stress from that, and man was it hard.  Now this year I am laying here wondering what will happen to the babies in my belly....I guess this is life's many up's and down's. The only thing that stays the same is the Love of God, and His sacrifice for us.

Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thank you Lord for your never ending Love!
Baby Update
Well Dr. S had the day off, I wasn't too happy about this.  I will be making sure that all future appointments will be done when he is working.

I lost weight, only about a pound but it is a little frustrating not being able to gain weight. And honestly I thought I was eating a lot more in the last two weeks.  Not sure if this will change or if it is a big issue but, I just always assumed that if you were pregnant with twins by 18 weeks I would have gained more than 5 lbs.

It was a little hard for me to follow everything that the doctor saw and said.  I guess we have a kind of routine with Dr. S and this Dr kept trying to talk to us in broken English even though we had a translator and then when he did use the translator it was all very fast :(

Baby A still had a good amount of fluid I think between 2.5 and 2.8 cm.  The baby was moving all around waving hands and moving cute.  Head measurements were right on target 18 wks 2 days.  Heart beat sounded good, but the doctor couldn't figure out how to find out the actual hb number- very unimpressed!

 Baby B looked about the same.  No measurable fluid and in a very scrunched position.  He actually stayed on baby B for awhile, which Dr S never does.  It was very hard for me.  I was crying but held it together and didn't go into the ugly cry if you know what I mean.  Maybe this is why I didn't really follow what he was saying closely.  It is really really hard to see my baby like that.  It's hb was also strong but not sure what the rate was. I don't remember this but Clifford said that when he measured the head for a growth scan that Baby B was still at 16 wk and a couple days.  So no growth.  I am not sure what this means but will talk with Dr. S next week about it.

My blood test came back with really bad results.  My white blood cell was the highest it has been and CRP was elevated to almost a 3.  This is a very bad sign of infection.  At first the doctor suggested that they give me oral antibiotics and if it didn't work then next week they would do IV antibiotics.  But I told him I wanted the most aggressive approach so he gave me the IV and sent me home with oral meds for a week.  The thing is starting Wednesday night, I started leaking A LOT.  I am keeping an eye on it today.  There is nothing that looks like an infection and I also don't have a fever so these are both a plus, but I am pretty concerned. Also, Wednesday night it felt to me like I might be having contractions, but it stopped after about 11/2 hrs so I really don't know.  I think Friday morning we will call and see if Dr. S wants to see us.  The truth is if I have had another rupture there is nothing they can do, so I am not sure going in will be beneficial.

Sadly, not the best news to share. Please continue to pray.  Pray for this infection, that is would vanish and for the fluid levels.  It is amazing the emails and actually letters that have come to us in Japan.  Thank your all the encouragement and prayers really do help to know others are in this battle with us.  Also, please pray for my dearest friend Carey, this is going to be a hard week for her and her husband.  Last year, this week she lost her three boys to this exact same situation. Pray that God would cover them in love.

Blessings to you this week!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fear Not

Fear Not- did you know that this is the most common command in the bible.  Fear Not is something that I have been thinking about and continue to pray about.  What does that truly mean? If I am being honest, this is a lesson I have already learned. I am sure actually more than once, but here I am again with an uncertain heart. Before I gave up my life in America to follow WHEREVER the Lord would lead, I was fearful.  Full of fear that I would miss my family too much, that I would fail, that I would be to lonely, that it could be uncomfortable, and the list could go on and on. But after God took hold of my heart and I truly surrendered, I was able to follow Him with out fear.  I thought I would end up somewhere in the African bush, but He had other plans. Then last year after the earthquake, again I had to learn to fear not. I had a hard couple months with post traumatic stress, but the Lord taught me again that if He is with me what is there to fear.  So, my mind wonders if I was willing to go all the way to Africa and trust him with out fear, and stay during the scariest earthquake I hope to ever experience with more than 500 aftershocks.  Then why can't I seem to consistently do it now with my babies at this time in my life?
Now, if you know me in person you know I have a hard time hiding how I feel so, sometimes I am afraid to not write only positive things. But really my days are truly a yo-yo of feelings. It seems to me that if I really think about my future, most of the outcomes seem fearful. No babies, very sick babies, only one baby...I am going to be very truthful here.  I pray and hope and plead with God every day for none of these outcomes, and truly believe that Only He can work this kind of amazing miracle.  But, my mind always fights back with what is the mostly likely outcome.  My mind says don't hope too much or you will crumble when it doesn't happen. I guess the only thing I can cling to at the moment is, God is still here. Even when I lack, He doesn't leave me.  For that I am forever thankful. 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

On to a BLESSING- Thursday morning, Clifford and I got up early in order to Skype with my home church Calvary Chapel St. Pete.  Through skype we prayed for by our pastor and church congregation.  This was such an encouragement and blessing to us both. It is so amazing to know people in America are praying for us and our babies.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your prayers. While sometimes it may not seem like a lot, the truth is our prayers are an act of worship to God. I think of them as an act of daily faith that He hears us.  Another blessing for me the music before and after truly touched my heart in a deep way.  One of the songs that was sung had a chorus I think but it said " I called, you answered, you came to my rescue, and I want to be where you are."  Sometimes it seems the Lord has to come to my rescue multiple times a day due to my fear, but He hasn't stopped yet :)   Here is a picture of us skyping into church.

We are now going to doctor appointments every other week.  Not super happy about that but I don't think I could convince the doctor otherwise.

No new info on the babies :( but I can tell I am still leaking fluid.  Some days are worse than others. 
What I do know is that week 18- 24 are when babies start to practice their breathing so these are some important weeks for our babies.

Please pray that
I continue to stay infection free!!  This on is very important or I could go into labour and they might not be able to stop it.
For both babies fluid to increase and for their sacks to reseal.
That both have enough fluid to help develop their lungs. 
For mental strength and spiritual encouragement for Clifford and I, the idea of 2-3 more months of bed rest is daunting. 

Thank you friends for your support and prayers on our behalf.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Week 16

Well on Wednesday I finished my 16th week of pregnancy. Last week was a very difficult one for me.  Clifford has been so strong through all of this.  Really I just don't know how I would do this with out him.  I would say last week I was really struggling with faith, hope and what a miracle is.  As I have been stuck at home "thinking" I truly just couldn't understand why this was happening.  One morning last week I woke up and kept repeating a part of Psalm 23 in my head.  

1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.He makes me lie down in green pastures.He leads me beside still waters.He restores my soul.He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I will fear no evil,..

As I kept thinking about it I couldn't help but continue to focus on -walking through the valley of the shadow of death. It truly just felt that this is where I was.  As I continue to research PPROM, the statistics aren't good.  The outcome is usually better when your membranes rupture after 30 wks. If it is 20 wks or after, there is some hope but there is still a high chance of many problems.  The thing is babies lungs need the amniotic fluid to develop. Without any or very much then the lungs don't function and then this leads to many more problems as you can imagine.  Statistically, what I have found in my research on the Internet, that before 20 wks having them live is very unlikely. I will say I have read some success stories of pprom that early but there aren't a ton for that gestation stage.

I don't know if it is just my nature or that I live in Japan and there is such a language barrier but, the Internet and statistics are where I was champed out all last week.  Also, this same thing happened last year with my best friend. So, I know first hand the pain of losing your babies to pprom. It is so unfair I tell you.  No mother or father should have their babies come to early too live. I know that I haven't held my babies yet, but I have loved them for a little over 3 months since the moment we found out we were pregnant. Being faced with carrying babies that will not be able to breath due to lack of lung development because of no fluid is....well HEARTBREAKING. Or even the idea that one could live and one would die, still heartbreaking.  I feel like through this whole pregnancy I have had very little time to be happy and worry free. After spending years of watching my sister and friends have babies and raise kids, I thought finally my turn.  If you know me I love kids and babies the whole thing.  If there is a baby or kid around I need to hold them, play with them, sing to them.  But no, I am walking in the valley of the shadow of death.

Well as Clifford and I were talking he reminded me of the next part of that verse-
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 
Truthfully he had to keep reminding me more than once, but I guess that is the good thing about having a Godly spouse. So after some sad days and a lot of crying and prayers, I have decided I will try to camp out in the fact that God is with us.  Even now, that is not to say I would look at the statistics but I have to trust that God is bigger than them.  

As for an Update!  We went to the hospital yesterday and this is what we learned....

-Baby A has regained much of its water. Praise, praise praise.  It was back up to 3.4 so that is such a blessing. Dr. S said that is the level where I was a few weeks ago. So it seem like the sac has sealed a bit. The baby was moving a lot which I think correlates with me eating more. In the past he has only been moving a little.
-Baby B has a tiny bit of fluid more than we have seen in the past three weeks. So that is fantastic. You still couldn't make out much more than it head and spine, but I am thankful for the movement and small amount of fluid. If the leaking is from Baby B then that is a good sign about it's kidney and bladder function.

-They are both on target for growth but they could only measure B's head size. Dr S was very surprised Baby B had grown so much. 
-He didn't check the heartbeats I am not sure why. 
- I gained a little weight so that is good, I a back up to my weight from 11 wks :)

 While talking over all this info with Dr S I asked him if he had every had a case like mine?  His answer, No.  While this makes me wish I was with a Dr that had faced this before, I know the reason is because women here sadly terminate with this kind of pregnancy. It is funny because I am always saying stuff to Dr. S about I read this online or that. I think many Japanese doctors could take offense to this but I think he knows I just am searching for answers, it is not that I don't trust him. I am thankful for  his kind a willing spirit to listen to all that I say and ask. This is uncommon especially in Japan.  This week I asked what he thought about taking collagen supplements. I read that this can help with the amniotic sac because that is what it is made up of.  He laughed and said no most Japanese women wouldn't do that because it is to many calories and they don't want to gain weight.  The average weight doctors in Japan tell women to gain is 13-17 lbs.  Yep, can you imagine.  Dr. S did say well I don't know about collagen but  it probably won't hurt. He also made sure to let us know he is reading American medical journals about our situation.   At the end of our appointment we were discussing when I would come in again. He said well your next appointment doesn't have to be for another month, and then I think he saw the look on my face (Clifford said it was CRAZY) and quickly said but I can see you in two weeks. 

We just want to say thank you so much for ALL your prayers on our families behalf.  It is so encouraging when I am down to know we are being lifted up by so many people.  


Old email Updates for 5/4 and 5/7

These are old updates that I sent through email, but I wanted to put everything in one place.  This way it is easier for me to keep track of what has happened.  Read them if you would like!

Update for May 4
      It's been a few days since we received the bad news from Dr. Suzuki.  After that, we returned to our apartment on Tuesday because there was nothing else the hospital staff could do to help us.  But even one of the Japanese nurses gave Danielle a big hug (which Japanese people generally do not do) as we left the hospital.  Anyways, we've been at our apartment for the last few days.
    It as a welcome change for Danielle who was becoming nauseated by the smell of seafood (which comprises most Japanese cuisine at the hospital).  Friends continued to stop by and visit us at our apartment.  I even got a chance to make a crock pot meal for dinner, because Danielle's pretty much on strict bed rest. 
  After coming to bed late last night, we woke up around 2:30am to Danielle having some sharp cramps and passing some blood, so we went back to the hospital in the pouring rain.  When we got there, the doctor on call confirmed what we'd feared--we're beginning to miscarry.  We stayed overnight and Dr. Suzuki met us in the morning (again, on his day off).  Basically, he said that a miscarriage would happen within the week, taking anywhere from 1-3 days.  The babies' hearts are still beating strong, and so even though it's been recommended to us take a pill to induce a miscarriage (something that is fairly common to do in Japan), we will not do it.  And so, we're left to a waiting game.
    It's been a long, tough, painful process.   We've heard stories of hope, and so a part of us is prayerful and hopeful that God can do a miracle (we're still praying so).  After all, man can only do so much.  But God is the author of life and can do anything.   Then there's another part that doesn't want the process of miscarriage to be long a drawn out one if that's what is going to happen.  Please keep us and the babies in your prayers.  So much is happening right now.  Thank you all for your concern and your prayers so far.  We know that God is indeed for us and not against us, that He'll never leave or forsake us, that He loves us deeply with a steadfast and everlasting love, and that He has a plan--regardless of the outcome.  Thanks to those who've visited us and reminded us of these things.

                  Clifford & Danielle

 Update 5/7
 Dear Friends,
  I am writing to let you know what has been happening with us.  On Monday we had a regular check up.  But before I get to all that I want to share a little miracle with you! 
  Oh how God takes care of us and lets me know HE is in this and knows MY needs!  I don't know if I have really mentioned this but I have been very, very sick with morning sickness since around week 6.  So much that even before my SCH or I was told to be on bed rest, I would just lay in bed until work , really struggle to get through the day and they lay in bed right after.  So really my battle with this pregnancy started very very early on. I keep wondering where is my "pregnancy glow"?  I think I left it in the trash can where I have been getting sick (yuck!) Well a friend of my who is also prego here in Japan told me about Unisom, originally is was a morning sickness drug but it made women very very sleepy.  Well I research it and many OB's in America recommend it if you are having severe MS.  So she sent me some because she had more than enough.  Oh thank the Lord it took the edge off enough in the beginning that I could force feed myself a little. A couple of times I have tried to see what would happen if I did not take it and it always resulted in hours of throwing up and not even keeping water down.  Well, my I was running low and my sweet sister offered to send me some more.  You can never quite now how long a package will take to get here, but we were thinking a week and a half would be enough.  This past Saturday, I ran out.  So I know not having it to take Sunday night would make life very hard on Monday.  All weekend Clifford and I were praying the package would come ( sometimes they deliver on Sunday here??)  Anyways by Sunday night I knew no luck!!! My sickness was impending until the package arrived, as the doctors here have assured me they have no meds to help with this kind of sickness for prego women.  So, at about 8 pm a friend of mine  who lives here called and asked how I was.  I proceeded to tell here how I was going to be so sick starting Monday since I had no more Unisom.  What she said you need Unisom?, my husband has a TON of that here!  I will be over in 5 min.  And with that she came over and gave me a new box.  Now I know her call was not by any means a coincidence. This little miracle was God's way of letting me know, I AM HERE WITH YOU DANIELLE AND KNOW JUST WHAT YOU NEED! It has encouraged me this week so much.  If God can provide me some little pills in such an amazing way, how much more can He do?  

Ok on to the check-up.  Well they did a full work up which took 3 1/2 hours- geesh it was a LONG day!  
Blood pressure-fine,
Weight- down 1/2 lb- considering I think I have lost at least 10 lbs since I became pregnant not great in my opinion. 
Blood Work- elevated white blood count -sign of infection, this might be TMI but I am praying that it is due to a yeast infection from all the antibiotics I have been on.  Please pray for this because it is truly the key for when I get off antibiotics.  Pray whatever infection is in my body that it goes away.  Once I am off the meds, which will be in more than a week, if there is still an infection then it will most likely cause me to go into labour.   

Babies- my sweet angels!
Baby A- Well as you now the sac had leaked but not all the fluid is gone.  There are different pockets of fluid that measured at different sizes.  My doctor said he is concerned about anything below 2cm, although from what I have read online anything below 5 cm is considered to low. Not sure what to think about that ??? Well around baby A there are different pockets of different sizes- 1.4 , 1.8 and even up to 2 cm.  The doctor said at this point it is not the best but better than no fluid.  We got to hear the heart beat (I could listen to that all day) and it was in the 170's.  All of the baby's growth is on track good size skull and femur. Total growth 15 weeks and 2 days.  Also, we could see fluid in the bladder which is very good!  Dr Suzuki looked to see if we could see the sex but no dice, legs closed shut!
Baby B- sadly still no improvement as far as fluid for my sweet angel.  But the heart is still beating and was in the 150's

We are so great for all your prayers and support. They are felt even all the way around the world. No doubt this time is so difficult and not ideal but God is still here with us.  I have decided at some point this week I will start a blog.  If you know me you know I am not very good at blogs but I figure there is no difference in that and writing these emails.  I will email you a link when it is up and running. Please continue to pray for us all.  I still wonder how God will us this situation to His Glory, but am praying that he would be glorified. And that our faith will be a witness to the doctors and nurses especially. 

Psalm 118: 5-8
When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper.  I look in triumph on my enemies. 8 It is better to take refuge in the Lordthan to trust in humans. 

Danielle & Clifford

PPROM week 14 and the hospital

So things were looking up.  Between being on self imposed bed rest due to morning sickness and the then SCH, at this point I had been in bed for about 1 month. During this time we were staying a temporary place and had to find a permanent place to live.  We were scheduled to move on Sunday April 22.  On Saturday April 21 however I believe this is the day my water started to leak.  That day I had been up a little more than usual but trying to still take it easy.  Things seemed to feel a little different to me, but I kept telling myself that I was over thinking it.  Considering all that had already happened with all the bleeding and it being my first pregnancy, I continued to second guess how I was feeling.  I just assumed whatever this extra felling was had to do with the SCH. The extra water was very small mind you,  but it didn't seem to stop.  So by 10:30 that night I decided we should go back to the hospital. Well we went in and a very young doctor took us up to have a look by ultrasound.  Now, if you don't know this my husband is  very good with his Japanese but I would say the medical talk, especially "women's" medical terms were all very new to him!  Oh the joys of marriage!  Anyways, she took a look and said she couldn't find anything.  Babies are good, strong heartbeats, moving around, no seen leak. She said all of this very casually, to come back on Monday if nothing changed, but she didn't really think there was a problem.  The paper test for amniotic fluid also came back negative.  So, I thought ok just my body going through some changes with pregnancy and just went back to bed rest.  We had an appointment on Wednesday so I wasn't too worried. We had friends help with the move on Sunday and I stayed in bed.  Things still felt the same but I decided to wait till Wednesday.  Our hospital is about 1 hour away, we chose it cause they specialize in twins. Twins are very very rare in Japan so I felt better being at a hospital that specialized in them.  Also, they have a higher graded NICU than the hospital closest to us, so we decided that would be our best shot not to be separated from our babies if something happened. I am not sure if going in sooner would have change what happened next. But the truth is I dwell on it.  If I did, I would go insane.

So Wednesday came and we went to our appointment.  At this point it was just Clifford and I with no translator. Like I said is Japanese is pretty great. Anyways we did all the normal checks, then it was time for the ultrasound.  Right from the beginning, I could tell it wasn't right.  We saw baby A but just fuzzy looking picture for baby B.  There was absolutely no fluid.  Just four days before, I had seen my sweet baby happy and moving in it's watery haven.  Now, nothing, no movement, just a heartbeat. This was definitely one of the worst moments of my life thus far. I could see the sadness on the nurses face.  In general, I think Japanese people keep their emotions in check, but at this point I burst into tears.   As Dr. S continued to look, I just kept thinking well this is it the end.  For all I knew at that point, I assumed a baby couldn't last with out fluid.  I assumed I would miscarriage soon.

We were quickly admitted and given a blood test.  When it came back it showed very elevated white blood (shows infection) and CRP  (show some kind of inflammation in the body). So they started me on Antibiotics and we waited.  Clifford has many personal days stored up, so he was able to stay with me the whole time.  I was in the hospital for about a week. During this week is was very hard obviously.  My WBC levels came down but CRP continued to stay elevated.  The doctor said he thought I would have a miscarriage within the week.  So we sat around waiting, praying and hoping. My amniotic fluid stayed the same, with only baby B affected. At this point it was just a waiting game.

If you don't know the English school we work for here in Japan is a christian school, and they have been so supportive during all of this.  There are so many ways I could mention how the friends we have made there have supported us during this difficult time. Translating, visits, prayer, food, phone calls, allowing Clifford the time to stay with me and the list could go on.  During such a trying time the Lord has really showed us both His tangable love through others. For that we are both so thankful.   

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It's twins but wait....everything up to week 13

Well this is my attempt at starting a blog.  As many of you know I am not much of blogger or writer but with our circumstance, I think this will be easiest to keep friends and family updated. Since I am writing it out I would like to give the WHOLE story since this is my first entry, but you can skip to the entry where it says update if you want :)

Clifford and I have been married for almost 5 months :)  We got pregnant right off the bat, with twins non the less. Our due date is October 31. Not to happy about that, but at this point that date won't happen so no worries.  To say that this pregnancy has been turbulent would be true. Right from the beginning at about 3-4 weeks I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive.  By 6 weeks I was VERY sick and EXHAUSTED.  So much for fun, cute newlywed wife.  Instead I turned into a sick , sleepy no fun prego wife.  My poor husband. Things were fine, we kept paying out of pocket to get ultrasounds from my OB everything looked great.

 Just like in America the OBGYN won't see you until a certain week. Well before we actually got to see the doctor, I had a major bleed at 9 weeks 4 days. Later that week I was diagnosed with a Subchorionic Hematoma , there was blood pooling by my uterus.  The doctor put me on bed rest and told me that is all they could do.  With having the SCH the chances of miscarriage increase greatly, they were also still concerned it could cause vanishing twin.  That is where one twin doesn't make it and is absorbed back into your body. So each week we went back and the babies continued to look good.  I had another major bleed but to be honest I am not sure maybe about two weeks later.  Well, by my13 week check up things were looking up, I was told I could do a little more to get my energy up.  My Hematoma was getting smaller and Dr. Suzuki said I would be able to go back to work by week 15 if things continued in this way.  This is also, why I posted our pregnancy on Facebook. Before this point I was just to scared and not sure I wanted to publicly share my pain if something happened.

On top of having a SCH I am one of those lucky people who is SUPER sick due to morning sickness. I am truly not to suprised beacuse my sister was the same way.  The catch is in Japan they do not believe in giving med to pregnant women.  When I say super sick, I mean throwing up violently for 7 hours and not being able to keep water down.  Again, where is the pregnancy glow?  I don't know I haven't had it yet. On one of these very sick days in the beginning we even went to the ER and they didn't even really want to give me an IV.  They told me to come back the next day if I was still sick and then they would do it.  Nope, I said I will take it now!  Luckily I have a sweet friend who is also pregnant here and she told me her sister sent her an ton of Unisom and that doctors in the US tell you to get it for MS.  She was so sweet she even sent me some in the mail.  Now this stuff is a LIFE saver.  I was still very very every day, but by using it at night I could force myself to eat a little each day.  To tell you how bad it has been, I am just back to the weight I was at 11wks.