Friday, March 26, 2010

Normal AFP

Just wanted to let everyone know that I just got a phone call from my doctor's office.  My AFP test was normal!  Praise God!  My doctor had told me that about 75% of the AFP tests done in women expecting twins or more shows positive.  So, this had me a bit concerned that I might have to go through further testing, if the doctor was concerned and I was so inclined.  I left it in God's hands and knew that He would take care of everything!

For those of you who are curious and would like more information about the AFP test.  The following information was taken from the WebMD website (

An alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) blood test checks the level of AFP in a pregnant woman's blood. AFP is a substance made in the liver of an unborn baby ( fetus). The amount of AFP in the blood of a pregnant woman can help see whether the baby may have such problems as spina bifida and anencephaly. An AFP test can also be done as part of a screening test to find other chromosomal problems, such as Down syndrome (trisomy 21) or Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18). An AFP test can help find an omphalocele, a congenital problem in which some of the baby's intestines stick out through the belly wall.

Normally, low levels of AFP can be found in the blood of a pregnant woman. No AFP (or only a very low level) is generally found in the blood of healthy men or healthy, nonpregnant women.

The level of AFP in the blood is used in a maternal serum triple or quadruple screening test. Generally done between 15 and 20 weeks, these tests check the levels of three or four substances in a pregnant woman's blood. The triple screen checks alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), and a type of estrogen (unconjugated estriol, or uE3). The quad screen checks these substances and the level of the hormone inhibin A. The levels of these substances-along with a woman's age and other factors-help the doctor estimate the chance that the baby may have certain problems or birth defects.

Screening tests are used to see what the chance is that your baby has a certain birth defect. If a screening test is positive, it means that your baby is more likely to have that birth defect and your doctor may want you to have a diagnostic test to make sure.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day and more!

What a beautiful afternoon!  The sun is shining, my two girls are napping, and I feel good enough to get a few things accomplished (mainly computer business)!

First off, Happy 52nd Birthday to my dear father!  Happy anniversary to my dad and step-mom too!  I pray that you have a blessed day!

Now, onto baby news.  I had another appointment today!  I had forgotten how uneventful "regular" baby checks can be.  So, really I don't have any exciting news.  I was hoping to be able to scan a picture in of the ultrasound but didn't even get a hard copy of a picture today!

So, the babies heartrates are 150 and 154.  So, very close to each other....both the same sex, I don't know!  I had a chance to find out the sex today, but decided against it, for this time.  I guess I just wasn't in the right mood.  Maybe next time.  Sorry to all of you who are more anxious than me about finding out....:-)

I also had a cervical check today, and there was no sign of pre-term labor.  This is a good thing, meaning my body is doing a great job of carrying the two little ones right now.  This is a normal ultrasound test my doctor does on women expecting twins.  I will have two more of these - one in 3 more weeks at my next appointment and the last one 4 weeks after that.

Other than that, the only other exciting news is that I have actually gained weight.  3 pounds!  This is incredible since with my other 2 pregnancies I gained nothing.  The doctor doesn't know if it is just blood volume, baby weight, uterus growth, and placenta/amniotic fluid or if it is actual weight gain.  Nevertheless, she was excited to see a little gain!  I am very surprised as I am still sick.  However, I can say I am feeling better than I was back in December/January/February.  I am only getting sick 2 times a day on average.  This is a good thing!  Maybe it will go away all together and I will have a "normal" rest of the pregnancy!

My next appointment is Friday, April 9.  3 weeks and 2 days away.  At this appointment, they will do another cervical check and will have do a full ultrasound.  At this ultrasound, they will do an anatomy check - checking to make sure the babies are developing correctly.  This doesn't mean I will find out the sexes, just means they will check the heart, lungs, liver, appendages, spine, head, etc. I am excited!  I will probably take a DVD to this appointment and have them record it so my husband can see it, since he will more than likely be at work.

Finally, to those who are curious as to how Joy is doing, she is much better.  The doctor started her on some prednisone on Monday to help with the wheezing.  It definitely was pneumonia.  The doctor couldn't believe how much air she was moving on Monday.  She never suspected pneumonia because Joy wasn't exchanging enough oxygen on Friday.  We are so glad we took her to the ER and had further testing done so she could heal quicker!

Finally, a quick little Joy story....I love to put her to bed, either at nap or night-night time.  We rock and she lays across my arms.  I know she is ready to go to sleep when I ask her for a kiss and she leans up and kisses me.  I then carry her to her crib and lay her down.  I get her all covered up and then put my hand on her forehead and tell her I love her.  I move my hand down her cheek and go to leave the room. Joy always tells me, "I wove you too mommy!"  It is so sweet!  I am cherishing these cuddles with Joy so much!  I know all too soon that those cuddles will not be the same.  Blessing is so sweet too!  She has been kissing the babies in mommies tummy.  Today, however, I took her to the ultrasound to hopefully have her connect and understand more why mommy doesn't have the energy and can't do what she used to do.  Anyway, she told the ultrasound technician that "I changed my mind.  I only want 1 baby instead of two."  However, when the technician asked her if she wanted a brother or a sister, she still answered with "A brother for Joy and a sister for me!"  I love my two girls!

God's blessings to you and I pray you have a Happy St. Patrick's Day today!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


PATIENCE - an 8 letter word which is hard to do

I remember a sign in my mom's kitchen growing up that stated "God grant me patience - BUT I want it right now!" As I have been going along in this parenting journey, I am really starting to understand this. Part of me wonders if God is really trying to teach me patience right now, or if I am truly that bad with patience that I need lessons on patience.  So, below is some lessons on patience I have had the past few weeks...

First off, I have been exhibiting patience (among other things) while waiting for my next OB appointment. Usually, at this stage in the game, baby appointments are about 4 weeks apart, give or take a few days.  Well, the span between my last appointment and my next one is 6 weeks!  The first 4 weeks went by very well - I wasn't anticipating anything.  This week and I am sure next week, are just dragging on.  There are periods of time during the day that I wonder if the babies are ok, if they are growing properly, etc.  This has also been a test of faith - I give the babies to God every morning and know that He is in control of them and my life.  Some days are easier than others, but it is a work in progress - a testing of patience!

Secondly, I have been working on exhibiting patience with my oldest daughter.  I don't know if it is her age or her personality or a combination of both, but she has truly been challenging me these past few weeks.  I have had to take a step back, retake "control," and exhibit patience while disciplining her.  Sometimes I wonder if I expect too much of her, while other times I know I don't expect enough of her.  I really think it is one of those things that is a give and take.  However, I will say, that I have made amazing strides the past 2 weeks.  So much that now my dear husband is almost to the point that I was 2 weeks ago (a parenting breakdown).  We had a chat last night, after he battled our oldest going to bed, about how our daughter knows what to do and how to do it to get daddy beyond the point of frustration and without patience.  We talked about the importance of not showing our frustrations and exhibiting calmness and extreme patience while disciplining.  I have found that it makes the biggest difference!  So, yes, a test of my patience - one that I am passing almost 90% of the time.  The last 10%, usually in the evenings, I am still working on - a work in progress!

Thirdly, patience in the awaiting of Spring.  If there was a sign about Spring similar to the patience sign, I could have it right now.  I enjoy every season - which is part of the reason we live in the middle of Iowa instead of Arizona - but at the end of winter, it is a challenge of patience.  I am ready for the Spring flowers to start poking through the ground - for blossoms to start blooming - for grass to turn green and need mowed - for warmth and not drowned ground so my children can play outside - for sunshine - for the ability to go on picnics and not freeze - etc.  I think you get the idea....I am in the process of making a fresh fruit pizza to remind me of Spring.  This past week I have made several "summer" meals for supper including grilled stuffed pork chops, sauted zucchini, steaks, baked potatos, etc. It truly has helped to lift the mood and has helped me to have more patience while awaiting Old Man Winter to go away!

Finally, I think just patience to get things accomplished overall.  It is amazing how extremely tired I have been this pregnancy  - more so than with my other two.  I have periods during the day where I can accomplish things and periods where I have no energy and need to lie down.  Needless to say, only about half of what I want to accomplish during the day actually gets done.  This is a test of patience for me - remembering what is important and knowing that the rest can wait until tomorrow or the next day or the next day...

So, God truly is teaching me patience, in many ways.  But, I still want it right now!  :-)