Saturday, March 21, 2015

Marshmallows 3 and 4

Friday, March 20

Marsh Girls
March 13th ultrasound

Just when I thought we were going to have a normal, long, healthy pregnancy...
We received some difficult news today at my ultrasound. A cardiologist was called in to take a look at a possible abnormality in one of the hearts. He confirmed that there are two areas of concern for our baby girl B. I hope I get all my medical terms correct....

Baby B has settled way up under my rib cage which makes it very difficult to get a good view, but there are two areas of her heart that appear abnormal on the ultrasounds. Her ductus arteriosus (blood vessel) appears to be prematurely narrow. This, by itself, is not overly concerning, as this blood vessel normally closes shortly after birth anyway. The bigger concern is that her aortic valve appears to be too narrow as well (called aortic stenosis). During my ultrasound, the cardiologist was able to measure the speed at which blood is traveling through this section, and it measured in the above average range, which supports the theory that the passageway is too narrow.

So, what does this all mean? Once the girls are born, the ductus arteriosus will begin to close (which it is supposed to do--you may remember that Devyn and Kinley both had open ductus arteriosus, or PDAs, which had to be closed with help from medication). Once it closes, then all the blood will have to travel through this aortic valve, and if the passageway is too narrow it makes the heart work harder to pump blood.

My doctors have decided to change our delivery to a different hospital that is better prepared to deal with this potential problem. Although this isn't the end of the world, it is disappointing that we won't be at St. Rose, which became our second home for 12 weeks while Devyn and Kinley were in the NICU.

Once born, the cardiologist said there are likely three possible outcomes/treatments. 1). The aortic valve is not as narrow as it appears on the ultrasound, and it will be able to manage the blood flow without any medical intervention (obviously this would be wonderful, but at this point appears unlikely). 2). If the valve needs to be widened, one option is to insert a balloon via a catheter up to the heart to stretch the valve and improve blood flow. 3). If the condition is severe enough, open heart surgery will be required to replace the valve completely.

I am scheduled for another ultrasound with the cardiologist next Thursday to check on baby B's heart. If her condition has worsened in any way, they may decide on an immediate delivery. Otherwise, we are scheduled for a c-section on March 31st.

Aside from all this, both girls look very healthy in every other way. At my growth ultrasound last Friday, both girls were about 5 and a half pounds. They are very active during my monitoring sessions each week, and all other measurements look great!

Although I'm scared of what challenges we may face in the coming weeks, we are anxious to meet our baby girls. Your thoughts and extra prayers are very much appreciated!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

34 Weeks Along!!!

Saturday, March 7

 Pic taken at 33 weeks

We definitely have a reason to celebrate today! Marsh babies C and D have cooperated and I've made it to my final goal of 34 weeks! Of course, 34 weeks would not be a normal goal for most pregnant women, but for me it's a huge accomplishment! I never actually expected to make it this far, as Devyn and Kinley were delivered at 28 and a half weeks.

However, it hasn't been a very smooth 3rd trimester. We had an emergency trip to the hospital on February 1st due to contractions. Apparently, the Super Bowl game got the girls all excited (even though I only watched about 10 minutes of the entire game). It took a few hours and two different types of medication to get the contractions under control. I was sent home and have been on bed rest ever since. I've had a few episodes of contractions again since then, but otherwise the medication and rest keeps things under control.

On top of all this, February was a month of sickness in the Marsh household. I was sick with some type of cold/flu twice during the month, which of course I passed onto the girls. And then the girls and I shared some type of stomach bug later in the month as well. It was not a pleasant time, but we survived and everyone seems to be healthy for now.

And finally, last week I was up one night with intensely itchy hands and feet. Weird, right? Well, apparently it can be a sign of liver problems related to pregnancy. It's not harmful to me and will go away after delivery, but it can affect the babies, so I had testing done last week, and we should find out the results on Monday. If there is a problem, the doctor will most likely choose to deliver the girls a bit earlier. Otherwise, we should be delivering at 37 weeks, which means only 3 more to go! (No exact date has been set yet). And no....we haven't decided on names yet either. Let's just say there has been some disagreement!

In one sentence.... Bed rest stinks! And quite frankly, I'm not very good at it. It's difficult to sit around in such a busy house. Thank goodness we have amazing friends and family to support us! My mom and grandma came about a week into my bed rest and have been absolute lifesavers! Then Grandpa Keith came soon after, and mom has kept him busy doing work around the house. Add to that, meals and support from friends and we've gotten by just fine, even if I haven't enjoyed it.

Kinley, 20 months 

Kinley is doing great! She recently received braces for her legs (I didn't get a pic yet) that she will wear to help loosen the tightness in her ankles and legs. Hopefully this will help with her therapy, where she is working on standing and crawling, among other things. She still army crawls wherever she wants to go. In addition to physical and occupational therapy, she also started receiving speech therapy. She actually says, or rather repeats, more words than Devyn, but she doesn't always seem to understand what she is saying. Her newest word is "more."

 Devyn, 20 months

Devyn is doing good as well. It's getting nearly impossible to keep up with her! She is into practically everything and loves to dump her toys all over the house. It's a bit of a death trap trying to walk around. You never know what you'll step on or trip over. She still doesn't say too much, although she seems to have her own language that we can't yet understand. However, she definitely understands what we are saying. She already has selective hearing and doesn't seem to acknowledge the word "NO" very often. 

Devyn runs and hides when she knows she's in trouble. I'm not sure this is her best hiding spot.  

She finally got her first haircut back at the end of January. It did not go as well as Kinley's first haircut. Devyn acted like we were physically torturing her!

 Devyn was not impressed with the car she could drive or the movie she was watching during her cut. She did calm down a bit when Daddy let her play with his phone.

Reward: my first sucker!

The weather is getting warmer, so Daddy set up one of the girls' Christmas presents...a new trampoline! They weren't quite sure what to make of it at first, but they're starting to warm up to it now. 

 Where am I? -Devyn
 Pajama Day on the trampoline with Daddy, or for Devyn...lack of pajamas. 
I'm pretty sure both Mom and Dad are over the 100 lb weight limit! 

Which would you rather have....a mini van or a Ducati? I'd say she chose wisely! 

I don't think Kinley trusts Devyn to take her for a ride. I wouldn't either!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

18 Months and Counting

Sunday, January 18

Devyn and Kinley are actually 19 months old now, but most of our updates and photos are from last month, so let's just pretend this post isn't a month overdue, OK?

We hope all of our friends and family had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years! Our family spent Christmas in Minnesota this year. We had an amazing time! The weather wasn't too terribly cold, the girls experienced their first white Christmas, and best of all, we enjoyed spending time with our family.

Kinley Grace, 18 months
Christmas Eve
Kinley's Fun Facts:
  • Weight: 20 lbs, 12 oz
  • Height : 30 inches
  • Teeth: 5 1/2
  • New Word: "Hi!"
  • Favorite Hobby: army crawling around the living room 
Devyn Marie, 18 months
Christmas Eve
Devyn's Fun Facts:
  • Weight 24 lbs, 6 oz.
  • Height: 32 inches
  • Teeth: 8
  • New Word: Tickle
  • Favorite Hobby: emptying the silverware from the dishwasher and dumping them everywhere

I think it's safe to say these girls are spoiled! They received a play kitchen set, a trampoline, tricycles, DVDs, tons of clothes, more toys than I can count, and much more! The girls were not huge fans of the gift opening process. I assume that next year they'll be a little more excited.

Christmas 2014

 Kinley trying on her new tricycle helmet. 

 Kinley having lunch with Grandpa Ferson

 Dessert at the candy shop with Uncle Randy

 Cheering on the Vikings at Grandma and Grandpa Bjerke's

 "Why are my gloves so big?" -Kinley

"What is this stuff?" -Devyn

24 weeks along
"What's that you say? I look like I'm ready to pop? Not exactly.... I still have 3 months to go!"

How many babies can you find in this picture?!?!

This is how we relax! 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Football and Turkey

Saturday, December 20

Devyn and Kinley are 18 months old now. I don't know where the time goes! I'd say they've changed a bit over the past year!
1/2 Birthday!
One year ago

November was a busy month for the Marsh Family. We traveled to Atlanta for the annual Marsh Family Football Trip, enjoyed Thanksgiving with Grandma and Grandpa Bjerke, and found out the gender of our two new additions due in April. 

Devyn Marie, 18 months

Devyn is still our wild child! She loves to climb and has now learned how to come down the stairs by herself. It's her favorite thing to do right now, aside from torturing her sister. She is into everything, and knows exactly what she is NOT supposed to play with, so naturally those are the things she prefers. Even though I have a gate around it, our Christmas tree has a big bare spot in the middle where she has so politely un-decorated it. Although she can easily make her desires known, she still isn't saying much. She will repeat "Momma," but that's about it. 

Kinley Grace, 18 months

Kinley has made some great improvements over the past few weeks! She is finally able to army crawl, so she can get herself around a bit better than just rolling. Her physical therapist has prescribed braces, much like those Devyn wore to straighten her club feet. She will be getting these in the coming weeks. The goal of the braces will be to keep her heal flexed to lengthen the muscles and tendons in her legs and ankles. Her brain condition causes a lot of tightness in her muscles, which makes standing very difficult for her. Kinley loves to "talk." Her favorite word is still "No," but she also says Momma, Dadda, tickle, and uh-oh.   

World of Coca-Cola
Atlanta, GA

We had a blast in Atlanta on the Marsh Family Football Trip! We visited the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium, and best of all...watched the Browns beat the Falcons! 

Daddy and Devyn tried to break into the vault that stores the only written copy of the Coca-Cola recipe--they did not succeed. Then, they headed to the tasting room to try Coke products from all over the world. I hope he was giving her caffeine-free sips!

Waiting for our Coca-Cola adventure to begin. Daddy with Kinley, and Devyn with Uncle Curtis.  

After Coca-Cola World, we headed over to the Georgia Aquarium. Kinley slept through much of it, but we still had a great time!
 Grampy with Devyn
 Grammy, Devyn, and Mommy
 When Kinley finally woke up, Daddy took her on a speed-tour to catch her up on everything she'd missed. 
Devyn with Aunt Shannon

Saturday was a fun day of playing tourist, but of course, Sunday means business. The Marsh family travels to watch the Browns play every year, and we've NEVER seen them win.

I was pretty nervous about taking the girls to the game. Devyn doesn't like sitting still, and Kinley absolutely hates loud noises! I figured it would be a disaster....
 Getting ready for the Browns game!
 Turns out...Devyn is a great football fan! The crowds, noise, and lack of leg room didn't bother her one bit. She sat with Grammy pretty much the whole time, and even took a nap during the game!
Kinley, on the other hand, did not enjoy the game very much. No, I wasn't sleeping. I was probably praying that the loud speakers would malfunction. Even with ear plugs in, she spent a lot of time upset about the noise.   
 Our family received an early Christmas miracle...the Browns actually won!
Do we look surprised? Because I think we were....

After returning from the football trip, we had our 18 week ultrasound appointment to find out the genders of our second set of twins (I still can't believe it)! I know we were both hoping for boys, but it turns out we are destined to be surrounded with pink, dolls, and dresses for the rest of our lives.
 Baby A and Baby B (or C and D, as Dadddy calls them) are both girls!

A perfect end to a great month was enjoying Thanksgiving with Grandma and Grandpa Bjerke, who came down from Minnesota. It was great to enjoy our annual traditions: big turkey dinner for all, black Friday shopping for Grandma and Mom, and of course a trip to Ethel M Chocolates to load up on chocolate and take a walk around the gardens with thousands of Christmas lights. 
 Family Photo
Grandma and Grandpa Bjerke with the girls

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Trick or Treat!

Sunday, November 2

Our cat (Devyn) and mouse (Kinley)!

Happy Halloween! What a fun weekend we had! Devyn and Kinley participated in their first Halloween traditions: first costumes, first trick-or-treating, and first pumpkin carving experience. Grandma Carol bought them their first costumes when she was here last week. I didn't think they would last 5 seconds with those hoods on, but surprisingly they didn't seem to mind at all!

They LOVED trick-or-treating, but not because of the candy. Devyn just loves to walk/run free, so it was all one big adventure to her. And Kinley just enjoyed being out and about, soaking up the sights. Our friends Will and Joelene came with too. I was a tad unprepared and didn't buy any candy buckets, so we had to improvise. Yes, that's Devyn trick-or-treating with a sand/beach bucket:-) 

 The first house....
The wrappers probably don't taste as good as the candy. 
Ridin' in style!
 "Where to next, guys?"  -Devyn
Pumpkin carving 
Mom had to do all the work!
We found a pumpkin big enough for them to fit in!

My favorite part of the weekend was the weather. We finally had temperatures that made it feel like fall! 
 I think someone wants to go outside...
OK, off to the park!
 We love to swing!
 It's a workout chasing this young lady around!
How rule-follower and my rule-breaker. 

Only took me 16 months...but I finally finished the girls' NICU keepsake boxes.

And one more pic just because I love it (and her):
I hope she enjoys doing dishes this much in about 10 years!