Thursday, May 31, 2007

Madeleine's leg

I have had a lot of people ask about Madeleine's surgery and what is going on. I thought everyone knew but I guess that is just me being egocentric. Here's the story....

It was February 17th 2006 and Michael and I were thrilled to have an ultrasound showing us the genders of the babies. We made guesses and talked about names. We had polls at work and discussed what would happen if we had two boys, two girls or one of each. We didn't care, of course, but the curiosity was huge! To this day I still do not know how people "keep it a surprise".

As we layed on the table the ultrasound tech announced that Baby A was a boy! I cried. I couldn't believe that I was carrying a real baby, and a baby boy. Michael and I squeezed hands and tears ran down our faces- it was real, we would be parents, we were so blessed, so lucky.

As the ultrasound tech found Baby B she said a bit hesitantly, "well, it looks like Baby B is a girl". I cried harder and Michael announced that "We had our Madeleine". We had previously agreed that if we had a girl she would be named after my late grandmother.

Soon after the splendid news the ultrasound lady left to get the radiologist. We were in the dark, but so happy. We chatted about the excitement of having a girl and a boy! Wow! We didn't even notice that it was taking the doctor a very long time. Finally, the radiologist came in and squeezed a fresh batch of ultrasound goo on my belly. She looked at me and said there was a problem with Baby B. Normally a baby has two bones in her lower leg and my baby only had one in her left leg. Also, her left leg was measuring shorter than the other. As Michael cried silent tears he asked the doctor is she was sure and what would happen. The doctor said with a sure tone that she didn't know what "it" was but no doubt it would have a major impact on the babies life.

I tried to tell Michael over and over that she would be okay, I kept thinking it. She'll be okay, she'll be okay. I pictured my tiny daughter with a walker or crutches, with shoes lifts and orthopedic braces.

The next day we were back at Swedish hospital meeting with a genetic counselor and having amnio on both babies. No, it wasn't genetic. No, they didn't know what it was or what it meant. No, they don't know why it happened. $250 please. And, if we wanted to reduce to one baby we need to make up our mind quick. We only have until 22 weeks to terminate. Terminate.

Our amnio results came back normal. We were set to meet with a pediatric orthopedist on Friday. Dr. Saliman was a young attractive doctor. She was kind and supportive. She sat down with us in her office. My huge belly stuck out, my eyes were red from crying. I'm sure we looked like a mess. She stated matter of factly... "First, let me tell you what this is and then I will tell you the treatment..."

What! There was a name? Maybe a reason?

Madeleine has Fibular Hemimelia or Fibular Deficiency. Sometime around my 6th week of pregnancy a blood clot prevented her limb bud from growing. She is missing her fibula, she has a leg length discrepancy and perhaps some deformities in her knee, ankle or foot. The treatment depends on the severity. If it is only a 5 cm or less discrepancy they can fit her with shoe lifts and ankle braces. If it is 5-10 cm and her foot looks stable we can possibly lengthen her leg. If her discrepancy is greater than 10 cm they recommend amputation of the foot. We wouldn't know the best treatment until after she was born.

We were relieved that we would not need to terminate her. We were relieved that she had a diagnoses and there was a name. We were relieved that it wouldn't affect anything else. We were horrified of the thought of amputation.

When Madeleine was born she was the most beautiful baby in the world (said the proud Mum). She has shining white blonde hair, chubby cheeks and a short leg that looked funny. I thought it was beautiful.

Michael and I chose to amputate her foot after finding out her projected limb length discrepancy is more than 12 inches. That would take 3+ limb lengthening surgeries. Dr. Mosca told us that if we lengthen she would never dance, run, climb, jump- she may be in pain. If we amputate she will do all of that and more. This sealed the deal for both Michael and me.

Madeleine will have a Syme's amputation surgery on June 28th. She will be in the hospital for 2 days. She will be in a cast for 6 weeks. She will have a prosthetic leg 4 weeks after that. She will be just fine.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Almost one!

I can't believe the twins will be one next month! Where did the time go? They are crawling and nearly walking. They continue to amaze me. They now do pat-a-cake, so00 big, blow kisses, wave bye bye and Maxy is starting to stand on his own. No steps alone yet but super fast around furniture or holding onto hands. Madeleine pulls herself up on her one little leg. She tries to walk which is amazing to me as it seems the body just does what it is "suppose" to.

What is even more impressive is the way that they relate to each other. They are social and happy. They smile at appropriate times and laugh at one another. Right now their favorite game is binky swap. They both sit on my lap and pull out each others' binks and then put the other ones' in their mouths and laugh hysterically. Today Madeleine tried to take out Maxy's and he held on with his teeth and she thought it was the funniest thing on earth!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Madeleine and Max

A blog for my babies!

After waiting for many years (actually my whole life!) I received the most precious gift anyone can ask for. Max and Madeleine arrived 6 weeks early on June 22nd 2006. After three weeks of hospitalized bedrest Madeleine decided she had had enough of all that monitoring and swimming with her brother and her sac broke.

It was 3:45 am when I woke to a splash! I called the nurse and then Michael. Indeed, the babies were ready to come out. Dr. Kimelman and Michael both came to the hospital ready to meet our babes. Of course, Michael first made a pot of coffee and took a shower- after all, it was going to be a long day!

Max was born at 5:59 am. Dr. K said in a cheering voice, "oooh, Niki, he's big!" and then "Hello Sweetheart!" Hearing him cry upon arrival was the sweetest sound in the world. After they cleaned him up and wrapped him Michael held him and we cried. He brought Maxy to me and I was able to kiss his precious face. So sweet.

Madeleine was born one minute later. She was having some difficulty breathing so I didn't get to see her right away. Later Michael would describe her long blonde hair and beautiful chubby face.

The babies weighed 5 pounds 6 ounces each. They were healthy and robust. I fell in love.