Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A month gone by!

The day I wrote the "And just like that our lives have changed forever" post all I wanted was to share the unfortunate surprise we received so I wouldn't get questions from our friends and family when they saw our daughters. I could barely get through a conversation at that time about what happened to their hands without bursting into tears. The blog helped me get the news out with out the emotional outburst every time. I expected some friends and family members to post words of support and encouragement  I never in a million years expected such overwhelming support from people - we received words of comfort from friends we hadn't talked to since high school, friends parents we barely know and absolute strangers telling us that we were blessed and the girls are beautiful. I also greatly appreciated all the personal stories of challenges that some of you shared - gives me confidence that our girls will grow up to be strong and beautiful women.

I always believed in the goodness of people but after this month my faith in humanity has increased even more. To you all I want to say "THANK YOU AGAIN". I cried at ever comment on facebook, blogpost, email, text message and voice mail we received. Not because it hurt but because I was overwhelmed by the words of support. Just like writing is therapeutic, crying definitely helped lighted my heart.

Our girls have been home for over two weeks now and they are doing great. Amit and I are coping well but we couldn't do it without two beautiful women - they are our mothers. I have respect for the women who do this all by themselves but I couldn't do it without our mum's. Amit has returned to work so my mum has moved in with me to help with the night feeds during the week. Amit takes over again on the weekends. We have had two pediatrician appointments and the girls passed with flying colors. Phew - we are doing something right! We have had some funny times watching everyone mix up the twins and had some scares (which was nothing but because we are new parents we get easily worried). The girls are definitely developing personalities and are staying more awake now. They have Amit completely smitten over them and make my heart melt when they smile. We will share more pictures in the January update so stay tuned. But here is one from their one month birthday. Can you believe how quickly time flies.

Monday, January 7, 2013

And just like that our lives have changed for ever!

First of all I want to THANK you all for your best wishes, phone calls and messages on the birth of our little angels.

Usually my posts are on behalf of Amit and I and I hope this one captures how the two of us feel too. I decided to write this post because there is a lot to say and sometimes writing can be therapeutic. Amit and I tried long to have a baby and early this year we were blessed with the news that we were pregnant not only with one but with identical twins. Since neither of us have twins in our family this was a surprise but as the doctor said it has to start somewhere. We were told our due date was February 8th but with twins that means nothing. The doctor told me she would be happy if I made it to 30 weeks which was the beginning of December. Thanks to some other complications I was seeing my OB and a Maternal Fetal Doctor to monitor my progress. 

After a relatively smooth pregnancy (besides the huge belly and getting tired) on December 27th during a weekly appointment my blood pressure shot up. My MNF doctor finished the Sono and told us to head straight to the hospital. I knew there was a possibility these babies would come early but I couldn't believe that day had arrived. My OB was on vacation till the 28th and I prayed we could hold off a day so she could do my C section -wish granted! On the 28th the doctor decided my blood pressure was still high and babies needed to come out - 34 weeks in! 

They prepped me for the C and I got my epidural which didn't work so they had to give me general anesthesia and put me under. Because of the last minute change Amit wasn't able to join me in the surgery room and had to hand over the camera to the nurse and wait outside. The babies were born and rolled out to the NICU and Amit got a glimpse of them as they headed there to be examined.

What I am about to share next was a surprise and something that wasn't caught in our Sono. This has been hard for us to talk about hence the "writing can  be therapeutic" comment earlier. At some point in my pregnancy the girls were affected by something called the "Amniotic Band Syndrome". 
Amniotic band syndrome is rare, and the cause is not known.
No two cases of this syndrome are exactly alike. In the mildest cases, amniotic band syndrome causes a single, shallow crease on one limb. The crease can be seen, but it doesn’t cause problems with the way the limb works. Some children have multiple, deeper bands.
Bands that compress blood vessels may reduce blood flow to parts of your baby’s body. This may limit growth or injure tissue as the baby develops. Bands can be so tight that the tissue past them cannot survive because it doesn’t get enough blood. These bands may cut off fingers, toes or other parts of the arms or legs before a baby is born (congenital amputation or intrauterine amputation). If bands injure but do not amputate your baby’s fingers or toes, the digits may heal together in the womb and cause a type ofsyndactyly (acrosyndactyly). Sometimes the digits are fused only at the tips.
In short both the girls were affected by an extreme case of ABS and lost an arm each. Aariya is missing her left arm below her elbow and Aashna her right just above the elbow. As a mother you want your kids to be healthy and perfect and needless to say this was shocking news to us. Its been a little over a week and I am still dealing and trying to make sense of this news. The girls are healthy in all other ways but my heart breaks everyday a little knowing that they will have to face challenges.

Since the girls were born premature they are still in the NICU which has been a blessing in a way - its given me time to get my self together emotionally. I haven't dealt with it a 100% yet but every day I get stronger and I know Amit I will be their strength and will support them in anyway we possibly can. Our families have been nothing but supportive and now we look forward. 

According to the doctors babies are resilient and they will not even know they are missing an arm. They will learn to crawl, walk and live a normal life since they were born that way. Its us that need to deal with it more and make them feel normal so they never feel the void. I don't know how much I will share in the future but I had to put it out there so I don't have to explain "what happened" every time someone sees a picture of them and see the arms. I know technology has advanced a lot and they will have options so now we move forward and are looking forward to having our girls home sometime this week. 

Here is a little story my mother in law made up which makes my heart feel a little better. 
Dedicated to Aariya and Aashna

There is a story which is true

The divine sent us 2 angels. On their flight to their destination there was a storm.

While flying to us the storm was so strong they held each other tight but the lightening damaged their wings. So one angel's right wing got damaged and one angels left wing got damaged but that did not stop them flying. They reached their destination. They knew that they will be taken care of and everyone around them specially their super mum and super dad will help them fly again.

We are all here to help them through their challenging journey. Am thankful to the divine that they chose us.
I want to thank all the nurses and doctors that helped us this last week - I haven't had that many strangers tell me how beautiful our babies are just the way they are and that we will be great parents. Gives me strength just hearing them say it.

UPDATE
I just wanted to update you all on the actual diagnosis. After seeing a specialist we were told that the girls werent impacted by ABS but symbrachydactyly. Doesn't change the outcome but we are happy to know there was no amputation and the condition impacted their growth early on in my pregnancy (6-8 weeks in).


What did I smile about in December!

Almost the end of the year and what a whirl wind it has been. A lot happened this month and it was a perfect end of the year. We are happy to announce the arrival of our twins and you can see the details on the last blog post.

Gelato Outing - we decided to check out some Christmas lights and stopped for a gelato break at the West Village. A nice little outing since I don't get out much anymore.
Nursery Painting - We finally got the wall of the nursery painted. More like Amit did all the work while I sat and watched him do it. Thanks love for doing so much these last months. I will make up for it soon I promise. We decided to go with a gray wall and will accent it with pink decor.
Christmas Lights - we took the mum's and Amit's grandmother to the Grand Prairie lights display. It was our first time too and it was beautiful!
Seeing friends after a while - Simi and Faisal were visiting Dallas and we got to see Zara after almost a year. She is such a cutie!
Anniversary dinner - our Indian wedding anniversary was on the 21st and we went to dinner with the family to one of our favorite places La Duni. Their desserts are to die for.
Christmas day - A beautiful day in Texas and we actually had a white Christmas. It was perfect and this year the decor at our house wasn't all out but it still looked great.
Switch days - we have been spending as much time as possible with this little guy. He is in for a rude awakening once the twins come home. I keep playing baby crying noises for him to get him used to the noise. Only time will tell how he will do with them.
Crochet attempts - The soon to be grand mum's have been busy trying new things for the girls. They knit them matching blankets and are now trying to crochet. Will share the pictures of the final products when they are done.
Guess who is here! - And the day has arrived. After 34 weeks we would like to introduce you to our little panda's. Everyone meet Aariya Bhavna Pandya and Aashna Varsha Pandya.
Aariya - was born at 10:45am on December 28th and weighed 4 lbs and 11 oz. According to the NICU nurses she is the fiesty sister ha!
Aashna - was born at 10:46am on December 28th and weighed 4 lbs and 3 oz. She is our little bitty one and is having a harder time putting on weight.
Since both were born prematurely they are still in the NICU and will be there only a few more days (hopefully) and then come home. Its been hard to get good pictures of the girls in NICU with all the wires and monitors but here are a few that melt my heart.