Friday, December 29, 2006

Hospitalization: Friday, January 5th (28 weeks)

Friends and family,

Please read this very long post to fully understand what our babies are up against in the coming weeks. It is long, but it is just a complicated situation and difficult to explain.

We have made the decision, in conjunction with our doctors, to have Jen admitted to the hospital one week from today. While this is difficult news to deal with, we believe it is the best thing for our baby boys. And, we never thought we would have to make this decision because our doctors thought that preterm labor or some other complication would have forced Jen into the hospital by now anyway.

Why get admitted?
Sorry, but this is kind of a difficult situation to explain, but I will try:

Quad pregnancies are high risk pregnancies for many obvious reasons. But, we are not dealing with just a “normal” quad pregnancy. As many of you know, at least two of our boys are identical twins. We know this because they share the same outer (chorionic) sac. This is not uncommon for identical twins.

Most identical twins who share an outer sac, however, have their own inner (amniotic) sac which keeps them separate from each other. Our identical twin boys do not have two inner sacs, they share just one sac. This situation is a very rare condition known as monoamniotic (mono-mono) twinning. Identical twins are somewhat rare to start with, but only 1 in 100 sets of identical twins are mono-mono.

The problem with mono-mono twins is that because there is nothing in there separating the two of them. They almost always get their cords all twisted and tangled up. And, unfortunately, about 25-30% of monoamniotic twins do not survive until birth because of this cord entanglement. This is why this pregnancy has been so difficult on Jen and I emotionally. We have been told since the very beginning that there is a chance, at any time during this pregnancy, that one of those cords will get pulled tight and either cut off blood supply to the babies, or even get a cord wrapped around one of the babies’ necks causing their death. And, in most cases, if one of these mono boys dies, the other will most likely die shortly after that.

The silver lining in all of this is that although the mono-mono twins are in grave danger with everyday that passes, the other two “innocent bystanders” that are in their own sacs are probably going to be ok if the mono-mono boys die. As difficult as it is to think about, if one or both of our mono boys die before 28 weeks, we would have to simply give them to the Lord and let them go. It would not be right to deliver all four babies at less than 27 weeks gestation in order to try to save the two mono-mono boys. The risk of birth at this extreme prematurity would put all four of them in mortal danger that we are simply not willing to take.

The good news:
The good news is that we have nearly made it past that early stage of extreme prematurity with all four boys surviving. At 28 weeks, Jen and I have made the very difficult decision that we would be willing to deliver all four babies in an attempt to save the mono-mono boys. So, if the mono-mono boys are still alive one week from today, Jen will be admitted to St. Vincent Women’s hospital for the remainder of the pregnancy. During this time, our babies will be monitored for approximately one hour, three times per day.

The hope is that our doctors will be able to detect a problem with cord entanglement before it becomes a fatal problem. They have made it very clear to us that although they will do everything they can, these cord accidents can be sudden, so there are no guarantees. We may do all of this only to loose them anyway. But, even if there is only a slight chance that we could save them by voluntarily being admitted to the hospital, we are willing to do so.

The prospect of going to the hospital for up to one month is not one that either one of us is looking forward to. If our boys are still doing well at 32 weeks, (Feb. 2nd) our doctor will probably schedule a c-section near this time. By then, the boys should be developed enough that they would be nearly out grave danger. This would be considered the best-case-scenario. There would be no longer be a good reason to leave these mono-mono twins in there at the risk of a cord accident.

Jen has a lot of discomfort ahead of her; this much we are sure of. I understand that we are young and have not experienced much adversity in our lives, but I can tell you that this is the most difficult thing either one of us has ever had to experience. God has given grace in abundance and has spared us from the 24/7 agony of waiting to see if our children survive, but it has been, and continues to be a daily struggle.

Would you please pray with us that God would fill Jen and I with the Holy Spirit and comfort as we await God’s timing for the birth of our children? It is so difficult to avoid worrying constantly about our boys. God will decide if He chooses for them to survive. We know that He is in ultimate control of every detail of this situation.

May God be glorified as we pass through this trial that He sovereignly placed in our path! He is sufficient for our every need!

Thank you for caring for us friends,

Brad and Jen Murray

Two outer sacs, two inner sacs
(Typical Fraternal Twins)

One outer sac, two inner sacs
(Typical Identical twins)

One outer sac, One inner sac
(Our rare mono-mono twins)


brittany said...

I've been praying for you guys all along. I realize how serious this time is and will continue to hold all 6 of you up before our Lord. HE can do this.

Jen, we'll be praying for time to pass quickly for you, in the hospital and for comfort to be the best it can be during this time.

Brad, we know it'll be hard to leave her there. We'll pray for wisdom for you and grace as you go through this.

With God, ALL things are possible. We believe that for you.

Brittany Powell

Setrn said...

Thank you so much for sharing so much information. I can tell you from first hand experience that 28 weekers can do great! I have two of them closing in on seven years old running around upstairs right now! Seriously, I am SO blessed by you sharing your fears and what the Lord is doing in your lives. I am here to tell you, you will be placing your children in God's hands MANY times over the years, and this experience may make that easier for you than it is for some. I will be praying for all 6 of you. It is an honor to pray for others who are waiting on the Lord for the birth of their children. I will be praying especially for Jen as she is in the hospital. I was in for about 3 weeks of my pregnancy, and I know that it is hard to be away from home. I don't know if you have named your boys yet, but it helped me to have them named and to pray for them specifically by name. Others who were praying also prayed for them using their names.

Angela Lee said...

Wonderful explanation! Good luck with the hospitalization.....I sometimes think the hospitalization was harder on my husband than me because he became responsible for so many more things. YOu guys are incredible!
From a fellow momo parent!

Anonymous said...

Hi there! Frank and I have been following your blog and praying for you. Wow! What an incredible example you two have been in trusting the Lord through difficult situations. We'll keep on seeking the Lord on your behalf.

Frank and Andrea Pulice

julie burgess said...

Hey Jen & Brad - I was thinking of you guys today and wondered how things were going. I figured it'd be faster to log onto the website vs. posting on the MOM site. I totally understand your position now. I can't imagine your worry, but am encouraged at your faith in God. You've done SO WELL so far - 28 weeks is great! I'm so bummed - I was supposed to do my OB nursing rotation at St. Vincent Womens, but they've moved me to Wishard. Otherwise, I'd see you in the next month weekly. Keep us posted and we'll be praying for you guys. I'm happy your docs are approaching this so cautiously - that's good. Julie Burgess (MOM group)

Ashley Toney said...

Hey Guys, I know it is a little late but I just came across your page, I hope everything went well with your Triplets. I know exactly how you feel. I am currently pregnant with twins and my babaies are in the same placenta and same sac and they are admitting me into the hospitol when I am 28 weeks. I wish ya'll luck. I would love to hear what happened, if the babies are ok or what.. I certainly hope so. please contact me if you can. I wold appreciate it. you can e-mail if you like... here is my e-mail addy... hope ALL went well!!!!.... Ashley

Anonymous said...

My wife is pregnant with twins she is at 27 weeks, we had an emergency cerclage at 23 weeks and she is on complete bed rest. We have been taking things day by day and always looking for comfort as well. Stay positive because you are doing everything you can. We will keep your babies in prayer as we ask you guys to do the same.


Anonymous said...

fast forward a year and clearly you did all the right things! congratulations! I have fraternal twins coming soon- my wife is currently 27 weeks and doing great- bed rest for sure and 10 day check ups but other than that we should be good to go by Valentines day...Have a happy new year!