This is an update on the Stewart family I posted about a few weeks ago, check out her my space to see real peace in the face of hard times oh how God is alreay being Glorified through this.
Several of you have asked recently how we are doing and if there are any updates.First, let me say that Paige and I appreciate so much the prayers you are praying for us and prayer lists of others that many of you have gotten us on. On more than one occasion, we've heard how people who don't know us personally are praying for us, and how people in so many different states are praying for us, and it is just awesome to know that all of this is going on. We know that so much of the peace we have right now is the direct result of prayer.
We had a second appointment with Dr. Biggio in late August. At that visit, he spent close to an hour doing an ultrasound. This was much different from the first visit, at which a nurse did a brief ultrasound and Dr. Biggio basically just confirmed that the twins were inseparably conjoined in a manner that "would not be compatible with life".
During the second visit, he looked closely at the babies and told us as much as he could about their development at that point. Although it didn't change the expected incompatibility with life, the details of how they are conjoined are a bit different than we had previously thought. The ultrasound showed that there are actually two spines and the babies are apparently facing each other conjoined from just below the shoulders down; we had thought that they were more side-by-side. The ultrasound appeared to show 4 arms; we had thought that there were only two. On one side, each appeared to have an arm that was developing normally; and on the other side, they each appeared to have a smaller arm that was abnormal in development. We already knew that there is only one heart; it was too early to tell much more about the heart, but we did hear him tell the technician to put down "abnormal four chamber heart". Dr. Biggio only saw one stomach, although at a later visit to our doctor in Northport it looked like there may be two stomachs. Dr. Biggio could see one kidney - possibly two - but wasn't sure. At the pelvis the spines seemed to come together. There are only two legs, and he said the feet looked to be clubbed. There is fluid accumulating around the skull of both babies and down the spine of at least one; at a later visit to our doctor in Northport it looked that the fluid may have subsided some from previous visits.
We asked about the probability of whether or not the babies would live to birth. He said that the heart doesn't currently seem to be having any problems pumping blood for both babies, and at that point he didn't see any reason to think that they would die in the next few weeks. That was about 4 weeks ago, so a few weeks have passed. He indicated in a later e-mail to us that he thought the 8-10 week period following that visit would be the period at which the single heart might encounter problems keeping up; I guess we're still a couple of months away from that period being behind us. Since there is nothing that they are able to do to help our babies, he'd basically given us a choice of whether we'd want to keep going to appointments in Birmingham or if we'd prefer to just go to the doctor in Northport. We told him that if the babies live long enough to be born, we would want for the delivery to be at UAB. He said he sees no reason for us to keep coming to him regularly right now.
Currently, we're just going to Dr. Smith in Northport for monthly checkups. If the babies are still alive around 25 weeks, then we'll get in touch with Dr. Biggio's office to schedule the next appointment.After our first visit to Birmingham, we'd honestly kind of hoped that if the babies weren't going to live that a miscarriage might occur sooner rather than later. Since the second visit, we are now hoping that the babies will live long enough to be born and for us to have a little bit of time with them, even if its only a few minutes or hours. Dr. Biggio seems to think that we might could consider a delivery as early as 34 weeks; but obviously we've got a ways to go before making it to that point.
Thank you for your continued prayers. Today, the babies are at 19 weeks and 3 days. They are girls. Their names are Avonlea Rose and Lily Anna. We have good days and bad days, but right now the good days seem to outnumber the bad; we attribute that to your loving prayers and God's faithful love.
Love,Craig and Paige
PS- Paige occasionally posts updates to her MySpace page @ http://www.myspace.com/paigestew. I usually find her posts inspiring to me, just seeing her heart in her words. You can check there, too, for updates if you'd like.