Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Best Baby Pictures You Can Get

Well, that's one of them. That's one of my unborn sons.

There, on the top right is his little face with his left hand held close. Below that is a closeup on his lips and nose. To the left is a closeup of his left hand with his face in the background.
Sure they're cool but, if you got 'em, something went wrong.

And above that, in the top left frame, is the laser that made all of these pictures possible. (And in the very top left, is my thumb, helping me to unsteadily take this picture with my phone.)

It was the first week of December, or about 15 weeks pregnant, when my wife and I learned that we'd be having two identical boys. But, no sooner were we greeted with this news than were we told there "might" be a complication. 

Well, there was a complication, and it came in the form of "Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome."

This alliterative affliction means that one of our twins was giving away his valuable nutrients and sending him to his brother. The result was one twin whose system was overwhelmed with too much of everything and another who didn't have enough.  

Surgeons gave us the probable outcomes. If they didn't operate, at least one of the twins was likely not going to survive but, there was also a strong chance that neither would make it. Ultimately the odds of both babies being born normal and healthy were not good.

Taken the old-fashioned way: outside the womb.
The long and the short of it was that, within the space of 48 hours we learned that we were having identical twins (Yeah!!). And we learned that they were boys (Yeah!!). And we learned that surgeons would have to operate on these unborn boys to ensure that they survived (Yeah!!! Wait. What?)

When the docs snipped their way into Mrs. Blackwell's tummy to operate, they snapped the pictures I've attached above. Ultimately, all went well in surgery and, aside from the healthy babies, there have been some other benefits to this whole ordeal.

Perhaps the single biggest of these upsides is the pictures we get from our weekly checkups. Most pregnant couples don't go to the doctor every week for an update. Most people wouldn't want to. That said, when we go we get 3D and, more frequently, ultrasound pics. 

We are awash in these pics. At first, we cherished them. Each was a little gift, to be properly stored and displayed. We now have, literally, scores of these things. Mrs. Blackwell dutifully stores them but even she now acknowledges that we have more than we'll ever need. 

It's a collection whose parts I may never dissect and appreciate individually,  but I couldn't be happier that it's still growing.

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