Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Third times a charm

Well, today has been full of ups, downs, blessings and disappointments. The Pitocin does not seem to be agreeing with Becky today. Since the last post, we have met some amazing new people, had our epidural fail, and had more of the Pitocin induced really long contractions followed by more of the smaller contractions. We ended the morning attempt to start by 9:00 am. From there we decided to give Becky's body a break and make another attempt this afternoon. The plan for this attempt was to try the Pitocin until 10:00 tonight and decide if we would bail to a C-section. So, we started around 4:00 this afternoon and well, we had more of the 6 to 8 minute contractions so we called an end to this a few minutes ago. We were not seeing any progress at all so this way Becky will be able to eat something, take a sponge bath, and sleep a little before our 8:30 C-section slot. So, third times a charm...

Tomorrow morning will be busy but I'll see what I can do to get an update up mid-day.

5 P's

It has been a long night and nothing really new to report. Those that know me expect the 5 P's to be "Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance". There is a poster over the bed here that lists the 5 P's as "Partner, Protect, Possessions, Pain, and Potty". Seriously, "Potty"... Isn't this a major medical center? Well, I am going to stick with my version.

Our pre-planning started around 8:00 pm when the anesthesia team put in the epidural. Becky was continuing to have the contractions every minute or so but Andrew showed no change in his heart rate with them. The decision was made to place the epidural early in case the time interval between the contractions was too short for Andrew to recover and we needed to do a C-section. I guess this was a good plan because he is still not showing any distress and Becky has been MUCH more comfortable.

The contractions slowed down some and at midnight they started the Pitocin in an attempt to move things along. They stopped the drug about five minutes later because of another really long contraction followed by more of the smaller contractions. This continued for a few more hours but she went back on the Pitocin at 5:00 am. So far so good, though she is having a very hard time getting comfortable.

Shift change is coming and we will miss our nurse Agnes. She has been amazing tonight.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fresh out of the gate!

From a long time listener, first time writer: We are checked into the room and things have finally settled down. They put us on the monitor for baseline vitals as soon as we got to the room. After a few minutes it became obvious that the contractions were consistently one minute apart. That does not allow Andrew any time to recover so in comes the masses. One side of Becky is a nurse placing an IV and on the other is a nurse giving a shot of Terbutaline. Terbutaline was given during one particularly long eight minute contraction and within a few seconds things started to calm down. Andrew's heart trace was rock solid through all the excitement. If this happens again, we will probably have to transition to a C-section.

After this round of excitement, a decision was made to try a Foley bulb to expand her cervix. Basically, a Foley catheter is inserted into the uterus and blown up. This was a painful process but she pulled through like a champ. The pain from this was enough to sell her on an epidural as things progress.

Thanks for the prayers and support. We will keep everyone posted. --Gene

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Photo test from iPhone

Just testing to see if this works! Here are photos of the finished nursery! I think I've finally figured out how we'll post pics of Andrew directly from the NICU! Rocking Andrew in the glider seems to put him to sleep! Gene and I are doing as well as can be expected- getting a little anxious, but for the most part, spending time enjoying time together and our last few days of pregnancy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Free Time On My Hands

Free time on my hands could be a dangerous thing, but I'm determined to be really positive and enjoy this last week where I get Andrew all to myself! We've been reading lots of books and listening to relaxing music and for the first time tonight I was able to rock Andrew in our new glider! I absolutely love going in his room- I can definitely envision bringing him home everytime I go in there!

I also thought I would try making a post from my iPhone so that I won't be doing it for the first time from the NICU. I'm realizing that I can't post pics directly from the iPhone which I thought we would be able to do. If anyone knows how to do that, please let me know. I'll have to post the latest pics of the nursery in another post.

Thanks for cheering us on and for all of the encouraging stories!

Monday, September 21, 2009

38 Weeks

We've made it to 38 weeks now which is a huge accomplishment! Things are definitely getting more crowded in there, but he still seems to be just as active. My amniotic fluid levels were 15 which is great and the nurses said he was showing off on the monitor for my NST today! I had almost constant uterine irritability, but no contractions on today's test. The irritability is nothing new, so they aren't too concerned and even if I did start having contractions, there's not a lot of difference in his survival this week verses next week. The part that makes me really nervous is that his stomach which was in the middle of his chest almost the entire pregnancy is now positioned in the right chest, behind his heart. I can't see how much lung can develop on that side if both the heart and the stomach are occupying the right chest. Hoping I am wrong in that respect. If anyone has any encouraging words about that from their own CDH journey, please share.

I've been trying to pass the time by doing a lot of reading and listening to relaxing music- I figure the music would be good for Andrew also! One week from tomorrow is our induction day- I can't believe how fast it is all going by! There are so many mixed emotions I have going into this. I wish I could keep him safe forever and do the breathing for him if need be, but I know this is not practical especially since I've outgrown almost all of my maternity clothes and I can't possibly imagine my belly getting any bigger than it already is. I'm definitely getting quite a few stares when we go anywhere in public now :). Part of me is tired of not knowing, that has been the hardest part of all of this, having your whole life in limbo. Part of me wishes there was more they could do to predict the outcome of these babies, but then I couldn't ever imagine going through this having been predicted the worst possible outcomes. For that, I am grateful to just not know at this point.

I'm looking forward to the fall weather- it's my favorite time of year! There's just something about the crispness in the air, the leaves changing color, the fall decorations and everyone preparing to spend time with family and friends over the holidays. God has truly blessed us with so many things- to live in this great country with excellent medical care, our freedom, a roof over our heads and good food to eat and most importantly so many loving family members and friends to share each day. Thanks for all the support and the many prayers we have received. I know I say this often, but I sincerely mean it and do not take you all for granted for one second.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

And The Verdict Is......

An attempt at a vaginal delivery with a low threshold for switching to a c-section is the path we will take! I am very excited about this- I know that a vaginal delivery is better for Andrew. I feel better that the doctors all think it is the best thing for both of us to let me try! We are to report to L&D at 2:00pm on Tuesday, September 29th hoping for a vaginal delivery sometime on September 30th.

The crazy thing is that my NST today had the least amount of uterine activity yet and that's off the procardia! Andrew, as usual looked fantastic! Hopefully I have not just jinxed myself and Andrew will be able to stay in there and continue to work on good lung development until the 30th!

Some people have asked me what to pray for specifically. These are the big things on my mind: good lung tissue and lung blood vessel development for Andrew; that he will be able to feed okay when that time comes; that everything with his brain will be okay; peace for Gene and I up until, during and after delivery; strength to keep a positive attitude for Andrew and not break down; that God will heal Andrew and guide all of the many wonderful doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and other professionals who will be helping Andrew along the way.

These are the two bible verses that I have been clinging to and using to keep me focused:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Thanks for all the prayers and support! It has made a world of difference to us!


Monday, September 14, 2009

Happy 37 Weeks!

Let me start by saying thank you so much for all the support, comments and prayers you all have given us! Gene and I are overwhelmed with all the love and encouragement that we have received while on this crazy and unpredictable journey! The stories and support of those who have been down this road before us have not only meant so much to Gene and I, but also to our family and friends who are walking this road with us!

I've had a few days to adjust to the latest news and so much of it is up in the air anyway, so I thought I'd post something happy! Andrew has made it to 37 weeks! This is a huge milestone for us considering all the preterm labor issues and contractions! He passed the NST today with flying colors and no signs of hydrops! We have the majority of the nursery decorated. We are still waiting on the glider to come in and will be getting the majority of necessary baby care items once he no longer has a breathing tube and we know more what his needs will be. I love going in his room and looking at everything- it really gives me hope that we will be bringing him home in a couple of months and everything will work out okay!

Thought we would post a couple of pictures of the nursery and let my family see just how big my belly really is now! :) Lucy is getting ready for Andrew to come home as well- I have a feeling it will be hard to separate the two of them! Hope you all have a great week!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Trying Not To Be Devastated

So our much awaited 36 week ultrasound has been completed. I always hold my breath a little going in, because this CDH road seems full of suprises- and I was not disappointed in that thought today.

Up until today, the only problem they have found with Andrew was the CDH. I had chosen to not do an amniocentesis only because Gene and I were not okay with having an abortion should the results show a syndrome or aneuploidy. (I hold no judgement on those who feel differently- this is just the way Gene and I feel for our own family) Our fetal ECHO was normal and there were no other soft markers for down syndrome or other associated syndromes.

Today, Andrew's left lateral ventricle is showing mild ventriculomegaly. Basically, this means that he has more than the normal amount of cerebrospinal fluid in his brain. There could be several reasons for this: syndromic association with the CDH, aneuploidy, his large head size or a normal variant. Yet another frustration going down this road- there is no way to tell which it is until after he is born. They said that because he has CDH and they are doing frequent ultrasounds is the only reason it was detected since it did not show up at our 2nd trimester anatomy scan or any other ultrasound scan until today. For those of you that are not aware, for CDH babies that have an associated syndrome, the prognosis is almost always fatal. For isolated ventriculomegaly, the outcomes are usually pretty good with maybe a slight initial developmental delay, but Andrew's is not an isolated problem since he has CDH. The other news is that his stomach is now shifted to the right chest along with his heart. They were unable to obtain good views of his liver position.

We received two different opinions today on the birth plan: one doctor said an attempt at a vaginal delivery with a low threshold for switching to a c-section was reasonable, the other doctor thought a scheduled c-section would be better. They are going to discuss our case in conference next week to see if the entire group can come up with an agreed plan. I was told to stop taking my procardia at this point as well. So we may not even make it to next Thursday's conference. At this point it is all well beyond my control.

It makes me so angry that my child has this horrible condition. It's not fair that anyone has to go through this agony. I want so much to believe that God has a greater plan in all of this, but my faith has never been tested more at this point. So what do I do from here- I get the crying out of the way and maintain the most positive attitude I can for Andrew's sake. I will fight this battle with him and pray for strength and peace and comfort for Gene, Andrew and myself along the way. I don't feel like talking to anyone on the phone today- I need some time to deal with this- but please let us know you are thinking about us through email and posted comments. Thank you for all the prayers and comments- there are no words to express how significant they are to us right now!

- Becky

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Labor Day = Not Being In Labor!

Would any labor day really be complete without a trip to labor and delivery yet again? I'm beginning to feel like the boy who cried wolf- everyone at L&D thinks this is not the case because I've had so many contractions every time they have me come in, but I'm not entirely convinced myself. I didn't think I needed to go in today, but the doctors in L&D thought that 9 contractions per hour were a little too much even if they weren't painful or coming at regular intervals. I definitely would rather play it safe, especially where Andrew is concerned so Gene and I packed up and headed in so they could check out the latest action. Good news- no change in my cervix- still not dilated! Gene and I got the impression from all the great people up there that Andrew is going to come before our plan for September 29th based on all the activity. They said that there is nothing that can be done to stall labor if Andrew does decide its time to make his debut at this point. They were comfortable sending me home mainly because we only live 15 minutes from Duke and it always comes in handy that one of my high risk OB doctors lives three doors down from us.

Gene and I are thinking we should start a poll for Andrew's birthday and time. I'm hoping for at least another week of keeping him in there. We have a growth and development ultrasound scheduled for Thursday and will talk further after that about vaginal or c-section delivery based on his head size. I'm hoping that we can get some cute 3d pics of him. This may be the last time I get to see those cute little lips for a while without a tube or tape obscuring the view- not something that an expecting mother should have to think about, but reality just the same. As far as my frame of mind these days- it is pretty positive. I have this overwhelming peace that is an incredible feeling to have going into all of this. Praying that this peace will continue as things play out over the next month.

Hope everyone was able to enjoy their holiday weekend! I'll update with our ultrasound results if we don't have any other changes before then.