Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Day at Children's

Yesterday we took Abby to Children's hospital in Birmingham for her yearly Neurosurgery check up.  Because she has been stable as far as her shunt goes for the past year she did not need a CT scan.  This turned out to be good, although we went 2 hours early b/c they had told us to come for the scan before her scheduled appointment.

It turned out we had plenty of time to eat lunch in a very crowded cafeteria and not feel rushed to make our appointment on time.  Eating has become very important for this pregnant momma.  It's been such a struggle for so long I've almost forgotten how to look forward to and enjoy a good meal.  It's slowly coming back

The doctor saw us and asked a bunch of questions about how she is doing over all, and how our family is dealing with her various health/developmental issues.  He was very nice and said that since she has not needed a shunt revision since her first VP shunt was placed in the NICU it would probably be safe to come back in 2 years!  He reminded me of the warning signs of a major problem, but said he feels like her shunt must be working fine.  (it's either working fine despite being disconnected, or she doesn't need the shunt anymore!)  

Mom made this trip so much more fun than it usually is!  Taking Josiah on wagon rides all over the hospital and keeping him occupied so Abby and I could actually "talk" to the doctor!  It's always nice to have someone to talk to on car trips too.

I tried to take a picture but my camera battery died and I was only able to get one sad little picture with my phone, that also promptly shut down on me after the picture.

One of the things the doctor had asked was how our son was coping with Abby's needs and how he fits in the family.  I thought this was an interesting question.  We have noticed that with the passage of time Josiah has become very sensitive to Abby and to our emotional responses to life... especially illness.  I shared this with the doc and he said that in most families with special needs children, the siblings do tend to become very compassionate and mature.

Patrick had a tooth that was bothering him the other day, and Josiah quickly picked up on it.  He asked Patrick if he could pray for him. 
    "Dear Lord, Daddy's feeling sick.  Please help him to feel better.  Amen." 

 The next day after Patrick had been to the dentist Josiah had not forgotten about the tooth and asked how he was feeling.  He seemed happy to hear that Daddy's tooth felt better and that nothing was wrong with it!  It was a fun moment.

He has also occasionally scolded me for getting up to help him with something, saying:
    "No mommy, you don't get up.  You're sick, you have a baby in your tummy!!"  I know he has been affected by the many weeks of my nausea/vomiting in addition to the bed rest.  Poor kid, he must be confused.

Just wanted to share our good news about Abby's hydrocephalus.  We are thrilled!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Problem Revealed

We went for our level II ultrasound at the UAB high risk clinic yesterday.  It was nice they got us in so quickly!

The u/s technician thoroughly scanned the baby and measured lots of different things... parts of his brain, details of his heart, kidneys, bladder, spine and more.  She spotted the bleed and told us where it was.  Then she got the perinatologist to come talk with us.

The peri did her own full scan of the baby, placenta and then the bleed.  She confirmed that the bleed is a Subchorionic Hemorrhage.  We got to see more clearly where the bleed is and how big it is.  She said it starts at the placenta and goes almost all the way around the baby's amniotic sac.  The sac has separated from the uterine wall where we could see the blood sitting behind it.  She said the placenta is still intact and connected to the uterus... a very good sign.

  The bleeding could have come from the placenta or possibly from when the sac separated from the wall.  Most likely the blood will reabsorb and not cause any further problems.  She also said the bleeding I had 1 week after my cerclage was not related to the procedure.

The bleeding does put us at higher risk for miscarriage and preterm labor.  Best case no more bleeding will happen.  She said we will just need to be more cautious about signs of preterm labor... which we already are.  She recommends follow up ultrasounds monthly to check the bleeding and see if it is being reabsorbed, but also to monitor the growth of the baby.

So this week things are good!  We are 20 weeks today.

Papa and Grandma are here, playing pirates with Josiah!  They brought some fun foam swords with which he loves to "fight" with!  It's fun to watch the three of them.

Thank you to all who are praying for us and for this baby!  We are really thankful to be this far along.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Oh BOY... Half Way There!

19 Weeks

(Face and chest... look close, you can see left eye lid & lips)

Today was our BIG ultrasound!  We've been looking forward to getting a longer look at our new little one.

Our doctor made it a fun visit, although she was about 2 hours late.  It turned out ok since Aunt Carolyn was here to play with the kids, and Patrick was with me. (Thanks Carolyn, what a big help that was!!)  We left to eat lunch together and returned for the scan.

After my 'trial' week of increased activity the doctor measured the cervix again and said it looked great!  I can continue moderate activity being careful to not "over do it".  

(Face/chest and both arms up by face... waving!)

The baby looked good.  All of his measurements were right on target!  He was moving a lot and we saw him waving his arms/hands near his face several times.  He even touched his hands together.  She focused on his face for us so we could watch him open and close his mouth... probably swallowing fluid or practicing his breathing.

(Close up of face/abdomen.  Hands up by face)

He's definitely a boy!  She got several clear shots.  We are excited to enjoy another son!  Abby remains our Princess.

The doctor did find a blood clot on/near the placenta.  She called it a Subchorionic Hematoma. There was no active blood flow to it, which she said was a good sign.  It's possible this is the reason for the bleeding several weeks ago.  Although most of these types of bleeds reabsorb on their own and don't cause further problems, it depends on the size of the clot and some other factors.  She is sending us to UAB in Birmingham for a Level II ultrasound.  A perinatologist will review this more detailed scan to give us a better understanding about the bleed.

 Hopefully it will turn out to be nothing more than something to be monitored periodically.

I told Abby and Josiah they were going to have a little brother.  J smiled big, looked at some of the pictures and said he "liked that."  Then he told me he liked the name 'Jonah.'  We haven't really thought about names much lately, but I suppose now would be a good time to start.

(Ankles crossed/ abdomen and cord insertion... future belly button)

I'm thankful to be having more good parts to my days.  The nausea still hits hard sometimes, but it's much more bearable with good moments in between!  Thank you Lord!!

I think we are finally entering the Fun part of pregnancy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Good news

(silly pig tales!)

Yesterday was my first cervical ultrasound measurement, and it went great!  The doctor said everything looks perfect, the stitch is in good position and everything is closed!  That is exactly what I wanted to hear.

I even got a quick glimpse of the baby's head, ear and hand waving about.  So fun!  She told me I could get up and slowly increase my activity.  I go in for our Big (fetal survey) ultrasound on Friday when she will check the cervical length again to see how it performs under more pressure. 

 We are looking forward to this ultrasound.  It should tell us if this baby really is a boy or not!  She will also examine the baby more closely to check for problems... but hopefully all she will find is extreme cuteness!!

This last week has been tough.  I got pretty sick with a sinus infection that migrated to my chest and a sore throat that hurt like strep.  I don't remember the last time I felt that terrible.  I got a Rocephin shot and some Augmentin to take for the next 2 weeks.  This has bumped up my nausea quite a bit but I'm trying to just plunge through it to get rid of this crud.  yuck.

Mom has continued to be our life saver.  She has also become an expert at organizing our pantry, diaper changing, temperature taking, laundry folding and therapy follow through!  Even though Abby is (literally) almost as long as mom is, she is still able to get her in and out of our van.  It's no small feat when you've got the feeding tube attached and orthotics on, believe me.  As much as we appreciate her help, we've enjoyed her company just as much.

(Abby during speech therapy)

Hopefully we will have some better pictures of the new addition Friday after our appointment!