The BIG appointment

What a crazy August this has been. Between appointments, birthdays, fairs, and work, life has been more than crazy! I wanted to update all of you in blog land about our big appointment on Monday, August 4th.

We had a full day scheduled at Abbott, Children's hospital, The Mother Baby Center, and the SB clinic. We started with a non stress test (nst) to measure the baby's movements and uterine contractions. Baby B decided to be an overachiever and had 5 "accelerations" (that is what they call it when baby moves and heart rate goes up by at least 10) within a few minutes. They look for 2 within 15 or so minutes. Than we had a growth ultrasound and biophysical profile (bpp). Baby B's head grew and he is now measuring in the 15th percentile and NO hydrocephalus! So his head is getting bigger in the best way possible. That is such a relief for me. It takes one thing off our plate of things to worry about. They told us that they were also looking for practicing breathing, but it would not be a big deal if he wasn't yet doing because I was not quite 32 weeks. But he was doing that the whole time we were looking at him. I think God knew we needed some good news and a sign that he was doing all right. They also look for muscle movement and amniotic fluid levels. Between the nst and bpp, he scored a 10 out of 10. 8 out of 10 is passing and anything less wins you an overnight stay at the hospital with more tests and monitoring. After this, we met with Dr. Ney. She is one of the 8 or so physicians that I will be seeing and may deliver my baby.

We then toured the birth center where I will be delivering. Kenny and I have been talking about whether or not I should have a repeat C-section or try a vbac, or vaginal birth after cesarean. With Natalie, I labored a long time, was fully dilated, and then had to have an emergency C-section because her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. I do not want to go through another unplanned C-section, so I will admit that I am scared to try a vbac. Not only because it sucks to go through all the nasty parts of labor, but I'm also scared I won't know when I start to go into labor. You think I would have figured it out since I've been through it before, but I am seriously afraid I wouldn't know. With Natalie, I didn't really know that my water had broke. It wasn't like the movies. There was no big "whoosh" of fluid. I had a small leak in my bag and wasn't going to get it checked out. Thank heaven I worked with a nurse who was also a friend, and listened to her insistence that I go in to be checked out! So we told the nurse that was showing us around that we weren't sure what we were going to do in terms of delivery. She showed a post partum room for C-sections, but didn't show us the vaginal birthing rooms or regular post partum rooms because they were all full.

Next, we met with the Mother Baby/Children's social worker. We took a tour of the NICU and had what would happen after I delivered explained to us. The social worker told us that the baby would be held up for me to see and then taken to another room where he would be checked over by the neonatalogist, respiratory therapist, the spina bifida specialist, a nurse, the anesthesiologist, and who knows who else. He would then be brought to the NICU just down the hall from where my room is. She showed us how we would get to the NICU "after the initial separation." I lost it at that phrase folks. The last thing you want to think about after giving birth to the baby that has been inside of you for 9 months, is that you will be separated from them. I want my baby put on my chest. I want to kiss him and welcome him to this world. I want to see his face, look into his eyes, count his fingers and toes. I want to explore this little human that has already made a place in my heart. Walking through the NICU was just as hard as hearing those words. Seeing all the babies in there that are so sick, so tiny, tubes coming out of every orifice is heart breaking. Seeing the ones without anybody in there was devastating. For all I know, the parent(s) could have been using the bathroom, taking a lunch break, attending to other kids at home... but just knowing that, for that instant, they are alone is such a scary place upset me greatly. 

After the NICU tour, we grabbed lunch and then were off to meet with the neurosurgeon, Dr. Najib. I try and not judge people before I meet them, but I had started imagining what he would be like based on his title alone- pediatric neurosurgeon. I thought he was going to be a no nonsense, tired looking, a little jaded, and pompous jerk.  He was anything but. He came to the waiting room to greet us, brought us back to his office, and talked to us like we were on the same level as him. He was upbeat and positive, saying that the baby looks better than he thought he would and this should all go on without a hitch. He wasn't arrogant about how good he was and this was only going to go so well because he's awesome. He was just very reassuring and kind. Both Kenny and I walked out of his office feeling 10 lbs lighter. 

Dr. Marker was the last doc of the day we were to meet with. He's an infectious disease doctor by trade, but is apparently one of the leading physicians on sb. I will be honest, when I left his office, I was crabby. I had questions that I wanted answered. I'm a realist. I know that some things might happen, some things might not happen. It will depend on my baby and what is found when he is born. But this doctor did not give us any information we didn't already know. He stressed the fact that this was going to be hard on our relationships. Not just with each other, but with family and friends also. He told us to talk. Hold hands. Kiss. Go on dates. Really?! We know that this is a major stresser on our relationship. We can already feel it wearing on us. What I want to know is if my baby's kidney pressure will be measure before he leaves the hospital so we will know whether or not he will have to come home being cathed? Are there leg exercises we will have to start right away to build up strength in his legs? Please don't be my marriage counselor when I need you to be an authoritative figure on my son's condition. 

All in all, I would say every one is extremely helpful, friendly, and empathetic. We are very blessed to live so close to an amazing facility like this and have access to this type of care. We are continuing to pray for a miracle and Baby B will come out with as little wrong as possible.

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Fetal MRI and Adoption

Wednesday, July 30th, we went to Abbott Northwest for a fetal MRI of baby B. After that, we were scheduled to meet with a doctor for a "transfer of care" appointment. This appointment was for me to meet the new doc that would be taking over my OB care until I deliver and for them to get to know us and our expectations/desires for the remaining pregnancy.
After being brought 3 different places, we finally arrived where we were suppose to be for the MRI. I have had MRI's before, so I kind of new what to expect. I was to lay very still in a small tube for about 30 minutes. This appointment was early in the morning, so I had no problems just laying there! I was told to hold my breath anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds. This is where things got tricky. I'm overweight and 31 weeks pregnant, lying flat on my back. Breathing was already compromised, but then I was to hold my breath over and over again for them to get all the images they needed. It not only depended on me holding my breath, but also for baby B to cooperate and hold still. Needless to say, it took a lot longer than it was suppose to!
After the MRI, I was on my way to my doctor's appointment. I had to fill paperwork out that asked the same information I had already given to the social worker, genetic counselor, and nurse manager, all of whom were with the same office. The nurse came in to go over the paperwork with me, (all the same information was in their computer system) and to get my vitals and collect urine. In the middle of talking, their came a very annoying and loud buzz from the hallway. It was the fire alarm. Kenny, Natalie, and I were then ushered from the room and had to go down five flights of stairs and outside. When the fire department arrived, we were given the all clear to go back in. The appointment resumed and a nurse midwife came in to talk to us. Again, I was asked to go over my history and asked the same questions. Then we were told we would have to come back to meet with the doctor for the second part of the transfer of care. At this point, I was crabby. Not just annoyed crabby, but angry crabby. On Monday we have 8 hours of appointments we need to be there for and you want to fit one more redundant one in?! Why the heck can't we do it all at once? Or better yet, can't they just read the notes and only talk to us about things we haven't been over ten times before? This is a 45 minute drive one way, 3 hour appointment, and we have to pay almost 10 bucks in parking EVERY time we go.
 Now I am going to say that I am truly grateful that there are places like this out there, giving our baby every advantage he can get. I appreciate they are so thorough and take the time to get to know us and make sure nothing is being missed. I just wish they were a little more respectful of our time and how this diagnoses has completely turned our lives around. For those who have gone through something like this, I'm sure you can relate to what I'm about to say next: I want things to go back to normal. I crave normalcy. I know that I will have to get used to this new normal. But right now, I just want some sort of routine or some sort of resemblance of what my life was pre-sb diagnoses. Now, instead of fitting OB appointments in when I have off work, driving to my local OB's office that is in the same town I live in, and my doctor knowing me, my history, and all my preferences, I get to start over at a new clinic, with new doctors that don't know me and I will probably (God willing) never see after I deliver, taking full days off to go and see, and driving an hour and a half to go to. It's just been very overwhelming and has taken a toll on my mood.
After my appointment, I had to go into work. I was not in the best mood. Some days are okay, some days aren't. This was definitely not a good day for me. That all changed when I got a text from a friend who is expecting a boy that she has decided to place for adoption. She wanted to tell me that she has decided to give her baby to a couple that I introduced her to! I was, and am, ecstatic! This couple is made up of my best friend (and husband's cousin), and her awesome hubby. After trying fertility treatments for about two years, they decided to look into adoption. If you aren't familiar with adoption or know very much about it, I highly encourage you to look into it. It's an amazing thing that my family has been blessed by a few times. (Both sides of it- adopting a child and placing one for adoption.) This gives them a little under 2 months to get all their affairs in order. I will write more about this at a later time, as this entry is already fairly long. I am asking for your prayers for both the birth mom and the (hopefully soon-to-be) adoptive parents. I pray that the whole adoption process will go smooth, that God grant's the birth mother "His peace, which transcends all understanding" (Phil. 4:7) in her decision, and that, above all, His will in this child's life will be done. Thank you for your prayers and support!
Thursday, I was called with the MRI results. The good news is nothing has changed from the ultrasound. The spine splits where they thought it did, the chiari malformation is a level 2, which is what they were guessing, and NO signs of hydrocephalus, which is wonderful.

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My life- as a wife, mother, sister, caregiver, daughter, career woman- uncensored.


Liberal Catholic. Working mom. Chronic pain warrior. Opinionated introvert. I speak fluent sarcasm. I'm married with two kids- a girl and a boy. My son was born with Spina bifida, hydrocephalus, Arnold Chiari malformation, and bilateral club feet. I may blog about food, politics, religion, medical updates, or our life in general.

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