Tuesday, September 29, 2009

From the Rooftops












Happy Birthday, my sweet Baby Sam. What a day it has been!!! ....
We arrived at the hospital this morning around 5 am, got all prepped and by about 7:45 I was in the operating room awaiting my epidural and the doctor to begin! They brought Travis in and we waited behind the blue curtain on pins and needles. After several minutes, Dr. Fancy said, "Here comes Baby!" And at 8:10 am our baby boy was born CRYING. It was the most beautiful sound in the entire world, because it meant he could breathe!!! And let's just say, good thing for my waterproof mascara.

They took him instantly away. Travis had snapped a picture of his first second on the outside, but I didn't get to see him yet. Travis followed Baby Sam out with the NICU team to get all checked out and every once and a while, when the door opened, I could hear his precious cries. So I lay there, praying to the God above that Sam would be okay, and listening to Dr. Fancy direct another doctor on how to close me up.

Shortly after, they wheeled Baby Sam back into the OR, and for maybe 15 precious seconds I got to touch his head and talk to him before they took him to the NICU. And he was BEAUTIFUL! (Or am I supposed to say handsome?)

I got sent to recovery for 2 hours, while grandparents, my neighbor Sara and Travis all took turns gazing at our precious boy. It was hard to be patient. All I had to go on were his little footprints that had been handed to me by a nurse. Well, maybe not so little -- did I mention nine pounds 12 ounces?? 20.75 inches long!
When I got my real room, the first nurse told me I had to wait eight MORE hours to see my baby. But then my new nurse told me eight hours since surgery. Four o'clock couldn't come soon enough.

Sam and I were both surrounded by so much wonderful family today. Down to see Sam. Up to see me. Repeat. But, I think, Baby Sam has had someone with him this whole time!
Fast foward to the really good stuff. Sam had his echo cardiogram today. We waited HOURS for the results, but here goes:
The coarctation that the original cardiologist saw for sure? Can't be seen in Baby Sam's heart anymore.
The arch in his aorta that might have been too small, requiring open chest surgery? Is in the normal range for size.

The valve that might have been closing improperly? Is fine.


We aren't in the clear yet, but FIND ME A ROOFTOP, because I promised to shout from it! God answered our prayers. God answered YOUR prayers. The wonderful NICU nurse that was in charge of Sam all day said it is "likely" that he'll be able to go home with us and that he is treating him like a "normal" baby who is just hanging out in the NICU.

The things in question at this point, which will likely be answered by another echo on Thursday are that 1) his ductus (the valve that should close after birth) is a little large, but could quite possibly just be from being born, as it is a common sight in newborns. 2) The right side of his heart still looks a bit dilated, but nobody seems to concerned at this point.

So with this news, they took him off the warmer, wrapped him up, and started letting people hold him!!! I've been pumping and he's been drinking that from a bottle along with some formula until my supply is greater. The NICU nurse imagines that maybe I'll get to actually nurse him tomorrow. Wouldn't that be great!?

My mom is here on my hospital room couch and Trav is down with Baby Sam. And we are all about to go to sleep. It has been a wonderful and crazy day. I can't express enough my thanks to all of you for your prayers, to my family (and Sara) for their help today and to the God above who has answered our prayers. Thank you, God, for a healthy baby boy!!! May he continue in good health and join our little family at home soon.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sweet (almost) Birthday Boy

Well tomorrow is the long awaited BIG DAY. :) I think we are all packed and as prepared as can be! Check facebook or the twitter on the side of the blog for updates! We'll post pics when we can, but it might be a pretty busy day. :)

I don't really have the profound words to express myself tonight, so I'll direct you back to this. I still believe it!

I'm praying and boldly asking for the powerful hand of Jesus to heal our baby!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Belly Pic & Twitter

In case you ever wondered what a ten pound baby looks like when he's laying sideways across his mama, here you go! :)

It is getting soooo close to Sam's birthday!!

In an effort to keep y'all updated on Tuesday when he's born, I started a twitter account that I'll be able to update from my phone. You can read these little updates on the right side of my blog, just under the I Heart Baby Sam button.

It's hard to describe what's going on in my head right now. I am so very happy to meet our baby boy, but I have to admit I'm scared, too. Please keep praying for Baby Sam!!! We love our boy so much.

Psalm 139:13-18

"For you formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. How precious are Your thoughts on me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand."

TWO DAYS!

Just in case you were wondering, we are still here and have TWO DAYS til Baby Sam. We have a big long list of things to get done before our sweet boy gets here, so I haven't gotten to blog much. BUT, I promise to get you one more belly picture before the big day. Cuz nobody is going to want a belly picture AFTER the big day, that's for sure! ;)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Target

Today the little lady and I decided to lay low and take it easy. I kept her home from school because everywhere I look, someone has the flu. If there's anything I can do to keep her healthy to meet her baby brother, I have to do it! Here's a little portion of our Target trip today.

Nice Lady: Whoa! You must be ready!

Me: Yup! Almost. 5 more days!

Nice Lady: Ohmygoodness. Are you having two?

Me: Nope. Just one big boy! Almost 10 pounds.

Checkout Girl: Is he heavy??

Me: I guess so.

Nice Lady: Has he dropped yet?

Me: Hmmm...I don't think so. He's laying sideways. (I point to his head and feet across my belly.)

Checkout Girl: Oh yeah. I can tell!

Nice Lady: Ten pounds?

Me: Yup! Oh, and I'm really only 38 weeks pregnant.

Nice Lady: GASP. Well, good luck!

When I get into a conversation like this, for some reason, part of me feels like I should explain Sam's story. That his birth on Tuesday probably won't be a run-of-the-mill baby birth. That we might not get to have him stay in our room. And I might not get to nurse him for weeks. But then the other part of me thinks, well, for one, strangers in Target don't need all that information, and it doesn't really matter anyway. Tuesday will still be Sam's BIRTHDAY! We will celebrate him no matter what. And we can't wait.

All I really know is that tomorrow when I wake up I can say, "Four days til Baby Sam!" And that will be music to my ears.

I am still praying to God to heal our baby boy. I would love to proclaim a miracle when Baby Sam is born healthy and strong and the doctor's can't explain it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Good Appointment

We had a Dr. Fancy appointment today. It went really well!

He was very encouraging about the diagnosis we received last week.

He liked the view he got of Sam's heart today. He could clearly see the dialated part of his heart but thought things didn't seem as worrisome as last week.

Baby Sam weighed in at 9 pounds 13 ounces! He gained almost a pound this past week, so he should be well into the TENS when he's born.

Speaking of which, there are now only SIX days til Baby Sam. Dr. Fancy moved up the date by 2 days (to THIS Tuesday the 29th).

Baby Sam scored an 8/8 on his biophysical profile!

We left the appointment feeling very encouraged. As things stand, everyone anticipates surgery for our sweet boy shortly after he's born, but his moment of birth is not being anticipated as scary or like he'll be in urgent danger of any kind.

We are so ready to meet our baby boy and find out what's really going on in his little body. We'll know so much more after an echo cardiogram once he's born.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Beautiful Dream

I had the most beautiful dream last night. In my dream, Baby Sam had been born, but I hadn't seen him yet. When I went to see him, there were two babies laying side by side and I just knew which one was Baby Sam because he looked exactly like all of his ultrasound pictures. And he was mine. And he was healthy. I got to pick him up and hug and kiss him. God had healed my baby boy.

And I do believe that could happen in real life. He could be born perfectly healthy and strong. And I would shout it from the rooftops. I would.

But if he's born as expected, needing surgery, I am prepared to fight. I will use every last bit of myself getting my baby well. I will pray with every ounce of my strength and sit by his bedside so he's not alone.

We are more than incredibly blessed to have our family around. My mom is pretty much moving in on October 1st to take care of Emma. Every day she tells me that she has her suitcase and a cot in the car, just in case. (Mom, we aren't going to make you sleep on a cot for a month!) And I know my dad and Travis's parents will be with us every step of the way too. And my cousin has offered to mail us a house key to her near-the-hospital house so that we can stop by anytime for a nap or a shower or a night. And my neighbor across the street is getting me through each day with distractions and sometimes even dinner. And that's really just the beginning of all the support we've received. My head is spinning (in a good way) with all the love we've been shown.

Unless something changes tomorrow at Dr. Fancy's, we are NINE days til Baby Sam. I am overjoyed and terrified at the same exact time, trying to hold onto the faith that got me to Baby Sam in the first place.

Please keep praying for our little baby. Grab a Sam button. Spread the word. God is listening.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A little bit frustrating...

....but in hindsight, slightly funny.

Remember on Thursday when I desperately pleaded with Dr. Fancy's nurse to squeeze me in on Friday? And she said I had to be a real patient and that consult patients could not get squeezed in? And since then I've seen my OB and been trasferred as an official "real patient" to Dr. Fancy.....

Well, today, in a moment of I-can't-wait-til-Wednesday panic, I called her back, left a message and asked to be seen tomorrow. Six hours later she calls me back and says that Dr. Fancy is at his satellite office tomorrow and it is only for consult patients. Since I am a real patient now I can't see him.

Oh well. Wednesday it is!

PS. Baby Sam is FULL TERM today. Hallelujah!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Angel Nurse

So, rewind with me to Thursday. We had just been through our 4 hour cardiologist appointment and been sent home with some very scary news resonating in our heads. And we were in 2 cars. I was desperate to see my high risk doctor, to get someone else's take on the whole thing, to beg for an earlier c-section date. So I called and left a message with Dr. Fancy's nurse. She doesn't know me at all and it took her a while to call me back. When she did, she said she could not squeeze me in the next day because they were full and since I wasn't a real patient, I needed my OB's approval to get in. But I see Dr. Fancy every week. How am I not real patient??

Within seconds of hanging up with this nurse, my nurse from my OB office returned my similar plea-for-help call. And I believe, truly in my heart, that God put her on the other end of my cell phone that day at that moment when it felt like my world was crashing down around me.

Her name is Becky. And she's my Angel Nurse.

I told her what was going on, about the inconclusive ultrasound the day before, the 4 hour long cardiologist appointment, the diagnosis. And she was sad with me. And she let me sob. But then she helped me pull it together. She asked what the issues were. In my bleary-eyed-driving-on-the-freeway state, I couldn't look back at my notes and diagrams.

"Something like a cotraction of his ...oh, something, " I said.

"Oh, a coarctation of the aorta?" She asked.

"Oh. Yes. Yes, that's it. And something about a valve."

"Oh, the ductus, yes, yes."

And we went on and on. And my OB nurse, who is not trained in cardiology, knew exactly what was going on, exactly what Sam had been diagnosed with. She went on to tell me of 2 different babies that she knows personally who were born with very similar problems who are now thriving, chubby, happy babies.These were the first (of many) success stories I had heard. And about how the hospital we will be delivering at and having surgery at is the best place possible to be. And how we are so lucky to know now.

"So what's the plan?" She asked.

"I have to deliver with Dr. Fancy now."

"Well, that makes good sense." She agreed.

"But I just want to get him out!" I sobbed. "They tell me he's okay right now but how do they know he'll be okay in a few days? What if the problem gets worse? And I'm off the baby aspirin now." I was desperate.

Becky, the Angel Nurse, round 2. She went on and on, in the calmest voice, about how Baby Sam is in the best possible place right now. He is obviously getting everything he needs, he's 9 pounds after all, and he needs to be as big as possible and as strong as possible for his surgery. Inside of me, he is doing just fine, great really, it's only after he's born that he'll need help. She told me that God is on my side, watching me so closely.

Then she told me to go ahead and come on in the next morning just to talk to the doctor. And that day, when she saw me, she hugged me and reassured me all over again. She offered me contact information for the mamas of the babies who had similar problems. And she told me to call any time that I needed to talk.

I needed Becky that afternoon in the car. And she had all the right words to say to me. And I am so thankful.

2 Corinthains 1:3-4
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

Baby Sam Button

Some very sweet friends that my brother and I grew up with created this button for Baby Sam. It is a stained glass window in their church. And do you see those hands? They are holding a heart. Because God is holding Baby Sam and his heart in His hands.

I can't quite figure out how to give you the code so you could put the button on your blog, if you wanted to. I'll update when I figure it out! But you can find the code at http://www.flourblossoms.com/.


11 days til Baby Sam -- and I sure do heart him.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Going Strong

Travis recorded the doppler today of Sam's heartbeat, going strong!

video

*See below for an update on today.

One Day at a Time

Well, we are taking it one day at a time and today was definitely better than yesterday. And we can get a good chuckle out of the part when Travis checked the mail and received a jury summons for October 7. Luckily he could reschedule...for January!

We met with my OB today, and he came prepared with a book about heart defects and had talked with my specialist a couple of times -- though he had yet to see the actual echo results. He was very encouraging. Basically, he said that this isn't what you would want, but we are in the best city possible to deliver Baby Sam, he (the doc) is "in" very well with the heads of the cardiology department and feels 100% confident in the doctors who will be caring for Baby Sam. The problem(s) is/are fixable and he should have no lasting effects from any of it.

He has officially transferred my care to "Dr. Fancy" (this is just what I call him), my high risk doctor. I won't see my OB again until after Sam is born for my own post-partum care.

Like I mentioned before, I really get nervous about Sam staying in me too long. Now that I'm off the baby aspirin, I just really want to have him within the next 10 days, which is when the anti-coagulating effects wear off. However, Dr. Fancy does not think we need to move the date any closer, since October first is only 13 days away.

My OB explained that when I have the ultrasounds with Dr. Fancy, he does a biophysical profile of Baby Sam and he's been scoring 8 out of 8, a perfect score! This tells the docs that Baby Sam should be fine for the coming week (or more). If he'd gotten a 6 out of 8, they'd see me back sooner, but with an 8/8 I get seen again in one week.

We left my OB appointment feeling reassured and like this was going to be manageable. But, I must say, in the waiting room before my appointment? If after 2 miscarriages I ever thought looking at newborn babies was hard, my oh my, was it hard today. It seemed like everyone in the waiting room was there for their post-partum checkup with their tiny babies. I was a weepy mess. I'm sure I'll be in that same waiting room 6 weeks after my c-section, maybe even holding Baby Sam, but it was still hard.

Aside from the obvious worry and uncertainty right now, it's proving hard for me to be Mommy to our daughter without zoning out and just wanting to be on the couch amidst my thoughts. I know this will get easier and I'm still processing all of this. I want so much to be here for her and to make the next weeks of her life as normal as possible. We watched Tinkerbell tonight -- that seemed to be a good compromise. I could zone out in my own thoughts while we snuggled together.

We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from our friends, family, and strangers. If you've sent me a comment or a facebook message, or called my cell phone, I have read it (or heard it) and I am so grateful. Right now, I'm still spinning from yesterday and just can't respond to everything, but please know I'm reading your comments and we cherish your prayers.

Tomorrow, we will wake up and declare "12 days til Baby Sam!", take off the next link on our paper chain and celebrate him. The first few weeks of his life might not be what we planned and he'll have a fight on his hands, but we will be there fighting with him, every step of the way. We love you, Baby Sam!!!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Details

Yesterday, I had a "routine" ultrasound with my high risk doctor (who I see because of the MTHFR blood clotting issue). I was expecting a quick ultrasound, like usual, and hoping for him to declare that the baby was ready to be born! I mean, he's an ounce shy of nine pounds, after all.

But then he looked at my baby's heart for a really long time. And then he went back and looked at previous pictures of my baby's heart. And then he started to use really big words, but all I heard was dilated, fluid, problem, cardiologist. He hoped he was wrong and that Baby Sam was just lying in a funny position and we'd get a better look with an echo cardiogram.

We are so thankful that we got in today, the very next day, for the echo cardiogram that takes a week or more to schedule.

After an hour and a half of a cardiologist looking at every tiny part of Sam's heart, she left the room with her poker face intact, to run her calculations.

Surely this is a false alarm. Surely Dr. Fancy was wrong. Surely Baby Sam is the picture of health.

And then the cardiologist returned and said, "We are certain of our diagnosis. We got good pictures. Let's look at this diagram of a normal heart."

Room spinning. Walls caving in. Tears blurring my eyes. A normal heart? What does that mean Baby Sam has??

From our understanding, there are potentially three little problems. The first is a definite -- it's called Coarctation of the Aorta. What this means is that there is a little kink in Sam's aorta. This affects the blood flow out to his body after birth. Right now in utero, there is a little (normal) valve that God put there that is open that is helping to supply blood around the kink. After he's born, the valve normally closes, around a week after being born. The doctors will put him on prolactin when he's born to keep the valve open while he waits for surgery. If we didn't find out about this now, he'd be born and probably be fine for a few days, until the valve starts to close (like it should) but he'd be left with the kink in his aorta and not enough blood flow. This can be fixed with surgery.

The second problem, not totally confirmed until he's here and can have his own tests not through mama, is Aortic Arch Hypoplasia. This is a narrowing of the aorta, before the kink, that may have to be fixed with a more complicated surgery.

And the third problem is possible Aortic Valve Stenosis, again we aren't sure til he's here. This means that the main valve from his left ventricle out to his aorta is not closing 100%. This can be repaired using a catheter, through his femoral artery to fix this.

Because of these issues, he has visible symptoms in his heart due to extra "down stream" pressure, causing his right ventricle and atrium to be swollen. Which is what alerted us to these problem(s) in the first place. These symptoms should clear up once the issues are fixed.

As soon as Sam is born, they will do another echo cardiogram on him, which will be much better since he won't be in utero anymore. We'll know so much more then.

I can't even begin to describe the feelings of today. And yesterday. But to sit in a room with a cardiologist, who just spent HOURS pouring over every detail of my child and have her say things like -- NICU, intubated, surgery, and he "should" be okay. Oh my.

She said I need to stop taking my baby aspirin NOW (as compared to Sunday, which was the plan all along) because it can cause more constriction to his already limited aorta. She says this is not happening yet, but she wants to be safe. She says he is in no distress and is completely unaware that he has anything wrong in his little heart.

Right now, he's kicking just like normal. We love him so much. And it all feels like a bad dream. Like we'll wake up in the morning, shout "13 days til Baby Sam!" and go to Target for more baby PJs. I believe that God can heal our baby. I believe that he is in good hands. And I am so thankful to know now.

If we didn't find this out, not only would he find himself in distress once he stopped getting enough blood flow, but then they'd have to rush him to the children's hospital while I lay helplessly in my hospital bed, post c-section, miles away. But now, we can deliver and he can be wheeled to the attached children's hospital for his care, while I recover a few hallways away.

It doesn't even matter anymore. All I want is Sam. But I have bags packed. Cute onesies and embroidered hats. Soothing music and big sister presents. I had been dreaming of the moment when they'd hand him to me for the first time. And Emma would come in a kiss her baby brother. And we'd all just hang out all day long in our hospital room loving on each other. Now all I want is Sam.

I know God is in control. I've also learned by now that God's plans aren't always our plans. My desperate plea to my God in heaven is, "Please let him live." My biggest fear has always been something happening to a full-term baby -- when if the baby had just been born, he'd have been okay. And now my full-term (on Monday) baby has very real heart defect(s). And I'm so scared. Right now I am more scared about the next two weeks. I know he needs to be a strong as possible, but I just want him to be born so he can start getting the help he needs.

Please pray for our little family. Pass this blog link along to anyone and everyone. God hears our prayers. Pray that God will keep our baby Sam safe and that he'll be born healthy and strong so he can face the weeks that are ahead of him.

1 John 5:14-15
"This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from him."

Update


Well.....we need your prayers. The good news it that we found out now and can be prepared and deliver at the best hospital. But Baby Sam has 1, possibly 3 heart defects. He'll need surgery after he's born and he'll spend a good deal of time in the NICU getting well. Our world is spinning, but we cherish your prayers. God is watching over our baby boy.


ps. Does anyone know how to make one of those 'pray for Baby Sam' buttons?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Please Pray


Please pray for our sweet baby boy. Check-up didn't go so well today and there might be something wrong with his heart. I don't really know much else, but we'll know more tomorrow after a fetal-echo-cardiogram. God is so much bigger than anything that could go wrong! Pray, pray, pray.....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

And the answer is....

After getting "squeezed in" this morning at 10:15, by 12:30 I had my answer. :) The doc said maybe, maybe, I was 1 centimeter dialated. But boy, did they make me wait. I really think they were trying to discourage this pre-regular-appointment appointment. hahaaa. He said the same thing -- that now the contractions have to be bigger and stronger than this to need to get checked.

I did get a non-stress-test out of it, and Baby Sam was doing great! At one point, he fell asleep, and the nurse came in and declared that she needed to "wake him up". So she put this thing on my belly and it made a big buzzing sound right on top of him. Poor Sam! He woke up, that's for sure. I don't think either one of us liked it very much. But he's doing great! I really think we are in for the October 1st long haul. But that's only 16 days away!!! Going to see Dr. Fancy tomorrow -- should get some good info from him.

Oh, and everyone needs a neighbor like mine. :) She not only picked my daughter up from school today while I was held up at the doctor, but she is also bringing us homemade lasagna tonight!!! Thanks, Sara!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Guessing Game

Well, I never know what to do about these contractions! With Emma, we went to the hospital about 4 or 5 times wondering if it was "time". And it never was. Until I was induced.

And my contractions (that have been going on this WHOLE time, but for sure and documented since 26 weeks) haven't done anything to make the baby come early.

Last time I was at the hospital, the doc said more than 8 and hour it cause to get checked.

But at my last appointment, he just said more and stronger than what I've already been having.

That is hard to measure. :) And I know that if I go in, they probably won't give me medicine to stop the contractions, because I am THIRTY SIX weeks today. But he also said there are only so many times I can come in claiming labor before he can't send me back home without a baby -- or else he'll be totally in trouble if I have the baby on the couch. (I'm sure he said it in better words than that!) And I want his little lungs to be ready....so if I go in -- oh, I don't know!

All this to say, about every 5 minutes I have a contraction. I think I'll go to bed. Well, maybe I'll eat some ice cream first. And then go to bed. And call the nurse first thing in the morning and ask to get seen before my Thursday appointment. Because that would be soooo much better than a hospital stay.

Praying that baby Sam will be born healthy and strong and just the right time!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

35ish weeks


Our boy is doing great!!!! He weighs about 8 1/2 pounds! He got all checked-out at the fancy doctor today and everything looks just wonderful. 23 days to go! (Really 22, cuz it's practically tomorrow....)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Busy Week

Well, this was a very busy week.

Overnight hospital stay? Check.

Visit with the high risk doctor? Check.

Visit with the OB? Check.

Phew. Today's OB visit was interesting. He said that with all of these contractions, if at any point I start to dialate, I'll have to go to the hospital. And if I am 36 weeks or more, we'll just have the baby. Because he can't send me home because I can't have the baby on accident -- I need a c-section.

So I'm thinking I REALLY need to be ready by the time my next OB appointment rolls around at 36 weeks. My mom is going to shop for my hospital bag essentials and we are going to finish getting Baby Sam's things this weekend. Hopefully, next time we visit the hospital, if even for a false alarm, I'll be way more prepared.

We'll be holding our sweet boy in 28 days or less! :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A little adventure

So thankful to be home.

So thankful that Baby Sam is doing GREAT.

So thankful for a sweet husband who would sleep on my hospital room "couch" all night long.

So thankful for an ultrasound and a 7 pound 4 ounce baby boy.

So thankful for all of the people who made my overnight hospital stay (and Emma's first day of preschool) possible.

So thankful that October 1st is one month from TODAY.

So thankful that my contractions have slowed down.

So thankful to not be hooked up to anything anymore.

So thankful for sleep............................