Monday, May 17, 2010

Danielle is here!

Follow this link to Danni's blog and keep updated on her progress!

http://danielle-joann.blogspot.com/

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Just When I Thought I Knew It All...

I think it's safe to say that I (and my mother) have been to enough ultrasounds by now to say that we're pretty competent in figuring out what they're looking for, what they're looking at, and the terminology they use. But I guess not!

A fellow named Dick called us back for the ultrasound. I thought it might be a little weird having a guy do the ultrasound. Though, when I think about it, it's just my belly (and when it's not so big, it gets seen at the beach, so what's the big deal?). I think I was thinking about when they tuck the towel into my pants, but of course, since he's a guy, he just handed me a towel, and asked me to do it.

He checked the amniotic fluid levels, saw her movements, but had troubles (as sometimes happens) seeing her practice breathing. (Depending on her position, her heart beat, since it's so slow, makes it difficult to tell the difference between her heart and her breathing.) So he tried something else. He went down to her face and looked at her nose. He turned on the Doppler (the red and blue colors that they normally look at blood flow with). We could see red and blue amniotic fluid going in and out of her nose! We saw her take some small breaths and one big breath! It was pretty neat.

Mom then asked if we were supposed to have another growth ultrasound. Dick said that it wasn't in the chart to, but he could do it, just in case. (They had scheduled a slow day, because they had people coming in to upgrade their computer systems.) So he took all her measurements and said that she weighed about 7 pounds 1 ounce!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Baby Shower #3 - Adam's Family

We had our third and final baby shower today with Adam's family. Kitty & Kathy put on a lovely event at, what seems to have become, the Richter family gathering space. It was great to see both the men and women and kids of the family at the shower. Just as at most Richter family gatherings, there was food and people a-plenty, but this time there were many fun games also. We had a gift BINGO and lots of word scrambles, along with a mad libs story about the birth of our baby (who's name in the story turned out to be Elmo).

We were showered with gifts for baby, of course. I think Adam's favorite was a monkey backpack/harness that he had put on our registry. Though we really enjoyed getting Adam's baby blanket (made by his grandma Barb) and his baby moccasins from Adam's parents. Also, from my parents, we received the baptismal gown that my grandma Eleanor hand made for my dad, which I also wore. The gown was wrapped in a small quilt that she had also made out of scraps of fabric from a quilt project I had done when I was in high school (I coordinated the making of seventy-five quilts that were donated to Gillette's Children's Hospital in St. Paul).

Adam's monkey backpack/ harness

Adam's baby blanket made by Adam's
grandma Barb, and baby moccasins
(need to find a new lace for one of them!)

My dad's and my Baptismial gown,
hand made (she didn't have a
sewing machine at the time) by
my grandma Eleanor

Quilt made by my grandma Eleanor out of
scraps from a quilt project I did for Gillette's
Children's Hospital in St. Paul.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Scheduled Baby's Birthday

I met mom at work early in the day to drive to our appointment with Dr. Gremmels. We didn't have to wait too long until Jeanine called us back to start the ultrasound. She first did the biophysical profile, and baby scored eight out of eight again, though the amniotic fluid was a little lower, but I don't think she could find a fourth pocket.

Dr. Gremmels came in and said we were doing quite a good job, and he was happy to see me past the 36 week mark. I told him we had decided to schedule a c-section, and would like to do that today. He was happy, and said that whichever cardiologist was on-call when we delivered would pass on everything to him to review and set up a plan for her surgery. I asked him about breast feeding her right away, and he said that usually about ten days after surgery mothers could start breast feeding. He said that sometimes with getting use to the new environment and having to breath on her own is enough work for her heart, and adding feeding in that is sometimes too much.

Jeanine then sent us across the hall to the nurse (who's name I've forgotten, but I think we've had her before). She took my weight and found that I haven't gained anything for the past two weeks. Though she didn't say anything, it somewhat concerns me since baby should be gaining about half a pound a week at this point. Then asked me the usual questions, and asked if we wanted to schedule the c-section. I told her that we were hoping to schedule it for May 17. She said she would check the openings for that day while we talked to Dr. Calvin.

When Dr. Calvin came in, I think he thought he would still have to convince us to schedule a c-section. But I told him right away that the nurse was checking the openings on May 17. He seemed relived and didn't have much to say after that.

Soon the nurse came back and said the only opening for May 17 was at 1:30 in the afternoon. I wasn't too happy with this, as I'm not supposed to have anything to eat or drink (not even water!) for eight hours before hand. But not to worry, she tells me, they'll put an IV in right away when I get there at 11:30am to keep me hydrated. (Oh great, so no food... which is when I get stomach aches and feel like I have to throw up -and not even water helps that feeling anyway-... AND I get to sit around for two hours before with a needle stuck in my arm the whole time... gee that will be such a relief!) Then she went through what will happen, step by step. When she told me that Adam would not be coming into the OR until after I was all numbed up and they were just about to cut me open, I stopped her. I said, "Oh no, Adam will be in there when they are sticking a giant needle into my spine, I don't care that they numbed the area." (I'm thinking there will be lots of small fights we will be putting up while I am going through this procedure.)

When I got home, I told Adam that I didn't want him leaving my side once they put the IV in my arm. Of course, once they pull baby out and bring her into the other room, he will go with her. But other than that, there is no reason for him to not be in the room with me.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Baby Shower #2 - Co-workers

After school today, my co-workers threw a baby shower for me! We went down to the lanes and had cake with little baby booties on it with little tiny bows tied on them. Then I opened gifts and visited with everyone.

Just about everyone went in on the group gift, but not everyone could make it down to the shower (though we did have our two token males, Ted & Jeff). Heidi said they were going to buy the travel system, but when she went to Target (apparently just after we had been to the same one and changed some items on our registry!) they one we had registered for is no longer being carried. So they got us the Pack N Play instead, along with lots of other little gifts. When we were there updating our registry, Adam saw a fuzzy blanket with a monkey on it and had to register for it. As I was opening the gifts, you can only guess what was in one of the bags! Adam's monkey blanket! One of my favorite gifts, though, was not from the group gifts, but from Sue. She made a little tiny cross bracelet for baby to wear when she's baptized, though I'm going to put it on her ankle while she is in the hospital.

Cross bracelet made by Sue
I got home before Adam, but when he got home and carried up the Pack N Play, I showed him what we all got. The first thing I showed him was the monkey blanket. He snatched it out of my hand and got really excited!

Adam's monkey blanket

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Walking all Over Abbott

When Adam and I got to Abbott, we parked in our usual ramp and walked around the city blocks until we got to the main building. I was told to meet in the MAC, but neither Adam or I really knew what or even where that was. We asked a couple people for directions and got pointed there. Once we were sitting in there, we read the sign on the door and figured it all out "Maternal Assessment Center." Then we remembered Katy talking about it in our classes.

Nikki came in to meet us and gave us a tour of the birth center. She showed us the labor rooms (which were really small, but at least they were private). Then she showed us where the OR and delivery rooms were. (They have two rooms that are connected to another room in the middle. The room in the middle was where they will be taking baby after she is born to hook her up to everything and to make sure she is doing alright.) Then she showed us where the recovery rooms were and told us that they were "a little smaller than the delivery rooms." That didn't quite make sense to me, because that is when people will be coming to visit you and the baby. So why wouldn't they have the recovery rooms be a little bigger? She asked if we had any questions, and we had a few. Then led us back to the MAC.

When I got there, they pulled me back, through some kind of dirty/ messy rooms to a room that was a little cleaner, but very small and cramped (as were the hallways). We waited for Cindi to come in and do the ultrasound. Their machine was newer and more portable than those that the Perinatal clinic has, but much less fancy. The only had one probe (so no 3D's), and the image wasn't all that great. Baby got four of the points right away (for breathing and fluid), but it took her a while to get the other four points (she was sleepy). But she passed with eight out of eight! We left there and headed for the Perinatal clinic in another building.

Nina, a nurse, called us back and asked all the usual questions. I told her that I'm having some false labor, once in a while. But she didn't seem to concerned. When she finished, the familiar face of Dr. Calvin walked in. He, like Dr. Fairbanks last week, strongly suggested doing a c-section. Though he was a little less bold about it. He also brought up that if baby's heart rate does drop during labor, she could risk brain damage, if she can't get enough oxygen up there.

After talking with Dr. Calvin, Adam and I are discussing more and more about the idea of having a c-section instead. It would be safer for her. Plus, since they schedule them a week before your due date, we'd get to meet our baby girl a lot sooner!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dreams of Baby!

Last night I had a strange, but kind of exciting dream. I dreamt that I was in bed trying to sleep, but Adam hadn't come to bed yet. I couldn't sleep, because something didn't quite feel right. I wasn't sure if my water had broken or not, but I wasn't having contractions or anything. I finally called for Adam, but by the time he came upstairs, the baby was already born! So I picked her up and held her and we started to pack things up to go to the hospital. (we don't have our bags packed yet, but after having this dream, I want to get them packed ASAP!) But then I realized that we didn't have a car seat for her, so I wasn't quite sure how we were going to get her to the hospital. I was concerned about her heart and getting her checked by the doctor. Then I woke up. I remember she had a beautiful face, but her ribs/ chest was a little larger than normal. I'm not sure why, but later I was thinking maybe that was my brain's way of interpreting that she has a large heart.

Before the dream, I was getting anxious to meet our baby girl, but now I really want to meet her as soon as I can! I know though that it is best for her to stay in there as long as she can so her heart can develop more. So I will wait... as patiently as I can.

Mom's Group

I met with a group of mom's who all have children with disabilities on the other side of the city tonight. They meet for coffee about once a month (of course next month I won't be able to go!). I heard a little from each mom about their child and what they have been struggling with, but also, what they have found to be a blessing.

Jane is the lady that is in charge of the group, and has a yahoo group set up for everyone. I haven't gotten on there yet (I have to email her to get an email invite to the group). But they asked me to post a link to my blog.

I finally met Mary from Prenatal Partners for Life, and she was very sweet. I also finally met Ashlee, who has a son, Levi, who has another rare diagnosis (of course I can't remember the name).

Most of the mom's had kids with some sort of chromosomal abnormality. I guess I didn't really realize that so many of the disabilities out there are related to the chromosomes not getting together correctly. As far as I know heterotaxy isn't related to chromosomal abnormalities, but I could be wrong (I seem to learn something new about it all the time!).

While people were going around talking about their child, most of them had some sort of cognitive disability, so I was feeling lucky that my baby will only have to have heart surgery (as far as we know at this point anyway... she might have stomach issues also). But then one of the last ladies that shared, told us about her son who had a heart defect. While he was having heart surgery, he lost oxygen to his brain and ended up with some brain damage. That hit home, because that could happen to our baby girl. We just need to keep praying for her!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Baby Shower #1 - My Family & Friends

Nancy and Natalie hosted our first baby shower (we laughed, because about the same time last year we were having a bridal shower) at mom's house. Mom made eggs Benedict, a fruit tray (yummy!), cheesy hash browns, and yogurt parfaits. Nancy made two different desserts, and Natalie brought the games.

All the yummies!
What a beautiful day for a shower! Not only was it my grandma's birthday, but the weather was wonderful. We say out on mom and dad's deck and ate, enjoyed each other's company, and played the "guess that baby food" game. When Natalie read off the answers for what was in each jar, she said that applesauce was in jar #2. But I had put down apples. So I raised my hand, and said, "Teacher, can I get half-credit for apples?" Everyone laughed, and she gave me the half point!

Then we moved inside and played "baby shower bingo," while I opened up all the wonderful gifts people brought for us. Laura made a hooded towel out of a regular towel and a washcloth, Lisa, Sara, Linda, and Becky got a swing for baby (Lisa said it was because mean John had taken down the swing set, so now baby has a swing!), Natalie & her mom put together a "meal-time" gift, both grandmas found cute outfits for her... lots of fun stuff for baby!

Reading off everything from the grooming kit
so the girls could cross it off their
BINGO card.

Grandma Beth (Adam's mom), Karen (my
Godmother), and Laura (her sister) playing
BINGO while I open gifts.
Then Nancy brought out dessert on a serving tray. Delicious! And as people finished their dessert, they started to leave. I put my dessert down to say goodbye to people as they were leaving, and once everyone was gone, I sat back down to finish. I picked up my virgin mimosa, and took a couple sips, but it tasted different. It was mom's not-so-virgin mimosa! Oops!

Grandma Denise (my mom) & Nancy
getting dessert ready to serve
Then I headed home and Adam helped me unpack the trunk packed with goodies for baby. He finished putting together her dressers, and vacuumed the room. Then I went through all her clothes and diapers and things, and started organizing them into different drawers. So exciting! But I think I want to rearrange her furniture, hopefully Adam and his brother John will be nice enough to move it again! :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Childbirth Preparation Class" No. 3

On my way back to Minneapolis with Adam this time, I was wearing my sunglasses, but Adam could see or tell somehow that I had tears in my eyes.

-My mood has been up and down through out this pregnancy. I was sad that we didn't get to experience a lot of things, that most couples get to experience when they have a baby. I want to be able to hold my baby girl right after she is born and spend time getting to know her and comfort her before she leaves to go to the NICU. But I will only be able to have a quick glance, before they whisk her away and hook her up to several tubes and whatnot. I'm sure that has to be scary for her, just coming into this world and then getting checked out by several doctors and getting tubes put into her tummy. But I won't be able to be there to hold her or talk to her or soothe her.-

And he asked if I wanted to turn around and go home. I didn't though, I wanted to finish out the class and learn all I could learn.

In class, Katy told the birth story process from the view of the baby, then from the view of the mother. She talked about how right after the baby is born, they place the baby on the mother's chest, and the baby, no matter how many other people are around talking, always looks at the mother and father, because she recognizes the voices from in the womb. When she was describing all this, my eyes started to tear up again, but I managed to hold it in.

Then she talked about c-sections, and said that often moms come back after they deliver, and tell Katy that she should have talked about c-sections. And she just nods and smiles, knowing that she talked about it in their class, but most people tune out, because that's not what they want. Since Dr. Fairbanks had just told me that morning that there was no option, but a c-section. So I listened to her tell the birth story from both perspectives again, but for a c-section instead. But even that didn't sound like what my birth story will be, because mom and baby still got to spend time together. Even with a c-section, they will briefly show me our daughter, then Adam will follow her into another room, and then later to the NICU, while they stitch me back up.

Of course, I'm glad we went to the class and learned all that we did, but I only wish that we could have many of these experiences, and that baby wouldn't have to go through everything that she will have to go through.

The "No-Natral-Birth" Doctor

I met mom (and Adam, but he was heading home) at work in the morning to go to Abbott for our growth/ biophysical profile ultrasound, and OB check. We had the same ultrasound technician, Jeanine, who again, did everything as quick as she could, so she could send us on to the next room. Baby again scored eight out of eight on the biophysical profile, but they decided not to do the non-stress test (NST), because she never gets those two points anyway, since they can't really follow her heart rate. When Jeanine measured her for growth, she said she weighted about five pounds! I should have asked how big her head was, since she measured it, but didn't think to until after the fact.

After she finished taking all the measurements and giving baby all the points, she gave us one ultrasound picture that wasn't the greatest (but baby wasn't wanting to face the camera), and sent us across the hall. A nurse came in, whose name I can't remember (Cheryl), and took my weight and went down the list of the usual questions. We talked about the school's closing and how Arlington is closing as well. Then she left and we waited for the doctor.

Soon, Dr. Fairbanks, who Krista (an ultrasound technician at Woodbury) said she liked, came in and said she wanted to have a conversation with us. She said she had heard that we were hoping for a natural birth, versus a c-section. She then told us that baby would not survive a vaginal birth. Quite contrary to what the other doctors we have talked to have said. But, she said that they wouldn't be at my bedside when the time came to deliver. From what I understood, Dr. Calvin (who said he would support us) did sometimes deliver at Abbott (which is why I decided to ask him when he was in for Dr. Ledella one day). And Dr. Payne (who said he preferred it) might not be at my bedside, but might be at baby's bedside after she is born, depending on where he is working that day.

At any rate, I told her my husband and I would discuss it again (as we have several times). I think we're just going to keep asking the different doctors' opinions and see which one comes out on top. But we also want to talk to Dr. Gremmels, as we have never actually asked him what the odds are of her surviving (since that's where Dr. Fairbanks seems to see the problem). Dr. Gremmels knows her heart better than anyone at this point, whereas Dr. Fairbanks had only just met us.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tour of the NICU & CVCC

Adam and I met with Dr. Payne for a consult today. He was a very kind man who answered all of our questions and explained to us what would be happening the day that baby is born. When I asked him about a natural birth versus a c-section, he said that they encourage natrual births, because the squeezing of their lungs helps them to have fewer breathing problems. But, he explained what the process would be for both situations.

Once we were done asking questions, we met Melissa who took us on a tour of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Granted, I've never seen a NICU before really, but I was impressed. Most of their rooms are individual rooms, and have a "family area" (a fold-out couch and a small closet) with a curtain to pull back. They have different sized "cribs" to fit the needs of different sized babies, and the nurses are usually assigned one or two patients each. I found a video on their website for the NICU. While we were looking at the room, Nurse Megan, a childhood friend of mine, found us. She works in the NICU and might be taking care of baby while she is there. We are going to meet with her sometime soon, and she is going to help us get ready for baby entering the NICU.

Then we asked to see the Cardiovascular Care Center (CVCC), since that is where she will go after her heart surgery. They, again, have individual rooms for each child, but they are much bigger, and so are the "family areas" in each room. Adam was happy to see that there was an X-Box hooked up in the room we looked at (that ment that he could bring his PS3 in if he buys an HDMI cable ~ and he did buy one online as soon as we got home!). She will probably be here a little bit longer than she will be in the NICU, so it's nice to see that they have a little bit bigger rooms. You can take a virtual tour of their rooms.

While we were walking through the NICU and the CVCC, we saw lots of babies (and children in the CVCC) that were hooked up to different tubes and monitors. Dr. Payne described what she would be hooked up to in about the first 5 minutes of her life. This reality of everything that she is going have to go through is starting to hit me hard.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"Childbirth Preparation Class" No. 2

Too many drives to Minneapolis this week (and next week too!). But at least this time we didn't have to pay for parking! After 6pm they stop monitoring the meters, and since class started at 6pm (and since we were a couple minutes late), we didn't have to pay when we parked on the street.

It seemed like there were fewer people at class this week, but we sat in the front this time, and I didn't turn around much to look behind me.

This week Katy talked about pushing, and how you're supposed to "push like your pooping." Since when you are pushing, you will have a nurse in with you the whole time encouraging you and guiding you, she wouldn't go into a whole lot of detail. But she showed us a couple more videos.

We also talked about back labor, and how it is most common when your baby is "sunny side up" or OP (basically facing your front instead of facing your back or spine). She mentioned a website, where they talk about how you can try to get your baby into that ideal position where baby is facing your back. She said a lot of it has to do with posture. Women used to be on their hands & knees scrubbing floors and doing chores and what-not, but today we sit slumped back in a computer desk chair (which I am currently not slumped back! :) ). That position encourages babies to be in that "sunny side up" position.

Then we learned about medications and pain relief. She gave us a chart to look at with our partners, and decide where each of us were on the pain med scale. Adam was more on the +3 of using drugs, whereas I was more on the - 3 side (I want to try without, but if I need it, I'll use it). But since I still haven't found any drug that does not have any chance of affecting baby's heart rate at all, I moved myself more to the -5 (I won't use it). Katy suggested I ask the doctor at one of my appointments if there were any options for me.

Class went about two or three minutes past 9pm, so when Katy said, "If you want to leave you can, or you can stay and ask me any questions," Adam booked it for the door, since he had to work early in the morning.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Prenatal Partners for Life

A couple weeks ago Mrs. Barrett subbed at school, and having already learned about our baby's diagnosis, referred me to a website for Prenatal Partners for Life. I poked around a little bit on their website and read a couple of people's stories. But of course none of them were about a diagnosis of heterotaxy.

So when I saw an email link at the bottom of the page to share your story, I sent a lovely lady named Mary Kellett a link to my blog, and told her briefly about baby's diagnosis. Mary replied to me with many kind words, and gave me contact information of two different mothers. One who has a baby with GI problems (which our baby might have, as it is common with heterotaxy, but we won't know until she is here), and another for a mother whose baby has another rare diagnosis.

Today in the mail we received a gift of a lamb and a blanket from Mary & her organization. The blanket was made by a mother whose baby was born with Down Syndrome and Mosaic Klinefleter Syndrome, but was sadly called home to be with God when he was about two months old. The blanket is called "Luke's Blanket of Love" and the mother has a website to learn more about the program.

Luke's Blanket of Love

Little Lamb of God

All Transfered to Abbott

I met mom at work, and we went to our "first" appointment at Abbott Northwestern. (We had one other appointment there earlier, but now all my - and baby's - care will be there.) Lindsey, the receptionist seems really nice and helpful. Hopefully she will be just as great as Wendy was at Woodbury.

Just about as soon as we sat down, Jeanine, an ultrasound technician, came out and called us back. She got right down to business, and found baby's heart, then called in Dr. Gremmels. When he looked at her heart, he said he would say the same thing he's said the past couple appointments. She is still holding her own. He said she was at a higher risk of going into heart failure before about 28 weeks, but now that she is further along, she is more likely to go full term without any new complications arising.

They want me to be seen every week for a biophysical profile (just like at Woodbury), but they said that I'm also to the point now where I will be having OB check every week as well. And they want me to have another growth next week.

Since the appointment was so quick and right down to business, Jeanine didn't give us any ultrasound pictures.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Maternity Photo Shoot

Today Jessica Person from First Day Photo came out to our house and took pictures of all three of us! She is a photographer (who I found out does a lot more than just babies... she's going to do a photo shoot with Sarah Palin & Governor Pawlenty! And I guess she was supposed to be the one teaching our "Childbirth Preparation" classes, until that came up!) who works with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep to photograph babies (and mother's bellies) who might not make it. She was wonderful to work with and I would highly recommend her to anyone who is looking for a photographer for a maternity shoot or a newborn shoot! Thanks Jessica!!!

You can check out our photos, just make sure that you enter the password "expecting" to see them!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Childbirth Preparation Class" No. 1

Katy Miller (the same Katy that co-taught the "Coping with Labor" class) is teaching our three-session "Childbirth Preparation" class. We scheduled the class for Wednesday nights, because Adam wouldn't have to get up to go to work (since he was only working Tuesdays and Fridays). But one of the other guys at work got injured and now he has to work Tuesday through Friday for the next couple of weeks. Needless to say, after getting up at 3am to go to work, coming home to shower and leave for school, then coming home to grab dinner and head to a childbirth class, he was very tired.

Since this was the first of three classes, we went around the room and everyone introduced themselves. We were first, then the following two couples also had a pregnant woman named Sarah as part of their duo. There was actually another Adam as well later in the introductions.

This week we learned about signs of labor and the stages of labor. We also watched another video of a woman giving birth. I don't know why, but this time, it started to make me a little nervous about the whole childbirth experience. I still believe I can do it, but I'm a little more nervous about it. I still really hope that I can avoid a c-section, if at all possible. We talked a little bit about relaxation techniques, but most of that was covered in the other class. Katy did mention that they have laboring tubs, and asked how many people enjoyed relaxing in a warm bath. I raised my hand, then she said, "Good, all of you will find that really helpful and will naturally relax in the laboring tub." We also were able to find the birthing ball (just like an exercise ball) that was my size, so that we can ask the nurses for that size when we go in.

The last thing we did before we left was a relaxation technique. Katy played some soft music in the background and turned off the lights. Then she told us to start at the top of our heads and relax, by the time she got to eyelids, I was already at my shoulders relaxing. I think I might have to remember this for when I'm in labor.

Last Appointment at Woodbury

Krista pulled me back right away for the ultrasound, and mom wasn't even there yet, so Wendy sent her back when she got there. It took her a little while to get kicking, but once the apple I ate got to her tummy she was kicking away! Krista gave her an eight out of eight, but before Gayle took us to another room for the OB check and heart monitoring, mom asked Krista if we could see if she has the goofy toes or not (when your second toe is longer than your big toe... it runs on my mom's side of the family, though mom says she has "perfect toes" because she doesn't have it... Adam's second toe is also longer than his big toe). Krista moved to see the bottom of her foot, and it turns out her toes take after her daddy's! (Poor girl! Now grandma is going to make fun of her!) I thanked Krista and said I hoped to see her at Abbott again possibly.

Baby's Foot (Though you can't tell from this picture,
her second toe is longer than her big toe...
justlike her daddy's!)

Gayle came in and commented on my skirt. I told her I wore it swing dancing often, but it still fits me now! She took my weight, then hooked me up to the heart monitor (baby didn't get any points again). While I was hooked up she went through all the OB questions, then asked if mom or I wanted ice water or M&M's (how sweet!) She said Dr. Ledella would be in in about ten minutes to see us. About twenty minutes later, Dr. Ledella came in. She said baby is still stable, and commented about how it was our last appointment there. I thanked her too, and told her how great she had been. She gave me a hug, and we said goodbye. I kept telling everyone I wanted to take Wendy with me, because I already knew how horrible Abbott's scheduling department was, and Wendy is so wonderful. A couple people said they had heard that about Abbott, so I could take her with me, as long as I brought her back!

Our daughter, the Drama Queen!
(her hand on her forehead, like woe is me!)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Another 8 out of 10!

Mom met me at Woodbury today. Wendy was back from vacation, and we met a new nurse named Deb. She pulled us back and hooked me up to the heart monitor for the non-stress test part of the biophysical. This time she gave me a button to push when I felt baby move, so that it would put a little tick mark on her printout. She again scored a zero.

Then Julie the ultrasound technician took us to one of the ultrasound rooms, and gave her an eight for that part of the score. She did a couple of 3D's for us, but not nearly as many or as good of ones as Krista gave us last time. But baby was being shy and had her hand in front of her face most of them time (at one point it was a foot).

After the ultrasound, Dr. Calvin came in, asked if we had any questions (which we didn't), and we were on our way! It was a pretty quick appointment for all that they did!

Mom wanted to kill some time before she had to be somewhere, so we stopped at Panera Bread just up the block and had a sandwich and yummy chocolate treat!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Amazing Ultrasound!

Dad meet me at the Woodbury clinic at 8am. We were the first patients of the day, but Wendy, the receptionist, was on vacation, so we weren't greeted by name. This time instead of having a "limited" ultrasound (where they check her heart rate, amniotic fluid levels, and maybe a few other things), we had a "biophysical profile." Baby can get up to two points in each of five categories, for a total of ten. She got 100% on the ultrasound categories (small movements, large movement, breathing, and amniotic fluid levels) for eight out of eight.

Krista did the usual testing for amniotic fluid levels, looking around baby and measuring the amount, and gave baby two points. Then she did a quick head to toe scan of baby, and showed us that her lungs were practicing breathing, and gave her another two points. When she was looking at her head, she said, "You might not believe me, but these little lines here are hair on her head." You can kind of see it on the picture of the cross-section of her head.

The little lines are hair on baby's head!
She's not going to be bald when she's born,
like her mommy was!

Once Krista had those points assigned, and we saw (and felt!) baby kicking around and moving her little arms (another two points), she decided that she would use the 3D ultrasound (live this time instead of still pictures!) for the last two points. She looked mostly at her face, seeing baby's mouth open & close, and her eye brows moving up and down in different expressions. It was so amazing to see the different expressions she could make. She really is her own little person, developing her own little personality!

3D of baby. Her eyes are slightly opened.

My new favorite! You can even see her eyelashes!

Her two little legs and fist (right above her knee).

After the ultrasound, a nurse that I had not met before, named Deb, came and brought us to another room. She hooked me up to a fetal heart monitor, and a contraction monitor, for a non-stress test. She said Dr. Ledella was debating whether or not to do this part of the test for her, because her heartbeat is so strange anyway. But they decided to do it anyway. Once Deb had the monitors all hooked up, she pulled the cart over next to me and said, "With her heart, this alarm's going to go off a lot. So when it does, just hit this yellow button." It was weird watching the printout record of what her heart rate was. It would be hanging around 60 bpm, then suddenly jump to around 120 bmp, because she moved or something and the monitor could only pick up one of the rates at a time.

While I was hooked up to the monitor, Deb asked all the questions that go along with the OB part of the visit. Once she finished, she said she was going to let it run for another ten minutes, then Dr. Ledella would come in. Twenty minutes later she came back, and unhooked everything, and Dr. Ledella followed shortly behind her. Looking at the printout, she said that I wasn't having contractions (I haven't been feeling any either!), and baby didn't get any of the points for that part of the test (which no one was really surprised about). Her heart was too difficult to monitor for this type of thing. But baby's final score was 8 out of 10! I figure that's a "B" and still passing! Dr. Ledella also commented (and seemed surprised) about how well I was doing. I'm not sure if she meant she was surprised with how well baby is hanging on in there, or me emotionally.

On my way out, I set up two more appointments at Woodbury. The lady that was filling in for Wendy thought I had to be seen on a Friday again, but I explained that I've had appointments on Friday, and then four days later, on Monday, have another appointment. So she asked the nurse, who, of course, okay'ed it. Next appointment on Tuesday for another profile! (Hopefully we'll get Krista again!)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

"Coping with Labor" - Our First Class

We had our first childbirth preparation class today at Abbott Northwestern. I was very excited, as it means that we're getting closer to having our baby! Adam wasn't so excited, because he didn't know what to expect.

I learned lots of different breathing techniques and positions to labor in. We were found out that you are supposed to change positions every thirty minutes and empty your bladder every hour. Adam was told (I'm not quite sure he learned...) how to support me in labor.

When it came time to set up our "nest" (as they called it) on the floor, we set our pillows & blanket down on the floor to "save" our spot. But we went over to Katy (one of the educators, Cindy was the other), to ask a question about the location of the birthing center (where I will be) and the NICU (where baby will be) and where her heart surgery will be done. When we turned around our spot had become overrun by other people's "nests" so we moved to the back.

Once we were all settled into our "nest" they showed us different techniques to try and clips of a video called "Kristina's Story." Adam kept making comments & making me giggle. Katy was standing in the back while Cindy was presenting some material, and smiled at us and called us the trouble makers in the back.

At one point they gave us ice cubes to hold in our hands as "labor pains" and to practice breathing through it, while our support person supported us. There was an extra ice cube that we ended up with, so instead of supporting me through the pain of holding ice cubes, Adam thought it would be a much better idea to take the other ice cube and try to stick it down my shirt, and flick the cold melted water at me. Of course I'm trying to practice breathing though the "pain," but trying not to laugh while he is screwing around and picking on me. Then they said it was our support person's turn. Adam had to hold the ice cubes, while I was being supportive. I, the much nicer one, rubbed his back and told him how much I hated him for being mean to me. And when it was all over, he threw the ice cube down my shirt. And that was pretty much the end of class.

I learned what a sweet husband I have. I only hope he makes it through labor and delivery alive so our daughter can meet him! :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Long Wait & No Pictures :(

Adam and I met for our appointment at United today with the cardiologist. We were called in right away by the ultrasound technician, Barb. She looked at her heart quite a bit and took her heart rate a couple times. Her heart rate was 59 bpm for the atria and 109 bmp for the ventricle. We waited and waited for Dr. Gremmels to come, but he wasn't showing up. So Barb went to see if anyone had seen him, but nothing.

So she looked around at our baby some more. Her face was buried into my back, and she couldn't get a good picture of her. After a little while, she went to check if Dr. Gremmels was there again, but still nothing. So she came back and looked at her heart some more, then pulled out the 3D probe to see if baby would cooperate and roll over to get a good 3D picture, but she didn't.

Finally after an hour and a half, Dr. Gremmels came in. He looked at her heart, and said still nothing new or concerning has developed. We have about another week and a half until they would deliver her if she did take a turn for the worse. Since she was holding pretty steady, he said that we would be okay waiting another four weeks before we saw him again.

When he left, Dr. Ahanya came in and said that whatever I'm doing, I need to keep doing, because she's holding her own quite well. Since spring is in the air, and my allergies are ever-so wonderful now, I asked him if I could start taking my allergy pills again. He said that, with most drugs, you're just not supposed to take them during the first three months, but after that it's okay. There are a couple drugs (like Acutane), that you can't take at all during pregnancy. But allergy pills are not on that list!

On our way out I tried to set up another appointment, but I don't think their receptionist is as good as Wendy at Woodbury. I told her I need another cardio appointment with Dr. Gremmels in four weeks (which is what it said on the sheet that Dr. Ahanya gave her). I asked her if Dr. Gremmels would be at United or Abbott, and she didn't know, and didn't know where to check. Then she tried to set me up with someone else, and I explained to her (about four times) that I needed to be seen with Dr. Gremmels (he is monitoring her and knows what her heart is looking like, he will be the best one to see changes, and he is the one that will be telling the surgeons what she needs done). Finally she figured out that he would be at Abbott in four weeks, and she can't make appointments at Abbott, so the appointment line will call me later.

On another note, mom and I finished painting the base coat in the nursery! It's a yellow called "Cornmeal." I'm going to see if I can "steal" a projector for the weekend from school and use it to draw out the picture below. I think we'll paint it above the crib.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Looong Wait...

Since I didn't have school today, I waited for Adam to get home from school, and then we turned around and left. He got home a little late, so we turned around and left right away, thinking we might be a little late for the 2pm appointment. We got there with about three minutes to spare, but after sitting there for about twenty minutes, Wendy, the receptionist told us that ultrasound was running behind. She suggested that we could leave and come back about 3pm, but Adam was content reading his book, and I was fine reading my magazines.

Finally about 3:15 we were called back with a different ultrasound technician that I had not met before. (I think her name started with a "J" -Julie-). She was very nice and measured our baby girl (she's right on track for her growth according to the May 22 due date!). We saw baby kicking around and it looked like she is now sucking her toes! We've seen her foot up by her head before, but I'm pretty sure it actually ended up in her mouth this time!

She spent some time looking at her heart (I think just because she was interested in it, most of the time the technician's don't spend much time there). She took her heart rate, and it was up to 104 bpm! She was more active before and during the ultrasound, so I'm sure that helped get her blood pumping. When she asked what the cardiologist called her heart condition, I couldn't really give her an answer. I don't think Dr. Gremmels gave the heart condition a specific name, but her whole condition he called heterotaxy.

At the end, she asked if anyone had done 3D ultrasounds for us. I told her they had, but she is more than welcome to do some too! Baby cooperated for one picture, but she wouldn't move her hand out from in front of her face, so we only got one good one.

When she finished Dr. Ledella came in and said everything was looking the same and that she wanted to schedule another appointment for two weeks out to do another type of ultrasound (we've been getting "limited," but since she's farther along now, they'll do one that's a little more involved). I can't remember what it's called right now though -biophysical profile.

When we were making our appointment on our way out, Krista (ultrasound technician) saw us and said that she was going to try to grab us, but they were so busy back there. I think everyone that hears about her condition "wants in on the action." It's such a rare condition that I think they want to get to see it first hand. And I think they remember us well too, because when we walked in Joan (the genetic counselor that we saw at 13 weeks, and only that one time) remembered me by name and told Wendy I was there.

On another note, I had a dental appointment this morning, and apparently for a pregnant woman, I have really good dental hygiene! Dr. Kraby was really impressed with how my teeth & gums looked.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Fun Moments of Pregnancy!

I've been meaning to write this blog for a while, but whenever I have time to sit down and write a blog, it's usually updating on the last appointment. So here goes...

For the longest time I was the only one who could feel her moving around, but eventually when Adam put his hand on my tummy he felt her! He was kinda surprised at how hard she could kick and how he could feel it.

We've been trying to hear her heartbeat with a fetal monitor that Adam's cousin gave us, but have not had much luck. We've heard some "cracklings" that we thought might be her moving around, but nothing that sounds like a heartbeat (even a irregular one). One day I decided to just hold it out in the air, and heard the same "cracklings" that we heard when it was pushed up against my tummy. His cousins said that they never really got it to work, and we haven't been able to either. But we have had fun trying.

Mom had really been wanting to see or feel her move, and kept poking/ jiggling my tummy to get her to move. But it never worked for her. But at one of our appointments that mom came to, she was moving all over the place. The ultrasound technician said at one point she felt a kick. Mom kept one eye on the screen (seeing her move around inside me) and one eye on my tummy, and she finally saw her move! She was so excited. I had been watching the monitor over the top of my belly and could see my tummy move, see if she had just kicked or punched me, and feel do it all at the same time. It was really neat, but ever since then when I feel her move I wonder if she's kicking or punching or dancing or what.

In one of my week-by-week pregnancy books, it said that you could hear the baby's heartbeat by now if you used a stethoscope (of course we don't have one), but said that sometimes your husband can even hear it if he puts his ear on your tummy. She was very active that night, but I told Adam that he might be able to hear her heartbeat. So he put his ear against my tummy and listened. Of course, it didn't take long for her to kick daddy in the head! But Adam said he could hear her moving around, and put his head back to listen again, only to get kicked again! He said it sounded like moving water, which I guess kind of makes sense. He hasn't really gotten into feeling her move, but he really seemed to enjoy listening to her move.

My brother has always been inquiring how his little niece is doing whenever he sees me. Mom told me that he wanted to feel her move too. So one Sunday when we were over there for dinner, I sat down on the couch after eating. It didn't take long for baby to start kicking her heals up. I told Jeff and he put his hand on my tummy and felt her kick him. He kind of laughed and smiled and asked if that was her. He thought it was really neat.

Well, that's as much as I can remember with this "baby brain" of mine. Hopefully, as new moments happen I'll be better about writing them down right away so I can remember them in greater detail!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Belly Pics!

All the belly pics that we've taken (starting the day we found out we were pregnant... had to have a remembrance of what I looked like pre-baby) are on facebook, but I know that not everyone that is reading my blog updates is on facebook to see. (And I'm finding out from word of mouth, that there are actually more than the 11 subscribers shown are reading it... if you're one of them, you can click the follow my blog link to be added). I've been really good at posting pictures of baby from each ultrasound, but not the pictures of me... so, by request, here are some of them.

The day we found out we were expecting!
4 Weeks + 2 Days

Nothing yet...
8 Weeks + 0 Days

11 Weeks + 6 Days

Button's a little tight on the pants!
16 Weeks + 6 Days

Still in my regular pants, but
loving the Belly Band!
19 Weeks + 1 Day

Sporting the "preggo pants"
24 Weeks + 3 Days

Monday, February 22, 2010

A New Nice Doctor!

When I got to the Woodbury clinic, Adam was there waiting for me, and Wendy, the receptionist knew who I was and had my arm band and sticker (for the pee cups) ready for me. Then I sat down and waited to be called in. I had remembered three questions that I had wanted to ask them when I was in the car. Of course by the time I sat down and started to write them down I could only remember two. Soon a nurse that I didn't recognize the called out "Sarah" and another girl started to stand up. Then of course I had to ask which one, to which they replied "not Sarah Gibson" (the other one's last name they tried pronouncing, but I think they butchered it by the look on her face).

Soon a familiar face of the ultrasound technician we had at our very first appointment called us back. This time I looked at her name tag and wrote down her name. Krista. She said that she was going to be doing a limited ultrasound (like we've been having), so they were just checking for signs of heart failure and her amniotic fluid levels. (All checked out good.) Then said that Dr. Calvin would be seeing us today. I inquired about Dr. Ledella, since that was who I had made the appointment with. She said that they had switched shifts between Abbott and the Woodbury office, but that he normally works out there, and could possibly be delivering our baby. She told us that he was a very nice doctor and when she delivered through MN Perinatal, that he was once of the doctors she had liked. She then went and got a picture list of all the doctors and highlighted all the ones that work out at Abbott, and told us the ones that she really liked, and mentioned one that she wasn't particularly fond of.

She then took us over to one of the OB rooms for my OB check up. The nurse (who we've had before, but of course I didn't get her name... she has long curly hair - Nancy -) asked me the usual list of questions, then asked if I had any questions or concerns. I told her that I had been having some nerve pain in my right leg/ back occasionally. She said it sounded like sciatica, and said that sometimes the baby is in a position where she is putting pressure on my sciatic nerve. I figured it was probably that nerve, after all the stuff my mom has gone through with her back. She said that if it was really bad that they could do something about it, but it hasn't bothered me that much. Then we talked about having to deliver at Abbott, and she suggested that we start having our appointments over there about 32-34 weeks along so that we can start getting to know the doctors over there that might be delivering our baby. So she said she would start the paperwork to get us transferred over there later.

Soon after Dr. Calvin came in. He said all looked the same with baby (no new news is still good news!). Then I asked about delivering her normally, instead of a c-section. I told him how her cardiologist said he didn't see a problem with it at this point, but that most OB's don't like to because they can't monitor her for fetal distress (she already has that heart rhythm). He seemed to be okay with it. He said if we wanted to try that, then he would support us in making that possible. That made me very happy. So the plan (at this point, but who knows how many more twists & turns this road will take) is to deliver her normally when she's ready. But of course, if things change or she takes a turn for the worse, I still understand that Dr. Gremmels may want to get her out via c-section so he can fix her heart.

Giving us the "thumbs up"
"I'm all good in here, mom!"

If you tip your head to the right, you can kind of see her face looking right at you. Her chin is the little knobby on the left and the roundish slit on the top middle is her eye.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Big Heart

Mom came with me again to the appointment with the cardiologist at United. We had Patty (the lady from Saint Bernard's) again, but baby wasn't in a good position to get 3D's, and I don't think they had a lot of time. Dr. Gremmels came in right away to take a look at her heart, Patty was manning the ultrasound machine, and two other nurses were in there observing. I know it's a good thing that new people are getting trained in (one of them was new, but not the other), but I didn't like that many people in there. With four of them plus mom and I, it was kinda crowded and I started getting really hot.

Dr. Gremmels went over a lot of what he had already told us, but I think he was showing the other two people in the room. He said everything is still pretty much looking the same, except that her heart is a little enlarged now. But he said that that's normal when you have a low heart rate. The heart is trying to compensate for not getting the blood out fast enough to the body. Mom asked a lot of questions before Dr. Gremmels left about the surgeries, and how many they do each year. If she's not doing well right after she's born, they could end up doing two heart surgeries on her by the time she's a week old (the first for a pacemaker, and the second for the shunt to re-route blood so more can go to her lungs). Otherwise she will have one surgery when she is about a week old (they would combine the two surgeries into one), then when she's 6 months old, and again when she's about 3-4 years old.

If you tip your head to the right, you can see her face.

Her little leg & foot that she likes to
kick mommy with all the time!

Her little hand (she also likes to punch mommy)!

Monday, February 8, 2010

No New News is Good News!

Four days after our ultrasound with the cardiologist, we had another ultrasound. Adam and I met in Woodbury for both the ultrasound to check her amniotic fluid levels, her heart rate, and to check my glucose. Before we started the ultrasound, I asked the technician - Karen - if I could drink the stuff for the glucose test before the ultrasound, so that we wouldn't have to wait as long after. The unflavored sugar water wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Everyone I had talked to said that it was nasty, but the nurse said it tasted kind of like flat Sprite, and she was right. It definitely wasn't good, but it wasn't horrible either.

Her pretty little face!
Her umbilical cord was in front of her face,
but she cropped it out as best she could.

Folding her little legs just like a lady!
I really need to get better at remembering some of the people's names that work with us, but we had the same ultrasound technician that we had at the last appointment with Danilenko ("scary doctor"). I think I said at that point that she wasn't good at getting pictures, but this time she was a lot better with regular ultrasound pictures, and she even had time to do some 3D's! I'm sure a lot of it has to do with if baby cooperates or not. And today, she did alright, though she definitely likes to cuddle into my uterus (must take after her mommy with liking to cuddle!) I think she might have actually been sleeping for once at this ultrasound, because she didn't move around all over the place. After the tech got one 3D picture of her face, she turned and cuddled her entire face into my uterus though, so we only got one picture of her face. But we got 3D pictures of her legs and her spine too. The tech said she wasn't very good at 3D's, but I told her that she can practice on us anytime she likes!

After she got all her measurements, and took some 3D pictures, she went out to let Dr. Ledella know that we were ready to be seen by her. She came in and said that nothing really has changed since the last ultrasound (4 days ago...). She still has two different heart rates, no extra fluid in her body, and the right amount of amniotic fluid.

Then she sent us to another room to wait the last 20 minutes to my blood draw for the glucose test. I asked them to call with the results either way tomorrow, as I have been kind of nervous for this test. Diabetes runs in my family, and they say that that increases your chances of having gestational diabetes. If I don't pass this glucose test, then I have to take the three-hour glucose test (where you drink the sugar-water and they draw your blood once an hour for three hours), which I really don't want to have to do, as I hate needles. If I don't pass that test, my glucose will have to be monitored, and they will put me on a special "diet" (I put it in quotes, because it's not a diet to loose weight, it's a diet to keep your blood sugar levels low.) I would be concerned about going on the "diet" because my friend told me that she stopped gaining weight once they had put her on this "diet," and with them already being concerned about me not gaining enough weight, I don't want to have that on top of it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Second Cardio Appointment

Mom picked me up by school and we went all the way into Minneapolis to Abbott Northwestern for the fetal echo and growth appointment. We had two techs this time, because one of them had just started and was on her second day working with them. I can't remember the new one's name, but the one she was following's name was Paula, and she was from the East coast (which was totally obvious when she said aorta and atria!). They were both very nice, and Paula got a few good pictures of baby.

Baby's profile
You can see her little heart in her chest!
The cardiologist came in and looked at several of the pictures that Paula had taken, and then looked at it "live" with her. We found out that she actually has two different heart rates. I can't remember which was one higher or lower, but the ventricle (on the bottom) and the two atria (on the top) had different heart rates (one was 28 bmp and the other was 128 bmp, if I remember correctly, and I think the bottom ventricle was higher). The cardiologist seemed somewhat concerned, but he said if she can make it to 30 weeks without any more complications, that they would be able to deliver her, if a complication did arise, and still do the surgeries (the shunt to get more blood to her body instead of her lungs, and the pacemaker to fix the irregular heartbeat/rate). However, if more complications arose before that 30 week mark, they wouldn't be able to do anything, but let her, hopefully keep developing inside me. He said that delivering her and doing the surgeries before that 30-week marker, gave her pretty much zero-chance of survival. But after that 30-week mark, her odds were much better. So right now we're praying for no more complications (hopefully for the rest of the pregnancy... and her life... but for sure until that 30-week mark).

After a couple minutes, Dr. Gaziano, as mom described him, a grandfatherly fellow, came in to look at her growth. He said she was just slightly above the 10th percentile, for 24 weeks- 5 days, and called her petite. Mom and I commented, "Well, look at her mother!" And mom explained that pretty much my entire life, I have been in the lower percentiles for height & weight. I also mentioned that according to my charts, I calculated my due date to be June 1, not May 22, and asked if that might have something to do with it. He didn't quite seem to have an answer, but just acknowledged what we said. Then he started telling us that we needed to get my care switched over to their system. I told him that I had already, but I try to schedule my appointments in Woodbury, or United if I have to, and try to avoid venturing into Minneapolis. He was a very nice doctor, but I don't think I would like to see him again for this pregnancy. With all of the complications, I would like to stick with someone a little more sharp. But for any "normal" pregnancy, I think he would be a fine doctor to have.

Once he left, I laid on the ultrasound bed with jelly still on my tummy, and towels covering my tummy, waiting. We thought we were finished, but no one had said anything. They just kind of left us hanging. After about a half-hour or so, mom went out into the hall to find Paula, the ultrasound tech again, to ask if we could leave or if someone else was coming in to see us. She didn't realize that Dr. Gaziano had come and gone, but once we explained that to her, she said we could go. This is the second time that we have been "forgotten about" with Minnesota Perinatal. (The first time the actually forgot we were supposed to see someone else and tried to send us on our way). I know miscommunication happen once in a while, but twice is too much for me!

Friday, January 29, 2010

We Found a Keeper!

Mom went with me to my last appointment on Wednesday. It was a quick ultrasound (which means not much time to look at baby & no 3D's) and an OB appointment. The ultrasound tech (who was the same one who did our very first ultrasound - Krista) was looking at the fluid around her heart that they found last time, and making sure that there wasn't any more fluid building up in other parts of her body (head, lungs/ chest, etc.). They also want to monitor her heart rate closely. Baby checked out pretty well at this appointment. There was the same amount of fluid around her heart, so she didn't gain any more, and there wasn't any fluids in other parts of her body. If there were, then they would be concerned about hydrops. (I wouldn't suggest looking at Google images for hydrops.) Her heart rate was also higher this time (80-90 bpm) than last time (60 bpm), but still not where they would like her to be (120-180 bpm).

Then came in Dr. Ledella! She looked around at the baby also, and found that her umbilical cord has two "cords" inside. Typically, babies are supposed to have one vein and two arteries, but she only has two (one of each). She was very relaxed in the manner in which she told us. She said that typically they would be concerned about a genetic defect or heart defect, but they already know that baby has a heart defect, so they aren't really concerned. Then she chatted with us, and we mentioned how there are lots of people praying for our little one. She said she really believes in the power of prayer, medical technology can do a lot, but miracles happen all the time. She was very personable, and we both liked her a lot. We found a keeper!

They want to see me again in two weeks (next week I see Dr. Gremmels, the cardiologist), and I set up another appointment with Dr. Ledella at a time that Adam will be able to make. I hope he likes her just as much as mom and I did!

No crying after this appointment, in fact, I am much happier! (Which is good for baby!) :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Another Appointment with "Scary Doctor"

Adam and I had another appointment today, and even though I requested not to be seen by Dr. Danilenko, we still saw her today. The ultrasound technician (Karen) wasn't nearly as skilled at getting good pictures (baby also wasn't cooperating very well... she seemed to have her face cuddled into the placenta and was moving her arms & legs all over the place). But the tech was very good in explaining what she was looking at and measuring. It's amazing that she can look at her grey abdomen and say here are her kidneys and this little spot here is urine. We got one good profile picture of her, but this tech wasn't as comfortable doing 3D u/s, so we didn't get any of those. But we did see her open her mouth and stick out her tongue twice.
Opening mouth to stick out her tongue
(we could actually see the tongue,
but didn't get a good picture of it!)

Another profile (she's getting so big!
No wonder I feel her kicking all the time!)

After she was finished, Dr. Danilenko came in and took another look at her heart. Her heart rate was 60 bpm (where usually it's at 120-180 bpm) and there was some swelling around her heart. She was concerned and started talking about giving me steroids to develop her lungs in case they needed to deliver her early, and went on about a couple other things. She said she would put a call into Dr. Gremmels (the cardiologist that we saw last time) to ask him. But said that she wanted to do another u/s next week, and another OB appointment the following week. Then sent us on our way.

I asked the lady, Wendy, at the front desk though, because I was pretty sure we were supposed to have an OB appointment today. I was right, so we sat in the waiting room for about another half hour waiting for that. The good news is that I gained weight (last time I hadn't), but the bad news is not enough (not even half of what I should have). The nurse (whose name I can't remember, but she was very nice and wore braces - Kris -) seemed to think we could put off seeing a dietitian for now though, since I've had a history of having problems gaining weight, and since the baby seems to be growing alright.

Then Dr. Danilenko came in and she she talked to Dr. Gremmels, who said that delivering early would be bad, because trying to do heart surgery on a preemie is very difficult. He also said that a low heart rate was common, so he wasn't worried about that, but did want to see me in two weeks (instead of three, which is when my next appointment with him was scheduled). She also mentioned (which Dr. Gremmels had already mentioned at our last appointment), that she will probably also need a pacemaker.

We finished the OB appointment by talking about pre-term labor and talking about my due date. The nurse said that Dr. Danilenko is still going by May 22nd. I am still counting as June 1st though. She also asked me a few other questions. Adam was sitting where he could see her computer screen, and saw that she clicked the "could not ask: spouse/ family was present" box for the question, "Do you get abused?" Good thing they weren't looking at my legs where I have two huge bruises from dropping a piece of 3/4 inch plywood (when we were working on the closet), with another permanent bruise from playing paintball in college with Charlie & Tommy!

I seem to have my ups and downs with this pregnancy, but it seems after appointments with Dr. Danilenko I always cry at least once, and I did pretty much as soon as we got in the car. I asked Adam through my tears that if Dr. Gremmels says that a low heart rate is normal with this kind of thing, then we shouldn't be worried. He agreed, which made me feel a little bit better, but I'm still afraid for our little girl. Please keep praying for her! We need her as strong as she can be so that she can make it through all of these surgeries.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

All Over the Place!

I have been feeling our little girl moving quite a bit. I have put my hand on my tummy and even felt the movement of her kicking (or elbowing or headbutting or...) me. Both Adam and my brother have been telling her "Kick her in the bladder!" (I'm not sure if they want me to pee my pants or if they think they're being funny...) I have had Adam put his hand on my tummy when I'm feeling her move around, but he never felt her move. Last night (and pretty much all of today) she was all over the place, bouncing off the walls. When she was squirming around last night I had Adam put his hand on my tummy, and almost immediately he felt her kick, and then kick again. I was so glad he could finally feel her move too!

Adam's cousin, Bobby, and his wife Christina, just had a beautiful baby girl, and when we went to visit them this week, they gave us a fetal heart monitor that they had used. Though they said that they never actually heard her heart, but they heard her when she was moving around and when she had the hiccups. So we tried it out last night, since she was moving all over the place, but no luck. Hopefully the farther along we get, the more we'll be able to hear. I would be really excited to hear her heartbeat, since they seem to think she has an irregular heartbeat. But at the last ultrasound she was moving around all over the place and playing with her umbilical (after all it is her only toy in there!), so they couldn't seem to get more than a beat and a half.

Last week, I also got a phone call from Joan, the genetic counselor, and she told me about a website about heterotaxy. Apparently, the odds of a baby having it are 4 in 1 million (even more uncommon that the HLHS that we originally thought it was).

Sunday, January 3, 2010

4 New, Old Posts

I had written four different posts that I hadn't posted, because Adam and I hadn't shared the news with everyone yet.

At Thanksgiving, we told everyone we were pregnant, and at Christmas, we told everyone what is going on with our baby. Read these posts to find out more... then please keep our baby in your prayers!

The "Other" Part of the First Ultrasound 12-4-09
Trying to Figure it All Out 12-6-09
The "Other Part" of the Second Ultrasound 12-23-09
The Power of Prayer 12-26-09