Friday, December 28, 2007

Holding Steady

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas break. I can't believe it is almost 2008. Time is going so fast.

Our appointment went well on Thursday. Liviana looks great as usual. Her fluid level has not increased and has actually dropped from 25 to 22. The doctor said that was pretty much the same to him but to me it is huge. We had another non-stress test which seemed to be cut short because she is doing so wonderfully. I'm really not worried about her while I am carrying her (ok, maybe a little). It is after she is born that her fight begins.

She is so active. She always has her feet pushed up high and hard. I don't ever mind it though. I just don't have any pregnancy complaints. I am just as active as I was before and if not more sometimes. I'm waiting for the inevitable sign of obsessive cleaning that signals that she will soon arrive. The night before I had Miles I was standing on the couch vacuuming the ceiling fan. We are all on the lookout for similar signs.

I am now 35 weeks, which seems almost surreal. We are in the home stretch which is increasing my anxiety a little. I am practicing my Hypnobabies like I did with Miles (Thank you Susan!) which is helping with my anxiety. I have great trust in the doctors here and I am remaining 100% optimistic.

Brad starts his second job on the 1st managing properties and hopefully his regular job will pick up again after the first of the year. He is wrapping up his bathroom remodel which turned into a much bigger job after they started and decided they wanted to knock out walls and expand the bathroom all together.

I think that is all for now. We have our next appointment next Thursday so I will update more then. We switched our cell phones over to Nebraska numbers so I will be sending that out to everyone. I am also going to put together an e-mail list to notify everyone when the big moment arrives and I go into labor. Hopefully, that is about 4 weeks away but you never know.

Please keep Cadenne in your prayers. She underwent her surgery today so she needs extra thoughts and prayers right now. You can follow her story at the link to the right.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Fluid levels starting to rise

We must be at the hospital too much for appointments because yesterday morning the Valet parker who took our car, rather than asking for a name said, "Brad, right?".

Our appointment was just okay. I had been in the average/normal range for fluid 3 weeks ago but yesterday I was at 25. Normal is 5-25 so anything else above will be considered polyhydramnios. It was hard to hear. I had been so thrilled that we did not have the excess fluid, indicating her swallowing was not that compromised. We are lucky we have gotten this far with it staying normal and it may maintain rather than go up next week, we will just have to wait and see. If it continues to rise we will have to address it further. There are risks with severe poly including premature labor, cord prolapse and the baby having difficulty staying in the proper position.

Livvy was pretty quiet since I had not eaten for a couple of hours so Dr. L. opted to do a Non-Stress Test (NST) just to monitor her heartrate, my uterine contractions and her activity. She passed with flying colors which I knew she would. She was just resting. We won't necessarily have to do the NST each time if I can just remember to eat before our appointments.

Her estimated weight at 34 weeks, 1 day is 5lbs. 9oz. which is great. She is in the 62nd percentile. Dr. L. said that CDH babies weight estimates can sometimes estimate low because the abdomen, which comprises part of the estimate is not as large because the contents are in the chest cavity. I think she will end up being somewhere around 8lbs, which is great.

I talked to the doctor about the menstrual like cramps, going down into my upper thighs that I was having earlier this week. He said that because Livvy has moved down more that me carrying around Miles and doing other activity can cause alot of strain on my ligaments. I guess I will have to try to not carry the cuddle bug around as much and slow down on some daily activity. I also talked to him about Livvy being pretty quiet the last two days and he said that it is likely because I am not eating often enough. I need to be doing the 6-8 small meals a day which can be a challenge with Miles and Aria. They end up eating my food alot :)

I guess that is all for now. We are expecting snow again this weekend and still have the snow from 3 weeks ago on the ground. This is much different than Wichita. Mom is heading up this weekend and Tony and Crissi will join us on Sunday. Aria is looking forward to her "presents" and seeing Dooda and Tony and Crissi. Miles just likes the activity and attention.

I hope everyone is enjoying the impending holiday break. I have my next appt. next Thursday when I will be 35 weeks, 1 day.

Merry Christmas. Love, Amy and crew

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lots Going On.....

Our doctor's appointments on Friday went really well. Dr. D. the cardiologist gave Liviana an "A" on her heart. It grew appropriately since last time and is funtioning perfectly. He is not worried about it being an issue for her. Our perinatologist appointment immediately afterwards was pretty standard. He will do a weight estimate again next week since we will be 4 weeks since the last. She looks great as usual, cute and active. She has been head down for about 4 weeks now. She really enjoys simultaneously punching my pelvic bone and kicking my ribs which neither Miles or Aria did. She is her own unique little person.

We have been busy this weekend trying to get things ready. We went through all of Aria's old clothes and pulled out things for Livvy. Even though she will likely be a good, healthy size when she is born she will lose weight because of her surgery and having to be tube fed and medicated, among other things We will probably need to get some preemie clothes for her also. I know that they don't let us put clothes on her right away because of tubes,etc. but we wanted her to have her own little clothes as soon as she can.

Brad got a second job that he starts January 1st. He will be managing 21 properties for a realator here in town who has rentals. It will work out perfectly with his current job since he will be able to work around his appointments. Brad is also trying to find other work he can do right now. He found an ad on craigslist for a guy wanting to trade tiling his dining room for a brand new, in the box, Wii with five games. We would immediately sell the Wii and games since they are such a big deal right now for some reason. We also found someone on craigslist with a free bed and couch for our basement for people (mostly my mom) when they come visit at the holidays and after Livvy is born. I am also gathering up some of our things to sell since things seem to be moving on there right now.

We have an old dresser that a co-worker of Brad's gave us that we are going to get ready for Livvy and Miles room. We also need to get Liviana's name in letters like we had for Miles and Aria.

I have started packing my bag for the hospital just in case something happens earlier than expected. We also found a babysitter for the kids for our appointments and when I go into labor. That was a HUGE relief. The kids love her and hardly even notice we are leaving. I think it was harder on me than them.

I think that is all for now. It seems like we are so close to her arrival which is both exciting and scary. I have posted a picture from an Ultrasound she had at 24 weeks. She is so beautiful and reminds me so much of Aria in the picture.

I would recommend everyone checking out the some of the links I have provided to the right. They can give you an idea of what Livvy will be facing.

One more prayer request, Abigail was born on December 5th and lost her battle with CDH on December 12th. Keep her mother, Heather and rest of their family in your thoughts. They are from Junction City, KS. and Abigail was at Children's Mercy in Kansas City.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

She's Practicing Breathing!

Our appointment last week went really well. Brad stayed home with the kids that morning. While I would prefer to have him there with me in case there is something serious found it was rather peaceful being alone without the two kids running around in the small room.

I was able to see Liviana practice breathing. Her chest was moving up and down and it was a wonderful, wonderful sight to see. I could also see her stomach filling and emptying out which indicates her ability to swallow still. I still don't have any excess fluid which as I mentioned before is great. While I know that these little CDH angels are hard to predict, I have to think and have some research to back up the fact that her ability to still swallow can be a good predictor for her outcomes after birth. That said, there are many little ones that look great like Livvy in the womb but struggle once born. While I remain constantly optimistic I also have to balance that with the reality and seriousness of the situation and what we will be facing when he is born.

We were also able to see some lung tissue on ultrasound which is not the easiest to see. You could see the white area indicating the lung tissue on either side of her heart. It is great to be able to see that much lung on both sides since it is common that they often only have one developed partial lung. I hope that it is as positive as it looks on U/S when she is born.

The doctor brought up induction again which I am 110% opposed to in this situation, ESPECIALLY given Liviana's condition. Dr. L's reasoning is not one of medical necessity (which should be the only reason to induce) but rather convenience. I have been assured by the neonatologists and pediatric surgeons that they are available 24/7 no matter when I go into labor but my doctor still says he would rather control the arrival. I will not go into the statistics and risks associated with induction with everyone but given that Livvy already has a comprimised respiratory system it is not an option to me to do something unnecessary that has a high probablility of causing her additional respiratory distress. I did not go into that with Dr. L. at that visit because we have time and I wanted Brad there with me when we had the discussion.

So, I am 33 weeks tomorrow which is exciting and extremely terrifying. I don't know how I am supposed to feel. I have that excitement and anticipatory feeling I had with Aria and Miles but it is paired with fear for what Livvy is going to face, her pain and her survival. I will continue to deal with these emotions and hope that I can gain more peace as time approaches. I had Miles and Aria both in my 39th week and I think she will be around the same time, or a little earlier so we don't have much time at all. Eek!

Friday, the 14th we have our follow up appointment with the fetal cardiologist (another $1300) to check her heart. That appointment will be followed by another appointment with Dr. L. I will update as soon as I can.

Please keep the family of Isabella May Mason in you thoughts and prayers. She was born on November 29th and joined the other CDH angels in heaven on that same day.

Also, please keep Cadenne and her mom Tricia in your thoughts and prayers. She was born on December 6th and was subsequently placed on ECMO. She is fighting and showing signs of being a fiesty little girl. You can follow their story through my links at the right.

Amy