Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Today I am 36 weeks and 3 days. Getting closer all the time.

Yesterday, I had appointments with the cardiologist and the OB. Last week, the cardiologist said that she was calling the OB and telling him that she wanted a general u/s done, because she was seeing fluid starting to accumulate around Jethro's heart. So, I waited all week to hear from them. By Friday, nothing. So, I called the OB's office. Only, you don't get to talk to real people, you have to leave a message. I left a message, asking about an U/S and asking them to please get back to me because I had to make arrangements for child care. Nothing.

Yesterday morning, I'm on my way to Spokane, and I get a voice mail...from the OB's office, telling me that I needed to call the perinatalogist and talk with them because they would be doing the u/s. :-/ I am VERY frustrated at this point! I have felt like little more than a chart with this office, but now they are messing with the well-being of my baby ~ and that's just NOT okay!

The cardiologist was first. Mike took his lunch, and met me there. They were running behind, so he had to head back to work before I even got called back. While waiting for my appt., I called the perinatalogist's office to set up an appt. with them. Thursday was as early as they could get me in. After waiting for an hour (really glad I thought to bring a book with me yesterday! Wish I would have brought Ezra's quilt.), I finally got called back. They did another u/s on Jethro's heart. Nothing has really changed, except that the amount of fluid around his heart has doubled in a week. It's still not a large amount of fluid, but it's doubling. The concern is he might be starting to go into congestive heart failure. He is getting old enough gestationally, that it would be safe to deliver him if we need to.

By the time I got to the OBs office, I was fairly angry. I had talked to Mike after the cardiologist appt., and told him that I was going to 'jump' the OB about how things were going. Please don't misunderstand. The OB is a pleasant sort of fellow, and I'm sure he's probably very competent, however, he doesn't really listen to me, and I just don't have the confidence that what is truly best for my baby and me is his top priority. I'm sure some of this comes from what I am used to ~ which is excellent midwifery care. :-) I told my SIL the other day that if anything, having a high-risk pregnancy has made me even more pro-homebirth. Obviously, there are times when for medical reasons, Mama or Baby need to be in a hospital for labor and delivery ~ but if everything is normal, home with a competent midwife is the place to be!

Anyway, as I waited for the OB, I just prayed. I asked God to help me to not be angry, to be able to articulate my thoughts well, to be heard, etc., because I also know that I need to have a working relationship with this dr. I had just finished praying when he came in. I told Mike, it was like he knew he needed to be on offense. :-) He wanted to know if I had had an u/s done. I told him, "No. No one told me that I needed to make the appt., and when I called to ask about it Friday, no one got back to me until this morning." He said that they should have taken care of it...it shouldn't have been up to me, etc., He wanted to know if we are willing to do an induction if it looks like Jethro is not doing well. I told him that we were talking and praying about it, and that I am more than willing to take on the added risk to myself (being a VBAC, induction isn't the best of scenarios, being linked to higher uterine rupture rates), but I was concerned about an induced labor being a lot harder on the baby.

We had a pretty good discussion, and he said that he would call over to the perinatalogist and see if they could get me in then. So, he did that, and they were. Off I went to Deaconess. Jethro looks great! Other than his heart. But, there is no fluid accumulating anywhere else in his body at this point. I have plenty of amniotic fluid, he is active (and head down!), and the perinatalogist was very pleased with how he looked.

Next week I'll have appts with all 3 drs.

The main prayer request this week, besides for healing, would be that overall, Jethro continues to look good and do well in-utero. The longer he can "cook", the better. The more developed his lungs will be and the better his chances after he's born.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Not the News We Were Hoping/Praying For

Yesterday we met with both the OB and the Cardiologist. I am now just about 4 1/2 weeks away from delivery. So, from this point on we will be going in every week.

We didn't have a lot of time at the Cardiologist's office because Mike had some mandatory training yesterday afternoon, but they did an u/s of Jethro's heart, and the Cardiologist told us that she is seeing some fluid beginning to accumulate around his heart. This was not there a month ago when we had the last u/s done. She wanted to know if the OB was keeping an eye on the rest of his growth, etc., with u/s and we told her, "no". It has been about a month and a half since our last general u/s.

The concern with the fluid starting to build around his heart, is that there is also fluid build-up in other areas of his body, so next week when we go back, we'll have 2 u/s. A general one to check up on how he's doing overall, and another heart u/s to see what is happening with his little heart.

She was encouraged that there is blood flow going through the Pulmonary Valve ~ even though it's going the wrong way. The hope is that once he's born and the lung tissue is relaxed then that lower chamber will be able to pump effectively enough for the blood to go the correct way. She also said that she is seeing lung tissue which is a good sign ~ often babies with Ebstein's because of the enlargement of the upper chamber of the heart, their lungs don't develop properly. (REALLY badly structured sentence!! Sorry!)

Ultimately what it all comes down to is that if it looks like he is beginning to not do very well, we'll have to evaluate whether or not to take on the increased risk of rupture and induce for early delivery or whether he might need to be born via c-sec.

It would also appear that the little stinker was transverse yesterday...the u/s tech couldn't say for sure because she is just used to looking at the heart, but I was pretty sure he had changed position, and it did feel like he was lying sideways. :-/

Here are our prayer requests for this week:
  • Wisdom. There are so many variables. The Drs. would all like for us to be in Spokane for a week to 10 days before the delivery. The fact that we live an hour out has them all very nervous. I feel the need to be at home for the other children until Jethro is born. The little ones especially, need some level of normalcy for as long as I can provide it.
  • That the fluid around Jethro's heart would disappear.
  • That his overall health would be good and obvious with the u/s next week.
  • For a natural delivery. My c-sec was one of the most horrific experiences in my life, and I have no desire to repeat it. If anything, having had one has made me even more scared of having one that when it was a complete unknown.
  • That Jethro would be a good baby and turn head down once again.
  • For God's will. This is truly the desire of our hearts ~ even knowing that it could be deep, difficult waters to get through. Please also pray that we would have the faith, grace and strength to keep our eyes on our Heavenly Father whatever His will is. Our desire is to glorify Him, no matter the path He places our feet upon.
I wanted to close this with a praise. Mike has been at his new job for a little over 2 weeks. It was beginning to get a little discouraging for him, because he hadn't had any sales. Over the weekend, he sold 3 1/2 rigs! The 1/2 is he made initial contact and then another salesman closed the deal ~ but he still makes some commission off of it. I thank God for a husband who always gets out and does his best. He is such a blessing to me. He was able to take yesterday off and be at the dr appts with me, and he reminded me that even if he doesn't say much, he has my six. :-)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Finding a Balance

This walking in faith is not an easy thing to do. Well, there are days. :-) I have found myself struggling over the last month or so, and being frustrated with myself for not handling things better. The big things; like Jethro's heart. I can hand that over to God pretty easily because I obviously have no control over it. Don't misunderstand... I desperately want his heart to be whole, and I want a well baby ~ I want to nurse him and snuggle and do all those sweet things you do with a newborn ~ and although I do spend a fair amount of time in prayer about his heart, I don't really fret about his heart...because there is nothing I can do.

But when it comes to the smaller things ~ there I have trouble just letting go. I tend to fret and stew and get upset, instead of just laying those burdens down at my Father's feet. And then I get upset with myself, because I should know better. :-/

I have had days here and there when I have just basically been a puddle. And I have had to remind myself that while God does expect us to lay our burdens down at His feet, and to keep our eyes on Him; He does not expect us to deny or cover up our emotions. It is okay to feel and to work through all these things. It is okay to grieve the fact that Jethro will not be well. It is okay to grieve that we live in a sin-filled world and that means that what is best (to our human way of thinking) may not be. It is okay to let my Father know that my heart aches...and I am afraid. Afraid of all the unknowns, and afraid of some of what we do know. And that I am terrified of the possibility of burying another son. I pray fervently that God does not ask us to walk through that dark valley again.

The key is to work through these emotions. To not stop and get bogged down in them. To ultimately come to a place where I can truly say, "Not my will, but Thine." And I'm there most of the time.

I'm starting to listen to a short sermon series (3 sermons) by Mark Driscoll, called, "Pray like Jesus". It is so good. And what a wonderful reminder that God is our Daddy, and we can bring anything to Him. We don't have to hold anything back, because He already knows it all anyway. Yet, in bringing it to Him, we are inviting Him in, and actively asking Him to engage with us. I was also reminded that Jesus was brutally honest with His Father about what He was feeling, as He looked toward the cross. And ultimately asked that He be given the strength to face it all well ~ glorifying His Father as He did so.

And so, I am encouraged. To feel, to be honest, and to trust. My prayer is that Jethro will be healed, but should that not be the will of my Father; then my prayer is that He will carry us, enabling us to walk this path in a way that glorifies Him to all we come in contact with.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Sign for Jethro...or you....

One of my favorite blogs to visit is the Nesting Place . The Nester is all about making our homes beautiful, without worrying if it's perfect. And she likes cheap! :-D She "shops the house" a lot to come up with just what she needs. And let's face it, shopping the house, is much, much cheaper than shopping anywhere else.

Today when I went to check out her latest post, she was sharing about Dayspring's new product. Customizable signs. You can go to the Dayspring-Danielson site and play around. You pick the product you like, and then you can put your own information in, hit the "update" button, and wah-lah! There is the product you have created. The sign at the top of this post is one I created on the site. I'm hoping to win a gift certificate from the Nester, so that I can order it. But, if I don't, I'll probably talk to Daddy about ordering it for Jethro anyway. I just love the verse I found in Jeremiah to put on it.

"Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed, save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise." Jeremiah 17:14

Anyway, if you're looking for a unique decorating idea or a wonderful gift, go check it out!

As an aside, we have a cardiologist appointment on Tuesday, so I'll update on Jethro then.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Few Facts about Congenital Heart Defects

Here are just a few facts about Congenital Heart Defects. Some of them I found to be shocking and downright scandalous. This is the #1 birth defect, and yet, the American Heart Association only spends .01 on pediatric cardiology research, and the government only spends a fraction of a penny??? Aren't our children more important than that??

  • Congenital Heart Defects are the #1 birth defect
  • Nearly twice as many children die from Congenital Heart Defects in the United States each year as from all forms of childhood cancers combined, yet funding for pediatric cancer research is five times higher than funding for CHD
  • The American Heart Association directs only $0.30 of every dollar donated toward research. The remainder goes toward administration, education and fundraising efforts. Of the $0.30 that goes toward research only $0.01 goes toward pediatric cardiology for CHD.
  • This year approximately 4,000 babies will not live to see their first birthday because of Congenital Heart Defects.
  • Of every dollar the government spends on medical funding only a fraction of a penny is directed toward Congenital Heart Defect research.

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