Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hanging out at the Hotel

Well, Rick and I are taking it pretty easy here in Maryland and spending a lot of time at the Hotel...aka: home. We go twice weekly for NST (non-stress tests) which is where they lay me on a bed and strap on 2 devices: one measures the baby's heartbeat and movements, and one measures any contractions I may be having. He's passed all his tests so far, which means that he's 1) moving around, and 2) when he moves, his heart rate goes up and then back down when he's still. They measured my fluid levels today and I'm at 9cm. What I mean by this is my amniotic fluid- gastro babies tend to have lower fluid levels because the exposed intestines soak it up (which in turn irritates the intestines). It's bad if my levels are at 5 or below, so there's no concern in that department right now. If I were at a 5 or less, they may hook me up to IV fluids, put me on bedrest, or induce labor. It all depends on all the different variables at the time. I have my next OB and ultrasound appointments the first week of February where they'll check the growth of the baby and see if the intestines are dialated, which would be bad. I tried to get a sooner appointment but the Dr. insisted that she needed the 3 weeks (in between appt times) to check for growth, so I'll just have to deal.
I'll keep you posted if anything new comes about!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ultrasound photos

Playing Catch Up

My husband Rick and I decided to buy a 3-D Ultrasound to be able to get some good pictures of our baby boy, and hopefully see what he looked like. I made an appointment for when I was 31 weeks pregnant and we went in to get it. We were really excited about being about to see his little face, but the Doctor couldn't get a good view of it. Something was up in front of his face along with his umbilical cord, so the Doctor started looking into what it might be. He measured the baby's head, legs, and stomach and found that his stomach size was 2 weeks behind the other parts of his body. This led the Doctor to believe that our baby has Gastroschisis, which means his intestines are growing outside of his body. This explains why his little tummy was measuring 2 weeks smaller- there's no reason for it to grow at a normal rate when everything isn't in there forcing growth. The Doctor gave us a referral to a specialist in the area (we lived in Germany, stationed at Ramstein AB) and we went right away to the ER at our military hospital. We soon had appointments with our military Doctors and German Doctors and quickly found that the initial diagnosis was correct. Now it was time to take action. Seeing as I was already 31 weeks and Gastroschisis babies tend to deliver early, we needed to act fast. The military Doctors met with us and informed us that we'd get the best treatment back in the United States. Three days after meeting with the high risk Doctor on base, we were on a plane flying to Washington D.C. to be treated at Bethesda Naval Hospital; one of the best hospitals in the Country. Everything happened so fast, but now that we're here we feel confidant in the decision to send us here. The Doctors and Nurses are all very helpful and seem to really know the facts on Gastroschisis and what's best for us. Right now we live out of a hotel here on Temporary Orders, waiting for the military to cut orders giving us permission to move here. At that point, we can have our car and household items shipped here, and find a home for us here.

Now in D.C.- 15Jan09

We are now in D.C.
Alright everyone, a lot has happened in a very short amount of time. We met with the high risk Dr. on base in Germany and he set us up with the Doctors in D.C. for this friday (tomorrow). When he did that, we got the paperwork in order for us to fly out of Germany and back to the States. We had 3 days to get all of our affairs in order for us to move accross te ocean... needless to say we were beyond busy and very stressed, but we may have actually pulled it off! We couldn't have done it without the help from the doctors, a lot of people we work with, and friends of ours. We appointed a few people powers of attorney to be able to handle things that we couldn't do just yet, like sell our car and ship household goods. We have to wait for the military to cut PCS orders which will give us permission to move all our stuff here and find a house here. Until then we're living out of a hotel =(. We've got our dogs with us and they're excited to be in the States, too ;). I'll update you all more after we see the doctors here and know more!! Thanks for all your prayers and support, we couldnt do all this without you!

Update- 7Jan09

Gastroschisis Update
We went to the German hospital in Kaiserslautern (about 20 minutes from home) yesterday and the Dr. confirmed that our baby does, in fact, have Gastroschisis. She referred us to the bigger hospital in Mannheim (about an hour from here) to see their Dr's because that's where we would deliver. Right now we're still waiting to meet with the ONE high risk Dr. on base because he's on leave until Monday, so we're just seeing what the Germans plan for our situation and then will talk to the American Dr. to see what they would do. We have to decide if we want to be treated here with the Germans, or go back to the States for it all. That would entail us moving very quickly back over there (don't know where) and then getting treatment. I'm not sure how I feel about packing my whole house, selling a car, flying back over there, finding a house, getting settled in... all while I could deliver at any moment.... we're still weighing all our options. From what we've read, I will most likely have a c-section between 35-37 weeks, if I don't go into labor on my own before that, which is a great possiblility given that when the intestines get more inflamed in my uterus it sends a signal to the baby basically saying "Let's Go!". This is scary because at last weigh in yesterday he's only 2.4lbs, which is measuring 2 weeks behind in weight. This is common for having gastroschisis but still worrisome. He's nice and long though, measuring at about 16 inches which is right on track for 31 weeks!! =) So basically we have a long, very skinny baby... but hopefully I can get him to fatten up a bit =)... an excuse to hit up the ice cream cake?? I think yes. anyway, thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, and kind words. A big thanks to our families who are rallying behind us in support and making us feel so loved. We love you all and I will keep you all posted.

Prayers, please- 5Jan09

We found out today (I am 31 weeks) that our baby has Gastroschisis, which means his intestines are outside of his body. He's going to need surgery right after birth and will take weeks (or more) to recover enough to get out of NICU. There are quite a few complications that could arise, but everything could also go smoothly, so we're going to focus on the positive and stay optimistic. We just ask that you pass the word along for thoughts and prayers for our baby boy, and also for us and the extended family.
We appreciate all the support we've already gotten from family and friends.
Here's a picture of our beautiful little boy- the only clear-ish one we got... on the right side of his face you can see the intestines up covering his one eye. but he's still gorgeous =)
Here's a link for more information: