Verses to Remember

From birth I have relied on you; You brought me forth from my mother's womb. I will ever praise you.

Psalm 71:6

Thursday, April 28, 2011

It's baby time!! (updates & details)

It is almost time to meet our sweet Annabelle Grace!!
Jeff & I will be going to Legacy Emanuel tomorrow morning (Friday, April 29th!) at 8am to check in, which means a very early morning for us to fight the traffic, but I can't think of a better reason! :) The C-section delivery is scheduled for 10am, and from there it should only take about 15-20 minutes until we get to finally meet our precious girl! Then depending on how well she is doing, she will be able to stay with us in the OR for a little while as they continue the surgery, after which she will go into the R-Room with Jeff & the doctors to get assessed.

At that point Jeff will be able to go to the other door and bring in the grandmas, one at a time, so they can see Annie and spend a couple minutes with her. After that I will be taken thru the R-Room to see Annie on the way to recover in Labor & Delivery, and Annie & Jeff will go to the NICU where they will get her situated and continue to make sure she's doing everything she's supposed to. Annie should be all settled in the NICU by around 12 or so, around the same time I am moved to my postpartum room in the Family Birth Center (where I'll be staying until discharge).

My room will be on the 2nd floor, and the NICU is right across the main hallway. We are allowed to have visitors, but we are limited in the number of people who can visit the NICU at a time, so please call ahead before coming. You can reach us either through the hospital switchboard or on Jeff's cell phone 503.764.8776. Friday will be quite a hectic day so we are asking only immediate family to visit then, but Sunday & even Saturday should be fine for short visits from others. After that I will be doing much better & Annie will be able to handle more stimulation & interaction, so early in the week would be the best time to visit for longer than a few minutes.
I will be staying in the hospital until Monday or Tuesday, recovering from the C-section (and bedrest!) and we expect Annie will be coming home sometime between that Friday to the following Friday. We are planning to be there each day that she is there, but the timing might vary, so to visit please check when we'll be there. There is a slight chance she might be doing so well that she gets released before the 1 week point, but most likely it will be between 1 & 2 weeks after she's born. She will be 6 weeks early, born at 34 weeks exactly, and itt is truly amazing that we were able to keep her growing this long! Because we made it this far as well as received the steroids to help her development, we don't expect Annie to have any long term health issues or complications due to her prematurity! God is SO good!

The main issues we expect her to be working on in the NICU are maintaining her body temperature and mastering the suck/swallow/breathe reflex that will allow her to take her feedings by mouth (either by breast or bottle, called nippling her feeds, as opposed to being fed thru IV or a gavage tube in her tummy). Once she is able to take all of her feeds by mouth and is taking in enough calories to gain weight, we'll be able to bring her home!
If you are wanting to help out with meals or things, we would certainly appreciate it! Being on bedrest does not allow for a lot of preparation, and we will be spending most of our time at the hospital even after I am discharged. Because we won't have a lot of time to thaw things out or cook, at least until we bring Annie home (and probably not for a while after that!), sandwich & salad making, picnic type food would probably be the best.

Jeff will be home by himself for the first 4-5 nights, and then I'll be home in the evenings and at the hospital during the day, so things that are easy to pack would be best- Roast beef or ham for sandwiches, rolls or soft bread, potato salad, fruit salad. Small containers of soup would be easy to take along to the hospital or eat in the evenings. Snacky food like cheese/crackers would be easy for Jeff. I have been loving baked goods lately :) so any sort of muffins, oatmeal cookies, brownies (Jeff loves rice krispy treats!) would be wonderful!

The thing that would be the most helpful of all, of course, would be if you could continue to be praying for our little girl! Specifically that the delivery will go well with no surprises (we've had enough of those with this pregnancy!), that she will be breathing on her own & showing good reflexes and signs of sucking/swallowing. We expect her to be over 4lbs, but the bigger the better, and we're praying she doesn't lose too much of her body weight over the first week. Being a good feeder & able to gain weight is what will dictate her hospital stay, so please be praying for good indications all around!

I'd also appreciate your prayers that I can recover quickly so that I am able to spend as much time as possible with Annie in the early days after her birth, and that nursing and pumping will go smoothly for me as well. Our biggest goal is that Annie gain weight so if we need to supplement her with something other than my milk we will, but I would love to be able to provide what she needs.

Because I know I do not have everyone's email or phone numbers, please feel free to forward this to anyone who would be interested. We will try to update everyone as quickly as possible once our darling girl is here, but if you have questions please contact either Jeff or the two grandmas, since I will be recovering as well. We hope to post pictures on facebook first, and then on my blog within the first few days.

God is so good! He has been faithful throughout this entire pregnancy, every time the doctors brought up a new problem he healed our Annie and kept her growing! I feel so blessed that he has protected our daughter, and that we can trust him to continue taking care of her once we are finally able to hold her in our arms. God truly deserves all the glory for Annie's health & recovery, and because of him we are now preparing to meet our daughter in less than 24 hours! Thank you, Lord!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Almost to 27 weeks.... & a NEW little cousin!!

Today we hit 26 weeks, 6 days.
(By the way I don't know what is up with the formatting, no matter how many spaces I put between paragraphs, blogger is apparently deleting them... I apologize & thank you for reading!)
That is so close to 27wks (tomorrow for those of you who don't like math) that it's making me quite excited. Of course we'd love to keep Annie inside for 3-5 weeks past the 27wk mark, but once we officially hit 27 we not only will be past the worst of the statistics for viability and long term difficulties, we will finally get to find out how she's doing in there! We'll get to see how much she's grown over the last 3 & 1/2weeks, and we'll be able to assess her umbilical blood flow to see if her AEDF has stayed the same (intermittent) or has progressed, and if so how much. I can't believe we're almost there!
3 weeks ago when I was sitting on the exam table and the doctor told us that his recommendation was to go home, rest as much as possible and then come back in 3 weeks to check our little girl; I had no idea how I was going to make it through 3 long weeks without knowing anything about how she was doing, if she was getting the blood & oxygen she needed, or if she was growing. 27 weeks seemed like this huge goal, almost unreachable when we hadn't even hit 24, but God is good and we are almost there! And not only did we make it, but God was good enough to give us one big dose of reassurance by starting to feel our Annie move.
When we first got the news that there was a major problem with her blood flow, I was only showing if I really tried, :) and I had not yet felt a flutter. (This was due to her being small for her age as well as having an anterior placenta, which basically buffers the movement until she's bigger.) Being told that our little girl was at risk of needing to be born months early, and that the best option was just to wait & check her again was really difficult. We agreed to follow his advice, with no way of knowing if she would even survive the 3 weeks. The doctor's best estimation was that her complications wouldn't progress that quickly, but there were no guarantees. We pretty much went home in shock.
Over that weekend I began feeling a little odd fluttering while lying in bed on my side. I wasn't quite sure what I was feeling, but on that Monday it was like Annie decided (or God did, more likely!) to remove any doubt and make it very clear that what I was feeling was HER. She started kicking and not only did I recognize exactly what it was, but it was so strong that Jeff was able to feel it as well. I cannot tell you how reassured we were by that. Not only did it mean she was stronger and bigger than she'd been the previous week, but also that we'd have some way to know how she was doing over the next 3 weeks.
While we still don't know how much she's grown or the exact status of her AEDF, we are going into this appointment tomorrow with the knowledge that our little girl is at least big enough and strong enough to make her presence known several times a day (and sometimes all night, not that you'll find me complaining!). We know that while the news might not be as good as we are hoping for, we also will not be getting the news every parent dreads to hear, that our little girl didn't make it. Because if these jabs in my ribs and tickling on my side tell me anything, it's that our little girl IS making it! She's a fighter. And we thank God every minute of every day for that!
What happens next is very hard to predict. There are several different possible outcomes based on Annie's status, size, and many other factors. The most likely of options are: a) that I will be hospitalized to allow the doctors to monitor us both on a more constant and consistent basis, with the goal to delay delivery as long as her health holds out, b) that I will be hospitalized due to a worsening of Annie's blood flow problems, and that she will be monitored while I receive shots of corticosteriods to prepare her for early delivery, and c) that Annie's situation will be stable enough to allow me to continue with home bedrest, along with follow-up clinic visits to monitor her once or twice weekly.
We, of course, are praying for the third option, because it means Annie is doing well despite her condition, and would allow her more time to grow & develop before we move toward delivery. Whatever happens, however, we are confident that God is preparing her even now for what is going to occur, as well as giving her doctors and us the wisdom to make the best decisions. If she does need to be delivered within the next week or two, she would have over an 80% chance of surviving, with good long term odds for normalcy. It would mean a long NICU stay, most likely months, but most babies born between 27 &29 weeks do very well. If I am able to receive the full 48 hours of steroids prior to her delivery, that would increase her odds & help to significantly decrease the amount of time she will need to be in the NICU.
It's amazing, but even with the possibility still there of her needing to be delivered soon, Jeff and I both are feeling pretty good about this appointment. We are anxious to see our little girl again, but we are much less stressed than we expected to be. We trust our doctor to know the best route to take, and to give us all the information we need to make our decisions. And we know, of course, that the One truly in charge of the outcome never makes mistakes!
Now on to the other news :) Our little Annie isn't the only baby with a surprise or two up their tiny sleeves! My brother Chris & his wife Lisa were expecting their third little one, and because they live quite a ways from any hospital (over an hour in any direction!) and their first two came early (one in the ambulance!), they decided to schedule an induction almost a week before his actual due date, just to be safe. Well, apparently someone forgot to tell the baby that his arrival was scheduled, because at midnight exactly one week before the scheduled birth, my sister-in-law Lisa's water broke. Thankfully they were able to get to the hospital by 2 and their little man made his appearance shortly after 4 am.

Introducing Ezra Brian Fisher!
Welcome to the world, little Ezra!
And apparently Annie was anxious to come out and play with her newest cousin,
because the day he arrived was her most active day yet! I don't blame her,
this little sweetie is just too adorable to not want to cuddle & play with!
And while Annie will get to play with you soon, little Ezra,
we're all praying that it won't be too soon!