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!