Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Look How Far We've Come!

This one is a quick (yet long) update on Landon... I wrote it somewhat quickly, so it may not be up to par but I have felt so bad for not having posted the past few weeks.  Clearly, it has been a rollercoaster, but here is what is going on with Landon!

There is something to be said about the NICU... it's not as treacherous as one might think. Upon entering the room, it appears cold and clinical with concrete tiled floors, so many machines beeping, wires hanging from what seems every crevice of the room, including the babies, nurses quietly attending to newborns, squirming babies lying in large plastic covered bassinets.  As I make my way to Landon who is stationed on the opposite end of the room, tucked away in his own little corner, I pass by all the babies in their open bassinets and incubators.  Some parents are there regularly, some are not, some are new to the NICU which is made known by the hospital gown that still adorns mommy, some have been there for quite some time now, some come alone and some come with support.  The one thing we have in common... our babies are in distress and are giving every bit of energy they have to fight for their health.

I spent 22 days going back and forth between home and the hospital to spend time with Landon.  My day consisted of jumping up out of bed, pumping for milk supply, getting Merrick ready for school, dropping him off and racing to the hospital to be there for Landon's 9 am feeding.  My mom and I would spend several hours there throughout the day, go to lunch and return for additional feedings throughout the day.  During this time, we met with the drs., chatted with the nurses, asked tons of questions, held Landon, listened to the stories of other moms and their babies.  At the end of the day, we raced to pick up Merrick and do the best I could to spend the limited quality time I had with him, eat dinner, pump some more milk,  put him to bed, and rush back up there with Patrick as soon as his feet hit the front door for Landon's 9pm feeding. I did the best I could to create that bond that takes place during the crucial first few weeks and maintain the healthy bond with Merrick while he was also adjusting to our new life with another baby.

We were discharged from the NICU on April 8th.  We were so nervous about bringing this little guy home.  How were we going to handle him when he was so small?  As much as we hated them, we jokingly asked if we could take all those monitors with us so we could be sure he was fine 24 hours a day.  I mean he had already battled a staph infection and thankfully he was in the presence of medical help to treat him.  As we prepared for his departure, I found it to be bitter sweet.  I was full of tears the night before when I told our night nurses goodbye and held back a few tears as we told the day nurses good bye the following day.  The most heart wrenching goodbye was saying goodbye to one of the drs. that worked with Landon the majority of the time she was there.  She stopped by to say good bye to him and to tell us how amazed she is by his story and outcome.  She went over a few things with us and seemed to still be in shock there was actually nothing wrong with Landon.

We left the hospital with our two boys in tow.  Merrick has been a fantastic big brother so far.  He brings Landon his hat, paci, and loves to look at his feet and hands and giggle.  I think he is also marveling at his size.

The Monday after he came home, I found a small lump on his lower abdomen and immediately called the dr.  We were walking in to an emergency appointment within 13 minutes from the time I picked up the phone.  After examining him, our pediatrician referred us to a pediatric surgeon to assess the severity of his hernia which we would soon find out that it was a double hernia.  We are not sure how he acquired this, but it could have possibly been while his had the belly distention and was trying to pass the meconium plugs.  The pediatric surgeon scheduled Landon for an outpatient surgery this past Monday.  We were hopeful this would change things since Landon had been extremely fussy over the weekend and lasted into the week in which he had fits of inconsolable crying.  We were certain something wasn't right - finding the hernias made total sense as to why he seemed so unhappy.

This type of surgery is very routine.  To be honest, I wasn't worried about the surgery itself, but the fact that he would have to be put under for it and the fact that he could not eat after 2 am.  We arrived at teh hospital at 5:30 am for his 7:30 am surgery.  He was out in an hour and spent 2 hours in recovery.  We are so happy to say that we have a BRAND NEW BABY!  He seems so much happier and comfortable than before.  He is alert and rarely cries, except for the occasional demand for his food and diaper change.  He has gained 1/2 pound in a week and our pediatrician is thrilled - this puts him at 5 lbs. 10 oz!  Now, our goal is to get to 6!

I think we have traveled all the hurdles/mountains we could possibly climb.  He is still being closely monitored as he is anemic and his bilirubin seems to be higher than when we left the NICU.  Next week, he has a follow up with the cardiologist for some questionable things that came up on his ecocardiogram that he had after birth.  We are hoping that these things will have corrected themselves.

Right now, we are taking things one day at a time, step by step and praying things continue to remain positive for our little Landon.

I will do my best to post next week about the cardiologist visit.  I'm off to feed a hungry, growing baby!


Monday, March 21, 2011

One Day at a Time

 Hello!  So much to share - I've been taking notes each day regarding the progress of Landon since his arrival.  Here goes...

Landon's Progess in NICU

Thursday, March 17th

As I previously mentioned, Landon would be going straight to NICU (Neonatology Intensive Care Unit) for an undetermined amount of time once he was born.  I was not able to talk to the dr. or see Landon for over 24 hours which was extremely tough for a new mother.  Patrick, my mom, step mom, and friends were able to see him, but his own mommy was not able to provide him the comfort that I'm sure he was seeking - my smell, my voice, my warmth, my nutrition, and my love.  I wanted to know what he looked like, what color his hair adorned his little head, did he really have my nose, and most importantly, how tiny was he really.  Upon arrival to NICU, he was placed on minimal assisted breathing, however he was breathing mostly on his own.  This was for precaution only.  For his first day of life, he was doing fantastic!  They did not feed him yet because they needed to be sure he was stable.

Friday, March 18th

I was FINALLY able to see Landon and hold him.  Oh, what a feeling!  I was able to hold him three times throughout the day and they were each such special moments.  I was not allowed to hold him for too long because they had begun the phototherapy treatment which is common for newborns.  Also, I was still in some pain and did not want to over do it.  Landon's bilirubin is high, therefore causing jaundice, therefore the reason for the phototherapy treatment.  They were still not able to feed him because he was yet to have a bowel movement and his tummy was becoming distended (swelling from pressure).  For those of you who have had children, know the excitement parents have when your baby has his/her first dirty diaper.  It means a healthy system and all systems are a go!  With Landon not having had a bowel movement, this brought concern to the the medical team.  The distending stomach, which was measuring 30 cm in circumference, could be caused by a few circumstances.  The first possibility is due to the lack of fluid he had in the womb in December.  The fluid helps move things along and practice the digestive process in a baby. The meconium (initial baby stools) may have become more sticky and less fluid, therefore sticking to the walls of the intestines.  The other possibility could be an obstruction somewhere in the digestive system. At this time (Friday), they were not sure which was the cause and they will continue to monitor via x-rays, measuring the belly to see if it decreases, and will make attempts to get him to pass the meconium (enemas).  In the meantime, he would receive his nutrients intravenously.  They did insert a tube down his mouth to help suck out any gases, digestive juices, or fluid that might be stuck in his belly.

The best part of the day was when Patrick and I went together for the first time to visit Landon as a family.  The nurse allowed me to hold him skin to skin for about 30 minutes.   I, of course, spent the first 5 minutes in tears, but once I gathered myself we talked to him, sang to him, and just stared at him.   He was so alert, peaceful, and content.  It was the best moment ever!

Saturday, March 19th

We got to see Landon several times today, however not for any long period of time because he was under the phototherapy lights and it is important to keep them there as much as possible.  We did receive great news and that was a successful 'poopy' diaper.  We like to think this was due to the power of skin to skin with me the night before.  He also continued to have dirty diapers throughout the day.  This was great news, however, his belly was still not going down in size.  Another reason for not allowing us to hold him for long was because he had a very busy morning.  It appears Landon's fighting spirit lives on outside the womb!   He hates the cords, wires, and tubes and continuously tried and was eventually successful in ripping the cords out of his nose along with his IV.  Eventually, they had to replace the IV in his foot to keep him away from it.  The nurses say they like a baby that fights the equipment and one that cries at the top of his lungs because that means he's a fighting baby.  It's the ones that are quiet that are worrisome.  One of the nurses who heard our story from the neonatologist said she had been calling him, "My Little Warrior."  I smiled and said, well did you happen to know that his middle name is Wyatt and it actually means fighter/warrior.  She got chills!  I smiled!

Later that night, I walked (yes, I was walking successfully on my own!) to take my pumped milk to the nurses who are storing it for when he is able to finally begin eating.  The nurse that was caring for him that evening asked if I would like to change his diaper.  I said yes, but let me call my husband.  Patrick came rushing over from the room and we changed his diaper, took his temperature, and she let us hold him again for some skin to skin contact.

It is amazing to me how I feel like a brand new parent all over again.  He is so tiny and I am so timid changing a diaper, moving him, taking his temperature.  I'm terrified I might break him.  She also let us help weigh him which was down to 3 lbs. 14.2 oz.  This is normal for a baby to lose weight in the hospital because they lose fluid they acquired from the womb, however seeing the number 3, just made me terrified me even more.  Funny thing is that the nurses consider him one of the bigger babies!  THAT is amazing!  For precautionary reasons, he was placed on antibiotics to be sure he doesn't catch anything.  The nurses continuously speak about how amazing he looks and how stable he is under his circumstance.  Also, the belly had gone down to a 29 -great sign!  We are not out of the woods yet, but it was a sign of progress.

Merrick met his little brother today.  When he walked in and saw Landon in his covered bed, sleeping, he said, "Night, Night... shhhhh!" and placed his finger over his mouth.  He also said, "Baby."  We did not keep him for long because we did not want to make too much noise in the room.  Merrick seemed happy about his brother, but I think he was far more happy about the hospital ice and the construction he was able to see going on outside.

Sunday, March 20th

I got to hold Landon again today.  He was very fussy and kept trying to pull out the cords again.  When I walked in in the room, he was getting his x-ray to check his belly again.  His distention size had gone down to a 28.  I'm not sure how far down it has to go, but was told it is based on his height.  He was still passing meconium successfully and also remains under the phototherapy lights.  He did not lose anymore weight, but actually gained a few tenths of an oz.

The best news of the day is that Landon was taken off oxygen assistance and is completely breathing on his own!!!  He was also moved up to the 5th floor which is where the more stabilized babies are placed.  The nurses say this is where the big boys go.  He still has the tube placed down his mouth that is trying to suck out any gases, digestive fluids that may be building up and causing the distention.

Monday, March 21st

The title of my blog post today says it all... We must take it one day at at time.  I have heard from other mothers that the stay in NICU is a roller coaster and there are good days and bad days.  Each day is something new and somedays will be harder than others and some days will be full of joy.

I had to leave Landon today at the hospital as I was discharged.  It was very hard to leave him behind, even though I knew we would be facing this, it just felt so empty as I loaded up into the car.  Weren't they supposed to be checking my car seat, telling me congratulations, and sending us on our way?  Instead, I would be right back there in a mere hour and a half to drop off my milk and check in on him.

Once I got home, ate lunch, and rested, I received a phone call from one of the neonatologists.  She indicated that the distention was not moving and this was a cause for concern.  Also, he was having less bowel movements.  So, she has decided they will run another x-ray in the morning and based on that, they will decide the next step.  The next step is to do a contrast x-ray to see if there is an obstruction in the digestion system.  They will have to place an enema that has a dye in it to see more closely how things are passing through.

I was able to hold him for quite a bit of time twice today.  He was fussy, but eventually fell asleep in my arms, so peacefully. I sing to him a song that I sing to Merrick and always offer him my finger to hold which he grabs so tightly.

Our plan is to visit Landon each night when Patrick gets home from work, so he has a chance to see him.  We went there tonight and he was quietly sleeping.  We wanted to hold him, but he has a big day tomorrow and we want to be sure he is fully rested for it.  He is taking a pacifier very well which makes me happy that he will hopefully do OK with sucking once he can begin feeding.  We also learned from his nurse tonight that he is now up to 3 lbs. 15 oz., so he is almost back up to his birth weight.  I guess those IV fluids are filled with good stuff.  The nurse also said they are still waiting on tons of blood work, but that will be awhile since it is sent outside of the hospital.

That is all for now - I will post an update as soon as we hear news from the contrast X-ray.

Thank you tremendously for all the support!  He is truly one amazing little boy and we are blessed to have him in our lives!
First time holding Landon
Daddy holds Landon for the first time

Here I am!

Skin to skin time with mommy - so peaceful and content

Merrick meets baby brother, Landon
Under the phototherapy treatment lights

Landon Has Arrived!

Landon Wyatt's Birth Story

Landon Wyatt Franks arrived at 8:52 am on Thursday, March 17th, St. Patrick's Day!  It was a memorable experience and definitely one I will never forget.  The c-section was an experience within itself.  We woke up at 5:45 in the morning to begin our day.  Surprisingly, I slept very well the night before which I had not anticipated.  I had a plan for myself the day before....  Step 1: We would eat as late as possible since I could not eat after midnight and would likely not be eating for many hours after the surgery.  Little did I know it would actually be almost 24 hours before I would eat again!  Step 2:  As soon as I felt sleepy, I would hit the sack to be certain I would go straight to sleep, therefore derailing the train of irrational thoughts that I feared would take over that night.  Apparently, my plan worked well!  I felt great in the morning.

As we left the house, the nerves kicked in full force.  We only live about 10-15 minutes from the hospital and that trip seemed to be much faster than it had previously been for all those trips to my monitoring sessions.  We had received a gift the previous weekend at my surprise baby shower thrown by my very good friend, Natalie.  The gift was several St. Patrick's Day t-shirts for me, Patrick, my mom, Merrick, and even a little onesie for Landon.  What a great idea to bring some fun to the very anxious event.  The nurses were amused and thought it was a great idea since they, too, were decorated for the big day.  We headed to the preparation room and began the process to prepare for the surgery.  I'll spare the details, but will say that it was so very different than the experience of a natural delivery.  It felt very clinical and unnatural.  Some people say they love the idea of a c-section rather than natural, but I have to say that I was not totally sold on this procedure.  Having experience both now, I would take the natural any day!  And that's saying a lot considering how long it took me to deliver Merrick.  However, in the end, it was the absolute best decision for Landon and I'm 100% at peace with our decision.  As I laid on the table, after receiving the spinal block, I felt nauseous and thought I might hurl.  The anesthesiologist said this was normal and it would pass soon - sure enough as soon as Patrick came in to that very cold room, sat beside me, and grabbed my hand, I suddenly felt completely normal again.  At this point, however,  I began to feel the flood of butterflies in my tummy because I would soon learn the accuracy of the doctors' predictions about Landon's size, weight, and ability to thrive.

When my dr. finally got in there (that is the best way I can describe it, unfortunately), she suddenly stopped her conversation about music, American Idol, and whatever other random topics were being discussed between her partner, nurses, and the NICU team and said very loudly, "Oh my God!  Look at that cord!"  OK, now this is an interesting thing to do to a nosy woman like myself who really just wanted to rip down the curtain and check it out immediately.  She began to talk about how long it was and how coiled it was.  You will see from the pictures I posted that the cord actually looked like a telephone cord (for those of you who can actually remember what a phone cord looks like).  I'm still uncertain how normal this is, but she was mostly shocked by its length and did tell me the following day, that it was the longest cord she has ever seen.  Though we are still testing everything, she wonders if this might have been part of the problem with Landon in the womb (too long to get nutrients to him or maybe it was so long he was tangled at some point).  We will know more after all testing is complete, though.

As she pulls him out, he goes directly to the NICU team to begin assessing him in the room.  Patrick, poor guy, kept moving back and forth between me and Landon.  I'm not sure if he knew where he should be, but as the wonderful man that he is... tried to be at both places at once.  I was able to watch them clean him up, cut the cord, assess his viability.  I continuously called out to Patrick amidst my tears asking, "How much does he weigh?" until they finally laid him on the scale - 4 lbs. and 1.6 oz.  I cried even more because this was the weight I had guessed AND the minimum weight I wanted him to be if he was going to be this small.  My next question was how well had he measured on his Apgar score.  This scale measures his skin color, pulse, reflex, muscle tone, and breathing and ranges from 0-10.  Landon scored between an 8-9!  This was even more beautiful news to my ears.  My dr. was excited, as well.  I mean, in the end, she had also been on this journey with our family and was so happy to hear his weight and was thoroughly impressed with the outcome.

I only got to see Landon for about 30 seconds before they whisked him away to the NICU unit to begin assessing him further.  I had no idea it would be more than 24 hours before I would get to see him again. Patrick traveled with him and I was left alone in the room to wrap up the surgery.  I was then wheeled into the recovery room and waited for about 2 hours before being admitted into a room.  Again, it was an experience I will never forget!  Our child was truly a miracle and he was here and with us.  Initial signs all pointing in a very positive direction and we couldn't have been happier.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Exciting Days Ahead!

We had our final growth scan this past Monday to check on Landon's growth over the past three weeks!  He has started to decline again, so they have decided it is time to bring him into the world with in the next week.  I will be 37 weeks this coming Saturday which puts me at full term, so I'm OK with this decision and feel comfortable delivering him at this time.  I mean... we've are WAY further along than they EVER expected.

We decided we would go ahead with a c section because induction would be too much stress for Landon.  I went over 41 weeks with Merrick and it appears at this time, I am not even close to being ready for delivery.  Currently, the perinatologist predicts his weight to be about 3 lbs. 4 oz. (as of Monday), but this can be slightly off, so we are hoping for at least 4 pounds.  It's amazing to me that he could be about 1/3 or even 1/2 the size  of Merrick's size at birth.  I thought Merrick felt so small at almost 9 lbs., so Landon is going to feel so itty bitty.

He will be taken to NICU as soon as he is delivered and will be kept there until he begins to show signs of feeding, gaining weight, and ability to breathe on his own.  They will also be doing tons of testing on him to be sure there was nothing internally causing the growth restriction.  After delivery, my placenta will also be immediately taken to be biopsied and we will hopefully have more information in about two weeks.

We were able to choose the date of the c section and we decided on St. Patrick's Day!  We figured this would be only fitting!  We will most definitely keep you posted next week.  

Short post this week! 
As always thank you so very much for your support and prayers!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Still Holding On...

I apologize for not having written an update this week.  As you know, this little boy is full of surprises and once again, has kept us on our toes.  On Monday I attended my regular monitoring session at Labor and Delivery which determined the course of events for the remainder of the week. 

These monitoring sessions last about 30-45 minutes while I'm connected to bands that listen to the heartbeat, detect fetal movement and the heartbeat during that movement, in addition to, another band that follows any possible contractions that might be taking place.  I am not allowed to fall asleep during this session because I have to click a device that marks any fetal movement I feel.   It almost feels like a buzzer from a game show... I feel like there should be some loud, buzzing alarm with lights spinning every time I get to click that button, but unfortunately it is only a little black mark made on very long strip of paper that I have no idea how to read or understand. 

Now, the sound of the fetal heartbeat is a special one for an expectant mother, however it is also very loud and usually very fast and after hearing it so much for the past few months in total fear of what might happen, it begins to sound like a ticking time bomb.  So, here I am waiting and listening, trying to find things to occupy my time - playing solitaire on my phone, clicking channels on the TV, checking Facebook, and BabyCenter... thank goodness for smart phones or I may not make it through these sessions.  Through all of this, I still find myself getting antsy.  About 25 minutes into the session, I began to doze off - oops!  As soon as I drifted, I heard Landon's heart beat drop to a very slow, almost (what I felt) non-existent heart beat.  This jolted me around to view the screen and the next thing I see is the nurse running in to check on us.  The look on her face said it all.  I knew something wasn't right. 

It is very common for the heartbeat to fall off the monitor and it takes a little while to relocate it.  When this happens, you either can't hear it anymore or it becomes a very faint distance sound.  This was not the case.  It was a clear, slow thud that I knew indicated a deceleration.  I am usually able to reposition myself or the monitor to find him again.  However, this was different.  After checking the machine, the nurse quickly had me turn over and it dropped again.  She had me flip sides, and finally after a few seconds (felt like minutes) the heart beat picked back up again.  At this point, I was shaking with nerves.  You see, last week at the perinatologist office the prognosis looked far more promising than before, except that we did not know how often the decelerations had been happening and for how long.  IF these were occurring often and for long periods of time, he indicated that we may have more serious problems on our hands when Landon arrives.  Since no monitoring session had detected this since the time in Houston, I felt good about our new prognosis and moved forward.  This sudden setback was devastating! 

As I mentioned in a previous posting, after the monitoring session I head downstairs to get a biophysical ultrasound.  Things looked great (fluid, movement, etc.), except that the tech did not witness any fetal breathing.  She has 30 minutes to see this on the screen and if not, I fail the ultrasound.  This test is subjective and usually not indicative of major problems, had she been able to monitor longer, she may have been able to see what she needed to see.  However, in our case, with the combination of the decelerations and the failing ultrasound, I was pretty much a nervous wreck and it appeared to be enough of a concern for the nurse to contact my dr.  Not to mention, I was beginning to get hungry and my hands were shaking.  I asked the nurse if I could eat something and she said, "I'm sorry, but we are going to put you back on the monitor and I'll see what I can do, but I doubt you are going to be able to eat."  At this point, I feared we were likely headed toward an emergency c-section.  I called Patrick and he left work and headed straight to the hospital. I made a MERT alert (Marlo Emergency Response Team - ha ha - to begin putting into action the plans for Merrick, etc.)

I remained on the monitors for another hour to hour and a half and thankfully, there were no more decelerations.  The on-call doctor for our office was being kept abreast of our situation and would be by at some point to discuss what he would like to do.  Thankfully, it took some time for him to arrive and this left me with a very long monitoring that did not pick up any more decelerations.  So, I was allowed to go home and to see my regular OB the following day. 

I have to say that I am thankful for a very proactive OB and that she always errs on the side of caution, however sometimes it can throw us into a tailspin of fear and anxiety.  At our appointment on Tuesday morning, she did indicate that decelerations can happen, but as long as they are not consistent then usually they are nothing to be alarmed about.  However, in our situation, being a high risk pregnancy, she sees it as a concern that we should probably check out.  Her recommendation on Tuesday morning was to attend my regular session on Thursday as scheduled, however this time, I would remain there for 4 hours.  She said have a good breakfast at 6 am (giving my body enough fuel to last many hours and enough time to digest before I might have to have a c-section), pack a small bag, and be prepared that we may have a baby on Thursday IF they see anything out of the ordinary.  This made sense to us as Patrick has repeatedly asked the question, "How can they only see what they need to see in a 30/40 minute time span - shouldn't they watch him for longer periods of time?"  So, knowing that I would be monitored for such a long period of time, I knew we would know how things really looked. 

We spent all of Wednesday packing a hospital bag, preparing for the arrival of Landon, and mentally prepping myself for what was to come.  Let's just say that nesting from a couch is not fun, so needless to say Patrick and the housekeeper were not too thrilled throughout the day as I requested 'this to be cleaned' and 'that to be moved.'  I headed to bed early Wednesday night, woke up at 5:30 am and headed to eat a breakfast that consisted of a Belgium waffle, eggs, and sausage.  Surely, this would keep me full for the upcoming hours.  At 10:00, I headed into the hospital and began the session.  This time equipped with a book, magazines, and my favorite device, my phone!

I waited and waited and waited.  Thankfully, after 4 long hours - Landon did great!  Go figure!  I have decided that he will likely be an Olympian gymnast and I suspect will come home with the gold medal at some point, considering he seems to flip positions each time we are checked.  I also think he will be the child that will keep me guessing for the rest of my life and will likely be responsible for turning my head fully gray, therefore forcing me to spend thousands of dollars over the years to keep it the natural brown it currently is (wink, wink).  In any case, the more we move along... the more excited I am to meet this little guy.  He seems to be quite a character and his arrival will be such a sweet blessing!

I've said it once, twice, and many times over... thank you tremendously for your support, prayers, and thoughts.  We are 35 weeks today with 4 more to go before the schedule c-section.  We are amazed at the journey we have been through the past few months!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Week 33

We finally had our perinatologist appointment yesterday.  I barely slept a wink Sunday night as we waited for Monday to roll around.  Most people might have been excited that V Day was upon them, but for us it was like D Day - the day to determine how much progress had Landon made over the past three weeks.  Some friends came over late Sunday afternoon to help with Merrick since Patrick had to work all day.  This was so helpful, but as soon as they walked out the door and I watched them load up their two boys, my stomach turned to knots and remained that way until about 5:30 am when my feet hit the cold hardwood floors.  Thankfully, Merrick had a big day at school with Valentine's Day and all, so that kept me focused throughout the morning.  I was hoping for good news of course, yet was extremely nervous things were going to being moving very fast if the growth had stopped or the gap had widened.  Luckily, by 10:30, I was flying high with relief and happiness.

The ultrasound takes at least 30 minutes for them to monitor breathing, movement, heart beat, cord flow, and measurements of his body parts.  Landon is now measuring 28 weeks and 6 days and I am 33 weeks and 2 days (yesterday).  He weighs 2 lbs. 13 oz.  Though he is still far behind in his growth, the gap has not widened and he has put on 1 lb. and 2 oz. in three weeks!  This is FANTASTIC news for us.  So, for now, he will remain tucked away for three more weeks until we have our next growth ultrasound.  I will continue to be monitored two times a week at the hospital, so they can keep an eye on his progress because the doctor is still slightly concerned the placenta could give out at any time, but he is far more optimistic than ever before.

I asked a ton of questions about what we can expect when Landon is born.  Since we still do not know for sure what has caused all of the issues (either placental problems or a problem within him), he feels that our prognosis for a healthy child is much greater than what was originally thought in December and January, but can't determine exactly what we may face when he arrives.  My increased fluid levels have made a HUGE difference in his prognosis.  We discussed the issues to expect with an IUGR baby and where/how we can begin researching and understanding possible complications that we may experience with Landon when he does arrive.  Feeding seems to be the number one concern for IUGR babies and we will begin having discussions with our pediatrician to prepare ourselves.

Today, we met with my regular OB who I see once a week to reassure my health is OK and to monitor the possible beginnings of pre-ecamplsia.  Since Landon has been a little stinker and continues to move back and forth from breeched to cephalic (head down), she decided that we should go ahead and schedule a c-section for March 25th.  This falls into week 39 for us.  If he does move to the cephalic position and stays there, we can expect a regular delivery when he chooses to grace us with his presence.  For those of you who may remember, Merrick arrived at over 41 weeks and I had an induction that lasted a lifetime (see previous post here about that story).   So, my fear is that I won't go into labor on my own and will have to be induced.  For this reason, I may go ahead and continue with the c-section because I have concern about being induced and compounding problems on top of problems because induction can be stressful on a baby.  We want his arrival to be easy for him as possible, considering he has been fighting so hard!

I will continue to keep everyone posted as things come up, but for now we are still waiting for his healthy arrival and hoping that things continue to remain positive for us.  I have another great story about yesterday, but will save that for another post.

Thanks for all of your support!  We appreciate everything.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Monitoring - Week 1

Today completed my first week of monitoring!  I started last Thursday and things have been going well, thus far.  Heartbeat seems good and there have not been any issues with decelerations or concerns for the nurses and doctors.  After each monitoring session, I head downstairs to receive a biophysical ultrasound.  This is a quick ultrasound that basically measures the health of the baby, checking the heart rate, muscle tone, movement, breathing, and amniotic fluid levels.  Landon has successfully passed each ultrasound, so I have been sent home to hold on for a few more days until the next session.

When I saw my regular OB on Tuesday, the first words out of her mouth were, "I think I am witnessing a miracle!  Considering what a grim, hopeless outcome we expected in December, I am amazed that we are where we are."  This was great to hear from a doctor!  I know our dear Landon is fighting hard in there and I am so looking forward to meeting him and am curious what his personality will be like, knowing he is so resilient and tenacious!

The only concern I have for today's session is that my fluid has dropped back down to 7.6 which is still in a safe zone, but definitely on the lower level.  Hoping I get a better measurement on Monday, my next session, and this is not a continuing trend.    Funny thing is that I actually have not had one ounce of Powerade this week, so I think maybe Patrick may be onto something.  I picked some up today and will be drinking tons of it again this weekend.  I am going online soon to find out who I need to contact for that endorsement deal.

We are 32 weeks on Saturday - taking it week by week has been so helpful and it really seems to bring us more peace knowing that we are getting closer and closer to a safe delivery.

We did have a scare this past Saturday and had to make a trip to Labor and Delivery because I did not feel Landon move all morning, even after eating and drinking.  It was a scary feeling.  Go figure that as soon as I was placed on the monitors, he started kicking up a storm.  I told Patrick that Landon just may be grounded from utero til 18 years old due to all stress he has given his mamma!  I'm totally kidding, but hoping that he keeps kicking regularly and we don't have to make another emergency visit anytime soon.  I go enough during the week!  In any case, it gave us a good practice run.  We issued a MERT Alert (Marlo Emergency Response Team - a code that my friend Natalie and her husband created - ha ha)  They immediately met us at the hospital to pick up Merrick after she read my text that read, "I think we need a MERT Alert!"  She kept him until we knew what was going to happen.  Natalie took him to the park, so he was well entertained.

So, that's where we are today - no major news and we won't have much more until we see the perinatologist again on the 14th.  Yes, Valentine's Day!!

Also, I was asked by a dear friend why I had not posted any pics of my baby bump with Landon.  To be honest, we have not really taken any pictures of this pregnancy.  With all of the uncertainty we were given in December, it felt strange to take pictures because we were so scared of what was to come.  Also, I pretty much sit around on bed rest all day in comfy clothes with no make-up or presentable hair.  Now that we are in a much better place, I have decided that I will start to periodically take some between now and delivery.  Another very dear friend of ours is a photographer and we have asked her to take a small portrait session of my baby bump with Merrick.  I have pregnancy pictures from my pregnancy with Merrick, so we don't need tons again, but I would like to see Merrick and his little brother - especially since he loves to play with my belly button and give my belly kisses.  I think he is beginning to realize that he has a brother on the way.

Here is the official Landon baby bump that we took this morning before taking Merrick to school!  I bothered to put some makeup on today, so figured I better jump on the opportunity.

Again, thank you for all of your support, prayers, and kind wishes.  We appreciate it so very much.