Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Only a few more days!

This past Monday we had a very uplifting appointment. Our baby weighed around 5 lbs 11ounces. Next week when he is born he will probably weigh just over 6 lbs. He's still a bit small, but growing well. The fluid in his ventricles has no longer increased and remains around 13-14mm. The doctor said that these numbers are in the very mild category. We also learned that our baby has a head of hair which was evident in his ultrasound pictures!
A few days ago we also visited the NICU and Neonatal. The staff was very kind and we feel at ease knowing where we'll all be in a few days. We had a lot of questions for the Neonatal doctors, but as usual, the answers are usually, "we have to just wait and see." So in other words, we still have no new information on our baby's physical abilities, hydrocephalus, the severity of his latex allergies, or recovery time.
As many of you are aware, our C section date is Jan. 6 at 7:30 am. We feel so encouraged by everyone's excitement and eagerness to visit us and our baby, however we have made the decision to allow only family visitors on the 6th, please. After the 6th we'll be looking forward to hopefully many friends stopping by!
We will also do our best to keep everyone updated on the day of our baby's birth. We will try to post updates on our blog that very day.
Please continue to pray for us as our delivery date nears, our baby's health, and his doctors.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Amnio Results are in

After a little over a week of anticipation, we finally recieved our amniocentisis results. We are relieved to announce that our results came back normal. In otherwords, there shouldn't be any other deformities or fatal problems with our baby. What an answer to prayer!
At our last appointment, the ultrasound showed straight legs and normal looking feet which is good news. However, the fluid in our baby's ventricles increased. Normally a baby will have ventricles measuring 10mm and under. Our baby's ventricles are measuring 14mm and 19mm. Fluid build up in the ventricles can occur from hydrocephalus which needs to be treated with a shunt. It was disappointing to receive this news, however it still does not indicate that a shunt will for sure be needed. So far they are still planning on doing the initial back surgery and then will monitor the ventricles in the brain for hydrocephalus. Please pray that the fluid will reduce and that a shunt won't be needed.
Last week we went to our C section class. It feels great gaining more and more information on what to expect on our big day. We're also going to be touring the hospital and meeting with NICU people. Our friends, Leigh and Andy, have already visited Spectrum and felt great about the people and facility. We we're glad to hear that and are eager to see it for ourselves.
Our nursery finally has a crib thanks to Nate's mom:) It's starting to come together but we still have a lot to do in preparation for our baby. This last month is going extremely fast; we hope we'll be ready for the 6th!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

6 more weeks!

Baby boy bush is already on his way to being spoiled! This past Saturday I had another baby shower. It was at Egypt Valley Country Club and it was thrown by Nate's mom and aunts. I had a wonderful time and received a lot of very nice gifts! Nate and I feel so blessed by every one's support and generosity.
Last week we we're back visiting with Doctors again. This time we met with a Cardiologist to make sure our baby's heart was okay. Heart defects are more common in babies with birth defects so they wanted to make sure his heart was in good shape before they performed any surgeries. We spent 3 hours at the doctor's office and finally received the news that his heart looked perfectly fine. We we're very relieved but quite shaken up from the anticipation and stress of these scary appointments!
We have another appointment next week to have an amniocentesis. During this procedure they will insert a needle into the amniotic fluid to test for certain chromosomes. In rare cases some chromosomes may indicate a failure to survive past birth, so of course this appointment is stirring up some anxieties. We just try to remember that we've been blessed during so many other appointments so we're trying to think of positive things to dwell on.
Last night we met with our friends Andy and Leigh who's son will also be born in January with Spina Bifida. It has been so great connecting with them. We always feel encouraged after meeting with them and we're so thankful that God has blessed us in ways we could never predict. Please remember Andy and Leigh in your prayers as well.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Baby Showers!

The past two weekends my mom and sister threw me two showers. One was at my mom's house and included her friends and my friends, the other shower was in Indiana with my Eenigenburg family. I had such a great time and received a lot of very nice gifts. I'm starting to wonder if our nursery is big enough to accommodate all the things a baby needs. His room is quite small although he does have the biggest closet so maybe that's fair after all. We actually finally finished painting his room today! We'll try to post pictures of it soon.
There are no medical updates to report as of now. Next Wednesday we're meeting with a Cardiologist to make sure that there are no additional problems. My doctor said they're not anticipating on finding anything else wrong, but they just want to be sure about it before they perform the surgery.
Baby Boy Bush continues to move around quite a bit (he has lots of energy like his dad!). Thanks again to everyone for the cards, support, prayers, and gifts. We are certainly looking forward to meeting him in January! Anyone have any name suggestions...?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Summary of the Past 6 Weeks

As many of you already know, six weeks ago we found out some great news and some not so great news. We learned the gender of our baby...boy! but also that we will be facing some unique challenges. Our baby has a birth defect called Spina Bifida.

Spina Bifida
Spina Bifida is a neural tube defect that occurs very early in the pregnancy (before 28 days). The spine is supposed to close similar to a zipper. When the "zipper" fails to connect at some of the teeth, the spinal cord is exposed usually resulting in nerve damage. The opening in the spine can occur anywhere. Generally the lower the lesion, the better. The nerve damage can cause a variety of results in people with SB as far as their mobility is concerned. Some people can walk with leg braces, and others experience paralysis and are in wheelchairs. It is rare that individuals with SB have control over their bladder and bowels so most of these individuals are catheterized.

80-90% of babies born with SB experience Hydrocephalus in the brain; an irregular amount of fluid build-up in the ventricles of the brain. The fluid is drained through a surgically placed internal shunt, or a tube, draining the fluid from the ventricles into the stomach. Monitoring the shunt becomes an important routine. Shunts can become infected or clogged causing shunt failure. If the shunt fails, surgery is required. Some individuals live their lives only needing a few shunt revisions, while others undergo hundreds.

Our Baby's Specific Case
The lesion on our baby's spine is in the sacrum/L5 area. This is the lowest area on the spine which is usually good. We probably won't know the extent of his abilities to walk until after he is born and at the walking age, although the day he is born they will begin testing his legs for signs of sensation. The doctors have scheduled a C-section for our baby on Jan 6; about 4 weeks early. They want to remove him as soon as his lungs are ready so that they can begin operating on his back. He will be born in the morning and then his surgery is scheduled for that afternoon. During his surgery they will remove any cystic areas (caused by spinal cord leakage) and close his back using surrounding skin.
Currently there is not enough fluid build up (hydrocephalus) in the brain for a shunt, but most of the time the hydrocephalus occurs after the back surgery. They will monitor him to determine if a shunt is needed throughout his hospital stay (6-14 days).

How You Can Pray for Us...
We are always praying for healing and also that we can accept God's will whatever He has in store for us. The main areas of our prayers include three categories: We pray for his ability to walk. We pray that he will not need a shunt, and we pray that he will be in the rare category of having bladder and bowel control.
These past few weeks have been quite overwhelming, but we have felt all the prayers on our behalf and have received immense support. Recently we were connected to another couple, Leigh and Andy, facing similar challenges. Leigh and Andy are having a baby boy with SB also in January. They also happen to live right down the street from us! Our new friendship with them has been very encouraging; things seem a little less lonely.

Ultimately, we are extremely excited to finally meet our new baby and we know he will be a blessing no matter what!