Thursday, January 31, 2013
One of my coworkers and friends gave me a book recently that truly touched me. 
It is written by a momma that navigated the road that I am traveling before me and she writes in such a way that her words touched my soul. 

What a blessing this book was to me. 

28 Weeks

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Do you ever have those moments when life seems to put you back in a place you never thought you would be again? Last night was one of those moments for me. 

When I was in nursing school, we did a community project where we chose an organization in the KC area to research and then educated the rest of the class on the mission of the organization. My group and I randomly stumbled across Alexandra's House. Alexandra's House is a perinatal hospice system for parents pregnant with babies who's life is expected to be limited. My group of peers and I toured Alexandra's House and met with Patti, the founder. We learned all about the services they provide and the amazing resource they can be to overwhelmed parents. 

Last night, I found myself back at Alexandra's House. Pulling up, I wished that I was that nursing student again working to finish an assignment. Instead, this time as my hubs and I pulled up, we were those overwhelmed and heartbroken parents whom Alexandra's House was created for. Never would I have imagined that I would be back on such different terms.

The hubs and I met with Patti, the founder of Alexandra's House. Her passion toward parents like us was evident. She is so genuine, compassionate, and loving. We felt at home. 

What a blessing Alexandra's House is to the Kansas City community.

Sunday, January 27, 2013
When we found out at 12 weeks that Baby V had a cystic hygroma, we were presented with the option of termination. Never would I have imagined that I would ponder termination but I would be lying to say that it didn't cross my mind. We knew that a miscarriage was possible but we wanted to give Baby V a fighting chance...and a fight she has given.

At 18 weeks, the cystic hygroma had resolved and things were looking good. If you have been keeping up with her progress, you know that at 24 weeks, things took a turn in the wrong direction. After many challenging conversations, the hubs and I agreed that we wanted to do what was best for our daughter. She is wanted and she is loved. Hearing the fetal health team talk about all the anomalies and her prognosis, we struggled (and so did they) to think that all the medical interventions are what is best for her. It is so conflicting for your head to tell you one thing but for your heart to tell you something completely different. How do you prepare to welcome your baby into the world knowing that soon after you will be saying goodbye? 

It is to difficult to ponder the unknown and we would never judge anyone for the choice that they make. Trust me, there is no guide for this.  If we could do everything under the sun and know that Baby V would have a quality life, we would. Any expecting momma and daddy would.  We didn't want to play God at 12 weeks and terminate but we also don't want to put her through a mounting list of needed medical interventions believing in our hearts that it won't provide a quality life for her. In the arms of Jesus, Baby V won't struggle...she will be at peace...something we can't provide her here on this Earth.

She is wanted and she is loved.
This momma's heart weeps at the thought of what is to come. 
I have no idea how to begin to navigate the world of palliative care.
I know that I am nowhere near ready to face what is to come, how could you ever be. 

I love my baby girl so very much. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013
Happy Birthday to the love of my life...

Saturday, January 19, 2013
On Friday, we met with the Fetal Health Team at CMH. The hubs and I had several difficult conversations leading up to this meeting and desperately tried to prepare our hearts for what we could possibly hear. It is heart wrenching to have to talk about death and dying when you are preparing to bring life into the world. It is never what you imagine when you think about getting pregnant, becoming parents, or having a baby.

 There are no words to describe what it is like to prepare to go to a meeting to find out the fate of your unborn child. I made a list of questions and tried to ready myself for what would be. Despite what would be presented to us, it was and will continue to be the cry of my heart that Baby V knows just how loved she is. 

The hubs, my mom, and I set at a large conference table with 3 doctors, a fetal health nurse, a genetics counselor, and a social worker and listened as they explained Baby V's anomalies. There were heavy words said...intubation, oscillation, ECMO, surgery, cognitive deficits, renal failure, hemodialysis, transplant, quality of life,  and on and on and on. The prognosis is not good.

There will be may more difficult conversations to come as we try to process all that we were presented.  Regardless of the road to be traveled, Baby V has a momma and a daddy who will love her forever.  All we want is what is best for our precious daughter.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013
My parent's next door neighbor read my blog about Baby V and then brought this over...

She wanted Baby V to have her very own, handmade, baby blanket. I am so touched. Becky, if you read this...thank you. Thank you for caring so much about our baby to make sure that she has such a beautiful blanket.

26 Weeks

Sunday, January 13, 2013

This is the week. 
I am so ready for the appointment at CMH yet at the same time, 
I have no desire to go. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Thank You.

When I started blogging about Baby V, it was a way for me to let my thoughts out. 
Never did I imagine the number of people that would actually read my thoughts...or how many people would respond with love, support, and prayers...or how many people would take an interest in our precious baby girl.  I am simply amazed. We are blessed with caring and supportive people surrounding us. I cannot say thank you enough but from the bottom of my heart, know that I am so appreciative.

We have a consultation appointment set for next week with the Fetal Health Team at Children's Mercy. We will be meeting with a neonatologist, perinatologist, renal doctor, surgeon, a genetic counselor, a social worker, and a member of the palliative care team. The team will present us with what they feel are Baby V's anomalies and their recommendations (whether that be medical interventions or palliative care).  I pray that this meeting will provide us with direction.

In the meantime, we will continue to have weekly ultrasounds with the perinatologist at Saint Luke's to check the amniotic fluid levels and the size of the kidneys. Today, the fluid level was still within a normal range which is a sign that her kidneys are still functioning. 

Baby V's heart was beating at 162 beats per minute and she weighs 1 pound and 15 ounces. She is still just as active as ever in her comfy, cozy womb.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013
I am not sure where to start this post. It makes my heart so sad and full of worry just thinking about the future. I am so grateful for my hubs, my mom, and our family and friends who have surrounded us with love and support through the ups and downs the last couple of months. 

At our 22 week ultrasound with the perinatologist, things were looking good for Baby V. We knew she had a cleft lip and potentially a palate too but the only other thing they wanted to "keep an eye on" were her kidneys. One was measuring 4mm which was appropriate for her gestational age but the right one was slightly larger at 6mm. The perinatologist was not overly concerned because she said it could be slightly dilated because of how she was laying. The plan was to monitor the kidneys but other than that, her brain looked great, she was measuring appropriately, the hygroma had resolved, and she was just as active in her little womb as she could be. The 22 week appointment had been our best appointment to date, we were so elated. It had been a bumpy pregnancy but things finally seemed more optimistic and this momma's heart was overjoyed.

At 24 weeks (12.26.12), we went back to the perinatologist's office for an ECHO. They didn't anticipate anything to be wrong with Baby V's heart but cystic hygromas are associated with heart defects so an ECHO was needed just to confirm her little heart was healthy. The ECHO went great and the cardiologist said her heart was "perfect." The hubs and I were so excited but they didn't give us the green card to leave so we sat in the ultrasound room for a few minutes not sure if we were free to go. I wiped the ultrasound jelly off my belly and gave Baby V lots of praise for her healthy heart! As we debated about whether we were just supposed to leave, in walked the ultrasound tech and the perinatologist. The perinatologist decided that he wanted to do his own ultrasound (he was not in the room for the ECHO, just the tech and the cardiologist). He started at the top...her brain looked great, she had cleft lips, her heart was great, but then he stopped. Her kidneys which two weeks prior had measured 4mm and 6mm were now both well over 20mm. He said he gets concerned when the kidneys exceed 10mm because they should be around 4mm so to be 20mm bilaterally was baffling to him. Her bladder was full and the volume of amniotic fluid was sufficient so he said she was not in renal failure yet but he could not determine why or how the kidneys had become more than five times the normal size in just 2 weeks.  We had originally had an MRI of Baby V's brain scheduled for the next day which they were planning to cancel because her brain looked good but rather than cancel, they decided to do a full fetal scan to see if it could be determined why her kidneys were so dilated. The perinatologist anticipated finding a blockage or stenosis but the whole situation was baffling to him. The hubs and I held it together pretty well at this point. Obviously we were concerned but we were trying to stay optimistic until we had more information.

I checked into the radiology department at Children' Mercy at 9:30 on Thursday morning and the scan lasted about 45 minutes then I went back to work. They told me in advance that they would not give us any info immediately after the scan but that the radiologist would read the scan and then update our perinatologist and then he would call us. We were told to not anticipate a call until probably Monday. As I was getting ready to leave work on Thursday, the perinatologist called. All I could do was listen, say ok, and cry. My heart sank.

On Friday, I went to Medical Records at CMH and obtained a copy of the MRI report so that I could read it for myself. It was hard to read knowing that it was not just an MRI from some patient that I was taking care of, but it was my precious baby girl. 

Baby V has a right sided diaphragmatic hernia which allowed her liver and intestines to invade the area which should contain the right lung. She has right sided pulmonary hypoplasia which essentially means that the right lung did not develop because there was no space for it. She has a mediastinal shift which resulted in a small (for gestational age) lung on the left side. Her kidneys were markedly dysplastic. The left measured 4.3cm and the right 2.6cm. Both kidneys contain cystic lesions and minimal renal parenchyma was noted. A small amount of subcutaneous fluid, mostly likely representing hydrops, was also found.

Our perinatologist recommended that we followup with the Fetal Health Team at CMH. Currently, we are awaiting an appointment.

Her future is so unknown, she has so much to overcome. It is more than this momma's heart can bare to think about it all. I lay in bed at night and feel her moving and fight back the tears. She is my baby girl.

Baby V, your momma loves you so very much.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

This year, I am grateful for my very best friend.  I love him so much. 

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