Thursday, May 29, 2008

Brody outside pictures!

May 12, 2008 Doctor's Visit 28 weeks

Jason and I went this morning for our 28 week doctor's visit. This is the second visit with our new OB Office, and it always seems to be an adventure to say the least! After checking in, we were sent to a different office in a different building...about a one mile walk. I thought it was strange, but what do I know?

I still feel kind of lost and confused at Vanderbilt, since I have only had one other appointment there. Well, the new office quickly sent us back to the office we had just left (another one mile walk back!). Apparently, we were in the right place to start with, which is the office that sees high risk pregnancies/ deliveries. All Jason and I could do was laugh!!! I was just glad to get some exercise in for the day! Anyways, once we finally got in to see the doctor, we received a great report!! I am measuring right on at 27 1/2 weeks, the baby's heartbeat was in the 150's, and there are no pregnancy complications so far!

We did discuss delivery plans with our doctor today. Jason and I are in agreement with her that we would like to schedule the delivery late in my 39th week...close to our due date of August 8. We want the baby to get as big as he can, because this will be a big help when he faces his surgeries. So, please continue to pray that I have no complications and no unexpected labor!! Hopefully, my body will do the same thing it did with Brody, which is nothing!!!!! We will schedule an actual date as we get closer. After visiting with our doctor, the office did another complete ultrasound to measure and make sure he was still moving and growing. He is definitely moving, and it was amazing for Jason and I to see how much he has grown since our last ultrasound. He is right on track!!!!!! He is weighing in at about 2 1/2 pounds, which is a little above average. We were also amazed to see how much he looks like Brody!!

I am just so happy to know that he is continuing to do well. We will return for our next visit in 3 weeks. They plan to do another ultrasound at that time to check once again on his growth and movement. We will also hear about our results on the blood glucose test I did today. We're hoping for no sign of gestational diabetes, especially since I did not experience this with Brody's pregnancy. Thank you all again for your support and prayers! We would never make it through this difficult time without you!!!

As I have said before, we are truly blessed to have all of you in our lives!
Becca and Jason

March 27, 2008 First Cardiologist Visit

First of all, Jason and I would like to thank all of you for your calls and emails. Your love and support is greatly appreciated!!! It is nice to know that we have so many friends and family thinking and praying for us.

Our Cardiologist appointment went really well this morning. Dr. Liske and Dr. Campbell at Vanderbilt were so nice and encouraging...I think they made both Jason and my day be starting with "there is hope and this baby has a good chance of growing to be an old man." It was nice to hear after the last day and a half of unknowns running through my head. In fact, he told us that the survival rate to 5 years of age is 85%.

He says many of his patients are just fine and you would never know anything was wrong when they have shirts on covering their scars. They did another echo and took several pictures and measurements of the baby's heart. It turns out that there are actually 4 major defects with the heart. He not only has the Right Ventricular Hyploplasia (as suspected), but he also has Tricuspid Atresia (he's missing his tricuspid valve, which joins the right atrium to the right ventricle), a large ventricular septal defect (a hole between his right and left ventricle), and bilateral Superior vena cavaes (2 superior vena cavaes instead of one...I think).

Dr. Liske drew a diagram for us and helped Jason and I understand more of this "foreign language" has been a while since either of us have had a biology class!! Anyways, with all of this being said, we are obviously facing a very long and difficult road. This is something that can't be completely corrected (his heart will never be "normal"), but it can be repaired so it is functional. To do this, the baby will face 2-3 surgeries. The first surgery (if necessary...this will be determined at birth) will happen in the first few weeks of his life, the second surgery will take place between 4 and 7 months old, and the 3rd and final surgery will happen between 18 and 36 months of life.

All of these are major heart surgeries and very risky (risk of stroke, development delays from the bypass machine, feeding problems, etc), but I really believe that we are in very good hands with the Vanderbilt Cardiologist Team. After his 3rd surgery, he should be okay as far as I understand it. He will of course always have a heart defect and probably take a daily medication (even if it is just aspirin). He won't be able to do strenuous physical activity (such as becoming a track star), but he should be okay to do normal running and playing and participate in PE class and that sort of thing.

All in all, I'd say that is not too bad!!!! The good news is that our little baby is fine for the rest of the pregnancy, which is what I was very worried about! Dr. Liske said we should just continue as normal. Baby is doing great!! The only thing we need to do is make sure this pregnancy goes full term. We need to have a big baby like with Brody...much better for undergoing the surgeries that he is facing. We will see Dr. Liske one more time before delivery, so he can make sure no changes have taken place and to give us a better idea on if the first surgery will be necessary. That appointment is scheduled for the end of June. As you can imagine, we will now be delivering at Vanderbilt so we have the cardiologists right there for the baby if needed.

Unfortunately, this means I will most likely have to find a new OB that delivers babies at Vanderbilt, which is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things! At the end of our conversation, Dr. Liske asked us if we had family or friends close. We told him that both of our families were here and we had many friends that have volunteered to help us. I don't think he has any idea how many wonderful friends we do have, though. We are so blessed!!!! I know we will need a big support system at delivery and for months after...he warned us that having a baby with a heart defect is definitely not the same. I know we will face many challenges, stresses, and probably some difficulties along the way.

I also know that I will continue to have my times of emotional breakdowns, especially as all of this information sinks in more and more in the upcoming months and as the surgeries occur, but I know we can make it through anything with all of our friends and family's prayers, support, and help.

Thank you all!!!!!!!!
Becca and Jason

March 25, 2008 Our first post

As many of you know, Jason and I went for our ultrasound today. Unfortunately, we received some very scary news along with the normal excitement of finding out the gender. On a happy note, we are having another BOY...without a doubt (you will have to see the picture)!!!! We are very excited to welcome another boy into our family, and I know Brody will be such an amazing big brother. The profile of his face looks just like Brody's ultrasound...I may have another "Mini Jason" on my hands! For our scary news, it turns out that our baby boy has what the doctors call "Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome."

From what I have been able to process, this is a heart defect that has caused the right ventricle to be significantly smaller than the left (the right side did not develop). He is also showing early signs of heart failure. This is of course a very serious risk for our baby...not only while I'm carrying him, but also once he is born. Dr. Crowe, our OB, immediately sent us to a doctor that specializes in reading ultrasounds. He gave us some of the information and statistics on this condition, which was all very hard for me to hear and understand today. His office scheduled an appointment for us to see a Pediatric Cardiologist at Vanderbilt on Thursday...I'm hoping that he will be able to give us even more information.

I'm also hoping that I will be able to process all of the information they are telling me by then. The only things that we know for sure is what the problem is, that we will have to deliver the baby at Vanderbilt (since that is where the Cardiologists are), and that our new baby boy will have to undergo Open Heart Surgery very soon after birth. I think all of the unknowns running through my head right now are the hardest to deal with! Jason and I ask that you please keep us in your prayers. All we can do right now is pray that our baby will stay strong. This has definitely been a very hard day for us! I apologize for not calling or emailing all of you sooner.

I have spent the last couple of hours just trying to wrap my brain around what we are facing. It breaks my heart that our precious new baby will have such a challenging start to his life, but I know that God is with him and will continue to be with him.

Talk to all of you soon,
Becca and Jason