Saturday, April 23, 2011

What a Quick, Crazy Week

It's Friday already? Monday seems like it was a million years ago. It hasn't been an easy week for us. And I am sure we have many more trying times yet to come. I started this blog a few weeks ago with so much excitement to share updates about our baby. I have had so many mixed emotions this week. And after everything we have gone through so far, I realized that it is okay to still be excited about our baby girl's growth and development.

We are 21 weeks today. Baby girl should be about 10.5 inches long. She might be a little bigger, because she weighs more than what the averages say she would. Dr. Martin told us on Tuesday she is probably weighing around 14 ounces...almost a pound. And she likes to rest all of that weight on her momma's bladder these days. Jeesh, I have to go like every 20 minutes! Her digestive system is continuing to develop and she has started to swallow amniotic fluid. She has also started practicing using her lungs a little bit, breathing in the fluid as well. We were able to see this at our Tuesday ultrasound. I can definitely feel her moving occasionally now. I can't wait for her daddy to be able to feel it too.

Looking ahead to next week a little bit; we will be heading to St Louis on Wednesday and Thursday for some diagnostic testing and meetings with doctors and specialists. We will be going to the Fetal Care Institute at Cardinal Glennon Hospital. This is probably the hospital where our little nubbin will be born. All I can say is that I am so grateful for the outstanding care and advice we have received thus far. Even over the phone the coordinators we have spoken with have been so caring and understanding. While I know these will be a couple LONG days, I am looking forward to getting more information and answers about what we are facing.

We will be learning more about the prenatal vs. post-natal surgery option for repairing the exposed nerves on baby's back. We have been reading up on the studies completed over the past few years. The New England Journal of Medicine recently published an article regarding the findings from the prenatal vs. post-natal surgery study. The article is full of statistics and medical jargon, but has a good information about the surgery.

I am so thankful for all the kind thoughts, notes and prayers that have been coming our way. I know with all the love and support we are receiving from all over we will stay strong for our sweet baby girl. Thank you!

Now on a lighter note: Ron and some of his law colleagues performed at a fundraiser variety show this past week. I know some of you saw this video on Facebook, but I just had to post it one more time. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Day Everything Changed

I guess you could technically say that January 1, was the first day everything changed for us. That day, starting a new year with so much hope and potential, we found out we are going to be parents.

Fast forward four and a half months to April 18th. We again started the day with so much hope and excitement. We woke up in the morning to get ready for our 20 week ultrasound and find out for sure that our little baby is a girl. We got a little hint that she was at our 12 week ultrasound, but it was still too early to tell 100%. We did get our confirmation that our little nubbin is indeed a girl.

We also got a little more information that we were not expecting; our sweet girl has a birth defect. She has a protruding sac on her lower back that has been identified as spina bifida. We were shocked and numb. How could this happen? Our minds were reeling with all the worst case scenario options. My OB was talking about things like wheelchairs and meningomyelocele. Neither of us got much sleep last night. The worry about what the future would hold for our precious little girl was overwhelming.

Dr Welch, my OB, had scheduled an appointment for us with a fetal-maternal care specialist first thing this morning. She obviously has great respect for Dr. Martin and had worked with her before. We went to the office and first had another ultrasound, then Dr Martin came in to take some pictures for herself and get a first-hand look at our little one. She is really fantastic. Even though she had squeezed us into her already packed schedule for the day, she took the time to go over all the information with us and answer our questions. After several hours we left refilled with hope for our little girl's future.

So what we are looking at is definitely spina bifida. We were happy to see that she was moving, kicking, crossing and uncrossing her legs. She wasn't moving around too much yesterday and after receiving the news we knew paralysis was one of the possibilities. Not the case. The lesion on her back is pretty low, closer to her tail bone, below the spinal cord. Although this means there are still nerves exposed, it is a positive that her spinal cord itself is not. Her feet and ankle position looks normal. Another positive. Clubfoot is a possible side-effect that would make it very difficult for nubbin to walk. According to Dr Martin, there is pretty low chance of brain damage or neurological defects, which I was really worried about. She has a strong heartbeat and her heart development looks great. Like I said, we got a lot of good news today to put things into perspective for us.

While we realize we are at the beginning of a long road, we are feeling hopeful about positive outcomes for our family. I think Dr Martin said it best today when she told us we are getting a crash course in parenting. We are faced with some difficult decisions earlier than we thought we would be. But that is the job, to try and make the best decisions for our daughter and her life. We are certainly looking at more appointments with specialists, more tests and an ultrasound every few weeks to check on our wee baby. We are probably going to have to deliver in St. Louis via C-section. And she is going to face surgery on her back, shortly after (or possibly before) she is born. She will be spending some time in the NICU.

We don't have all the answers, but we have a better idea of what we are facing. I know that I can rely on my best friend, my partner, my husband to be by my side and we can lean on each other. I love you Ron. I also know we have positive thoughts and prayers coming our way from all over the place. Thank you so much everyone for all your positive energy toward us and our baby. Keep 'em coming!

Now a few pictures of our little girl. They are photos of the ultrasound printouts. They aren't quite as clear and distinct as some ultrasound pics we have seen, but still cute...I think.

Little girlie parts (hee hee):

Arms up covering her face (zoomed in):

Profile, with cute little nose:

Another profile shot:

Close-up of a little baby foot: In the original I swear you can see her little toes.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Delayed Post

Hi again. So I know I said I would try to post updates every Friday, and I missed it this week. I had a pretty busy week at work and worked late on Friday night and for a few hours Saturday. Soooo, I thought I would save my baby update post for tomorrow (Monday), when it will be a more exciting update. Our ultrasound is tomorrow morning and we will be finding out if we are ready to start buying PINK or BLUE. I am SO excited! Let's just hope little Baby Rowe decides to cooperate. The last scan, about 8 weeks ago, we had a "very good baby," according to the tech. I hope we will be lucky again tomorrow. Any guesses about the gender? Eeeeekkk! I cannot wait!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Spring is finally here...maybe

Ahhh, we have finally gotten a taste of spring weather in mid-Missouri. And it seems we are going to just jump right into summer. We have already had one 80+ degree day and are expecting another tomorrow.

So here we are at week 19. Almost halfway to meeting our little nubbin! I can't believe it. Baby is about 6 inches long and weighs about 8.5 ounces. This week is all about brain development. Our wee one's brain is developing the areas designated for senses and lots and lots of neurons. I've been trying to eat lots of protein to help grow this little developing brain.

I've had a very active little baby today. After I had a Starbucks decaf mocha this morning baby was moving around like crazy for quite a while. I have been feeling little wiggles occasionally, like when I go to the gym or go swimming. But, this was by far the longest amount of time I have felt movement from the nubbin. So exciting! I guess I know what to do to make sure baby's awake for the upcoming ultrasound. I have a pretty busy week coming up at work. So I hope that will help keep my mind off counting down to April 18th. I cannot wait! I was being so good and patient, but I just can't do it anymore. I want to see how he/she has grown and what's going on in there.

I guess that's all for now. Just enjoying sitting here with the the windows open, getting ready to make tacos for dinner. Yummy!
One more thing: I gotta give a shout out to my sweet niecey Madisyn, who lost her first tooth today! I love you cutie face!

Have a great weekend all!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy April Fools Day!

Well, it’s Friday already. I am afraid I don’t really have too much to say today. 

I thought about posting some sort of joke like that we found out we are having twins. But, well, meh....
We're not by the way, just one little Rowe growing in there. :-)

We hit 18 weeks today. Our little sweet potato is about five and a half inches long and weighs about six and a half ounces. This week little nubbin’s bones are hardening and becoming stronger. The bones in the inner ear are some of the first to develop so that means baby Rowe can probably hear now. Mostly he/she can hear my tummy growling and my voice…and me laughing at all the silly things his/her daddy says and does. I laugh a lot. And thinking that is a sound our baby can hear makes me really happy. I also learned this week that baby has fingerprints by now. How cool is that!?!

My belly has definitely popped out in the last two weeks. Sometimes when I go into the restroom I am surprised when I look in the mirror! I actually look like I have a baby belly instead of a beer belly now.Thanks mom for the maternity pants! They are so comfy.

I am hoping for a little taste of spring this weekend. Seriously, enough already! We need some sunshine and warm weather. I am thinking of working on some crafty stuff this weekend with Christy. So hopefully I’ll have some pics of fun stuff to post soon. 

Oh! And I almost forgot about the final four this weekend. How could I do that?!?! GO CATS!
Have a great weekend! -c