Monday, May 30, 2011

Retail Therapy

Well we kind of had another minor blow this past week.  So we may or may not be crazy cat people. Some of you know we have several stray kitty friends that we have been feeding for a while now. And by several, I mean like eight. It started out with just Gray Kitty. But then word got around the 'hood and soon we were having daily visits from Doodles, Blinky, Chuck Norris, Murph, Tex, Warlock...I know I am leaving someone out. Well, our little buddy Warlock decided he was done being a stray and wanted to come in and live with us. We did some checking around and tried to find a home for our new friend. But we were told it's "kitten season" and the likelihood of someone adopting a scrappy black kitty were slim. We decided maybe we'd take him to the vet, get him checked up and healthy and he could stay living here with us. Unfortunately, at the vet Ron found out that Warlock was a very unhealthy kitty and had feline leukemia and HIV. The only recommendation was to put him down.
Warlock was making himself at home in his last days at our house. He had taken to sleeping on the car out of reach of his nemesis, Blinky. Of all the cats Warlock was the friendliest, and the only one who would let us pet him. We have been told that it is pretty likely that all the cats are infected. We have essentially been perpetuating a kitty epidemic. It only took a couple days for everyone to stop coming around once the food bowl was gone. We will definitely miss our little buddy Warlock.

To help us get over the loss we decided to spend a lot of money this weekend. ;-) Our first order of business, a new car. We traded in the Impala for a 2011 Hyundai Sonata:

I joke about this, it was not an impulse buy. I think we definitely did our due diligence when I came to researching and making the decision. We test drove the Honda Accord and Ford Fusion as well. We checked out the Camry too, but never drove one; we didn't think we could get it in our price range. The Fusion and the Sonata are tied for first in the mid-sized car class. We really just liked the Sonata the best, for the looks and performance. If you'll allow me a moment to geek out... They have engineered the engine of the Sonata so that you get more horsepower from the 4-cylinder than the other two models we drove. In order to get to that HP in the Accord or Fusion we would have had to go to the V6 which put us at a higher price and lower gas mileage. Jeesh, I'm such a nerd. Anyway, we love the new car, and XM Radio.

We decided now that we have a new car we needed to get to get baby Rowe's car seat for it. Obviously. I mean she is going to be here in like 3 months. So yesterday we took a little road trip to St Louis to hit up Babies R Us. We knew that we were going to buy the stroller/car seat combo. If you catch me on Facebook at all you know I am slightly obsessed with the show Extreme Couponing right now. Well, we had a coupon for the system, which saved us over $60. Yay! We ended up deciding on a Chicco travel system. I put it together this morning. Love it! I cannot wait to take our baby girl for walks in it. We also bought her bedding, a few more clothes, and worked on adding items to the baby registry. A process that was not nearly as much fun as I had imagined it would be. First of all, it was like 106 degrees in the store; not a good idea when your main clientele is pregnant women! Secondly, there is A LOT of stuff for babies. I mean A TON! And as first time parents we really have no idea what you actually need and what is just extra crap. It is quite overwhelming. We had to take a break in the middle and go get a snack. But overall, I think we did pretty well. If you check out the registry you might be able to tell that I left daddy unsupervised in the toy aisle with the scanner gun. Of course nubbin will need 26 teethers and a bunch of Baby Einstein toys, right? :-) How do you think we ended up with 18 packages of Oreos from our wedding registry?

Our little nubbin has been cooking for 26 weeks now. We are less than 100 days from meeting her. Our next appointment with our doctors here in Columbia is next week. Then we will head to St Louis around the first week of July for appointments with doctors there. I hope we will be able to put together a plan for delivery, and maybe go ahead and schedule it.

Oh, one other thing. Thank you so much to our Lafayette friends Ben And Heather who bought us a farmshare for this summer. Basically it is our own little farmers market. We went and picked up our first delivery Saturday morning. Fresh local veggies included, lettuce, asparagus, radishes, kale and some green onions. And some yummy strawberries. I am so looking forward to getting farm fresh food this summer and trying some things I might not normally buy.  Oh and did I mention they have puppies? The farmers have a litter of 13 chocolate labs they are trying to find homes for. So cute. Luckily they only had pictures, no pups. Huge thank you once again Ben and Heather for the generous gift! Love you guys!

Oops. Another super long post. Maybe If I blogged more often I wouldn't have to bore you all with these loooonnnngggg posts. I'll work on that.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Surfing Lessons

I am really sorry that I have not posted in a while. I have been busy learning to ride the waves of our crazy life. So, what has happened?

We are now 25 weeks along in the pregnancy. Our baby girl weighs somewhere around a pound and a half. She is now more proportionate in size and is plumping up and gaining fat. She is pretty active these days and I can feel her kicking all the time. I love it. I am still feeling really good. A few aches and pains, but nothing too crazy. I don't walk quite as fast as I used to, something I need to keep in mind when going somewhere on foot (like Starbucks at lunchtime). Mmmmm, Starbucks.

We had an amnio done a couple weeks ago and all the results came back normal. So, that is positive. The test needed to be done if we were going to proceed with the prenatal surgery to make sure there were no genetic abnormalities with our baby that "caused" the spina bifida.

We got a call from Dr Yang that the hospital board did not approve the fetalscopic surgery that he was proposing. They will allow the open procedure, which is the surgery they have been practicing for 10 or more years now. But after much consideration we have decided the risks vs. the rewards of the open surgery are just too great. It was the toughest decision I have ever made. We were really considering the new procedure since it seemed to minimize some of the risks we were concerned about. We really did not even consider that it might not be approved, we thought that was just a formality. It was a hard blow to take. But we have to move forward and keep believing it happened for a reason.

While Ron was on the phone getting the news from Dr Yang, I was calling and texting my sisters in Indiana to get updates on my mom. who was in the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. She is doing much better now, heading back to work on Monday. But it was just another thing to add to our worries.

Ron finished law school...sort of. If you know my husband, you know he is a bit of a procrastinator, so there are a few loose ends to tie up. He did walk at commencement. Ron and Vicky were able to make it to town for a visit. And to witness their son's final graduation ceremony...we hope. ;-)

So in the next few weeks I guess we will be figuring out the plan for the rest of the pregnancy and delivery. I think we will probably be scheduling a C-section in St Louis. Baby will have surgery shortly after she is born. And then we will just have to wait and see how she does and when she will get to come home. Of course, we can make all the plans in the world knowing that things may not work out the way we think they will. But I think we've had enough curve balls for a while.

We are pretty much decided that we are going to wait until we meet our little girl to decide for sure on her name. We have several names on our list, which actually keeps getting longer rather than narrowed down. So you'll all have to wait until she's here for the big reveal. 

We are still shopping for a new car. Which can be pretty exhausting. We are looking at new mid-size cars. We've driven the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata and Ford Fusion so far. I am excited to get the car we will bring our little girl home in. I am also excited to do some baby shopping. I'm really itching to start getting things set up for her.

I guess that's all for now. Be well. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ups and downs

Friday was a pretty tough day for me which is why I did not post an update. We spent all day Thursday inside the Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St Louis. There were ultrasounds and meetings with this specialist and that coordinator, this doctor and that surgeon. By 6:30 pm I was mentally and emotionally drained. Then Friday, it was back to reality. Back to work. Back to dealing with all the emotions that come with this diagnosis for our baby girl that we are really just coming to terms with. I think I had some unrealistic expectations for what the outcome will be. I thought, "she'll have surgery on her back and she will be 'fixed' and she will be a regular little girl." And I had unrealistic expectations that the doctors would be able to tell us exactly what they could do for her and exactly how that will work. They can look at all the scans and all the tests and tell us the percentages for what they have done before. They can't say, "this is what is going to work for your baby." There are still so many unknowns.

We do know that we are the parents of a child with disabilities. The extent of which we will not know until she is here and maybe not for years to come. We are going to have to work on changing our expectations and hopes for this baby girl. We are not hopeless, we just have different hopes now. And I have to think of how different all this will be once she is here. Now she is just an image on a screen. But once we can hold her, see her little face and enjoy the simple joys and rewards of being parents I know things will feel differently. Now it is just so much uncertainty.

I have started to feel her kick on the outside now. And daddy got to feel a couple kicks Saturday morning for the first time. That was really cool! It was funny, Wednesday we had an MRI to get a good scan of our little nubbin. They gave me a pretty good dose of Xanax to relax both baby and me for the scan. Well, momma got pretty loopy, but as they rolled me into the machine to start the scan I could feel our baby girl just kicking away. Luckily, they still got the images they needed. I think they didn't give it quite enough time to make her sleepy, that and I am starting to think this little girl is quite stubborn. Later that afternoon we went back to the hotel for a pretty awesome nap for momma. Then Wednesday evening we went to Babies R Us to check out some gear that we might need for our wee one. Shopping for this stuff online is hard for me, it definitely helped to see the strollers and cribs in person. We closed down the store, but probably could have used another hour or so to check out everything!

Daddy is ready to get nubbin moving with some music. I have been spending some time the last couple days with headphones on my belly getting baby acquainted with Motown. Her senses are continuing to develop, mainly her sense of touch. In the ultrasound we could see her reaching around with her little hand, touching her face and even sucking her thumb. She is weighing in right at one pound now. And it appears she likes to sit breech when they are trying to get good pics of her back and booty. Dr Vlastos was able to push on mommy's tummy a bit and get her to scoot into a better position.

We still have a lot to learn and think about the possibility of prenatal surgery. Dr. Yang is pretty much an all-star in this field and our impression is that he is cool as a cucumber. He is interested in trying the procedure using laproscopic techniques that have not really been done before. Exciting and scary at the same time. Dr. Eicholtz is the neurosurgeon who will repair nubbin's back whether we decide on pre or postnatal surgery. He much more like an engineer, pretty dry and straight-forward. And although we didn't see him with his shirt off, it appears that his man-muff could rival Ron's. Dr. Vlastos is the "baby guy." He specializes in fetal care and is very warm and caring. He even recommended a book of meditations that he said might help us deal with all the stress and anxiety. Everyone we met at the Fetal Care Institute was really amazing. Cardinal Glennon is a nice hospital. We met with a neonatologist who told us all about the NICU where our little girl will be spending some time. I was glad to hear that they have private NICU rooms and one or both of us will be able to stay with her 24/7. I know with my sisters, who each had a preemie, going home and leaving their babies at the hospital was one of the most difficult things they had to do.

What are the next steps? We are going in to meet with Dr Martin on Monday, on her day off, to talk about everything. She has spoken with Dr Yang and gotten the results and info about what we talked about. If we are interested in pursuing the prenatal surgery we need to have an amniocentesis as the last "piece of the puzzle" to give the docs all the info they need. The window is closing on that option and if we do the surgery it needs to be done before 26 weeks...within four weeks. Oh yeah, and Ron is trying to study, write and finish up law school during all this too. His last graduation ceremony ever is in two weeks!

So this is a really long post and kind of jumps around a lot. It's kind of a stream of consciousness thing as I process all my thoughts and try to share them with you.
Thank you all so much for your continued thoughts and prayers.