Friday, August 24, 2012

37 Weeks & 2 Days

Yes, I'm still pregnant. It's a big shock to me too! Notice I am no longer counting how many days I've been on bed rest, since I kinda gave up bed rest last week now that Anya is term and considered safe to enter the world. My mom and I took Emoree to the zoo on Sunday and my sole intention was to walk this baby out! I ended up with hurting swollen feet and a few contractions, that is all. Either way, Emoree had a fun day out. I asked her what animal she wanted to see most, and she said zebras, I think it is because she has been watching Madagascar lately.

Monday at my OB appointment I was happy to hear that I am now 3cm dilated and 75% effaced, so maybe walking around the zoo did help! Last OB appointment is scheduled for Wednesday August 29th @ 8:30AM. Induction is still set for September 5th (I will be 39weeks), but rather than going in the night before, my OB wants me to go in at 6AM on the 5th because she thinks I will labor fast. Anya has been moving less, so I have been trying to pay more attention to when she does move. She is running out of room! Sometimes I have to lay down to get her to move now. I have been having a lot of small, non-painful contractions this week, and everytime I get a few in a row (I notice when they are about 10 minutes apart) I get excited.. but then they slow down. Last night I was getting really excited because I had stronger contractions every 7-10 minutes for over 2 hours, but again, they stopped :( I woke up at 5AM this morning disapointed that I was not in labor.

If I am successful in my attempt at a VBAC, I am happy that both of Anya's Grandmas (my mom, and Mom-Mom Cordner) will be in the delivery room with me :)

Yesterday I had my last growth scan! I am happy to say Anya is weighing approximately 6lbs 7oz as of yesterday. I also had my non-stress test as well, and I had 2 small contractions while I was on that monitor but nothing remarkable. Anya is still doing well. Last non-stress test is scheduled for 8AM on Thursday August 30th.

Since I had a more recent growth scan, everyone who has entered a guess for Anya's birthday/weight can go ahead and edit their options, or if you haven't guessed go ahead an enter one!!! Go to and enter game name AnyaBday .

Yesterday after daycare I decided to have a photoshoot with Emoree since she is starting dance class soon, and I haven't done an organized photoshoot with her since before her birthday. So here is Ballerina Emoree!!

I feel like lately my blog posts have been a bit more "optimistic" and not really getting to the point of how critical Anya will be after she is born. Thanks to my friend Sarah and lots of other heart moms, I have an idea of what to expect after she is born, and before and after surgery. I want my closer friends and family to know what to expect, because I know many of my friends want to meet her, but for many that won't be an option until she is several months old and I hope people can understand that. She has a very complex congenital heart defect. You may know someone who is living with some type of heart defect, it's quite common (1 in 100 births), but Anya ended up with one of the most severe that without open heart surgery is 100% fatal. She literally has half of a functioning heart, and while surgery can re-route the "plumbing" and function of her heart, there is no way to build the left two chambers of her heart so short of transplant (which unfortunately sometimes is necessary), she will live with a single ventricle heart.
From what I understand, when she is first born I will merely get to see her, there most likely won't be any time for me to hold her, depending on her respiratory status at birth. They will quickly take her away to the NICU to get her stabilized and start IVs. She needs to be put on an IV medication called "prostaglandins" right away to keep her PDA (a fetal shunt that typically closes within hours after birth) open to keep oxygen and bloodflow to her brain and the rest of her body. She will be hooked up to a pulse oximeter and heart monitor. The pediatric cardiac team will evaluate her and do an echocardiogram so they can get a clearer picture of her heart defect. While I will be recovering from her birth anyway, the NICU needs at least 1.5-2 hours to get her stabilized, evaluated, and hooked up to everything before I can go see her.
The first surgery is called the Norwood procedure, and it is typically performed at 3-6 days old. She is kept on the prostaglandin IV up until this surgery, which an unfortunate side effect is it can cause respiratory distress. She may or may not need supplemental oxygen or to be intubated before surgery. Once she is intubated, it makes my options of getting to hold her difficult or impossible because she will be critical. The surgery is typically 4-6 hours. She will be on a heart/lung bypass machine during surgery, while her heart is operated on. The need for blood transfusions is also common. This surgery is the first of at least 3 open heart surgeries she will need early in life. After surgery she will be taken off bypass, but will remain intubated for days or weeks. Surgery causes swelling, and her chest will not be closed right away. It will be bandaged, but it may not be closed for up to a week. She will also have up to 3 chest tubes draining excess blood/fluids and multiple IV lines among everything else. Day by day, one be one, I am told that these lines, tubes, and medications will come off of her.
I will likely post most pictures of her here on my blog rather than on Facebook, because post-op can look scary and I don't want those pictures floating around FB. For those of you that I can take to visit Anya, I will most likely not allow any visitors during her first week post-op, particularly while her chest is still open. Also if you plan to visit in the hospital or awhile later when she is home, you will get used to me asking you if you have been sick in the last week, if you feel like you could be coming down with something, or if you have been around anyone sick in the last week. This is necessary for me to protect my baby, because particularly until after she has her second open heart surgery (at 4-6 months old) a simple cold could be fatal to her. I will also ask that you see her pictures that I post here before visiting her in the hospital, because for someone who isn't used to it, seeing a baby in the NICU/PICU hooked up to a dozen wires/etc can be overwhelming.
At what point she will come home greatly varies. If everything goes smooth and she doesn't have issues with feedings, the soonest she could be home is at 4 weeks old. More common is 5-6 weeks old. Feeding issues are very common for these babies with heart defects because they are not able to be fed right when they are born. Before the Norwood procedure, she will be kept nourished via IV fluids. She will most likely be introduced formula via a feeding tube that goes in through her mouth or nose directly into her stomach days after surgery. She will be given a pacifier to help promote her sucking reflex. She will eventually be introduced to a bottle, but this can take days, weeks, or months for a heart baby to get the hang of, and reflux can be a common side effect too.
Once she eventually comes home, she may or may not still be on a feeding tube. She will come home with a pulse oximeter and a baby scale at the very least, because making sure that she gains weight during interstage (the time between surgery #1 & #2) is crucial. All visitors will be asked if you have been sick or around anyone sick, and you will have to wash your hands before touching her. Anyone who smokes will not be allowed to touch/hold her unless you bring a clean change of clothes to put on before touching/holding her, because otherwise this can compromise her breathing.
Any woman who gets pregnant looks forward to bringing home and bonding with their newborn. Everyday I still mourn that I will not get to "bond" with Anya like most new moms get to with their baby. Yes, I chose to get pregnant, but the thought that something like this could happen to me and my baby never occured in my worst nightmares. So while some of you may think that it is ridiculous that I ask you if you have been sick, or to change your clothes and wash your hands before visiting my baby, I really don't care because I have to do everything I can to protect her because she will in no way be a typical newborn.
I have to go back to work (part-time) six weeks after Anya is born. One of my biggest concerns is that at that point she may still be in the hospital, and I will never have that "maternity leave" time home with her before returning to work. I'm afraid that I won't get to visit her in the hospital as often as I'd like, because with Emoree starting pre-k I will have to be home most days with her because pre-k is only 2.5 hours a day M-F and while Emoree is allowed to come with me to visit Anya, children aren't allowed to visit in the NICU/PICU on a regular basis, it can only be a "once in a while" thing.
Emoree's last week at Celebree is next week. While I know I only have 12 days or less until induction day, I would love for Anya to be born sometime in the next week so that I at least don't miss taking Emoree to her first week of pre-k, because it is going to be a big enough transition for her going to a new school that I feel like if I'm not able to be home to take her, it will make it harder on her. Getting her used to going to Celebree was tough enough. 
Bags are officially packed, I just need to wrap Emoree's "big sister" present and put it in my bag. This is my hospital bag, Anya's hospital bag, and my crocheting bag.

This week I made a fabric cover for Anya's baby book. Emoree & Anya have the same type of baby book (special order it doesn't include any "daddy" pages).

This is Anya's NICU blanket I crocheted this week. It is only 24"x24", perfect size for a NICU incubator or a PICU hospital crib.

Just a quick collage I made of Anya's ultrasound pictures!!

and a collage of my belly pics. I see definite growth in the last 2 weeks!
37 Weeks: 213.0 lbs (+ 24.4 lbs)
I truly hope that my next update is Anya's birth story...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Emoree Lillian Wockenfuss

With Anya's birth approaching, I decided that Emoree needs her own post that includes her birth story. (Thanks to my friend Sarah for the idea!) So here is all about Emoree's last 4 years.

Emoree isn't named after anyone, I kind of came up with her name on my own. I knew I wanted something unique that you didn't hear everyday. Her middle name Lillian is after her great-grandmother.

I always wanted a baby. Even more so, I always wanted to be pregnant, the baby was just an added bonus in the end. I was the person who could never leave a store without looking at the clearance baby clothes, and ended up with a stock pile in my cedar chest when I was only 18 or 19 years old. I had planned for a long time that I was going to have a baby and not wait to meet the "right person". A good friend introduced me to fertility treatment via donor sperm, and this sounded like the perfect option for me. It didn't matter to me one bit that I was 21 years old. I do have infertility issues, so it isn't like I could have easily gotten pregnant naturally. I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and no menstrual cycle, which means I do not ovulate. I had to take fertility medications to get pregnant anyway. I started the process in August 2007, and it took 3 cycles to get pregnant in October 2007. It was confirmed I was pregnant on November 5, 2007.

This is the last picture of me pregnant with Emoree. This is 5 days before she was born, it was Memorial Day weekend, I had just finished up an academy at work the day before so we decided to take a day trip to Ocean City, MD to subside my craving for Thrasher's french fries. It definitely wasn't warm enough to get in the water, but nice enough to lay on the beach for an hour or two :) The day before I had Emoree I was riding around in my Jeep, top down, I could do just about anything. It was a very easy pregnancy and I was enjoying it, and I was definitely not ready for it to be over.

6:30AM on Friday, May 30th, 2008, I woke up to get ready for work and found to my suprise that I had lost my mucus plug. I was 33 weeks and 4 days pregnant, and wasn't too worried about it because I had a friend who had lost her plug 2 weeks before she had her baby. I always had a feeling in the back of my mind that I would never make it to term (Emoree's due date was July 14, 2008), but was excited that my baby could be born in the next 2-3 weeks. I got dressed and headed to work. On the drive to work, I started feeling "wet". When I got to work just before 8AM, I called my mom to let her know, then I called my OB's office to see what they said. They said to come to the hospital to get checked out. I called my mom back, and she came to pick me up from work and take me to GBMC.

When we got to Labor & Delivery, I was still leaking but had not experienced a gush. They took me to triage where they checked me and said yes, my water is definitely leaking, but at that point (just after 9AM) I was not dilated at all. They got me into a labor room and hooked me up to the monitors and started an IV. At this point, I was not having any contractions. There was talk that I could be there for up to 2 weeks while they pushed IV fluids to try and keep Emoree in as long as possible. I was a little upset by this, because my baby shower was planned for the following weekend and I was really looking forward to it. I called work and told them I was in the hospital, my mom and I called my short term disability company to get that set up, all meanwhile I did not realize I was starting to have contractions. I was too distracted to realize it, and on the monitor it did not register any contractions.

Then I felt the gush of fluid. I told the nurse, and she said it was normal that I would continue to leak fluid. I said no this was more than a leak. They eventually checked and said yes that was probably the rest of my amniotic fluid, so when my OB got there he checked to see if I was dilated any, and to his suprise he felt Emoree's foot sticking out of my cervix! I was also 4cm dilated at that point. My mom insisted I was having contractions, and they moved the contraction monitor from the left side over to the right, and immediately the monitor started going nuts because I was in active labor.

As soon as my doctor told me I was going to have an emergency c-section, the rest of it was a bit of a blur that I remember bits and pieces of. I was one of those people who wanted to do an unmedicated birth and had never considered a c-section! Next thing I knew one nurse was shaving my lower belly (for the c-section cut) while another was putting in a catheter! They rushed me down the hall to the operating room and at this point I was no more good. I was feeling strong contractions and I was an emotional wreck. I vaguely remember entering the OR. Since she was a footling breech, they did not allow me to sit up and once i was in the operating room they inserted the spinal while I was laying on my side, then put me in position on the operating table. The spinal medication took effect quickly and I remember saying "I could do this again!", it felt good and I was so out of it but no longer in pain. My mom came in and sat by my side, and told me everything she could see going on. I remember ocassionally looking at the clock on the wall on my right side.

At 12:45pm on May 30, 2008, I heard Emoree's first cry. For a 33 weeker I was relieved to hear her cry right away. My mom told me they were cleaning her off, and trying to give her oxygen but she was fighting it. She was breathing on her own just fine. After a minute they brought her over and showed her to me, and quickly took her away to the NICU. She weighed in at 3lbs 15oz, and 17 inches long.

After Emoree was out of the room, they were continuing my surgery and closing me up. At one point my OB called everyone over to look at my uterus, because I only had half of one! He told the other staff in the room that they probably wouldn't see another one like this in their medical careers, that is how rare it is. This is when I was first diagnosed with a unicornuate uterus. At some point in which I do not remember, they told my mom she could go make phone calls and wait for me in recovery. I do not remember her leaving at all.

Next thing I knew I was in recovery. Slowly, I started getting feeling back, but all I could feel was pain. All I remember was it seemed like the nurse took FOREVER to find a battery to hook me up to a morphine pump. I was sooo out of it. I don't remember leaving recovery, but I remember being taken into my room in the postpartum unit and being transferred into the bed there. I barely remember people visiting that day too.

This is one of Emoree's first pictures, my dad took it when she was a few hours old in the NICU. I did not get to see Emoree again until she was 8-9 hours old. This was the first time I got out of bed and into a wheelchair, still hooked to an IV, morphine pump, and catheter.

They took me up two levels to the NICU to see Emoree for the first time in the NICU. This is also when I got to hold her for the first time too. The sights of the NICU didn't scare me, nor did seeing her hooked up to an IV, pulse ox, feeding tube, and other monitors. I could see her through all of that, and she was beautiful <3 Everytime I had to leave her, I cried.

I was discharged on Tuesday June 3rd, 2008. It was really hard leaving without her. Here are a few pictures of her next few days in the NICU:

She was off of the feeding tube in 3 days, and was under phototherapy lights for jaundice for two days. Her biggest goals to go home were to gain weight and maintain her body temperature. I went to see her every day. Her lowest weight was 3lbs 9.2oz.
Sunday June 8th was my baby shower, and Emoree was still in the NICU. I had a huge baby shower and received soo many gifts! I loved it.

The next day, June 9th, at 10 days old, Emoree gained an ounce and had been maintaining her body temperature for 48 hours. I was sitting in my living room re-looking through all of the bags from my baby shower, and I got a phone call from the NICU. Emoree was ready to go home. I was so excited, but panicked because nothing was ready for her. Emoree's Mom-mom and Poppy came over and put together the pack and play and the stroller while I took all the tags off of her new preemie clothes and put them in the wash. I then picked out the outfit she would wear home, and waited for my mom to get home from work so we could go pick her up.
I finally got to bring my little baby doll home <3

Emoree in 2008:

Emoree in 2009:

Emoree in 2010:

Emoree in 2011:

Emoree in 2012:

Emoree starts pre-k at Sussex Elementary School in less than two weeks! My baby girl is growing up so fast. She is excited about starting "big girl" school, and I am looking forward to spending more time with her (pre-k is only 2.5hrs M-F) and saying bye-bye to nap time!!! At daycare they take naps and she ends up being awake past 11PM, so giving up naptime is a good thing because then she falls asleep at a reasonable hour. She is a sassy little drama queen who likes to shake her booty :) She is excited about becoming a big sister too. She loves Disney Princesses and Dora, but right now her favorite movie is The Lorax because it was the first movie she saw in a theater and she makes us watch it now every night. She loves to wear dresses and skirts, and hates jeans or anything non-stretchy.
I love you princess!!!