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...

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