Thursday, July 23, 2015

36 week update

Our final Vanderbilt appointment! 
I can't believe we're done with the Fetal Clinic!

We had a great visit with all of the staff. The head nurse and the clinic coordinator always come to check in with us several times and catch up on the latest, especially while we're waiting in between appointments. They've become like family to us, which is such a special thing in healthcare!

So, the details!

Eliza was perfect for the ultrasound:
 - Her growth is fabulous - better than average and at 6 1/2 pounds right now! Girlfriend already has chubby cheeks!
 - Her ventricles seem to have stabilized at this point, which is great. (That's the area of the brain where the hydrocephalus originates). They've stayed about the same measurement for the last month. We hopefully won't see any changes until after she's born and has her back closure surgery. Then we'll see how they react again.
 - Her movement is still great! Still moving those legs in some capacity, which is encouraging, though we don't know exactly what it will mean. 
 - Her lung development looks awesome. She's already doing a fabulous job breathing. Last night J.B. and I could actually see her breathing when we settled in for the night, which was strangely bizarre. Today we could see her breaths in and out on the ultrasound, so neat! 

All in all, the fetal doctors were very pleased with her. I'm an exceptionally boring case to them, which is always great when you're talking to specialists, ha ha.

We also met with the chief of the neuro team today as well. Dr. Wellons reviewed all the updated information with us and we asked him no less than three thousand questions about the upcoming surgeries.
Her back closure surgery isn't actually scheduled yet since they want to wait until they know she's actually here (in case I go into labor early). But it will be completed within 72 hours of when she's arrived. The closure surgery/recovery should be the most evasive thing she'll deal with in the NICU. Because she has a larger spina bifida lesion, its likely they'll have to involve a plastic surgeon to make sure the nerves, muscles, and skin on the back are closed properly. This will also mean that the wound is more complicated and could take longer time in the NICU to heal. Baring any additional complications, we've been told to expect a stay of 2-3 weeks.
Dr. Wellons also reminded us that 80% of cases like Eliza do require some sort of shunt in the brain to help with the hydrocephalus, but we'll be waiting to see how she does her first few days here. There are so many unknowns about her closure surgery and potential shunt issues that they'll have to discover once we have a baby to actually look at on the outside! 

Ultimately, it was an informative and boring appointment - always what we hope for. 

And less than three weeks until we meet our lady!
J.B. and I are both equal parts nervous and excited about what's to come. It's a lot to take in. A lot. And we know how difficult those first few days will be as both Eliza and I recover and J.B. is back and forth between us. I'm sure that its only the first of many challenges that we'll be ready to face head on!

For now, I'm feeling pretty great. And we're settling back and enjoying our last few weeks as a family of three!

Friday, July 17, 2015

32 week update (a bit behind!)

My distracted apologies since this update is weeks behind! 

Nowadays I see my local OB for testing every week just to keep tabs on Miss Eliza. They check her size and movement and lots of other things to make sure she's nice and stable. Those appointments are always great to look on her.
But to be honest, our monthly visits to the fetal doctors at Vanderbilt are always the appointments that we look forward to the most. Everything from their ultrasound techs to their equipment is that much more advanced. It's always great to ask a billion questions to our fetal doctors and the neurosurgeons as well.  Added bonus this trip? We were anxious to get our delivery date and tour the hospital NICU. 

So... our 32 week appointment!
Eliza's ultrasound at Vanderbilt looked pretty great! She's still moving and squirming much better than they expect, which is positive news. And she's growing at a perfect rate! 

{Look at this sweet face!!}

The hydrocephalus is continuing to increase just a smidge at a time, as expected, so they're continuing to keep an eye on those measurements. It's likely that they won't decide on whether or not to place a shunt until she's born.

Most excitedly, our delivery date! August 12th if she doesn't come any sooner! They've also scheduled Eliza's initial back surgery for the following day. 

After our ultrasound and appointments, we were taken on a full tour of the NICU. I was so thankful to have a visual of what that area looks like since we'll be spending a lot time there while she recovers. 

We're already eager for our final Vanderbilt appointment next week! I can't believe it'll be less than four weeks until we meet our gal!