Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Positive in Each Day

I just got done wrapping up another appointment with Dr. Levine. It was a pretty standard appointment this week. They did not check the baby's size this week, so no update on that. We've decided that each day God has given us many things to be positive about, even when some don't always seem that way. My post is pretty quick for today.

Ways God Continues to Bless us this week:
1) Baby H is still inside and growing- which is the best place right now.
2) I passed my Group B Strep Test!
3) We have lots of high-tech equipment available to us to monitor every single thing you can imagine, making sure Baby H is doing good!

Prayer Requests for this week:
1) The umbilical cord and brain blood flow improve during this next week.
2) The genetic and chromosome testing done immediately following birth all come back negative.
3) The coronary arteries are forming in such a way that ideal heart surgery is possible after birth.

Special thanks to our wonderful friends in Oakland for hosting and attending such a fun shower on Friday night. We feel so much love and support from you all!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Growth

Baby Hartwell is growing! Our thanks are being sent to God again this week, for continuing to show us His greatness! I love how we can feel his presence through each step of this process so far! Our appointment with Dr. Levine on Tuesday morning went as good as we could hope. In the two weeks since Baby H's weight was estimated, it had gained a pound! So, at just over 36 weeks, baby weighed in at an estimated 5 lbs 10 oz. We still have a ways to go to reach "optimal" size for surgery in the first week, but so glad that a significant growth did occur. This now puts Baby H in the 20%. The other area of concern from the previous week was the umbilical cord flow, which also looked good on Tuesday.

My instructions were to keep up on the protein! Baby H also appears to be staying put for the time being! How lucky we feel to get to experience the blessings God shows each day! We are so excited to meet this little miracle!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

One Month & Counting

We've officially hit the one-month left mark! The warm weather makes it seem like the date is coming even faster! We are reminded daily of God's blessings & miracles- especially when Baby H get's active! We know this feeling will only multiply when Baby H actually gets here.

We are now done seeing all heart specialists until the baby actually arrives. We pray daily that God continues his healing ways, and provides the baby with the best possible option for heart repair, and long-term health.

The baby and I are now being watched around the clock. I have weekly appointments with a high-risk doctor. At my Tuesday appointment he did not estimate that baby's size, but is very persistent on keeping me on a high protein diet. I've been eating lots of eggs, meat, protein bars, protein shakes, peanut butter, milk, cheese, etc. He indicated my goal should be 100 grams a day. He also mentioned that the umbilical cord has an "increased flow", which he will now monitor very close. He said it was not too much of a concern at this point, but he will keep an eye on that. I had my regular OB appointment on Thursday, and it sounds like Dr. De Vries will still be the main delivery doctor, with Dr. Levine (high risk) assisting.

Last Saturday my sister and mom threw a very adorable baby shower for me and Baby H. It was so much fun, and we continue to be overwhelmed with the kindness, support and prayers coming from so many. My Aunt Terri from Minneapolis even made the trip down for it!

God has continued to provide us peace during the last few weeks, and we have totally put our faith and understanding in his Hands. He holds Baby H's heart is His hands, and we know He will provide all we need!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Trusting God's plan & keeping the Faith

Today was a busy day of appointments. It started out with our first appointment with Dr. Levine our perinatologist high risk obgyn. It sounds like he will be taking over for the rest of the pregnancy and delivery. He was very nice. We had an ultrasound and learned that the baby looks good. It weighs 4 lbs 10 ounces at 34 weeks. He was kind of concerned about it's small size since heart babies sometimes have problems with growth. I am supposed to eat several small high protein meals throughout the day. I will have appointments once a week with him. They mentioned they could tell in the ultrasound that the baby has hair!! Just like it's daddy did when born!

This afternoon we got a tour of the Childrens NICU and met Dr. Hammel the surgeon. He is a wonderful surgeon who has performed miracles on his patients! We learned much of the same stuff as Friday's appointment, however he was less optimistic about the chances of Baby H getting to have surgery Option A. This is due to built up muscle around the right ventricle amongst other things.

We believe God's plan for Baby H and will continue to pray daily that after Baby H arrives and they can look closer at the heart Option A will still work out. We ask that you join us in these prayers. God is ever loving and we trust in him completely.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Cardiologist Appointment #2

Your ways, O God, are holy
What god is so great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles…”
-Psalms 77:13-14

On Friday we had our follow up appointment with Dr. Danford the pediatric cardiologist at Children's Hospital. We had quite the crew with us as both Mike's parents Stew & Peg, and Erin's parents Craig & Donna came with.Baby H sure has an awesome support system already!

The appointment started out with an ECHO of Baby H's heart. This is basically like an ultrasound, where they are able to get incredibly close pictures of the baby's heart including valves, arteries & ventricles and can color it to see how the blood is flowing. This process takes about 45 minutes. Both the tech and Dr. Danford were able to get all of the pictures they needed- Baby H did great at cooperating!We continue to be amazed by the technology that is available to help us heal Baby H's heart!

From there, Dr. Danford met with all of us to explain the findings from the ECHO. Again, we can't say enough about the Doctors and nurses we have met so far. The talents and skills God has provided them with are remarkable!He explained that no additional defects were found from the previous ECHO we had- Praise the Lord- we are so blessed by this news!

He then continued by telling us that there was one change from the previous ECHO, which was that they were able to look at a valve in the right ventricle which appears to be allowing blood to flow through. Because of this new development, he provided us with a a preferred Option A for surgery. This option is much better long-term.This process begins with a heart cath, which is performed right after birth. This allows the surgeon to go in and look directly at the heart to confirm the original finding, as well as look closely at the coronary arteries. These coronary arteries must look strong enough to continue with this process. If so, they will go in and open the valve in the Pulmonary artery which is not functioning. This will allow blood to flow through the heart in the normal manner. They will also place a shunt, which will optimize all blood flow. Once blood starts flowing through the right ventricle, the hopes are it will start to grow. This entire process is obviously the most ideal, as the heart will function in a much more normal process in the end. We feel God's amazing blessings being sent down and are so thankful for all He's provided us.

If the surgeon goes in and see's things during the cath which do not allow us to proceed with Option A, than Option B- the original three step open heart surgery process will be done.This is the process which re-directs the blood flow around the defective areas and to the lungs. In the end with this process Baby H will function only on a one ventricle heart.

>We walked away from this appointment feeling extremely blessed with the additional option for surgery. We are uplifted by this news, but know that God has a definite plan, and we continue to follow this whether Baby H is able to go through Option A, or Option B.

A few other things we learned: I am now seeing a high-risk doctor to assist with delivery at Methodist Women's Hospital, and have an appointment Tuesday morning with him. We go back Tuesday afternoon to meet with the surgeon who will be operating on Baby H, and also get a tour of the NICU. I go to my regular OB on Wednesday for my weekly appointments.

Oh, and a few updates from the last post- I did in fact past the three hour glucose test!! We also ask for prayers for our good friends the Johnson family from Oakland, who welcomed baby Landon into the world this week. He also has some heart defects and will soon be undergoing surgery.

We thank you for your continued prayers! We are so grateful for them, and know that God is hearing them!