NST Test at Hartford Hospital

NST Test at Hartford Hospital

Our final doctor appointment!

Both Olivia and I did fantastic.  My urine was good. Blood pressure was 98/60.  Olivia’s heart rate was between 143-170.

Dr. Cortland, Arnie and I had a talk today about how things will go on Monday.  She happens to be on call Monday night so she will be seeing us when we get there! And she will definitely be delivering us on Tuesday.

My cervix is still pretty closed up so she feels I may need two doses of the cervix softening medicine to get things moving.  Most times this medicine will actually put someone into labor and if that’s the case I may not need pitocin.

We discussed the epidural. While I definitely plan on having one, I also don’t want to have one too early to stall labor.  That being said, my concern is that if I don’t get an epidural early enough and God Forbid need an emergency C-Section I would need to be knocked out.  Dr. Cortland said they can insert the cath early and just turn on the epidural when I need it.  I was very relieved to hear that.

Dr. Cortland plans on contacting Hartford Hospital this week to verify my delivery plan is all in place. She is also going to call over to Dr. Mello’s office as a reminder to them that Olivia will be born next week.  It’s nice to know she’s taking care of everything for us.

She feels Olivia will most likely be born between 8AM and 12:00 noon.

We discussed who will be in the delivery room:  A person (or persons?) from the NICU will be there for Olivia, along with Dr. Cortland and a few nurses.

Dr. Cortland feels that Olivia is going to handle labor well as she has looked fantastic in all our tests thus far.  She did ask in a round about way if we wanted them to do everything to save the baby in the case of an emergency.  And I told her Olivia was the #1 priority. I’m #2.  Do whatever it takes to keep her alive and give her a fighting chance. We haven’t come all this way for nothing.

The next update will be from either myself updating everyone on my progress or from Gina announcing Olivia’s arrival!

Finally, I just wanted to say Thank You to everyone for supporting us these past 5 months.  I can honestly say I’ve felt so calm about everything because I know we have the full support of all our friends and family.  That and all the angels surrounding Olivia.  Please keep the prayers coming, they are working and we feel them surround us.

NST at Hartford Hospital

NST Test at Hartford Hospital

Olivia was a wiggle worm today and loved making the monitor go crazy. She was moving all over the place and we kept losing her heartbeat – I’d feel her moving but the monitor was bouncing from “—” to 214 and then back to 150.  Dr. Cortland said she passed with flying colors.

My blood pressure is 94/62.

Urine – showing trace amounts of white blood cells which could indicate a UTI but since I’m not having any other complications we’re going to leave it be for now.

Group B test came back NEGATIVE! :)

Level II ultrasound at Hartford Hospital

Level II ultrasound at Hartford Hospital

Today was our final level II ultrasound.

As we were waiting to be called into the U/S appt, there was another woman waiting with us. We started chatting. I could have sworn she was having twins but I didn’t ask. Turns out she was just having a rough pregnancy – diabetes before she got pregnant and now she is up to 4 shots of insulin a day!  Thank GOD I didn’t open my mouth and insert my foot!

I was really impressed with the office today – when we checked in they told us they were running a half hour late. At least we knew … and it turned out we only waited 15 minutes.

Sandra was the u/s technician. There was also a med student who asked to be present. Considering how “interesting” our case is, I really didn’t have the heart to turn her away.

Olivia looks FANTASTIC! She weighs 6 lbs, 12 oz already! They expect her to be about 8 lbs+ at delivery!

The doctor we saw was Dr. Borgida – he was the doctor we saw for our first u/s AFTER we found out. He was wonderful back then and was amazing today. We got some amazing views of Olivia’s heart and nothing’s changed. IMO, he spent a good amount of time on her heart because of the med student but I was happy to see it is still growing – even though it’s still F’ed up

He told us that he doesn’t believe Olivia has craniostenotosis (or whatever it’s called). Her head isn’t perfectly round but he said it normally would be VERY severe at this point and she’s not there.

I could have cried and hugged him at the same time. I kept thinking “I love this man!”

I requested they check my BP as my OB forgot this week – it was 92/70 and the woman who took it couldn’t believe it. “Perfect BP … I’m shocked! Especially for sitting up!”

Today’s appointment was JUST what I needed. Arnie and I went to lunch after (had time to kill before our 2pm tour of the PICU) and I kept saying to him that I felt like running around the parking lot with my arms raised screaming “WOOOOOOHHHHOOOOOOOO”. The “head thing” was really bothering me deep down. I’m so relieved!!!

Non stress test, 36 week checkup

Non Stress Test, 36 week checkup

Olivia’s NST was great although she fell asleep toward the end of the test.  Heart rate was 140-180 today.

My appointment went well. I had my Group B Strep today and an internal exam.  If I do test positive for Group B, I will have another IV of antibiotics during labor to protect Olivia from contracting it.  Internal – I am “open in the front and closed in the back” which she said was good and what is to be expected at this point in my pregnancy.

We discussed her philosophy on some “hot topic” issues for me regarding delivery.  Thankfully she and I see eye to eye on episiotomies, forceps and vacuum deliveries as being necessary only in emergency situations.

I also asked about the timeline of events regarding the induction. I will be checked in at 8pm on July 19th.  Pitocin will start between midnight and 1AM.  The goal is to get Olivia born in the daytime.

General thoughts

General Thoughts

As things get closer, Arnie and I are finding ourselves under a lot of pressure.  The reality of what lies ahead is becoming very real to both of us.  What I perceive as a “normal” delivery will not be what we have.  Olivia will not be placed upon my chest after she’s born.   We’ll be lucky to even hold her prior to her being whisked away – which is what she needs and we’re ok with that. However it doesn’t make it any easier for us.

We need the love and support of our family and friends now more than ever.

Thank you.

Non Stress Test, 35 week checkup

Non Stress Test, 35 week checkup

Today I met with Dr. Beller as Dr. Cortland is on vacation. He was VERY nice. Took the time to review my chart prior to coming in to meet me which was nice so I didn’t have to get into everything with him.

We discussed if I was going to have an amnio done to check her lungs but then he realized I’m being induced 9 days before my due date so there’s no need.

Olivia did awesome in the NST – Heart rate was 140-165.

I did awesome too:  BP 110/60, Urine “GREAT” (no protein!), measuring where I should be (didn’t give me a #).

Next week is my Group B Strep test.

Updates while we're in the hospital

Updates while we’re in the hospital

Just an FYI – we have asked our friend Gina to keep everyone updated while we are in the hospital. She will be updating the website on an as-needed basis.  We strongly recommend everyone sign up for the announcement list to be kept up to date with the latest information.

Non Stress Test, 34 week checkup

Non Stress Test, 34 week checkup

A non stress test for those who don’t know is where they hook me up to a fetal monitor that charts Olivia’s heart rate. I lie there and push a button each time I feel her move and they later analyze the data to make sure she’s doing well.

Olivia did fantastic. Heart rate was between 135 and 155.

My 34 week checkup:  Blood pressure was fantastic (90/60).  I’m experiencing swelling in my feet along with protein in my urine both which can be a warning sign of pre-eclampsia (along with high blood pressure).  Because my BP is so great, they’re just going to keep an eye on things for now as I’m going in weekly anyway.  In the mean time I’m keeping my feet elevated as much as I can and watching my salt intake to attempt to keep my blood pressure low.

Maternity Ward Tour

Maternity Ward tour

Or as I called it “the tour for ‘normal’ people”.  I wasn’t thrilled to be going as for me it was a reminder of how NOT normal this all is.

However, it was very informative to a point – once Olivia is born, all the information they provided won’t apply to us.

The highlights:

  • They validate parking for the entire time you are in labor plus 2 days after for vag. delivery or 4 days for a c-section.
  • They have a TV and VCR in each labor room.
  • We were unable to view a post partum room as they were all full – to the point that some post partum moms were still in labor and delivery waiting for a bed to open up!  They were rescheduling scheduled inductions and c-sections due to how busy they were.
  • After the tour, we spoke one on one with the L&D nurse who gave us the tour to verify that we would NOT be rescheduled as our induction is a medical situation.
  • They allow up to 3 birth support people – you have to identify them when you check in.  So no party like last time.
  • The family waiting room is SO nice.  There are vending machines, a TV and multiple couches.  They will provide blankets and pillows for family that is waiting.
  • They will allow us to bring Maddie into the delivery room immediately following her birth to allow her to see Olivia prior to going down to the NICU.
  • They are a “baby friendly” hospital so they do not hand out formula or coupons or formula products. This is a HUGE bonus for us as I’m planning on nursing Olivia and realize we will definitely get the support we need while we’re in the hospital.

It was all very nice and we kept quiet about all of Olivia’s issues as to not scare the innocent people.  After the tour we spoke with the L&D nurse about our situation and she thanked us for not mentioning anything.

General thoughts regarding our first annual Little Hearts picnic

Here’s a copy of an email I sent to the President of the Little Hearts organization after Sunday’s picnic.

Lenore,

I can’t say Thank You enough for yesterday.

Driving in, I was quietly crying in the passenger seat – could I handle what I was about to see? This was our first time seeing “heart kids” live and in person and while we’ve seen pics on the internet, this was our first time being able to see them playing. Arnie described it to his parents the best “If you came across the group and didn’t know it was for CHD families – you NEVER would have known. We could have been any company picnic but it was more like a family reunion.”

It was so nice to be around people who didn’t look at us with pity – so often when we meet people and mention Olivia’s battles ahead, we get that “look”. All we received yesterday was love and support.

I can’t tell you enough how wonderful yesterday was – it allowed Arnie and I the ability to recharge our batteries for the battles that lie ahead. On Thursday we found out Olivia may have craniostenosis (sp?) – and we were both feeling pretty blue about everything. It was so nice to see all these beautiful kids running around looking so healthy and well. It gave us HOPE for Olivia again.

We came in at the same time as the Kennedy family. Ruth and I had been in touch a few times so we ate together and chatted. To see 5 month old Ewan (who also has pulmonary atresia and is going in for his Glenn in a few weeks) look SO GOOD – well, it just made us smile from ear to ear. Plus it was great to show Maddie Rose a baby with similar “boo boo’s” to Olivia’s. To show her that Olivia will be just like every other baby was such a blessing.

We were so thankful to run into Delys and Noel who are also expecting their first heart baby next month. Delys and I hugged so tight. It was like meeting an old friend, but one who knew exactly what we were feeling.

The only time I got choked up was when you were taking the pictures of Hope. It was very emotional but in a good way. To know that next year Olivia will be in the picture and will be looking as well as all these kids … what an inspiration.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I cannot wait to see the pictures on the website!

With Love,

Arnie, Tricia, Maddie Rose (HH) and Olivia Ann (induction scheduled July 20th, PA, Unbalanced AV Canals)