Monday, November 24, 2014

bump #80: choosing baby's name

Truth be told, we've had these names and more picked out for a long time now. Years. So the second we found out that our baby was a boy, we started calling him by name.

Oliver Vance
"Ollie Bear"
I always liked the name Oliver and Vance is Andrew's middle name and a family name passed down for generations. Easy. Plus, it turns out I love names with v's in them so it works perfectly!
I don't really care about name meanings and such. But I remember looking up the meaning of the name Oliver at one time or another and being laughably surprised to learn that it's Germanic roots mean "Elf Army." How fitting, being that I'm of such short stature!  Perhaps it's just a clue that he will be way into Lord of the Rings and one of my favorite Will Ferrell Christmas movies. Needless to say, that certainly wasn't enough to cross it off my list. For more hilarious oliver=elf information click here
Oliver also means "Olive Tree" or peace and reminds me of the story of Noah in the Bible. He releases a dove hoping that it will come back with signs of life. The dove returns with an olive branch, which, to me, symbolizes hope.
To me, Oliver means hope.
Hope that we would have a family, hope that God would work a miracle, and hope for the future.
I haven't gotten a good enough look at our little Ollie to see if he has elf ears, but here's hoping...
that he doesn't!
Wednesday, November 19, 2014

bump #79: nothing short of a miracle

God answers prayer.
There is no other explanation for what has happened.

Ollie at 23 weeks   1 lb 2 oz

profile, arm, and foot

I had vasa previa 3 weeks ago and today it is gone.

I was praying constantly for healing, but also preparing for the worst. This prognosis meant incredible danger for the baby and myself. It would have required immediate blood transfusion and resuscitation following an emergency C-section for the baby. We would have approximately 3 minutes to revive him and he would have stayed in the neonatal unit and NICU for many weeks  possibly suffering brain damage. In severe cases of vasa previa, a hysterectomy (complete removal of the uterus) becomes necessary, which would mean no more pregnancies. This was all around heart breaking news and the last few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for us. I simultaneously rejoiced and worried over every kick I've felt. I love knowing that he is ok in there, but I'm freaked out that he's going to rupture the placenta if he moves too much. I cried and cried at the thought of never getting to be pregnant again and couldn't stop thinking about our one little remaining frozen embryo. All I could think was what if, what if, what if? And none of the scenarios ended well.

Today we went to the appointment expecting the worst.

We held our breaths through the 10 minute anatomy scan, reassured to see Oliver continuing to grow and develop right on track. The doctor came back to get a second look with a trans-vaginal ultrasound that would show a better view of the cervix, umbilical cord, placenta, and extra lobe that is on the placenta. The perinatologist reviewed the results of these scans and cool as a cucumber, said "Well I won't be seeing you anymore. Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy!" My response was something like... "But I have 3 pages of very specific questions for you pertaining to complications with vasa previa and I need to know what our next steps are." He said we definitely don't have vasa previa, but there is an "accessory" lobe (succenturiate) located higher on the placenta (in the fundus, whatever that is!) so it does not block the cervix and is not at risk for rupturing. The only potential risk with the accessory lobe is making sure the whole placenta is removed after the baby is born to prevent infection. That may require a c section delivery, but not an emergency c section. There are no free floating blood vessels that could burst at any time, like we thought. In fact, nothing is blocking the cervix except for the umbilical cord, and it moved when we pushed on my belly, so that is not an issue. They went on to perform a 3rd high resolution ultrasound (for my piece of mind) and there was absolutely no vasa previa. Yay! I think we were all surprised. We have an appointment next week with my regular doctor to discuss the results and I will ask for another scan in the third trimester just to be safe, but this is such a relief!

Thank you for lifting us in prayer. I certainly don't understand all of the medical talk, but God has definitely performed a miracle for our family and we are in awe.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014

bump #78: 21 weeks

Thank you so much for the overwhelming support, prayers, and love you have all shown us this week. Words cannot express how grateful we are to be surrounded by such awesome friends and family who care about us and our sweet little Ollie so much! We are hopeful that with the early diagnosis and proper precautions, everything will be ok.

That said, we still haven't met with the specialty obstetrician. After days on the phone obtaining referrals, authorizing insurance, and jumping through hoops with uncooperative receptionists, we were told the earliest available appointment was in December. Are you kidding me?! I'm living minute to minute with the mantra "Pelvic Rest" running through my head and worrying that my placenta could rupture at any time. Waiting another month to consult with the expert is not an option. Today the pregnancy hormones kicked in and I relentlessly contacted the front desk at Specialty Obstetrics of San Diego until they finally got an appointment for me next Wednesday afternoon. Which is still ridiculous. At this point, I'm done remaining calm. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. "Squeak, squeak, squeak!"

This week was rough, but there were some high points that got us through. Friday was the day Andrew went to San Antonio to defend his dissertation and he now has his PhD! I can't wait to get the Dr. and Mrs. address labels started! That's what it's all about, right?!

With Andrew out of town for a few days, my mom drove down to stay with me, keep me off my feet, and help me get report cards and parent conferences ready for next week. She is an angel! I forgot to mention our little maltese, Maxwell, got neutered yesterday so she has been caring for me and my invalid dog. I don't know what I would do without her!

She is so sweet and is always talking to the baby!
For now, I will continue to thank God for keeping Oliver healthy and safe in my tummy as long as possible. And I will savor every little kick and nudge I get. Sometimes it feels like I have popcorn kernels popping in there! So fun! Oh, and now I want some popcorn. Yum yum yum!
Thursday, November 06, 2014

bump #77: when the other shoe drops

We received a not so great phone call from my doctor last night. After reviewing our anatomy scan from last week, she noticed something wrong.

The baby is fine (for now). That is all that matters.
To me.
She described a condition called "Vasa Previa" where basically the blood vessels connecting the umbilical cord to the placenta are blocking the cervix and could rupture at any time, but especially when delivery is near and the water breaks.
"Is it fatal?" Is all I could keep asking. "Is the baby ok?" "What does this mean?"
It is not usually fatal, but, gone undiagnosed, it is devastating and the baby would not survive natural delivery. It means I have to have a scheduled C-Section before 37 weeks and bi-weekly ultrasounds for the remainder of the pregnancy. I will most likely have to go on bed rest from 30 weeks on and am back to that "high risk" category I was only recently so relieved to get out of.

I was still at work when I got the call and had to step out of a meeting, so you can imagine the mess of a situation that is a 5 month pregnant woman in an elementary school hallway in hysterics. I don't even want to go to work today!

In all my research of potential complications I never came across Vasa Previa and still don't know a lot about it. (Don't google image it. Just don't.) It is rare, but more common in cases of patients who have undergone IVF as we have. The risk goes from 1 in 3000 to 1 in 300. Why do I have to be the one?

This is because we did IVF. But what choice did we have? This is the only way we get our baby.
And now it's complicated.
I was so excited to reach the half way point. 20 weeks felt like an amazing accomplishment for someone who thought they would never get to be pregnant. On Monday I even felt real kicks, finally. It was as if baby boy had his own spin class going on in there! So surely everything was fine.
In a journey so fraught with equal parts excitement and anxiety, we are devastated that the remainder of the pregnancy is going to be so stressful and scary. We also know that God is in control and we have remarkable doctors and technology to make sure our baby is safe and healthy. We are grateful to know now, and not when it is too late, so we can plan ahead. Any dreams of a natural delivery or third trimester are dashed, but what matters more than anything is that our little Ollie Bear is ok.
His name is Oliver Vance.
And he can hear us and all the prayers we are praying over him.
Thank you God for protecting our miracle baby.