Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Wait, what?!

They say time flies when you are having fun.  Well, I am not sure how much "fun" these last few months have been but time has certainly flown.

After spending the last six weeks working in Italy, Ryan made it safely back to the States with only a slight hiccup.  He missed his connecting flight from NYC to Detroit.  It was not the end of the world however and he got in only an hour later than originally planned.  I managed to maintain my composure and did not embarrass him at the airport by screaming, squealing, jumping up and down etc.  I am just so pumped to have him back, though I am not so sure he is as excited about all the smothering affection he is receiving.

Ryan's return coincided with a whole slew of doctors appointments.  On Thursday we had an OB appointment, ultrasound, and fetal echo.  We spent the whole day down at Mott Children's and got some very encouraging news.  First both Caroline and I are looking healthy.  She is growing/developing well and is currently 5 lb 15 oz.  I am feeling great and have no issues.  It seems that being tall has some real perks when it comes to being pregnant; lots of room for baby means fewer of the usual discomforts for mom.  The fetal echo showed that the blood flow through the aortic valve has decreased slightly but is still sufficient.  The regurgitation through the mitral valve is almost gone which means that the blood flowing through the left ventricle is being pumped out of the aortic valve rather than backing up in the ventricle and going back through the mitral valve.  All in all the heart is not normal but it is still looking and working better than it did prior to the fetal intervention.  At the moment it seems as if we have avoided the hypoplastic left heart syndrome.  Thanks be to God!  (Though nothing is certain until she is born and all her issues can officially be identified.)  A big test is going to be how well her left ventricle functions once she is born and her heart is working on its own.  Her heart will definitely need repairs, we just don't know whether they will be big ones requiring open heart surgery or smaller ones requiring any variety of different procedures.  The left ventricle does have a lot of fibrous tissue in it due to the stress it has been under.  This tissue will affect how the ventricle functions.  We have been told that sometimes this tissue goes away by itself but sometimes open heart surgery is required to remove it.  At this point we are grateful for the good news and are cautiously optimistic about it all.

During our appointments we were briefed on how delivery will go.  I will be in a regular room until the actual delivery which will take place in an operating room with both the OB team and pediatric cardiology team present.  Caroline will then be immediately assessed and an echocardiogram done to get a full diagnosis of her heart issues.  She will be kept in the cardiac ICU and I will have a day or two of recovery in a normal room before being discharged.   We will know a whole lot more of what we are in for after those first few days of testing and observation.  The estimated hospital stay for a heart baby is 3-4 weeks.  Ryan and I will stay in the Ronald McDonald House at the hospital as long as we can and after that we will stay in Ann Arbor.  And speaking of delivery, the doctors told us that they would like to induce me at 39 weeks so they can go ahead and start working on Caroline's heart.  My response was definitely, "Wait...what?!"  That means in just two short weeks she will be here!  Crazy!!!  I just can't believe it.  It does not feel like nine months have gone by at all.

The really awesome thing is that I will be exactly 39 weeks on October 22.  Any guesses as to whose feast day is October 22?  That's right, Blessed John Paul II, Caroline's namesake!  Now, I am not saying she will be born on the 22nd but it would be cool.  Who knows, maybe she is just meant to be one more little miracle added to his cause:)  We know so many people have been praying for us and especially asking JPII for his intercession.  Thank you all so much.  This is just a little sign that your prayers are hard at work.

Here is our first 3-D image of little Caroline.  We have gotten lots of conflicting opinions as to whether she looks like me or like Ryan.  I am withholding judgement until after she is born, though I will say I think she got my lips.  Yay! (no offense, Ryan.)

Countdown is on: 2 weeks!!!  Ahhh!


  1. Hi Ellen!

    I've been following your story on facebook and the blog. We have a little girl coming this month too! Her due date is October 22 :)

    Prayers for you and Ryan and Caroline!

  2. Praying for y'all every night, little Daniel and I both ;-) xoxo