8.03.2010

Ellie in the Belly - 36 weeks

Today's doctor appointments went good - although exhausting! I'm always so tired after a long day of doctors! Thankfully, a Dallas friend & former college roommate kept Will so he had a blast (& we didn't have to manage him through my appointments.) Thanks, Laura!!!
And my mom came to town to drive R & I around - so we could avoid dealing with parking and also because, despite the fact that I assured my parents I am an official grown-up now that I am 30 (yikes!), they didn't want me driving alone on the interstate this afternoon after such a grueling day. Thanks, Mom!

Cardiology - Ellie's cardiologist is feeling good about her heart. There are still masses present although they appear smaller & more "dispersed" - with no visible pattern. They continue to not be affecting structure or function of the heart & therefore do not present any problem. She said that she may never be able to explain them to us - it may just be something we always keep an eye on to make sure they don't suddenly grow or cause any problems. About 24-48 hours post birth, Ellie will have an EKG done with this cardiologist to check her electrical pathways. These can not be tested prenatally and we have to wait at least 24 hours post birth as she will reflect mine for awhile. Good appointment. No real changes from the previous echo and her heart remains strong - despite those mysterious masses.

Perinatologist - This wasn't a measurement/numbers ultrasound as we did one last week - it was just a high -level ultrasound. No real changes since last week. Ellie remains head down, face down (good for delivery) & we didn't try to get her to turn over to get a glimpse of her face as we want her in her current position. Her trunk was moving lots & she did good breathing practices. She did give us a scare of ogliohydramnios (too little amniotic fluid - very dangerous) - but Dr. M. decided to re-measure the fluid levels when she moved & then they came out at 10.3! (Normal is 10-20 so we are right at the normal mark - barely- whew!)
Ellie measured approx 7 lbs but, of course, there is a lot of room for error here - last Thursday she measured 5 lbs, 10 oz - I doubt she grew a pound and a half in just 5 days! She's probably somewhere in the middle there!
She still has lots of hair. Which is good because the girl has her own accessory bag packed with hair clips! :)
It's hard to get a good picture of a baby at this point in a pregnancy - the baby is too big and there is too little room ... so we saw what we could but could not get any idea really of limb flexibility.

OB- We used Dr. G. to deliver Will & LOVED him. He is also going to deliver Ellie so it was so fun to see him again nearly 3 years later. We completely trust him & respect him & feel confident putting our baby in his care. No, ahem, progress, for me yet but he gave me hope.
I am now measuring 33 cm for the fundal height. This is good as I was kind of stuck at 31 for so long! Technically, it's supposed to reflect the number of weeks pregnant one is (36 in my case) but, it's close enough plus we are getting far more accurate testing done weekly (ultrasounds plus NST plus BPP every single week) so we don't really go by the tape measure test.
I still haven't gained any weight now in about 4 weeks - wow - that's a first! (With Will, i gained alot!)
But, Ellie is growing so that is good.
We set the delivery date for Tuesday, August 17th. (Of course, Ellie doesn't have a calendar and she may try to come earlier - in which case, we have a plan - which is why I am not allowed more than 1.5 hours away from Dallas!)
He encouraged me in that he felt like Ellie's birth would likely be even faster than Will's - Will's was 7 hours!
(So, I am praying Ellie doesn't send me into labor early as I do not want to be on the interstate or in a helicopter in labor!!!)
It seems that all of our doctors feel like Ellie can handle a natural birth so we are hoping to avoid c-section. We are choosing to trust our doctors and based on the fact that Ellie's trunk & head shows so much movement, they do not feel that she is presenting in the typical fashion of babies with her tendon issue and therefore they do not believe she is at risk for breaking bones. They feel that for respiratory purposes for her, natural is ideal. Of course, they agree with us that we want what is best for Ellie and my "birth plan" can be thrown out the window should anyone at any point feel that she needs a c-section.

Should we change our minds in the next week about waiting to deliver at exactly 38 weeks, we will have to have an amnio to determine if Ellie's lungs are mature enough for early delivery. There is a slight risk with an amnio this far along that it would induce labor anyway. We currently have an appointment for one just in case set for Monday. However, all of our doctors feel that one extra week will not affect the severity of Ellie's tendons but will help her lungs and growth - & therefore help her fight the battle at birth.
We are trusting our doctors, therefore, and barring any incredible new research finds in the next few days, sticking with the 38 weeks plan.

I will continue to get NST and BPP monitoring in my parents' town - where Will & I are hanging out until just before delivery.

All of our doctors are so compassionate and we feel like they will do their absolute best to take care of Ellie while providing us with as ideal as possible birth environment. We gave our OB our "wishes" & preferences for Ellie's birth. I'm pretty flexible at this point as to doing whatever is best for Ellie - & therefore whatever our doctors recommend as far as an epidural, etc, so I am not going to get heartset on the birth going any set way. I need to be able to think clearly to make decisions and do not want to be so exhausted or too drugged to make decisions or to enjoy and hold Ellie. Mostly, therefore, our birth plan focused not on the labor part of the experience but on our intentions that R accompany Ellie for any testing, that we would like a chance to hold her and introduce Will & her grandparents to her prior to evaluations if she is stable, our expectations that both of our children's conditions be communicated to anyone who enters our room so that they treat them with sensitivity and celebration of life, and, if Ellie is at any point deemed terminal, what our wishes are for that scenario.

For the first time, I think I am getting excited about her actual birth! Having a birthday set forces me to accept the reality that I can't keep her within forever - and I'm kind of getting excited about holding her and dressing her and fixing her hair and singing to her and feeding her... and especially about introducing her as "Caroline Ellie Ellie Grace" to Sweet Will.
I am dreading sending her away for testing but am trying not to think too much about that...today. She will likely require an MRI or CT to determine if her Central Nervous System is affected along with an echo, EKG, & possible EEG. And then there's all the orthopedic stuff.
I am also waging war against the fearful thoughts of "what if"... as in, what if we chose a date today which our daughter might not survive. I am refusing to give into those fearful thoughts today.

R made fun of me for typing it into my calendar - as if I might forget what day I'm supposed to be at the hospital to give birth!
I just liked the looks of it in print - August 17, 2010.
13 days before Will's 3rd birthday.
14 days before her due date.
Ellie's birthday.

For now, I'm just dreaming about meeting her for those magical first few minutes of euphoria. There's nothing like seeing your baby for the first time, is there?

5 thoughts:

gtown1 said...

How fun!! That's a great day! We'll hopefully share the same birthday...just you know 32 years apart :)
Yay for the birthday girl...can't wait to see her sweet face!

love ya'll and thanks for letting us know--ejwilliams

Heartsong said...

Can't wait to meet this precious princess!

Natalie said...

So exciting....

Laura said...

A perfect birthdate for a perfect girl!!! So glad the date is set. We had a blast with Will today. Thanks for letting him have a playdate with Caroline! Can't wait to love on Ellie in just a couple of weeks. Hurry back to D-town...miss ya!

Miles said...

Katie,

You don't know me, but I went to L. School with R. I've just read your entire blog and fallen in love with Will and Ellie. Thank you for sharing your story. I can't wait to see pictures of Miss Ellie in her dresses and bows. She is going to be just beautiful.

Nicole

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