Sunday, May 31, 2009

Thank You SNC

We want to thank our brothers and sisters at SNC for the "send off" yesterday.  After the sermon was finished (awesome job by the way, Jason!) we were called up by Pastor Joe and prayed over by the whole church.  We're pretty sure that anyone who was not aware of our special situation thought that we were just going down to San Diego for kicks and probably thought we wanted prayer because we were going to miss SNC (which we are), but we still are very appreciative of the prayer.  Karsie was too as she kicked everyone that touched Michelle's belly during the prayer.  We'll see you guys in a few months!  

Kick Count

We have been instructed to start counting Karsie's kicks at some point during the day, usually after dinner.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with kick counts, Michelle is to monitor Karsie's movement for an hour and make sure she feels her 10 times during that hour.  If she doesn't feel her 10 times in that hour we are to go immediately to the doctor's office.  This sounds a little rash, until we give you the times for our first two days:

Day 1 - 10 kicks in 35 seconds

Day 2 - 10 kicks in under 2 min.

So far - not so hard.  (just during the time writing this post, Karsie has kicked 8 times)

Friday, May 29, 2009

My Daughter and Metallica

Kevin here - As a proud father to be, I have to share a very exciting experience with all of you on our way home from San Diego today.  I struck up a few songs of Metallica's new CD and Karsie immediately went to kicking and rolling around so much so that Michelle could not deny Karsie's enthusiasm. She really seemed to kick around the guitar solo parts, so we have a little rocker inside.  But, she also used both hands and feet, so she might be a little drummer (a la Karen Carpenter).  I can't wait to let her listen to some of the old Metallica material.  How old is it appropriate to take her to a concert? 

Post Appointment

First of all, we love Dr. Cousins.  He has the best bedside manner of any doctor we have seen so far (and many have had good bedside manner) and seemed to know exactly where we were in our stage of this process.  The first thing he did was go through our situation as it stands to make sure he had all the information right.  Then, he did a quite thorough investigation of Michelle herself. He has been the first doctor to do that.  Then he did a quick sonogram just to check some of the basics.  Finally, he sat down and answered many, many questions.  Here is what we know so far:

-Michelle will indeed have a C-Section
-Our goal is to go as close to term as possible (38-39 weeks).  That puts us around August 10-15.
-There are no physical limitations at this point for Michelle
-Bob will most likely not shrink, but the good news is that it probably won't grow either
-There will not be anything genetic that will pop up
-We will need to meet with our pediatric surgeon soon to get some of our questions regarding the process after birth.  Cousins will deliver Karsie and then pass Karsie on to the surgeon.
-At 32 weeks Michelle will start stress tests which she will go in two times a week to measure the progress of the pregnancy in order to anticipate premature labor.  That's in about 4 weeks or so.  Thank goodness we have the summer off!
-At week 37 or 38 we will have another amnio test to see how Karsie's lungs are developing.  
-Michelle is starting kick counts this week.  She needs to count every night to make sure Karsie is kicking at least 10 times in a span of an hour.  She started tonight.  It took about 35 seconds 
to feel 10 kicks.  

All seems to be going well.  We have another appointment in about 2 weeks.  Michelle will be moving to San Diego next weekend.  We will continue to keep all of you posted on our progress.  

Could be Feast, Could be Famine

We are in the waiting room...again...waiting for a meeting with our perinatologist. We believe that this will be a brief question and answer session and nothing more, but we may be surprised. We'll let you know.

This could answer a ton of questions or it could be the famous "we'll have to wait and see" answer. Here's hoping that's not the case...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

No Hole

Sorry about the previous post.  Kevin had written a lengthy post on his phone from the doctor's office and it was accidentally erased and left with a "no" on there.  We decided to just leave it rather than type it all out again on the phone from the road.  

In any case, the doctor did come back and say that he is making a decision that there is no hole. He did say however that it was a tough decision and it does look like thin muscle, which would give off the "hole" impression, but he is saying there isn't one.  He continued by saying that even if it turns out he is wrong (which we would know after Karsie is born) it is unlikely it would be anything serious enough to have surgery for.  

Thank you all for your continued prayers.  We will have more information by at least Friday.  We may post a pic or two before then.

schedule Changing and More Appts

Currently we are in the waiting room at the cardiologists office waiting to get Karsie's heart tested to see if she has a hole.

For those of you who have not been religiously following our blog (as enthralling as it is) this is a change of original plan. We got a call this morning from Dr. Cousins's office saying one of the other doctors had to have emergency back surgery and Cousins has to take his patients, so we have been kicked out and rescheduled for this Friday.

However, the good news is that we were able to schedule the cardiologist at the same time Dr. Cousins's appointment was supposed to happen.

We will update as soon as possible...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Further Update

Here are the subjects that have been covered:

1.  Hole in the heart - At this point the doctor said that he does not believe that it is a hole, but just to play it safe we have been referred to a heart specialist for another fetal echo.  If it is a hole, it was so small that nothing will probably need to be done.  Even if something needs to be done, it is not a huge problem to correct.  

2.  Omphalocele - Bob hasn't changed much since the last sonogram, but he seems to be growing at a normal rate.  We think there is either a cyst growing next to Bob or part of the umbilical cord making another sac filled with fluid.  There is a more concerning possibility that was discussed earlier that the sac could be part of Karsie's bowel, but the doctor did not seem to think that was the case.  He also said that the size of Bob was moderate, which is decent news to us.

3.  Inflamed vessels - The doctor did say that some of the vessels in the heart were slightly inflamed, but he thought that was due to the blood having to get to Bob.  

4.  Week 34 - To play it safe, this is the new week we are shooting for.  Kevin asked when Karsie would be okay to be born since premature birth is our biggest concern at this point.  The doctor said normally he would say week 32, but because of our case and to play it safe he said week 34, which would put us around July 12 (our anniversary).  We will probably have to have another amnio to start checking the lungs.  

5.  Birth - We did also talk about what the birth will be like.  The doctor said that it is pretty certain that a cesarian section is going to happen and that Karsie will have to go into surgery. He concluded by saying that she will stay in the hospital probably for a while.  He said that a month is not uncommon.  However, the longer she brews before birth and the bigger she gets will make it less likely she will stay for an extended amount of time.  

We have another appointment on Tuesday and possibly a phantom appointment soon (as the cardiologist will need to get back to us on an available appointment).  We will keep you guys posted.  Thoughts and prayers are appreciated.  

Quick Update

Ultrasound is done. We are currently waiting for the doc to explain everything.

The tech said evrything looked good but she might have found a tiny hole in the heart. It was so small she said that it might not even be a hole, but we will have that followed up on. Even if it is a hole, she said that is one of the most common defects and might not even need treating.

While it's a small issue we're still kind of bummed. More when we hear from the doctor.

Appointment #2

We are in San Diego waiting for our second appointment in our version of the triple crown. This jewel will feature an ultrasound on what we believe will be a fetal echo, which is the heart ultrasound.

We will probably not meet our doctor today, but maybe he will make a guest appearance. News to follow.....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Appointment # 1

Not much happened. We met with doctor Owens for a routine checkup. He listened to Karsie's heart which read as completely normal. Karsie was again rolling around and kicking everything in sight.

Owens also said that while Michelle's sugar was technically high it was barely above the level they do a second check on.

Next appointment is this Friday.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

First in a Slew of Appointments

Hello all. We are currently waiting for the first appointment of three happening in less than a week. This first appointment will probably be our last in Bakersfield until Karsie arrives. We will have two more in San Diego over the weekend. We don't know exactly what the appointments are for other than meeting the docs, but we will update you all when we find out.

In less than happy news Michelle's sugar levels were higher than expected and will need to go back in to take a longer test to see if she has gestational diabetes. Unfortunately if she does that is yet another risk of premature labor. We are praying she does not.

News to follow...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Growth and Showers

So, we have made it to the six month mark here.  As you can see... Michelle's belly button is looking like it could pop out at any given moment!!  Karsie continues to amaze mom and dad with her strength!  She is approximately 14 inches long and weighs a little over a pound.  She is making good growth progress.
Michelle had her first baby shower yesterday too!  Karsie was spoiled by all her Bakersfield aunties and friends.  Michelle's mom and grandma were able to be there too which made the day very special.  Thank you to all our friends who helped plan the shower and to everyone who attended and were so generous with your gifts.  
A special message onsie for our little "gut" baby!  

Friday, May 15, 2009

Two More Weeks...

We are two weeks away from hitting the magic 28 weeks!  As far as Karsie's well-being, the 28th week is typically the "safety age" for most babies.  In other words, she can be born any time after that and will probably make it.  This is, of course, a rule of thumb age and we obviously want to go to term, but it's a prayer that we have been praying for a while and it's right around the corner. 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

We would like to make a special Mother's Day shoutout today.  Michelle is enjoying her first "sort of" Mother's Day while sharing it with Kevin's mom and sister.  Hope the rest of the day goes well for the rest of you.  


We have had numerous people come up and ask us if we are moving to San Diego for good.  The answer to that is no.  We are planning on temporarily moving to San Diego just for the summer until we give birth to our daughter and a little after until she is ready to move back to us to Bakersfield.  We felt we needed to clarify for any worried that we're bailing on them without saying goodbye.  Michelle will be leaving in the next few weeks while Kevin will be making some sort of back and forth trip all summer.  Hope this is a little clearer.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Appointment cont...

Sorry about the delay from yesterday.  It took longer than we thought and then we had a ton of stuff to do.  

The good news:  We are still seeing all the signs that this is an "isolated" case meaning that the omphalocele is the only thing wrong with Karsie.  The technician, Gennifer, told us that the hole in the abdomen is about an inch at this point.  Karsie is around 14 or so inches long (we're not sure where she fits in Michelle) and about a pound.  At this point in the pregnancy she is mostly gaining weight.  Very soon she will stop growing longer and just be getting heavier.  Karsie is kicking at extreme rates.  She's pretty feisty.  When Gennifer and the doctor put the ultrasound scanner on Michelle's belly, Karsie would immediately kick back.  But the movement is an excellent sign.  In fact, Gennifer said that she was the most active of the day and one of the most active she has seen.  We were able to see four full chambers in the heart and all of the limbs were the way they should be.  Her ears were also where they should be (one of the associated problems with omphaloceles has an indicator with the ears set low).

The cautious news:  Karsie's omphalocele has not shrunk nor has any of it gone back in.  (From now on we will call the omphalocele Bob  because it's annoying to continue to type that word). Bob is about as big as the abdomen, which is good, but it means it will be a little more intense of a surgery than a "normal" Bob.  However, our chart from our UCLA doctor said it was definitely not the worst case he has seen, so maybe we can call it an above average Bob.  We also saw another part to Bob that stuck out and is filled with fluid.  This can be a variety of things that we will not know for a while, but one of the things we are nervous that it is is part of Karsie's bowels.  This is probably not life threatening, but if it's swollen like that there's obviously a problem and will require more surgery.  

The doctor said that Karsie will be in the hospital for a week minimum, but was optimistic about the timeframe.  In other words, we could be able to take her home much sooner than we thought providing nothing weird happens between now and then.  

In a couple of weeks we have a slew of doctor's appointments:  one here and two in San Diego, so this will be a hotbed of information very soon.  Keep posted.  Thanks for the continued prayers.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Quick Ultrasound

We are currently at the doctor's for a routine schedule and were able to get in a quick ultrasound. News soon to follow...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Hiatus is over...

Hello all.  We are still alive.  We have just not had much to report these days.  Michelle's belly has popped out quite nicely and we can actually see Karsie kicking without feeling Michelle's belly.  

We do have a few doctor appointments to report coming this month.  We have one this Wednesday with our Bakersfield OB.  We're not exactly sure what all is going to be done then.  It could be as simple as getting a urine sample from Michelle and going on our way, or it could be a full on ultrasound checkup.

We do have another slew of appointments happening at the end of May.  Some of the dates are tentative.  May 22nd we have a pretty big appointment in San Diego.  We will get our second fetal cardiogram which will test Karsie's heart again.  We had great results the first time at UCLA, but this time Karsie's heart is much bigger to see all of the little vessels, so we are praying for the same good results.  

Secondly, we have an appointment that following Tuesday to meet with our new perinatologist to go over the test results, and we may have news about dates this summer like C-Section and hospital admittance for Karsie and such if they are able to give us those. 

Keep checking for updates even though they have been scarce.  They will start to get a little more frequent the more we know.  We also have some news to come about another couple we have been in contact with in New York also having a baby with an omphalocele.  We just need to check on a couple of things before we post.  Things are looking good for them so far, so hopefully that is a sign of things to come for us.  

Talk to you guys later.