Wednesday, June 24, 2009
NICU - We took about an hour to tour the NICU at both Mary Birch (where Karsie will go immediately after delivery and where she will go after she is stable) and at Children's Hospital (where she will go directly after surgery and stay until she is stable). We had two tour guides:one from Children's and one from Mary Birch and both were social workers that knew a lot about the NICU. Children's was very busy. There were lots of machines and lots of activity. The babies are very well cared for. Mary Birch's NICU was a tad slower (mostly because the babies are more stable than at Children's) but still very nice. We were given a ton of information about how visiting will go after delivery. Here is what we can remember:
Karsie will be delivered at Mary Birch hospital by C-Section. (after talking with the surgeon) We most likely will have a bit of time between delivery and surgery as an omphalocele is not life threatening on its own (assuming Bob is the only thing wrong with her). She will be transported to the Mary Birch NICU and prepared for surgery. We may get to have a few visitors here before she is shipped off to surgery. When she is ready and our surgeon is ready, she will be delivered to Children's via cool corridors and halls that connect the two, and will have surgery there. Michelle will still have to stay at Mary Birch and get fixed up (and greatly comforted by Reva) while Kevin travels with Karsie to Children's. Karsie will have surgery and then begin recovery in the Children's Hospital NICU. When she is stable and ready to not have to be monitored so frequently, she will be transported back to Mary Birch's NICU until she can be taken home. From what we can tell this whole process can take anywhere from 3 weeks to two or three months from delivery. A later birth means a faster recovery.
This brings up an incredibly stressful and difficult decision for us to make regarding visitors. While the Mary Birch NICU has an open door policy (anyone with the parents can visit), Children's NICU has a maximum of 6 that can visit...total...for the whole time she is there. We will give them 6 names and, to prevent the amount of foreign germs to the babies, only they will be able to accompany Michelle or Kevin for the entire time Karsie is there. Automatically, the grandparents are included, which takes up 3 spots. Therefore, we have to choose 3 people to take the final spots to see Karsie while she is in recovery.
The maybe good news about this is that Mary Birch is open door, and she will most likely go there immediately after delivery. So, people here at birth MAY get to visit her before she goes to surgery. And pretty much anyone can take a little visit after she is stable. We are so, so sorry. They are making us make too difficult decisions during this part of pregnancy.
We did meet our surgeon today. We really like him and he seems really confident in his ability to fix the problem. He pretty much went over the basics of omphaloceles, which we mostly knew, and then answered our questions. The only real news is that he will try to get it all in in one shot and if he can't their team does siloh, which is the protective casing over the organs. He said that he puts in a little at a time after that as her abdomen accepts the new tenants. He just came by to introduce himself, but he is coming back early next week, bringing a sample silo and answering more questions. At this point it looks like everything is a guess until she comes out. However we really like Dr. Saenz and feel very confident in his abilities.
P.S. - we saw a little premie that was about 3 pounds, which is about the size of Karsie, and she looked much bigger than we expected, so that helped us psychologically.
From now on we're not sure what plan of attack is other than monitoring her. We have no immediate tests and meetings (as we have met everyone at this point) that are pending, so we will be having ultrasounds and checkups daily until either we are discharged or delivery. Pray for nothing else to come up.
A-Ok. The heart is not causing the fluid in the abdomen and it looks great! So far, the heart has been solid as a rock when we go in for appointments. We will be continuing to see what is causing the fluid.
We are about to step out to tour the Children's Hospital NICU, which we will maybe see some premies. Karsie will spend a good chunk of time there after she is born, so we were given special permission to tour it. It's lucky to have a mom working in the field.
We are also waiting on our surgeon that will hopefully come after we come back from the NICU.
Many of you have been asking what can you do for us. While prayer is still our biggest and most important request, we do have something you can do if you can.
Bakersfield - Kevin had been planning on going home after a few weeks to check on the house. Since Michelle has been admitted to the hospital and we're not sure when we might have to take Karsie out, Kevin will not get to make it back home to check on the house. If some of you would like to help out (seriously, no obligations) other than prayer, we can send down a few keys for you to check on the house periodically if you happen to be in the area.
San Diego - Our poor puppies are getting the shaft with us not being able to play with them or walk them. Again, no obligations, but if you would like to do something besides pray we're sure our dogs would like to have some attention.
Thank you guys so much!
We were able to get good sleep last night. This may have to do with the fact that we both got no sleep the night before and are making up for it, but we both feel much more rested today.
Today's schedule is not quite as hectic, but still is full. We will be visited by Dr. Saenz, our pediatric surgeon, to talk about what we can expect. We will be taking a tour of the Children's Hospital NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). As we are visiting, we will visit Dr. Fripp, our cardiologist to look at Karsie's heart, which will be nerve racking for us. He will be looking at the fluid in the abdomen as a sign of heart failure, therefore looking very closely at the heart. He looked at it a month ago and it looked good, so hopefully nothing has changed, but the fluid is concerning for the heart. Finally, we have our daily sonogram to check the fluid in the abdomen to make sure it is staying put. They will also be measuring growth.
As we are typing this we are realizing that today's schedule is actually just as busy if not more busy than yesterday. Oh well, it will be good if we can get good marks on all of our visits and tests today.
So far, Karsie is looking great! Michelle had a few contractions last night, but only when she was being measured and on her left side, which is more uncomfortable for her. She had 5 when she was being measured, which is just under the level where they would do something about it. So we guess that's good.
Michelle's blood sugar was again high first thing in the morning, which if it follows the same pattern as yesterday she will be high again after breakfast and really high after lunch. But then it went way down to normal after dinner. We'll see if it stays the same. Michelle chickened out again on the shot which makes her 0 for 3, but she's getting closer each time and the nurses are very supportive. She also has a practice syringe and a lemon that she has been working on. Good luck Michelle!
New - We just got a call from our cardiologist and we will be having our fetal echo at 11:00. If you think about it then, pray for good results.
Michelle did it!!!! She stuck herself on the 4th try! Awesome job!