Monday, October 20, 2008

Last Prenatal Appointments in Seattle

On Friday, October 17, Darth and I spent most of the day in doctor appointments and consultations. It was an informative day and our brains were exhausted by the time we were done. It was great information to receive, however, because we are getting so close to Braden's arrival and our excitement is growing.

We started off with our last fetal echo cardiogram. Braden's condition has remained consistent as far as the congenital heart defect goes. The test showed okay heart function and the plan is still to have his operation sometime after the first week. We also found out that Braden will likely go to the UW Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) before transfer to Children's. Still praying we will get to see him a bit before all that occurs.

Next came the ultrasound and it went so well. All the concerns that have come up during the past months were just not an issue. Thank you God! The perinatologist (high-risk obstetrician) has us scheduled for an induction at the University of Washington on Sunday, November 9. We hope to have a baby that day, but with an induction who knows. We get to call in the morning to find out when to come in so it's a waiting game for all. Darth and I were told again to expect a month long hospital stay.

We met a neonatologist on this visit that was able to answer questions regarding the process to stabilize Braden. Even though he may not be there when baby boy is born, this doctor was so reassuring about the care Braden will receive. It also gave us an idea how many people to expect in the delivery room! I was envisioning a good dozen, but it looks like about half that many. Who cares at that point! Just take care of my baby! :) We have no grand expectations for this delivery experience. This whole pregnancy has taken such a different direction that our priorities are very focused and practical.

Our last appointment was with one of the two surgeons that will be performing Braden's heart surgery. He told us to not expect surgery before 7 days old. Darth and I were able to ask questions and clarify information we have learned over the months to get an accurate idea of what surgery and recovery will be like. The surgery is long, with prep, actual operation, and such, approximately 7 hours. The surgeon reassured us that really he doesn't watch the clock, he just focuses on the patient and what needs to be done. We just plan on it being a long day.

This is all still really scary stuff for us. Heart surgery on a newborn is unfathomable for me. Yet this is our reality. Should Jesus not heal him in a miraculous way, we are proceeding with the knowledge that He uses doctors too. And we have some of the best on our team; we are so grateful! Children's Seattle is amazing.

By the way, the posted picture of Braden is a 4-D ultrasound picture taken at one of my Wenatchee ultrasound appointments. We received several pictures of his face, a cute foot shot, and one of his hand, showing long fingers. The miracle of life is wonderful. Those pictures have brought so many smiles to our faces to see our little pumpkin Braden!

Thanks for continuing to stand by us and to pray for our family and little boy.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Five weeks and counting

The past several weeks have been filled with much preparation as we get ready to welcome little Braden to the world. Tomorrow (October 6) it will be 5 weeks until the inducement and it seems there is so much to be done between now and then with the daily commitments of work, home and family.

We wanted to share some areas of gratitude! For starters, God has worked some amazing miracles in providing for our family financially during the last several days and we give Him all the praise for taking care of us. This faith walk we're on gets more and more amazing all the time. Our current situation has caused us to reflect on all the times the Lord has come through for us in the area of finances in the past. Those experiences has proved invaluable for trusting Him once again in this new life adventure. Our medical bills were starting to pile up with all the tests and appointments. Even with the great insurance we have, Darth and I were starting to think, "OH MY! We haven't even HAD Braden yet and the bills are stacking up!" Kind of scary territory. But, we know Jesus is our source of hope and His timing is very humbling. Last week we found out we were approved for financial aid with one medical facility and that our account balance showed zero! This past week we were also able to get rid of some credit card debt that was really hanging over our heads. Our stress level has been significantly reduced! Thank you Lord!

Another good report is that we have had tests every week here at home in Wenatchee since our last Seattle appointments and Braden looks great. I have had two non stress tests (NST) and an ultrasound. There has been no noticeable excess of amniotic fluid and Braden has passed both NST's with flying colors. The ultrasound brought up an area of concern that was cleared up by the second NST so really things are going well. We are relieved with every good report and are choosing faith over fear with the others! And, this will come as a shock, but the ultrasound showed Braden already has a good amount of hair. All our babies have had a full head of hair, with each one having more than the last. It will be fun to see what Braden looks like! He is almost 5 pounds according to the ultrasound so his growth is right where it should be.

Lastly, we are getting encouragement almost daily with phone calls, cards, and conversations, people telling Darth and I that they are praying, encouraging us with their own stories of trusting God and His faithfulness. We know our family is walking in peace because of those prayers and words of encouragement. We are worriers by nature and this whole thing is so out of our control. But God, who knows exactly what we need when we need it and who know precisely what tomorrow holds, is our Rock during uncertain times.

The Lord bless you and keep you, make His face shine upon you, and give you peace.