Wednesday, August 31, 2011

And the Waiting Continues

Well we're back from the doctor and still not much going on.  We have an induction set for next Thursday (never thought I'd be looking at September 8 as her possible birthday).  I'm really really hoping she comes on her own before then though!!  I really want to have the experience of going into labor on my own so that I have something that is typical of a "normal pregnancy."  Yes, I was frustrated that there wasn't more progress, but as long as she's safe and happy, then I'll continue waiting.   Heart babies can typically be smaller so the doctors want her to get as big as possible making her stronger for surgery. 

So now I'm looking for new things to fill the time.  The 1000 piece puzzle is complete and no, I don't need another puzzle to work on because that might really put me over the edge!  Looks like we might be watching some football this weekend after all! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Due Date

Well August 29 came and went yesterday with very little excitement.  It was Adeline's due date...the day we'd been looking forward to since we first saw her as a tiny bean on an ultrasound way back in January.  Knowing that most babies don't come on their "due date," I wasn't really expecting that she would, but I can't lie and say I wasn't a little bit disappointed.  I'm a pretty patient person, but I have definitely experienced bouts of impatience the past few days.  I have learned that when I call anyone at this point I have to immediately say "nothing going on" and if I don't answer my phone, people assume I've gone into labor.  Andrew offered to try and find us a boat yesterday to bounce me over some big waves since there aren't many train tracks around here like there are at home.  But then again we don't want to have to call in the Coast Guard...

In trying to pass the time, I've loaded my Nook with plenty of new books, unpacked and repacked hospital bags, taken our twice daily walks, and cleaned once again.  Oh and I've watched one too many episodes of "A Baby Story."  Andrew and I are working on recording us reading books so that we can play them for Adeline whenever we aren't at the hospital so she'll hear our voices.  We go back to the doctor in the morning so we'll see what they say if nothing happens before then.  Several people have said they think it'll be tomorrow so who knows...all I do know is that at this point it'll be sometime very soon!

As much as I'm ready to meet our baby girl, there's so much anxiety surrounding this time.  It's so hard knowing that she's perfectly healthy inside of me, but once she's born she's going to need surgery.  I don't want her to have to fight the battles that are ahead and go through so much, but thankfully she won't remember any of this once she's older.  We know she's a definite fighter, and as much as she moves around, I know she's going to be feisty (and hopefully with the red hair to match)!  For now we're praying for peace and patience as we wait and for the doctors and nurses who will take care of our daughter.  We know that Adeline is completely in the hands of God, and this is the truth that we have to rest in.

"Not only so, but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us."  Romans 5: 3-5

"Find rest, O my soul into this world.  God alone; my hope comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken."  Psalm 62: 5-6

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Waiting on a Baby

This is pretty much the theme around here right now and the topic of everyone I talk to on the phone.  I went to the doctor yesterday, and Adeline is still happy inside of me.  We had an ultrasound to check her size and got to see her chubby little cheeks again :)  She continues to show us who is boss and didn't do the practice breathing that the tech wanted to see until the very end of the ultrasound.  I think we know who is going to run the show around our house once she's born and like my sister-in-law said "wonder who she gets that from..." (that'd be me).  Next appointment is next Wednesday, but I'm hoping we won't need it.

While Andrew's been working to tie up some loose ends on work projects before she comes, I've been cleaning today.  Perhaps this is that last surge of nesting before she comes or just the Type A in me that wants the house completely clean before it's full of our families.  Either way the house is now clean!  Thanks to friends who know all too well what it's like to spend countless hours at MUSC, I now have a 1000 piece puzzle I'm working on.  It's a modern map of the USA with all the cities and states spelled out with letters from candy wrappers and such.  Both my dad and Andrew said they'd pay me if I finish it before she's born, but it might just make me go crazy instead.  Hours spent working on it and very little progress can be seen...oh well!

Thankfully Irene seems to have decided to not visit Charleston.  A hurricane in the midst of a high-risk birth and heart surgery is definitely not what we needed.  We'll probably get rain and wind but nothing too bad.  Considering my brother and sister-in-law experienced the earthquake in Richmond, I think that fulfills my family's quota for natural disasters in one week.  The waves are already noticeably bigger, and if I wasn't almost 40 weeks pregnant and the surfing type, perhaps you'd spot me out catching some waves.  Instead I'll enjoy them while just walking on the beach.

The highlight of my week was having a nice visit from my sister and her youngest, Eli.  Big brother Will stayed at home with Sam and got to spend the night at Gelle and Pops' house.  It was Eli's first visit to the beach, and I'm pretty sure he loved it after being very confused about the sand at first.  Of course he tried to eat it but wasn't quite able to get a good grasp on the sand to get it into his mouth.  Gayle and I took a long walk on the beach and spent plenty of time by the pool.  I think she was hoping for a little more excitement in that Adeline might come, but it just means she'll be back down here again soon!

Andrew and I went on probably our last date pre-baby last night.  We went to see The Help at a theater that serves dinner - it was the best of both worlds!  So for now we continue to wait on Miss Adeline and enjoy life at the beach.  Thank you again to everyone for all of your love, prayers, and support.  We can't wait to meet our little girl and introduce her to all of you!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Post-Weekend Update

One of the joys of being out on an island off the SC coast is that whenever a storm comes, the power goes out. Since I was smart enough to bring the battery backup from my office, and thanks to the iPhone's uncanny ability to broadcast WIFI, my little home office is still plugging along like normal. I even have a working desk light (battery backups really are great...).

Anyhow, Christin and I had a busy weekend. Her parents came down from Greenville to spend some time with us (and make sure we hadn't lost our minds yet). We appeared sane most of the time, so I think we were good there...

On Friday we went downtown for a while and got some great seafood. On Saturday we enjoyed the beach and the pool, and on Sunday we pretty much did the same thing as Saturday. After her folks left several of my friends who live down here came over for dinner. We all enjoyed catching up with one another - it had been several years since I last saw two of them.

All in all the weekend gave Christin and I what we both needed - some relaxation and fun before the storm of birth, surgeries and the pediatric cardiac ICU (which I keep referring to as the those crazy Japanese cartoon characters a kid down the street from us used to talk about).

On another note, most of you have probably heard by now that there happens to be a hurricane heading straight for the coast of SC. While we're hoping it decides to turn east and go out to sea, we have an appointment scheduled for Wednesday morning at MUSC where a decision will be made based upon Christin's (and Adeline's) progress, the weather and our insurance plan on whether or not Christin will go ahead and ask to be admitted ahead of the storm. Of course we really don't want this - we want Adeline to come on her own time (which could, of course, be anytime this week), and we don't particularly care for hurricanes.

So, hopefully the storm will bank hard to the east and make it's way out to sea. But, we have to be prepared and cautious either way. I just don't want Adeline's birth to be like the movies where the mother goes into labor during the eye of the storm and the father (that would be me in this case) ends up having to deliver the baby in their living room. Yeah...that's definetly not a good idea. We really don't want that...

Anyhow, Christin will be returning to you tomorrow, knowing that she should not have made fun of me for packing my battery backup unit since I was able to use the computer and she wasn't.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Life at our New "Home"

Through the extreme generosity of friends of friends, Andrew and I are staying in a beach house while we're in Charleston.  We've quickly realized that we're very spoiled living here in paradise, and I'm afraid we might not want to go back home when the time finally comes!  The house is just perfect and gives us a great sense of peace during these uncertain times.  The house is full of bright colors and it has plenty of room for our families when they're visiting.  Not to mention the screen porch, pool, and view of the ocean :)  While we wait for Adeline to come, we're definitely enjoying our new home and plenty of walks on the beach while pretending that we're "just on vacation."  We'll never be able to fully express our gratitude to the owners of this wonderful house - it's just another example of what people will do when they know of someone in need.  I continue to be absolutely amazed by the outpouring of love from people.  I definitely look forward to being able to share this experience with others in similar situations down the road.  All I can say is that as scary as everything is, God has definitely provided for us and I know that He will continue to do so.

I'll leave you with a few pictures of our new home...

Looking off the screened porch

Supposedly he's working and on a conference call, but I'm not so sure - definitely less stress in the "office" here!

Beautiful rainbow over the beach that we saw before going to dinner at our friends' house last night

I hope everyone has a great weekend!  My parents will be here soon, and my mom's looking forward to a weekend on the beach and seafood so hopefully Adeline won't come quite yet!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Well I Finally Did It

I started a blog!  I'm making no promises on the excitement of this blog but figured it'd be easiest to keep people informed of our journey with Adeline.  This first post may be a little lengthy with background information so I apologize!

How we got here...
In December 2010, Andrew and I found out that we were expecting our first child.  The news was an early Christmas blessing, and we couldn't wait until late summer when we would meet our first child.  In April 2011, we found out that we were expecting a baby girl.  We decided to name her Adeline Penn Daniel.  She will be the first granddaughter (following 3 boys) on my side and the first grandchild on Andrew's side.  We already anticipate her running the show!  After several ultrasounds to get a clear picture of her heart, at 22 weeks our little girl was diagnosed with  Double Outlet Right Ventricle (DORV).  In short, this means that her aorta and pulmonary arteries both come out of her right ventricle (instead of the aorta coming out of the left).  In addition, she also has a large hole between her two ventricles, which is actually a good thing because it allows blood flow to her left ventricle which will be extremely helpful when she takes her first breath of air. 

To be told that your baby girl has a congenital heart defect and will require open heart surgery at birth is nothing you expect to hear.  After being told by my doctor that she didn't know what was wrong but that she knew something was wrong with my baby's heart, we were thankful to hear the words "It's fixable but your baby will need open heart surgery at birth." 

Up until this point my pregnancy had been very routine and fairly easy, and thankfully it has stayed that way since her diagnosis (despite the multitude of medical appointments with various specialists across the state). Heart defects in babies are the most common birth defects, but Adeline's defect only accounts for 1/10th of 1 percent of all babies born. In addition, only 1/10th of those 1/10th of 1 percent receive a diagnosis before birth.  Needless to say, it's very rare.  After being told about Adeline's heart, Andrew and I went through several emotions - shocked, scared, denial, and then finally thankful that we knew before she was born.

Many blessings have come of this journey so far, and one of the greatest  is the level of care Adeline will receive once she is born.  I will deliver at MUSC in Charleston.  MUSC has one of the top pediatric cardiac programs in the country with amazingly talented surgeons.  From every doctor to nurse to staff member whom we have met, we feel very confident and blessed to be at MUSC.  We have been told nothing but great things about MUSC.  This is never a road that we thought we would walk, but we feel that we are in the best place under the best care possible. 

For now we have temporarily moved to Charleston.  I'm due in a week and a half (August 29th), and the doctors are letting me go into labor on my own.  Once Adeline is born, she will be taken to the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU), and her doctors will then determine the exact plan for surgery.  Surgery will be within 4-7 days after she is born.  We are praying for only one surgery, but it could be as many as three.  The doctors will need to get a clear look at her heart before they can decide the plan to give her the strongest heart possible.  I've wanted to keep her inside of me because her heart functions completely fine now (as she is not having to breathe and oxygenate blood on her own), but now I am ready to meet our little girl and begin this next stage.

Throughout the past four months, Andrew and I have been surrounded by prayers and so many blessings.  I decided early on that sitting and worrying wasn't going to do a bit of good, so I've tried my best to remain positive.  I've definitely had my days, but I know that I must be strong for our daughter.  My doctor told me the best thing I could do was treat this pregnancy like any "normal" pregnancy because Adeline senses my emotions.  For now we are praying that she stays healthy and inside of me until she's ready to make her debut, a safe delivery, wisdom for her doctors and nurses as they prepare to take care of her, comfort and peace for us and our families, and a strong heart that will require only one surgery. 

I'll leave you with just the beginning of the list of blessings...
  • knowing in advance about our baby girl's heart and being able to prepare ourselves as best we can
  • medical technology and the doctors and nurses who have been referred to us as "gifts from God"
  • strangers who have reached out to us to share their heart baby stories
  • a beach house to live in while in Charleston
  • countless prayers from people we know and complete strangers allowing us to feel God's grace and comfort
  • knowing that God is in complete control 
  • our families who have helped out tremendously and been so supportive
  • friends in Charleston to welcome us and make this transition easier
  • Andrew being able to work from Charleston
  • people offering support in so many ways, and one day we hope that after having gone through this experience we'll be able to pay it forward to others in need
  • Adeline has thrived in utero
  • if we have to be away from home for several weeks, the beach isn't a bad place to be :)