Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Had my first BPP (biophysical profile) today.  No biggie.  She passed with flying colors.  Its "just a sonogram" (hehe).  But they do measure/check her movement, breathing, fluid levels, and heartbeat.  But she has to do all within 30 minutes.  The breathing seems to be the tricky one.  Babies only practice their breathing in utero a few times every couple of minutes and if she's moving or if we're looking at something else - we could miss it.  And its VERY subtle.  I would never notice it if they hadn't pointed it out.

The sonographer estimated her weight to be 2 lbs 8 oz.  And realizing that I only have 7 weeks left...I see why they want me to eat more.  I noticed her cheeks had filled out some since the last ultrasound... I am predicting chipmunk cheeks similar to Mati Claire's - lol!!!!  And Merritt loves to play with her feet.  I find that amazing considering she has a "ball" on her stomach... she doesn't let anything slow her down or get in her way! Go Merritt!

What I thought would be "quick BPP appointments" proved me wrong... my first one and I was in the office for over 2 1/2 hours.  ugh.  twice a week.  they are really trying to torture me.  why do i have to pee in a cup twice a week?  and i can take my own blood pressure at home if it would cut down on my wait time in the office.  after dozing off in the exam room i woke up feeling like Dory on Finding Nemo... a little insane and singing "just keep swimming! just keep swimming!"

God is good though.  I still feel Him holding my hand through every appointment... the good and the bad :)  I was thinking the other day about all the things Merritt/we have overcome in the past 7 months and its amazing to see how good God is when you're surrounded with bad.
I experienced my second psoriasis flare-up that cleared within 6 weeks (a miracle).
After trying for 6 months to get pregnant...we gave up... and got pregnant! (another miracle).
They told me I had a 50% chance of miscarrying when I began to bleed.  I'm now 30 weeks.
They told me she had a 60% chance of having chromosomal abnormality.  She has none.
They told me she would most likely have a heart defect or another physical defect.  Nothing major has shown up yet.
They say she has a 50% chance of the small VSD correcting itself by 3 months of age.
They told me she had a 90% chance of survival if she has "just an omphalocele".  (how many miracles is that?)

Just amazing. Talk about answered prayers and His unwavering presence.
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Busy Bees

I think I told you earlier that May is SO busy...hence my lack of blogging. I will devote some time here to MC and Mattox since they will probably take a back seat in July and August on the blog. Dance recitals, school activities, and Mother's Day came and went so fast, I didn't have time to really sit down and enjoy it. But I have the best Mom in the world! She has been helping me even when she's in TN! 

Every Thursday this past year, Mati Claire participated in TOTS (Teams of Tomorrow). It works on several skills each week, but I would say it works on their motor skills overall. Sort of like gym class or a PE class for 4 year olds. Anyway, it was one of the last times she will get to hang out with her best friend, Claire, who is moving away this summer. Claire wasn't the only one who got emotional :(

Mati Claire's first trophy!
Then MC had her 4 year old preschool graduation program. I am secretly glad that I had 2 doctor appointments that day. I was so rushed to get to everything on time that I didn't have time to get emotional or sentimental. I was too busy wiping sweat after running place to place - so I did not cry! yay!
She wants to be a "maker" when she grows up... but she really said "baker"
So proud of my 4 year old graduate!
...BUT it was bound to catch up with me. The last day of school. We have had the best teachers and parents and friends the past 2 years.  We could not have asked for a better experience in preschool. Mattox is not old enough this fall to start so I will miss it! The teachers do a "run-thru bubble tunnel" on the last day of school every year.  And chant their names... its so sweet! Thanks Amy for sending me these pics:

We took MC to New Orleans when she was 2 and I wanted to do the same for Mattox before Merritt got here. I don't think we'll be going anywhere for a long time after July. So this was a last family get-away-for-a-day trip. Wish there had been more time but it was still fun! We went to the Zoo, Aquarium, and Insectarium. Merritt also put in her request for beignets. I love New Orleans!
His first beads...and hopefully his last! ;)
Mattox liked the Aquarium the best! So many "shish"
The Zoo's new "splash park"...
...that Mattox did not care for.  But he's looking oh so cute in his bday present from Mrs. Jennifer!
The winds only got up to 45 mph...but they loved it!
Other than that I have been at one of my many doctor appointments or working on MC's birthday party! I start my bi-weekly BPP's (biophysical profile) this week.  Also hit somewhat of a milestone in this pregnancy... I am 30 weeks now! Wow. I did get a friend to take a belly pic of me to put in the baby book... but sorry - there is no way I am posting me pregnant in a swimsuit on here! lol!!! Dr. T says I've only gained a total of 12 pounds so far and my mission from now on is to EAT.Eat.eat. and then eat some more.  Oh if I must... hey, its doctor's orders! :)
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Thursday, May 10, 2012

New Blog!

What do yall think? I love it! Thank you Jennisa (see her link button towards the bottom). You did a wonderful job!

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The NICU will GET U!!

We had our NICU tour today.  I don't know what I was expecting - though I've heard a few stories from people that have experienced it.  Let me tell you nothing can prepare a person for that.  I am SO glad we decided to see it BEFORE Merritt gets here.  At least I know what to expect later.

First we saw the different possibilities to actually get to the NICU floor as far as parking garages, elevators, doors, etc.

Then we visited the check-in desk.  You sign in with identification.  And if you are not her grandparent, you must be accompanied by me or Matt.  Everyone must "scrub-in" for 3 minutes (and yes there is an automatic timer on the water and sink area) using their soap and disposable brushes.  Then you must "gown up".

You see the nurses' station first.  There is a East and West Wing.  This is where I lost it.  Right in front of the nurses.  I had to pretend to look at something behind me to hide the tears that I did not foresee coming.   I have no idea what they were telling me because all I could think and tell myself was 'pull yourself together! she's not even here yet!'  and I could see a tiny arm or a tiny leg in the distance.  And I heard the beeping!! No, its not quiet in there.  It sounded like 100 alarms going off all at the same time!  Overwhelming to say the least.

We never got close to a baby but I wanted to pick up every single one of them!!!!! They were tiny and cute and sick and some mommies weren't there (no offense to them).  If anyone needs a reality check - go visit a NICU.  It was totally depressing and sad.  At times, there were no words to describe some of the babies I saw.  And at the same time, it was sweet.  They are getting help, they are getting better perhaps, they are getting stronger.  Just a whirlwind of emotions!

We were glad to see our new home away from home though.  We met alot of the nurses and staff.  Talked about the NICU rules and what will most likely happen with Merritt.  She will start out in the Warmer bed, then when she's stable she should step up to the isolette/incubator bed, and then the crib.  I don't get to put clothes on her until she reaches the crib stage! Oh my... how will I ever make it that long? ;)  At least she gets to wear hair bows until then.   They said the clothes will interfere with the bed's temperature regulating process.  "It's for her own good...it's for her own good... it's for her own good...."

"For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.'" Isaiah 41:13

"And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.""  2 Corinthians 12:9

Monday, May 7, 2012

O No You Never Let Go!

UMC called out of the blue a few days ago to reschedule my repeat echo for today.  Wasn't sure what to think about the rescheduling issue.  We saw Dr. S again (the one I wasn't suppose to see again) = so much for "the heart won't change"!  In her defense, she did say at 22 weeks that if she missed anything  it was so small that she could not see it.  I'm 28 weeks now therefore the heart is much bigger now.  Dr. B thought he saw some indications of Tetralogy of Fallot.  Click on that word for a link because its really too much detail to explain.   BUT Dr. S REALLY did not think this was the case.  Merritt does have a small VSD (ventricular septal defect) = a hole in her heart.  Click on word for details.  Hers appears to be very small and "minor".  It doesn't appear to be affecting much.  She has a 50% chance of it correcting itself within the first 2 months of life.  IF it requires surgery, they would do it around 3 months old.  And at the moment, it will not interfere with our plans for the O repair.  But it's also a "wait and see" when she's born.  We are thankful it is not anything else or anything major.  I kept singing  the song "Oh No, You Never Let Go" (is that even the title?) 

Our 4D Ultrasound was also this morning!  If these don't put a smile on your face, I don't know what will!  For those of you who have never seen 4D Ultrasounds before, yes, they are suppose to be a little distorted/blurry/bumpy/or even just weird looking.  ;)  

"No more pictures!"

"I'll open 1 eye for you - peek a boo"

Pretty cool.  And no, I'm not sure if she reminds me of either MC or Mattox.  A little of both perhaps. lol!

This weekend was Mati Claire's second ballet recital!  LOTS of memories came flooding back for me after we had been there almost 4 hours!  She kept a permanent "deer in headlights" look on her face.   But she did great!!!  

Ok... so we may look alike just a little bit ;)


Thursday, May 3, 2012

May Day May Day!

I can NOT believe its May already.  This is always the busiest month of the year for me (followed by October).  I'm also 28 weeks now which means I have about 9 weeks left in this pregnancy!  Luckily we have a clear schedule for June in case I get put on bedrest again (lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions).  She checked me the other day and I have not thinned out or dilated (big surprise there - for those of you that don't know - I.Do.Not.Dilate. = I have a cervix made of steel x3.)  I also passed my glucose and iron test! Yay!!!

I have started dreaming about the next phase in this journey.  Last night I dreamed a 93 year old surgeon performed my C-section and Merritt's surgery in a basement.  Ugh.  You can see I'm getting nervous and scared about July.  I have on average 2-3 doctor appointments a week now.  And they are talking about adding more.  I don't know how anyone works in these situations.  Or just in health crisis in general.  So glad mom will be here next week to help!  I have to start getting a BioPhysical Profile (BPP) done twice a week starting at 32 weeks.  Basically, I understand this to be a sonogram that measures and scores Merritt.  She gets 2 points for each of the 4 categories:  breathing, heartbeat, movement, and fluid levels.  Perfect score being 8/8.  I don't think she'll have a problem with the movement category even during her 'down time'.  ;)   I fear I won't be able to bond with her the way I did with my other 2.  I feel like I'm going to "miss out" on her first month(s) of life.  I fear that I will always see her as my "sickly one" - hate to say that but its true.  I pray she proves me wrong every step of the way!  I fear that I can't do anything for her while she lays in a NICU bed totally dependent on machines and surgeons.  I came across a verse on Facebook several months ago and I thought it had Merritt's name written all over it.  Exodus 14:14 says "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."  I can just see it above her NICU bed! lol!

Cardiology did call back, however, and wants to see me again.  We were hoping they would be satisfied with what they saw on the last ultrasound (they record/download it to my chart).  BUT... perhaps she just wants to see it for herself and not take Dr. B's word... we will find out in 2 weeks with a repeat echo.  Short version:  Merritt seemingly has "beautiful" blood flow in her heart, but it appears there might be a physical deformity with one of the valves - but they couldn't explain how the blood flow was great if that was the case.  Confusing, I know.  

And yes, I am still getting my blog a makeover.  Can't wait! I'm off the waiting list now so we are emailing back and forth with ideas.

Mati Claire's ballet recital is this weekend and then I am taking her to see my 4D Ultrasound Monday - so I will have plenty of pics to post next time!  I have promised her since Christmas that she could go with me to an appointment (she's very curious how "cameras" see inside my belly)  but I never knew what kind of news they might spring on me and I have been SO glad she has not been at any of my ultrasounds so far.  I didn't want her to see me crying and then have to explain on the spot.  MC knows that baby sister is "sick" and her tummy hurts.  Merritt is big enough now that she has found "her spot" and her omphalocele is so big that it blocks her face most of the time.... hence why Dr. B gets aggravated that he can't see her face to check for signs of abnormalities and other syndromes.  Anyway, I am not expecting to see anything or get a great picture of her face, but I think it will be good for MC to come with me now. It breaks my heart every night to hear MC pray to Jesus that "mommy's tummy and sister's tummy feel better soon and make mommy not tired anymore."

I thought I was doing so much better lately as far as my emotional status.  Then when I have to sit in waiting rooms for hours sometimes, I'm forced to just think.  I see other newborns - healthy newborns - other "sick" babies - other mothers dealing with similar issues - or completely different issues - and I begin to tear up.  Those people probably think I'm a bit crazy.  There's nothing to distract me in the clinics.  At least at home I don't constantly think about this.  I'm too busy cleaning up after 2 toddlers!