Saturday, June 9, 2012


I guess since I have only 4 weeks left, I've been asked several of the same questions lately.  I will try to answer them here for those who are wondering and have not asked yet.  I am also going to throw in some general fyi.  

1)  What kind of surgery is she having and what does it involve? 
I mentioned a long time ago that Merritt has 2 options.  I call it Plan A (the faster route) and Plan B (the slower route).  We decided with the surgeon that we will try Plan A, called the "Shuster or Silo or reduction" method.  I am posting this video because they describe it better than I can.   I am warning you now that images are graphic in some cases.  I really try to limit those, but with the delivery nearing I don't know how to avoid it.  This is actually one of the nicer videos I've found... you could easily go on You Tube and search "omphalocele" and find very disturbing images... which I have found to be my life now. 

IF Merritt is one of the babies that can't handle the organ reduction and her lungs go into distress, we will attempt to pull back and begin Plan B, which is called the "Paint and Wait."   That is where we will "paint" the O with different types of medicines (antibacterial and skin thickening agents used for burn patients) and "wait" for the skin to grow over the O sac... which will take weeks to months.  During this time, Matt and I would apply ace bandages over the dressings with some pressure to gradually push the organs back in over several months.  Then when she's older (usually around 12 months old) the surgeon will perform the final closure of the abdominal wall.

There are pros and cons to each Plan.  And I don't think there is a perfect way to do this or a right or wrong way.  We are letting Merritt and her lungs decide which road she wants to travel.

2)  What kind of clothes can she wear?
Not sure yet.  The NICU told me she won't be wearing any clothes anytime soon until she reaches the crib stage.  You can see that because of a protruding belly, "normal" baby clothes won't fit over it.  And with numerous tubes coming from every part of her... onesies just don't fit the case.  As of right now, I have bought a few kimono style shirts or anything that buttons down the front so i can leave a few buttons open around it.  I am assuming that gowns and dresses will be the easiest on everyone later.  I am open for suggestions from any NICU nurse or other O mom reading this that is familiar.

3)  What can I pray for specifically?
Please please please pray for strength.  Physical and emotional.  For both me and Merritt.   Pray for a smooth delivery, recovery, and no complications.   Pray for weight gain.  The bigger she is the more room she'll have for the organs.

4)  Will I breastfeed?
I will have to pump.  I won't be allowed to pick her up and she will only be allowed a few drops of breast milk later to see how her body takes it.  O babies have absorbing issues and don't gain weight like they should... for obvious reasons.  I am heartbroken over this but its something I have to get over.  Never fear though - I think I was a cow in a former life... I can feed the entire NICU with breast milk.  ;)

5)  How long will she be in the hospital?
Best case scenario, we were told around 1 month.  With complications and MOST (not all) O babies stay on average 1-3 months (so we were told).  Severe cases will stay longer.

6)  Will I have a C-section?
Yes.  I have to laugh at this question, because I've had 2 previous sections.  And I do not dilate.  And for safety reasons (we do not want to harm the O sac).

7)  How many weeks do I have left?  And why am I not showing much?
Approximately 4 weeks and 2 days.   We scheduled her delivery for Tuesday July 10th.  And because God makes everyone different.  I told one lady (a GAP employee) that Merritt had one leg in my leg and the other in my other leg and she was standing parallel with me.  Sad thing is I think she believed me.   I've gained a total of 16 pounds now and Dr. T is not worried about it.  I eat plenty.  And that's all I can do.

Her BPP's are going well.  She has passed every one with 8/8 scores.  She has hair and personality!  We estimated her weight yesterday at 3 lbs 7 oz, but that is off because they can not measure her abdomen correctly which throws off the calculation.  So she probably weighs more than that.  I will leave with you with a few baby shower pics from this past week.  Our Sunday School class threw us a joint shower for me and Cari Jo.  Thank you all again for doing that - I had an awesome time!  Yall are wonderful and I appreciate everything!

Thank you Tiffany for hosting! AR and M love ice cream!
CariJo and I coincidentally each bought our gifts from Hopscotch
She may not be able to wear clothes, but she will be the best accessorized baby in the NICU! How cute is this pixie hat?
More headbands! Yay!!!
Cari Jo and I (with Merritt and Addy Ryan)
Such a sweet gift:  a headband to wear as newborn and garter the day she gets married. 
I love diapers! Best gift ever! 

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