January 30, 2010

For Some Friends

Through the blog world, I've come to know quite a few little darlings that are in similar situations as little Carter.  There are two of Carter's friends who are sick right now, so I'm asking for prayers for them.

Little Isaac just got out of the hospital not too long ago, and is fighting off a sickness right now.  He seems to be on the mend, but could definitely still use some prayers.  He also has a deletion on his number 10 chromosome although it's on a different section that Carter. Please pray for him.

Little Jaxson doesn't live too far from us.  In fact, he and Carter have several doctors in common. We hope to meet up some day (although I'm pretty sure I spotted him in the hallway at the hospital last week ;).  He is in the beginning stages of a very scary virus with Pneumonia and has been hospitalized.  He could defnitely use some prayers as well.

I had a talk with Carter today and told him that he didn't need to follow in his friends' footsteps.

January 28, 2010

It Doesn't Get Better Than This

Look at that face!  He smiles so big that it scrunches that left eye almost shut.  He's even got a little dimple on the top of his lip on the left.  I LOVE IT!!  It's my new favorite spot to kiss.

We're still just moving along here with Team Carter. He's seriously kicking butt with reaching out and grabbing things.  He loves to play some new games with Daddy.  Carter's getting more and more fun to play with.  We've been doing a lot of sitting practice, and still working on lifting that big ole' noggin when he's on his tummy. He's making slow but steady progress.  He went to the Pediatrician for a checkup and we found out that little C now weighs 14 lbs!  He's not even close to being on the charts for his height and weight, but his head size is in the 70th percentile.  No wonder he has so much trouble lifting it. The Pedatrician thinks that C is doing well, but because of the Adrenal Hemmorhage, he thought that we should see an Endocrinologist for a checkup on all of his hormones and glands.  I made the appointment for after the next ultrasound so she would have up to date information on his situation.
We have a lot of upcoming appointments including the one where we'll schedule the date for Carter's next surgery.  I have mixed feelings about it.  I'm certainly not looking forward to the hospital stay, but am very anxious to have it over and done with.  There are a lot of doctors who think that the soft palate closure is going to help him with his vocalizations, eating, and most importantly breathing.  I'm trying really hard not to get my hopes up, but sometimes it's hard not to.

January 23, 2010


My truly excellent friend, Amber, passed on the Happy 101 blog award.  It's my very first one, and I'm SO excited!!

The Happy 101 Blog Award Rules are as follows: List 10 things that make you happy, try to do at least one of them today, and tag 10 bloggers that brighten your day. For those 10 bloggers who get the award, you then link back to my blog and create your list of things that make you happy.

Here's my list:

1. Of course this one is easy.  Just being with my family...all together in one place.
2. Watching football with my very sweet husband
3. Playing with my kids
4. Chatting with my friends
5. My Itouch - I'm WAY too addicted!
6. Eating in a restaurant - I haven't done this since August...wow that's a long time!
7. Coffee
8.Thursday night TV
9. Having all of my chores finished
10. Doing photography

These bloggers make me happy!

Heather at Paisley-Place
Colleen at One Day At A Time
Snarky Mom at Postcards From Insanity
Lacey at Jaxson's Fight
Peanut at A New Kind Of Perfect
Kelli at Love For Colin
Kristen at Two Dogs And A Fish
Stephanie at The Huntley Home
Heidi at Junior's Amazing Journey
Jenn at The Cullimore Girls

January 22, 2010


I have an announcement to make.

Really, it's not a big deal, but I'm still kind of excited about it.

I have been asked to write a column for Michael's quarterly work newsletter. You'll never guess what it's called...TEAM CARTER! Pretty cool eh?

Here's the story that Friendly Frank wrote to pass the baton over to me...

"Well, as you all know, I'm getting pretty old ... Heck, I was old when I started this column.  I've shared so many stories since 2005 and it seems as though I've run plum out. With stories I can put in print, anyway.
It has been a great ride for me ... and so much fun reminiscing with you younguns. But now, I feel I should say "so long". Ya know, when you run out of stories, you lose the readers.
I want you all to always remember how much the railroad industry has changed since I was working and how tough things were without all the new technology you younguns have to work with. But it was a way of life ... just like it is nowadays ... and we really did love it!
Signing off, Friendly Frank says" "Keep them trains right on movin' ... SAFELY!"
Now, I'm going to turn this column over to "TEAM CARTER". This will be a truly enjoyable and inspiring human interest story. I'm sure at times the stories about Carter and his family will have you laughing out loud and at times you just might shed a tear. Nevertheless, these will be stories you don't want to miss, and Carter just turned 8 months old.  Stay tuned!"

Hopefully I can manage to not embarrass my poor husband at his workplace. Wish me luck!

January 21, 2010

Brotherly Love

So sweet!  Mikey is one of Carter's biggest fans.  He gets excited about everything the little guy does, and reports stuff to me all of the time. I couldn't get a decent picture of these two together because as you can see, Carter loves to touch faces now.
The little guy has kept me busy this week with a lot of therapies and just plain ole' playing.  Here are a few pics of him in his crib.  There are a few things that are really exciting about these pictures.  Can you guess what they are?

OK, I'll just tell you.  The first thing is that he's smiling.  Awww. So cute!  He's smiling at the drop of a hat now which is so nice. What a happy guy! 

The second thing is that he's watching his mobile.  Just within the last couple of weeks has he shown any interest in it. I remember that Mikey loved his mobile, and I suspect that Carter is going to be the same.

The third thing is that he's laying on the back of his head and staying there.  That seems like something that should come easy to him, but he's just barely starting to do this as well.  The way his skull is shaped makes it hard for him to do this, so even if you look through old pictures on this blog you'll notice that he's almost always on his side. We're so proud!

We had vision therapy yesterday and hearing therapy today.  During vision therapy we learned that Carter REALLY likes the touch and feel books.  We'll definitely be ordering some of those.  I also pulled out our portable DVD player and tried out some Baby Einstein yesterday, and he's definitely a fan of that too.  It's so nice to see him liking new things.  It looks like he's finally moved on from his swing.  We're still working diligently on the tummy time stuff. Today he lifted his head three separate times while he was laying flat on the ground.  He can do it easily when he's propped on the Boppy, but this was the first time he did it on the ground.

January 19, 2010

Today's Appointment

Didn't go terribly, but it didn't go well either.

We had an appointment with Urology today to check on little C's Kidneys.  First was an ultrasound where the tech discovered that Carter has an Adrenal Hemorrhage. Basically, his Adrenal Gland is bleeding.  Yuck!  Just the sound of those words is scary.  The Hemorrhage just looked like a ball with some fibers in it.  I could tell before they even told us that it wasn't supposed to be there.  The Radiologist and Urologist agree that the best thing to do is just to watch it.  We have to go back in six weeks to be sure that it's going away on it's own.  If it doesn't, then we'll have to do something more drastic.  I'm really wondering what has caused this since it seems that it is usually caused by either a blow to the side (which has not happened), or stress.  Carter certainly doesn't seem stressed to me, and he hasn't had anything happen too recently that would cause his body stress unless you count just living for him. Poor little one.  The Urologist told us that he's never seen one of these where it didn't end up fixing itself, but honestly that didn't give me much peace of mind.  Obviously Carter makes his own rules.
His kidneys also look more dilated than they did on the last ultrasound.  The doctor thinks that it's defnitely because of his Vesicoureteral Reflux.
Vesi what?
Vesicoureteral Reflux is one of the abnormalities Carter was born with.  Basically it means that his urine flows back up through his ureters and into his kidneys.  The problem is that this can cause Urinary Tract Infections very easily.  Carter has to take a low dose of antibiotics every day to prevent them.  Sometimes kids outgrow this, but it looks like C's still got it. He gets another test to see if it's improved in six more months. If it doesn't go away, then there is a surgery to correct it.  I guess we'll find out in six weeks if he's improving with either of these things.  *sigh*

January 16, 2010

Carter's First Few Days

The next few days were a blur.  I remember that the next day I went over to the NICU early.  Carter was extubated and put on a low amount of Oxygen.  I remember that we were really happy about that, but he did end up back on CPAP sometime that day or the next.  They did the hearing test, and the tech kept having trouble with the machinery, so we had to wait for a new machine to be brought up.  When they finally had the right machine we were told that he was profoundly deaf in each ear. It wasn't until we were transferred to the children's hospital that we found out that things like Oxygen can screw with a hearing test like that.  After we got the news about his hearing, I kept telling myself that I could definitely handle this.  I could handle having a baby who couldn't hear...as long as he could see. I kept praying that Carter had sight.  In fact, I prayed for this like crazy for weeks even though the Opthalmologist had said that he didn't see anything wrong with Carter's eyes.   I also began to realize that there was a real possibility that he would have issues with his Cognitive ability.  I don't know why, but this was the one area that I had a very hard time accepting.  It was by far the hardest of Carter's disabilites for me to swallow, but I have a new outlook on it now. I know that he is amazing, and that he's going to do amazing things, so that's all that matters.

 I changed his diaper for the first time that day too.  It's funny that with my other kids I remember things like the first time I held them or the first time I gave them a bath, but with Carter I remember the first time I changed his diaper because that was pretty much all I was allowed to do while he was on CPAP.
They did the kidney ultrasound which happened to be done by the same tech who had done my prenatal ultrasound with the Perinatologist.  It didn't make me trust their findings too much.  The ultrasound showed that his kidneys were abnormal.  Instead of having a kidney on each side of his body, he has both on his right side. There is a small one on top of a larger one.  The good news is that they both work great, and we've been told by the Urologist that he has no reason to believe that they won't continue to work well, but we still get them checked every six months to be sure.  The same Neonatologist was there all day and most of the night.  He had softened up quite a bit since Michael had stood up to him the day before.  He had called in an ENT who was absolutely WONDERFUL.  He went through each of Carter's issues and explained how they could be fixed with surgery.  He also told us that he thought it was possible that Carter had BOR Syndrome. This was good news to me because typically there is no cognitive disability with it. Of course we later found out that this was not what Carter had, but it still felt good to have some sort of answer. 
I spent most of that night in the NICU.  There were some really good nurses in there. One in particular had dealt with a lot of cleft palate babies and was very supportive and helpful.  I went home the next morning even though my doctor had offered to let me stay another night.  I really wanted to see Mikey and Jovie.
The next few days were just a lot of waiting.  They tried feeding Carter with the Mini Haberman (a smaller version of the one below), but the nurse only put the milk into the nipple without hooking the rest of the bottle to it, so there was absolutely no way for Carter to get any milk out.  I didn't know that at the time, but looking back it makes me laugh.  He started having troubles digesting his food, so the decision was finally made to move him to our local children's hospital which was one hour away.  We made the big move on April 1st.

January 14, 2010

The Special Needs Feeder

Carter finally got his new bottles in the mail today.  Hooray!

He has to use a special bottle because of his cleft palate.  Actually, several special needs kids use it even if they don't have a cleft.  It is called a Special Needs Feeder formerly called the Haberman. This bottle actually didn't work very well for Carter until after his surgery.  Before the surgery he was using a different type of nipple called a Pigeon nipple.  I had hoped that he could stay on the Pigeon because they are much cheaper than the Haberman.  The Pigeon nipple runs about $6 and is sold at our children's hospital.  The Haberman is $17 and I have only found it at two stores in our state. I know that doesn't sound too bad, but these nipples wear out after about 6 weeks, so it adds up quickly.  I'm not complaining one bit because I'm just grateful that he can eat anything by mouth.

Here's what one looks like.

While Carter sucks, milk comes into the nipple and can't flow back out into the bottle.  This way every time he pushes the nipple against his prosthetic, milk will go into his mouth.  You can also give it a little squeeze occasionally to give him more.  It truly becomes a little dance that's a little difficult to perfect.  Here's what the top part looks like taken apart.

The while membrane sits on the yellow valve. This is what releases pressure to let milk into the nipple. Pretty cool huh?!  When I say $17 for the nipple...that's exactly what it's for. Just the nipple.  If we want the yellow collar, valve and membrane then the total comes to $22 with an 80ml container (Which is too small for C), or $26 with a 150ml container.  Luckily, I found a deal on these through a small drugstore in Alabama. I got two of them for $47 shipped.

January 13, 2010

The Story Continues

We sat in the post partum room and waited for the Neonatologist to come in.  The NICU nurses had told us that it would be about an hour, but I think it ended up being closer to two. Slowly our families started to trickle into our room.  When the doctor finally came in he was greeted by a huge group of people who were concerned about our little guy.  This doctor didn't exactly have the best bedside manner.
He was one of THOSE guys.

You know the ones.

The guy who's been divorced a few times.
The one who's got a HUGE ego.
The one who is NEVER wrong.
The one who is a SUPERIOR being.
I could go on, but you get the picture.

I remember that the room seemed really dark, and I wanted somebody to turn on a light but didn't want to interrupt him.  He was drinking a Diet Pepsi out of a bottle the entire conversation. He'd pause in between sentences to take a swig, and I really wanted to knock it out of his hand and yell at him to tell me what's going on with my baby.

He started by saying that he believed that Carter had come too early.  He thought that he looked to be 36 weeks not almost 39 weeks.  I told him that I knew that my dates were not wrong, but he didn't really care what I had to say.  I don't think that he took into consideration how small Carter's umbilical cord was either. Those things were taken into consideration later. He told us that so far they had found that Carter had an incomplete cleft lip, and a cleft soft and hard palate. He had also noticed that Carter seemed to have some paralysis above his right eye. They had done an echo on his heart and it looked fine.  He then said "you know, I should probably check his Kidneys too... we'll do that in the morning...it's really not a priority".  This is where Michael kind of lost his cool (yay for Daddy), and asked if we should have Carter transferred to the local children's hospital.  This was the point where the doctor lost some of his attitude and told us that we could if we wanted, but he thought it was best to keep Carter as close to home as possible since he was stable. He had paged an ENT and was sending Carter's Chromosomes off to the lab for testing. As he was leaving, he told me that he thought that the medication I was on for my Molar Pregnancy could have caused all of this.
I let it sink in.
This was all my fault.
But wait! I hadn't taken any medication for my Molar pregnancy. What was he talking about?! He said "you were never on nameofmedicationthatIcan'tpronounce", and I said "No." He replied "Huh. Well, you can come and see him as soon as the epidural wears off."  Thanks, Jacka**

That moment couldn't have come fast enough.  The minute I could get out of the bed, we were out of there and in the NICU. They let us hold him even though he was on a vent. I kind of hate this picture of me holding him because I have a scared look on my face, and at that moment I actually felt relief that I could hold my baby boy.

Notice Carter's arms.  He held them this way for the first two months.  In fact, he had to wear splints to help hold his wrists straight.  They broke some of the NICU rules that night and let Michael's sister and our mom's back all at once to visit the little guy. He looked so tiny in his isolette.

Needless to say, that night I didn't sleep at all.  I kept praying to God and asking him if he was sure that I could handle this. I was really nervous for the next day because Carter was having a kidney ultrasound and a hearing test. Michael had gone home to be with our other kids. I have no idea how that conversation went down with the older two, but when I talked to Jovie on the phone she told me that Carter had a sick ear and a sick lip, but that he was SO cute. They were both so accepting of Carter from the very beginning...even though they didn't get to even see him until he was 10 weeks old.

January 12, 2010

New Headbands

I got sick of the Aunt Jemima look.  The last straw was when Carter's Occupational Therapist came in and asked how little Carter Jemima was doing today.  OK, he said it in the most loving way, but I knew it was time to move on from the denim headband.  So, we went from Carter Jemima...

To Carter Barkley

Here's the thing with Carter's hearing aid.  Not many people use this type. I think that his Audiologist said that less than 2% of people do, but in Carter's case of small or missing ears this is what we have to use. There is one website that makes headbands, but they are $25 each and there aren't too many color/print choices.  I'm not so much into putting fire truck fabric on my kids head. I decided to try out some adult headbands, and this one was on clearance, so it was my prototype.  No worries, I'm not going to let the kid run around with a big ol' NBA logo on his head.

Want to see how his hearing aid even works?  I realized that I never really explained it before.

Here's the first part of his hearing aid.  It is called an Oscillator.

This sits against the bone behind Carter's left ear (his good ear).  Basically it vibrates the bones behind his ear and sends sound straight to his inner ear.  His left ear is abnormal somewhere in the middle ear or in the ear canal which causes his hearing loss on that side.  On the right side (where he has no ear), his ear has no ear canal, but does have an inner ear.  The cool thing about the Oscillator is that even though he only wears it on one side, it sends info to both inner ears.  I have NO idea how that works, but it does so just roll with me on that one.  When you try it on, it sounds like you have a little radio inside of your head.  It's kind of fun.

The Oscillator is connected to a brown cord that I had to string through the inside of the headband to the hearing aid which sits on the front of his forehead.

I had to cut a hole to tuck it in. This is just a traditional hearing aid that you typically wear on your ear.

This one is like Carter's except it doesn't have the ear mold that sits inside the ear on the end of the white.  Carter pretty much uses his hearing aid as a microphone to send the sound to the oscillator.

So, to make the headbands (just in case someone ever needs to make one), I had to cut it and hold it up to his head to make it tight enough to hold the oscillator to the bone. Then I sewed it back together again. The rule of thumb is that it should leave an imprint on his skin when you take it off.  I try to change the position of it every day to be sure that he doesn't get any sores.  Next, I had to sew a tiny piece of velcro on the inside to hold the oscillator in place.  Finally, I cut a tiny slit on the inside of the headband where the oscillator comes out, and in the front where the hearing aid sits then feed the wire through. They only take about 10 minutes to make, and I got him all kinds of colors. Honestly he seems MUCH more comfortable as well.  The only problem that I can see is that it may get a little hot in the Summer. I'll tackle that problem when we get there.

Here he is sporting his new Under Armour one.  What a little stud muffin!

I tried out the Exersaucer for the first time in a few months.  He started out awesome.  Look at him all nice and straight.

Then after about 4 minutes he looked like this.  "Hey good lookin', whatchu doin'?"

Then by 8 minutes he had given up

I'm thrilled with the fact that he lasted that long.  He's been grabbing things more and more.  I can't believe how far he's come with it in just a few days.  The Occupational Therapist had the idea to attach bells to each of the toys that hang on Carter's play place to make them more interesting.  Brilliant! Carter's all about making noise.

January 7, 2010

Today Was One Of Those Days

Where I couldn't get enough of my little guy.  He's finally starting to come out of his shell, and give his Momma some love back.  He smiles real big when I kiss his cheeks now which just makes me want to do it all day long. He loves to look at my face and try to grab my nose which is adorable during the day, but can get a little annoying when you are trying to cuddle with him at 3:30 in the morning and all you feel are tiny punches on your cheek.  I love every minute of it though! This morning he decided that he didn't need Oxygen anymore, and took his mask off.

For the record, these pics were taken in the morning and before bedtime when he didn't have his hearing aid on.  I've been very good about keeping it on him all day.  Carter also got to spend some guy time with Uncle Marty on New Years Eve.  Every time Uncle Mar would tug on his little foot, Carter would chuckle.  It was the cutest thing ever!

Carter did a VERY exciting thing yesterday when he very purposefully hit his monkey toy.  It was so funny because when he hit it, his long finger kind of got wrapped onto it's tail so he got a surprised look on his face like "whoa, look what I did".  He then shook it for a few seconds and let go.  It's amazing to me how something so simple could make me so happy.  The Physical Therapist came today and said that Carter is definitely getting a lot stronger through his trunk.  We even graduated to the next step with some new exercises. Hooray!

I'll be going on with my story next time, but had to throw in some current info on what our little guy has been up to.

January 6, 2010

The Big Day

Two days after that appointment I started having contractions.  They went on throughout the night and started to get stronger and closer together.  I was about 4 days shy of being 39 weeks at that point.  I finally called Labor and Delivery the next morning and told them what was going on.  They told me to come on in.  We made our short journey there and found out that I hadn't changed all that much.  I was defnitely having contractions, but I just wasn't making any progress.  They kept me there for a few hours to monitor me and see if I changed.  My doc came in to check me and since I still hadn't made any progress he decided to send me home.  He had another very serious delivery going on that day (who happened to be a friend of ours), and didn't feel comfortable inducing me since it was against hospital policy to induce anyone under 39 weeks without a valid reason.  I went home and stayed very miserable for the next two days.

When we went in to see him the next day, I still hadn't progressed much.  The doctor decided that I had been put through enough and scheduled an induction for the next morning.  We were so relieved that we would finally meet our baby boy.

The next day I was induced with Pitocin.  The labor progressed without any troubles except at one very brief moment when Carter's heart rate dropped.  After they moved me onto my side he bounced right back.  I was at an 8 when the nurse called the doctor, and about 10 minutes later I was fully dilated.  My babies always come really fast and with minimal pushing, so after the doc arrived I pushed maybe twice before Carter was here.  The next parts are all a blur to me.  In fact, it was very hard for me to even think about it for about 3-4 months.  It was probably the most traumatic thing that I have been through, but in retrospect it could have been a lot worse.  It just seemed like it at the moment.  I had a friend there who videotaped a lot, but I still haven't been able to bring myself to watch it.

I remember Carter's head appearing, and Michael saying "Oh, he's really little".  I remember that striking me funny because he was so close to term.  The next thought that came to my mind was that maybe my dates had been off in the pregnancy and we shouldn't have induced him.  It was all my fault for going to the hospital when my contractions had gotten so intense. Then I remember the doctor looking at me over the top of his glasses and saying "I'm sorry, but your baby has a cleft lip".  I remember thinking, well that's not such a big deal.  Then I remember the doctor's face turning white and him telling the nurse very sternly to call the NICU. Carter was delivered and taken to the table to be checked out.  I don't remember much except that I never really heard him cry.  My husband came over a few minutes later to tell me that he was missing his ear. For a brief moment, that seemed like a big deal, but a few minutes later when they started doing chest compressions none of those things mattered.  They got him pretty much stable, let me kiss his forehead, and he was gone to the NICU.

We all sat silently in the delivery room.  Everyone just seemed to be stunned and numb. My Mom and Mother In Law left the room to call our families to tell them what was going on. I know that they were out there crying, but didn't want us to see. I just felt so helpless.  This wasn't how it was supposed to be.  I should be holding my little guy right now, not wondering if he was breathing or not. The next thought that I had was that we needed to get our priest there to baptize him. My Sister In Law made the phone call, and he was there before we had even been transferred to the post partum wing.  The nurse came in periodically to give us updates on Carter, but they really didn't know much.  Only that he was stable, and they were still working on him. Now, I want to make it clear that for the first two or three weeks, I had those thoughts of why us, and I wish my baby was healthy.  But I can honestly say that I do not feel that way AT ALL any more.  I know that Carter's a blessing to our family, and I'm so happy that God chose us to be his family. I actually feel like we are some of the lucky ones because we didn't know before he was born.  We would have stressed so much!  I also feel like Carter's diagnosis was a lot easier to accept because this was how he was built.  There is no reason to stress or pray for a cure because this is just who he is. It would be different had he been healthy and an injury or disease created problems for him.  God couldn't have given us a more perfect baby.

On the way to Post Partum, they wheeled my bed through the NICU to see him.  Here's the picture that we took while we were in there. Seriously, isn't he precious?!

He's grown so much since then.  In fact, our Occupational Therapist came on Monday and said that he's never seen Carter look so good, or move around so much.  We're really concentrating on rolling from tummy to back and holding his head up on his tummy.  Carter's defnitely getting a lot stronger, it just takes time.  He was supposed to have a routine Kidney Ultrasound this week, but we had to reschedule. That's fine by me, I'm still trying to get my kids back on the school schedule.

January 3, 2010

The Big Appointment

I can't believe that this all happened a year ago.  It seems crazy.  I remember it being a LONG wait between the scheduling of the Perinatologist appointment and the actual appointment.  Michael had to work out of town for most of the month of December, but made a special trip home just for our appointment.  We waited in the waiting room for what seemed like hours.  When it was finally our turn, I remember praying the entire length of the hallway.  Finally, the tech got started with the ultrasound and we saw our sweet Carter on the screen.  She was able to confirm that he was a boy right away, then she went to work scanning every part of his little body.  She did measurements in which he was measuring a little small, but nothing to be worried about.  Once again we were told that the baby was in an awkward position, but that she would be able to get the pictures they needed....it would just take a little time.  She kept going back to the same spots that the first tech did.  The heart, the kidneys, the lip.  The heart, the kidneys, the lip.  Then it seemed as though she gave up on the lip and went for just the heart and kidneys.  After a while she asked me to empty my bladder to see if that would help move Carter to a better angle.  That didn't really work, so she tried prodding the wand into my stomach.  Finally, she said that she felt comfortable that she had gotten everything and went to get the doctor. 

We waited.

And waited.

And waited.

The knot in my stomach grew even tighter, and I thought for sure that something was most definitely wrong.  The doctor came in and asked questions about my previous pregnancies.  I thought to myself...".there is definitely something wrong."  The doctor proceeded to scan the same areas.  The heart, the kidneys, the lip.  After a few moments he was ready to tell us his verdict.  We heard the words "I see ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with your baby from head to toe.  There is a part of the heart that we can't quite visualize, but I'm sure that it's there....it's just that the baby is in an awkward position."  I couldn't believe it.  With the way the doctor had acted I though that there was most definitely something going on. He went on to explain that he no longer saw debris in the fluid and what had probably happened was that the Placenta had torn away form the wall just a tiny bit.  He had checked the Placenta and it looked wonderful now.  He told us that it was quite common. We were absolutely relieved, and decided to name him Carter Jay while we were in the parking lot leaving the hospital.  Our baby boy was healthy.  Thank you lord! 

We continued on with the pregnancy like all of our other children.  It wasn't until I was 37 weeks that there were more clues as to what God had in store for us.  I went in for my regular checkup, and I had lost about 6 lbs. from the appointment the week before.  The doc checked my Fundal height which was within normal limits, but on the smaller side.  At the next appointment I had lost even more weight.  The doc checked everything again, and decided that the baby had just dropped into the pelvis which was causing my belly to appear smaller.  We did a non-stress test just to be sure that the baby was OK, and everything came out fine.  I know that looking back on this it seems as though our doc had missed something, but really everything was just on the brink of being abnormal. I'm not angry with him at all.  It's not like finding out beforehand would have changed anything except maybe a little more preparedness on our part. I've never shared this with anyone, not even Michael, but it was about that time that I started having random thoughts pop into my head like 'which would I deal better with a blind child, or a deaf child .', or 'does Carter seem like a name for a child with special needs'.  It's very possible that I had these thoughts with all of my pregnancies, but they were very profound to me after our little guy arrived.

January 2, 2010

The Pregnancy

We had decided early on that we wouldn't find out the sex of our baby.  We knew that this was our last time being pregnant, and really enjoyed not finding out when we had Jovie. On the way to the ultrasound appointment, Michael and I had a change of heart.  We decided that it might be better to find out so we could start talking about the baby by name to our older kids. My mom went to the appointment with us.

The tech got started and right away asked us if we would like to know the sex.  We told her that we would, but she was having a very hard time giving us a definite answer.  She told us that the baby was in an awkward position.  She was 70% sure that it was a boy.  Since we had originally planned on not finding out the sex, this didn't seem like a big deal.  She went on with the ultrasound, and it seemed to take forever (this is coming from the girl with the very full bladder).  The tech kept pointing out different parts of our baby, and did say a few times that the baby was being a little uncooperative.  I noticed that she did seem to stay on the heart, lip, and kidneys for a long time but she never gave a clue that something was wrong.  When we left the office I felt really good about things.  We had pics of our baby to show the kids, and were pretty sure that it was a boy.  It wasn't until we drove about a mile or two that I started to have a weird feeling.  I told Michael that I thought the tech had seen something wrong.  He told me that he felt that everything was fine, but if I was worried about it I should call the doc.  I did just that and left a message with the nurse.  The doc called me back about an hour later and told me that he saw nothing wrong on the ultrasound, but if it would make me more comfortable we should schedule an appointment with a Perinatologist.  I had a regular OB visit scheduled for a few days later, so we made plans to talk about it then.

When we went to the appointment a few days later, the doc came in and told us that he had a conversation with the tech and she felt that there was possibly debris in the amniotic fluid, and she couldn't get clear pics of the heart and kidneys.  The doc then proceeded to tell us that the good news was that our baby had a brain.  What?!  Excuse me?!  The good news is that our baby has a brain?  I had no idea what to make of that, but did the absolute WRONG thing when I got home and Googled "baby, brain, debris, amniotic fluid".  Let's just say that it really was good news that our baby had a brain.  The photos I saw on that day will haunt me for the rest of my life.  The soonest that we could get into the Perinatologist was a couple of weeks away, so all we could do was wait.