Monday, March 19, 2012

Everyone Has an Off Day

First of all, we want to thank everyone who reached out today and the past few days with texts, emails, and phone calls with thoughts, prayers, love and support. It helps to keep us positive and to have many, many good days. We can never thank you enough for reading the blog and joining our family in getting to know JD even before he is born. It helps us smile every, single day.

As we have mentioned, today was a big appointment for our little man. We needed some good numbers to help push through the last few weeks.

Good News:
The first thing Dr. GB said when she walked in “we saw nothing dramatic today.” The more we meet with the high risk doctor the better “nothing dramatic” sounds. She was very positive as she spoke about his movement, heart rate, and Plural Effusions. The Plural Effusions have decreased on both sides and the right side basically looks to be gone to which the ultrasound tech (who was new to us today and was not our favorite – but more on her in the Sidenote) had to confirm with the doctor that she was suppose to monitor both sides. YAY! Anything to make the lungs healthier will help immediately after birth.

Fair News:
While we were looking for some big growth numbers today (think Biggest Loser only in the other direction) we had less growth than we wanted. This is the time when babies grow a lot during pregnancy; yet, JD only grew about 3oz over the past two weeks. He is little guy who is active with a good heart but still below the 10th percentile curve weighing-in at 2lbs 8oz. As we mentioned before if he slowed with his growth we would need to do a round of steroids to help prepare for development in case of an early arrival. This was something we wanted to avoid because who wants to add extra “stuff” into your system while your pregnant. We spent a lot of time asking the doctor questions about the side effects such as will I get super buff. The doctor reassured us I would not have ‘Roid Rage or be able to lift cars. Nate encouraged me by calling it an extra energy boost to help get him through a possible early delivery. We know JD is half Nolan/ half Gawel so he does not need an extra boost of awesomeness but I guess years of medical research trumps Nolan/Gawelness. Also, the umbilical cord blood flow is still higher than it should be (we explain more about what this means in the Medical Jargon section) but not so extreme we need to be overly concerned at this time.

Based on everything we have seen and heard we still feel his movement and VERY consistent heart rate prove he is still strong and the placenta is still working. We are very sure about this we even told the doctor - who needs 7 years of medical school when you can feel your baby move. The doctor absolutely agreed with us. She said, healthy babies move a lot which is why she is not overly concerned with the growth or the cord flow. Nate and I also talked about how the slower growth is very consistent with WHS; many of the babies we have read about were all born within the 3lbs range so JD is not too far off. Once again, the doctor agreed and said if there was no chromosome abnormality it would be a lot more concerning but his movement really shows he is still doing well. Yahoo for JD showing off his skills week after week.

No Dean’s List this Week:
After weeks of perfection JD has fallen off the Dean’s List by receiving a 6 out of 8 on the Biophysical. He was stubborn and did not breathe enough to get the final 2 points soooooooo we needed to have a Non-Stress Test (more information about this test in the Medical Jargon section) today as well as another one tomorrow. I think JD likes showing off his moves to the doctors and nurses so he likes these arrangements because he is very active during each appointment.

After our Growth Check and Biophysical appointment we walked over to Prentice for my first shots of steroids and the Non-Stress Test (NST). We had the NST while in triage for the steroid shot. Anyone who has been in the Prentice triage rooms knows they have TVs and ice chips so we were all set.  Normally I would not go into details about a shot but let me just tell you a few things about this shot.

First of all, I am not scared of shots and needles do not bother me at all. I also have a pretty high tolerance for pain (I lasted a lot longer than most with contractions during Connor’s labor - although that epidural was yummy). Therefore, I went into this shot thinking "big whoop shoot me up while I watch continuous Payton Manning coverage on ESPN" (gotta give Nate a little something while he sits next me during our test). The nurse, who was awesome, decided my arms might be a little too small (rude) for the shot so she went into the thigh muscle (plenty of room in that spot). She literally wound-up and stuck that needle right into my leg then proceeded to say “you will feel some burning, burning, burning” and let me tell you I DID! How in the heck do those baseball players do that day after day? Oh my goodness that hurt. First the burning then muscle pain. Seriously, hitting 20 extra home runs is just not worth it at least in my opinion. Seriously, look at the Cubs they still get paid millions and sell out games for having a terrible offensive. The pain probably only lasted about 10 minutes but it was unexpected pain so Nate laughed at me as my “whatever” face turned into “WHAT JUST HAPPENED.”  But the best news is I get to do again tomorrow (Tuesday) all by myself. Nate will be in meetings all day so it will be me and the needle and burning and the muscle pain oh and the non-HD TV. But if it helps JD, then I will take hours of pain.

JD was reactive during the NST (as we knew he would be) so we are good until we test again tomorrow.

Final Thoughts:
With the slowed growth, increased umbilical cord blood flow, and 6 out of 8 Biophysical we will be upping our surveillance to twice each week (oh boy more doctor’s appointments). Once again, the doctor is not overly concerned but just feels it is better to watch closely over the next few weeks. While everything did not go our way today we still feel like James Douglas is a strong little boy who is overly excited to meet his big brother Connor and all of you. We know in our hearts he will join us when the time is just perfect for him. Guess I need to make sure the house is clean at all times to prepare for his arrival. Spring-cleaning here I come.

Here is our lineup of appointments:
3/20 – Second shots of Steroids + Non-Stress Test
3/21 – Dr. G, basic check-up
3/22 – Fetal Echo with the Cardiologist + Biophysical
3/26 – Biophysical
4/2 – Growth check

We also want to thank my WONDERFUL, loving, and amazing parents who drop everything and watch Connor at anytime of day and any day of the week so we can make each appointment. They have taken away all of our stress when it comes to scheduling appointments as we know they will always be there to help. Also, we want to thank Nate’s FANTASTIC parents who call us everyday and who have taken time off of work to follow Connor around while we go to appointments, out for date nights, or just so we can do stuff around the condo. Nate and I are blessed with many, many things but our parents currently top the list. Thank you!

Sidenote: To anyone thinking about going into radiology to become an ultrasound technician. I have two recommendations for you:
1)    This is not a tea party so please do not stick your pinky out so that is drags around your patient’s belly as you move the wand. It feels like Water Torture to have a random pinky finger lightly brush your stomach for 30 straight minutes. Nate thought I was in pain because of my face throughout the ultrasound. Not pain, just torture. I would take 10 more steroid shots over that darn pinky.
2)    While the Tiffany dangle bracelets are awesome (at least they were in the early 2000’s) please do not wear one on the hand you plan to hold the ultrasound wand. Why you ask – see #1. Once again, having something besides the ultrasound wand brushing your belly for 30 minutes is ridiculous.
I hope I have been able to help future radiologists.

Those were not the only reasons we did not like this tech as she took very few pictures of each area (which we have learned is not the proper procedure as you need as many angles as you can get), said zero, sighed and stretched during the procedure, and was as personable as a frozen waffle – extra thoughts added by Nate but I totally agree. Oh well, we have been very lucky with all our doctors, nurses, and techs so we cannot complain too much (except for the 30 minutes of water torture I had the pleasure of enduring).


  1. Good morning Gawels! The love and humor that comes through as you relate JD's progress fills my heart. Though his results of yesterday's tests may not have lived up to his previous rock star status, it seems the news was still positive. I continue to pray for all of you and anxiously wait to read the latest news and updates. On another note, it was so good to see you and little Connor on Friday! I love how Connor burst into the condo with his, "Hello, Nia!". Love, Aunt Katie

  2. I love how you fought to explain slow growth is typical of WHS. I remember sitting in my weekly BPPs and explaining that I felt like BPPs were for when you did not know why there was slow growth rate, but we did know why, WHS. Our doctors finally agreed. We all agreed to induce at 38 weeks 3 days after we checked Magnolia's lungs. She came out tiny (3lbs 7oz), but doing great.