Sunday, February 28, 2010

Charlotte Amalie Knickerbocker

She's here.... at 12:15 pm Charlotte made her appearance weighing in at 1.2 lbs and measuring 11 inches tall. She was born at 24+2 weeks gestational age.
This morning Amanda developed the inevitable infection that comes with ruptured membranes. Due to the infection she started to go into labor, but the baby had flipped and was now a breech presentation (feet first). So the decision was made to perform a C-Section. Amanda did well during the C-Section which went very quickly.
When Charlotte was delivered she was rushed to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for resuscitation and we were able to see her about 2 hours later.
She is doing well for being so young. She is intubated and on a ventilator. She has access lines in her umbilicus, and is in an incubator. The good news is she is breathing room air on the vent, which means that she does not require supplemental oxygen to get her oxygen saturation levels up. A good sign for the maturity of the lungs.

The said that things will be a roller coaster. Some days will be good and other days will be bad. They are expecting to keep her in the NICU at least until June best case scenario.

I am not trying to make a political point when I say this:
Thank you to everyone that pays taxes so that my family can have health insurance. We are very appreciative at this time that we can get the care that we need for Charlotte without worry of financial ruin or having to choose which treatments we can afford. Again, I am not trying to be political. I just want to express my gratitude to all of you.

Amanda is recovering well. She got a vertical incision on the uterus which will necessitate future (if we ever do this again) C-sections at 34 wga. She is currently receiving antibiotics for the infection and is taking a nap.

Sorry for the disjointed nature of this post. Just random thoughts from a frazzled father.

Thank you for all of your support and concern. It has really been touching though all of this.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Still Pregnant!

It's about 8 am on Saturday morning and it looks like we've made it through the first few days just fine. I'm almost past the window that they are most concerned for developing an infection, so as long as all goes well today, I should be moved to the maternity ward until I deliver. Since the baby will be premature, I'll have to deliver in the OR, where they have all the ventilators and equipment the baby will need.

We've spoke to the NICU team here and the OB's and we're all just hoping that I don't need any of them for several more weeks. For right now, we're taking it week by week-- I've made it to 24 weeks, let's see if I can hit 25. Our next major milestone is 28 weeks, then 32, then 34. If by some miracle I make it to 34 weeks, they will probably induce me and deliver this little one. So here's to ten more weeks of hanging out in the hospital. :)

Many have asked if we want visitors. I have absolutely no objection to people visiting, but they are currently not allowing children in the hospital as visitors. Word on the street is that they are going to lighten that restriction in March, but we haven't heard anything official.

Thank you for all your support!! This has been incredibly humbling and although I hope no one has to go through it-- I appreciate the lessons I've already been taught. So thanks! You guys are so great!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

But Let's Be Honest

Even though we pretend to have lives outside of this pregnancy, it's pretty much taken over.

Monday I went in for a 17H Progesterone shot. Doctors aren't sure why, but progesterone has shown in studies to help prevent miscarriages in early pregnancy as well as premature labor in later pregnancy. In my case, the plan was to have a shot weekly until 34 weeks gestation. After the shot on Monday, I was pretty sick and devastatingly tired. But by Tuesday, I felt great. Better than I had since about week 5 of pregnancy.

Wednesday Caleb and I got up and made a cake for Peter's birthday/return. (It was WAY better than his 25 year birthday cake). I was feeling a little under the weather, but all in all, it was OK. Peter surprised us and came home several hours earlier than we expected, YAY! Peter's parents graciously watched Caleb for us so we could run out and have a dinner to celebrate him coming home and his birthday. Of course, being the good parents we are, we ate cake before we left for dinner (all the while telling Caleb he had to finish his dinner before he could have cake. Score one for us).

When we arrived at the restaurant, I went to get out of the car and felt a gush of fluid. I had had fluid leakage previously in this pregnancy, so I wasn't too concerned, but I put a call into my OB's office just to keep them up to date. I already had an appointment scheduled for Thursday, so I figured waiting a 15 hours to go into the office wouldn't be terrible. The on-call doctor agreed, as long as the fluid stopped and I didn't have any other significant gushes.

We enjoyed a delicious dinner (which we were too full to eat due to the massive amounts of cake we ate before dinner-- Fabulous if you ask me). When we left the restaurant, I continued to have some fluid leaking, but figured I could at least take Peter home so he could have some sleep and then go into the hospital if it continued, by myself. Poor Peter had been up since 4:00 AM and then he had driven 6 hours to get home that day-- needless to say, he was shot.

However, before we could even leave the parking lot, the situation elevated enough to the point where even I was certain we needed to go right into Labor and Delivery.

Upon arriving at L&D I was diagnosed with PPROM (Preterm Premature Rupture Of Membranes-- my water broke) and admitted to the L&D floor. I had a ultrasound to check the fluid levels, which looked good last night. I've been placed on IV fluids (which will hopefully replenish some of the lost amniotic fluid) and antibiotics (to prevent infection and/or sepsis), and I have received 2 steroid shots (to help with the development of the baby's lungs).

Tomorrow I reach the magical 24 week viability point-- which is in reality only a 50% chance of viability. Nonetheless, we're thrilled we're going to make it there and we'll take all the milestones we can reach at this point. We'll meet with the NICU here at Chester County Hospital (which is run through CHOP) and we'll go for another ultrasound to check the baby's fluid levels again.

We're really not sure what the future brings at this point, so we're taking it one day at a time-- well, at least Peter is. I'm trying to plan for every possible outcome of which I can think. (Opposites attract? Sure thing).

I could deliver tomorrow, I could deliver next week, I could deliver in four weeks, I could go to term (unlikely, but possible). Until then, I will most likely remain here in this comfy cozy L&D room. For the baby's sake, we hope that means another 4 or 6 or 10 weeks. For my sake, I hope my sanity can last as long as the baby :)

So that's the update. I've opened up the blog, so it's not private anymore, because it's just a lot easier to reach everyone this way. Please feel free to pass this information on to anyone who would be interested.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Just to prove that there is more going on in our lives than a pregnancy, here's a run down on our current stats:

He's just finishing up his OB/GYN rotation in Norfolk, VA. He'll be home on Wednesday and he'll start his Psych rotation at Christiana Hospital in Delaware on Monday. He's "off" for April and May-- studying for boards (which he takes in May) and taking a few ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) classes. Apparently they want you to know how to actually "save" someone when you're a doctor. Picky, picky.

Long term, he's been planning out his "audition" rotations-- where he will rotate at hospitals he is interested in for residency. Currently, he's thinking Pediatrics as his specialty, but don't hold him to it. Since he is in the Navy, we're looking at hospitals in Bethesda, MD (near Washington, DC) Norfolk, VA (Virginia Beach) and San Diego, CA. None of which are bad options. We'll find out this December where he matches.


I'm working on my classes and hoping to have things wrapped up so that I can apply to student teach in January 2011. That would allow me finish my certification in teaching at the same time Peter graduates, making it a bit less messy. (Teacher certification req's change from state to state, so to start in PA and finish somewhere else is ugly). With the pregnancy complications, we're hoping everything works out timing wise, but ultimately we know that the baby is more important (this sounded better in my head than it does written out...), so we'll roll with whatever happens. I take my Praxis I in a few weeks and my Praxis II in July.

Caleb is trying really hard to figure out what in the world is happening to his family. Mom can't pick him up or do anything with him and Dad now lives in the computer (we talk on Skype). Poor kid. He's rolling with it, but we can all tell that it's taking a toll on him. I'm hoping that when Peter gets back he's able to adjust to things a little better.

Other than that, he's doing really well. He loves the snow, and walks around the house with his "gloves" on (really, two mismatched socks). Grandma is his best friend and his favorite food would definitely be meatballs (I don't even try to explain this...). He's talking up a storm and comes up with some fantastic sayings. He's decided that naps are not his thing, so he spends two hours of quiet time in his room "reading" his books and playing with his animals. So far, it's worked, but I would really love him to take naps again. I refuse to give up hope.

And that's us in a nutshell. See, we do have lives. Ok, that's a lie. But it's all we got.

Friday, February 19, 2010

If Only He Were Here...

Today is Peter's 27th birthday. If he were here, I would probably slave over a cake and his favorite meal, but seeing as how he is working a 24 hour shift today at the Naval Hospital in Norfolk, VA, he's just going to miss out on my would-be culinary masterpiece.

Here's a picture to remind you of have good you have it babe. :)

Peter's birthday cake, February, 2008.

In my defense... OK, there's really no defense for this cake (I had a four week old? I'm no good at baking? See, they're all lame). But it tasted good. And it gives us something to laugh at. And it sets really low expectations. Bonus.

Happy Birthday Pete! We love you and miss you and can't wait to celebrate when you get back next week. Have fun (and get some sleep)!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Baby News

Last week we had a few days where we thought my water may have broken prematurely. It happened Wednesday night, of course, right as we were completely snowed in from the storm. By Thursday afternoon, we still didn't have a chance of getting out of our driveway and Peter was getting more and more nervous, so he left from Norfolk, VA (where he is doing an away rotation in OB/GYN of all things) and drove the six hours home so that we could get over to the hospital to be checked out.

The doctors were concerned with the baby's fluid levels and so they sent us down to have a full ultrasound to make sure there was enough amniotic fluid for the baby. As the ultrasound tech was taking all the measurements, she asked us if we were going to find out the sex of the baby. Peter grinned and said, "Sure," despite the fact that we had already decided we were going to wait. :) (In his defense, he's been doing ultrasounds in Norfolk for the past few weeks and so when the tech measured the bladder he could already tell the sex... he said that I would have believed it more coming from the tech than if he had said it-- which is totally true).

We left the ultrasound knowing that the fluid levels looked good, and that in a few months, we'll be having a little bit more pink around this place.

So, there you go!

It's a girl!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ramblings of a Hormonal, Pregnant, Mother of a Toddler

Please feel free to skip.

Last night Caleb had a really hard time falling asleep. He kept asking to say prayers with Daddy and he wanted juice and he wanted to sit on the potty and he wanted and he wanted... I would get him settled and he would scream the moment I shut the door. I heard his screams for the next 20 minutes while I tried to let him cry it out. He sobbed for five minutes after I caved and came back in. He and I repeated this sequence four times in two hours.

I held him-- he was squirmy. I laid down next to him-- he was talkative. I got stern and told him he was not to get out of bed again. He ignored me.

Finally, two and a half hours after I dragged in a rocking chair and held him as I rocked him to sleep. I haven't rocked Caleb to sleep for months-- since our many excursions to CHOP.

When Caleb was in the hospital, I would rock him to sleep. He had a hard time relaxing with IV's and monitors and NG tubes and everything else in the room. His crib was like a baby prison-- he could never fall asleep in it. So I would hold him in the chair and rock him back and forth until he fell asleep-- hoping that his wires and IV's were all perfectly placed so I wouldn't disturb them when I put him down.

Holding him in that chair, watching him fall asleep took me right back. Watching him fight the sleep reminded me of watching him fight the anesthesia time after time, and test after test. Watching his eyes get heavy, his hand reach out to touch my face, to feel that I was there with him-- I felt the terror that I never let myself feel -- never even realized I was holding back-- terror that I hadn't let go of, terror that I was still carrying around.

Sitting in the darkness of his room, all I could hear were the doctor's words. "We're looking for adhesions, for weak bowel, for a tumor, for anything." I heard them discussing bowel re-sectioning and NG tubes and failure to thrive and colostomy bags. I saw a little boy in pain, with no way to ask for help, for no way to express his fears. I saw a little boy who was stronger than his mother, who comforted when he needed comfort, who loved when he need love.

Except this time, he was different. Even though I could remember those times, and the emotions felt so real, when I looked down, he wasn't the CHOP Caleb. He was the healthy, talkative, I-pick-my-nose Caleb. He was the I-love-Thomas-the-train and Wonder Pets and playing with friends Caleb. He was the no worries, I-do-it-myself, Caleb. He was my little boy. My healthy, little boy.

I haven't thought about doctors appointments or checked his stools in months. Six months ago we waited in the hospital for results from his surgery. Six months ago we knew every detail of his medical history, every hospital admission, every test, every symptom. Six months ago, I knew his every movement. These days, I have to hand a paper to his new pediatrician with all his information on it-- information that I don't know anymore.

Last night I look at him and all I saw was a tired little boy who missed his Daddy. A little boy who wanted to be rocked to sleep.

Last night, I let go of the terror.

Today, I can finally see Caleb.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Peter's Contribution to the Blog

Pete is on an OB/GYN rotation in Norfolk this month at the Naval Hospital. He saw this sign up in the clinic. Now THAT is Government Healthcare :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow Much Snow

Caleb woke up this morning to a winter wonderland!

Can you imagine what it would be like to have snow drifts as tall as you everywhere you looked?

He's trying to help Grandpa and Grandpere (my dad was here this weekend) shovel the snow.

Preparing for the snow. And yes, those are socks. They don't make gloves for two year olds.

Last snow storm, he wasn't so sure of the sled. Today he loved it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Because You Need More Pictures of Him

These are from Caleb's birthday (Dec. 22, 2009). So they're a month and a half late, what of it?

I was just going through pictures and saw these and it reminded me of how fun this kid is :)

He's thinking about it...

He's gonna do it...

Check out those landing skills!

And yes, I was the Mom of the Year taking pictures of my child throwing himself head-first down a slide instead of stopping him. We all have our strengths, you shouldn't be jealous of my incredible parenting skills.