Thursday, November 25, 2010

Surgery for Suzanna...

So, I'll start at the beginning...
When I was carrying Suzanna, I had what they call a single artery umbilical cord.  The umbilical cord is supposed to have two arteries and one vein and mine had only one artery and one vein.  With that said, all the doctors I saw said that it was a common issue in pregnancy and basically not to worry.  Well, I am the queen of "googling," so of course I read everything I could get my hands on.  In the reading I found out that about 1 in 100 pregnant women have it and there are possibilities of defects to the child.  

Because my pregnancy was and had gone so well since the beginning, I decided to take the doctors advice and not worry about. "It's as common as being left handed," one of the doctors told me.

So John and I didn't worry about it; however, I still had to have a monthly ultrasound to check baby Suz and her development.  All ultrasounds had been great up until week 38. 

At week 38 by belly was measuring 3cm off, so my doctor decided to do an ultrasound to check on things.  In the ultrasound she noticed that one of Suzanna's kidneys was slightly dilated.  She told John and I that this was a fairly common problem with babies and just to make sure her pediatrician checked the kidney in question.  

Well, October 27 rolls around and I have the easiest labor, and this perfect little angel to show for it.  At her first doctors visit we talked to her doctor about the kidney and he seemed to think that as long as she as urinating well then the problem would probably fix itself.  

Suz and I had to go back to the doctor two more times for weight checks and on our third visit we had a different doctor.  That doctor seemed to think that we might as well have an ultrasound done on the kidney just to make sure things were working as they should.  So Suz and I went off to have an ultrasound.

During the ultrasound the nurse couldn't see the left kidney because of gas but definitely saw dilation on the right kidney.  We went back to the pediatrician after the ultrasound and she referred us to a urology specialist because of the dilation in the kidney.

At the urology specialist they too had problems viewing the left kidney but were certain that there were issues with the right kidney.  They referred us to the Presbyterian hospital in Huntersville to have a VCUG, which checks to see if urine is "refluxing" from the bladder back up into the kidney; and a CAT Scan to see if there is even a left kidney present.

Once we got to the hospital I went back with Suzanna and was with her through both of the procedures.  When preforming a VCUG they have to insert a catheter.  Suz didn't appreciate that very much but only cried for few minutes.  She was able to calm down after that as they watched the dye moving in her bladder and took x-rays.  Next, we did the CAT scan.  For the CAT scan she had to have an IV.  My little trooper whimpered just a little bit when they inserted the IV, and then went back to sleep as if nothing had happened at all; and then continued to sleep through the CAT scan.

After we finished with the test at the hospital, we went back to the urology specialist to get the results...  Suzanna does not have a left kidney, which is mostly likely a result of the single artery umbilical cord.  And her right kidney is dilated, as well as the ureter tube that carries the urine from the kidney to the bladder.  

The dilation in the kidney and ureter tube is present because the ureter tube is not entering the bladder at the correct spot.  Suz's ureter tube is connected at the bottom of the bladder instead of the top.  (Dilation in the kidney is not an uncommon problem in infants.  Most of the doctors we talked to said that most of the time the problem just fixes itself, but because of the amount of dilation that Suzanna has, we can't afford to wait and see.... particularly since she only had one kidney.)

So here's our plan of action:

Tomorrow (Friday, November 26, 2010) we will be going to the Presbyterian Hospital in downtown Charlotte, and at 7:30 AM Suzanna will have surgery.  Dr. Gazak will make in incision somewhere between where her leg joins up with the rest of her body.  He will go in and disconnect the ureter tube and sew it to the top of her skin, where he made the initial incision.  She will actually urinate out of this tiny slit, and the urine will drain into her diaper.  

Doing this will allow the dilation in the kidney and ureter tube to go down.  Once the dilation has gone down (approximately 3 to 6 months), we will go back to Presbyterian and Dr. Gazak will then connect the ureter tube to the correct spot on the bladder.  


That's where we are right now.  John and I are doing ok.  We are glad that the problem was caught early and that once the surgery is preformed she will be as good as new.  However, no one wants their 4 week old child to have to have surgery of any kind!  Please say a prayer for her, and for John and I.  

I will update facebook once her surgery is finished and she is out of recovery to let everyone know how she is doing.  

John and I appreciate all the prayers and concern that we have received so far; and could not be more grateful on this Thanksgiving Day for such wonderful family and friends.

Much love, Carly

Thursday, October 7, 2010

So here we are....

Just wanted to catch everyone up on the latest baby news....  I am down to seeing the doctor now every week, and have approached the ever looming "full term" mark.  I found all this pretty exciting because it means we're in the final countdown to meeting Miss Suzanna. 

I have so enjoyed seeing my family and friends (Laura with Kynleigh, Sara with Ada, Amy with Charlotte, Stacy with Lleyton, Kelli with Darrah, and Brandy with Zoie) get to know their little ones as they become new mothers and form such beautiful bonds with their babies.  I can only hope I will be as good at it as they have been.  I think every first time mother thinks about how she will be with her first little one, and I have to say that the thought of it makes me weepy! 

On the more technical side of things, my doctors appointments have all gone really well.  My weight gain is in check, my blood pressure is great, I haven't dilated as of last Friday, Oct.1, and Suzanna is head down and ready for delivery.  I have been seeing all the doctors at Shelby Women's Care and all of them seem to be very pleased with my progress and don't see any issues surfacing between now and the time that I have the baby.  

As far as how I'm feeling... up until about a week ago, I felt wonderful.  No aches or pains.  I could just go and go and go.  But as of Saturday (Oct. 2) that all changed.  I had to work a little bit Saturday but after I got home, I started to feel the nesting symptoms coming on strong.  And boy, did I do some cleaning at the house.  John and I rotated the mattress,  and shifted our bed to make room for the bassinet,  I took down the curtains and sent them to the dry cleaners, I vacuumed everything that I could think to vacuum, I cleaned the bathrooms (floor to ceiling... literally), I swept, I organized under all the cabinets, and the list goes on and on.  Man, it felt good to get all that done... but let me tell you, I paid for the next day.  

Clearly, that day changed it all.  I had to work Sunday and felt pretty good going into it.  However, after I was finished and on my way home from Steele Creek in Charlotte, my back was aching, my feet were throbbing, and my calves were hard as rocks.  

Since then, it's been more of the same.  My back seems to feel terrible by about 5:00 every day, even if I haven't been on my feet alot.  I'm definitely visiting the bathroom more often.  But the little one still hasn't "dropped" as they say, she's just gotten a little bigger.  And my biggest pain... trying to roll out of the bed during the night to make it to the bathroom!  

The one thing that I can say that has been a tremendous help has been John.  He has really shown his love and concern for me like none other.  Granted he doesn't jump up to wash the dishes every night, but who the heck does?  He calls me frequently to check on me.  He has rubbed my aching back, even though he would much rather be on the receiving end of it... and usually is.  He's done almost anything and everything I have asked him to from carrying stuff, to stomping off his boots before he comes into the house, to going with me on trips to get the baby stuff that we need, to just making sure that I am comfortable.  That truly means the world to me!

So, with that said, I can honestly say that I thought I would never be one of those women who said, "I'm so ready to have this baby... I'm miserable."  And although I am not miserable, I am getting pretty uncomfortable.  And I do want to have this baby.... but only because I can't wait to meet her.  The anticipation seems unbearable at times, but I know the longer she stays in there the more healthy she is becoming.  So, you are up to speed now and any developments I have after this point I will be sure to share.
Aside:  I have had a few people ask me if the dogs can tell that things are about to be different at the house, and my answer is yes and no.  No, because my faithful Marabelle doesn't have the slightest clue.  She still carries on with her normal routines of needing to be babied and making sure that she and I are in the same room if at all possible... unless she's too tired to follow me around.  

And Yes, because Tex aka Mr. Nosy, has every inclination that something is going on.  He follows me anytime I go back into the nursery to do anything and just watches me.  He throughly sniffs everything, especially if it is new.  I have a basket of Suzanna's toys and anytime a new toy is added to the basket he spends the rest of the night trying to make it his new play toy.  He will go and very sneaky like, bring it into the room where John and I happen to be.  He holds it very delicately in his mouth and looks at us as if to say, "is this toy for me?"  I have to fuss at him and tell him to drop it, which he does, and often retreats back to the basket to try another toy.  

So, my guess is that Marabelle will be just fine with little Suzanna. And Tex will be different all together.  I don't for one minute think he will be aggressive with her.  I think once he see's John holding her, he will understand that he needs to protect her because she is a part of John.  And John means everything to Tex.  As I've said before, John is the pack leader at our house.  hahaha!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Great Chicken Massacre by Sara Sain

Red Comet

So it has been requested that I recount the tale of the "first ladies" (a.k.a. my chickens) and the great chicken massacre that came to haunt my humble farmstead.  It's a tragic story, but I can't help find small bits of humor in it, so if you laugh, I won't get angry.  I always wanted chickens.  Only for eggs, mind you.  I had dreams of gathering eggs at the henhouse every time I baked a cake or fixed breakfast.  So, my wonderful dad built me a portable A-frame chicken coop to house approximately 4-5 chickens.  I began my flock with a hen and a rooster.  (Just so you know, a rooster is not required for a hen to lay an egg...that's a common misconception).  Their names were Roy and Rebekah.  They were both black Austrolorps with a shiny black sheen that sparkled green in the sunshine.  I loved hearing Roy crow in the mornings, and I'm not being sarcastic.  It made me feel like I had my farm at last!  I would feed them each morning and replenish their water.  They were sociable and I could pick them up, but they weren't happy when I did that and it took a while to catch one!  I'd watch them scratch away at the ground and eat bugs.  It was fun throwing lettuce leaves and old food to them and watching them eat with such intensity.  Their favorite food was pea salad (a combination of peas, lettuce, bacon, cheese, and mayonnaise to hold it all together.  I highly recommend it for both chicken and people food).  Rebekah finally started laying an egg a day for me, and my dreams were coming true! 
A few months later, we added another hen to our flock.  Her name was Mary Todd.  She was golden brown with white flecks.  She was more skittish than the others, but she took to the flock.  Roy hated her.  It was about that time when he became the quintessential "ol' mean rooster".  He'd pluck the feathers from Rebekah and Mary Todd's backs till they bled.  Poor things.  I'd fuss at him and try to show him who was boss, but it didn't stop.  Finally, we sent Roy packing.  He was banished to my uncle's house, and then was sent to his son-in-law's house, and who knows where from there.  I missed Roy's crowing, but I was glad to see Mary Todd and Rebekah's feathers growing back.

Right before getting rid of Roy, we moved into our new house.  Once he was gone, Mary Todd and Rebekah had free range of the new grounds.  I left their coop door open, and they came and went at will.  I'd see them on the front porch steps in the morning, and they'd flutter down to the flower beds and go to work eating bugs and fertilizing my flowers.  They clucked and strutted and were just wonderful.  Then, one day, Mary Todd was gone.  Rebekah was wondering the yard by herself.  We looked everywhere, but no luck.  My uncle called later that day to tell us Mary Todd was at his house.  Evidently, our neighbor's dog had gotten off his chain and stole her away in the night, killed her, and took her up to my uncle's and laid her beside the grill!!  Rather ironic.  My uncle returned Mary Todd's broken little body to us in a shoebox, and we buried her beneath a tree.

We knew Rebekah couldn't be alone.  She was obviously distraught, making little crying chicken noises.  So a few days later, another of my uncles brought four more hens to our house.  These were dominics, black and white speckled and so beautiful!  They were hard to tell apart, but Jordan named the fattest one Mozart, then there was Natasha, and the other two were just known as "the twins".  Rebekah showed them all the great bug spots in the yard and they trailed after her.  Mozart went missing several weeks later, and we decided a hawk probably got her.  We were on the alert because we had recently seen a coyote in the lower field (and he still roams the field every now and then).  It wasn't but a few days later that I went to feed the chickens in the morning, and a horrible sight met me.  Chicken feathers and poor, dead bodies littered the inside of the coop.  One chicken was missing.  I barely looked.  I ran back to the house to get my husband, who, likewise, couldn't believe what he was seeing.  Every chicken was massacred, including poor Rebekah, the matriarch!  I was so sad.  We found the last chicken by the woods, almost entirely ripped apart and eaten.  The ones in the coop, however, were simply killed.  Something had come in and killed them for sport.  We're thinking a wild dog.  Jordan dug a big hole, and we had a mass burial.  He then put a big rock on top of the grave.  A few days later, Jordan was out at the mass grave dumping the slop and noticed that something had come and eaten/taken away all the chickens that were buried.  All we had left was a big hole with a rock sitting in it. 

That all happened about a year ago.  We wanted more chickens, but with Ada being born, we never got to it.  But -- good news! -- we are now the proud owners of three new Red Comet chickens (named Eleanor, Josephine, and Martha) who are laying eggs nearly every day! Needless to say, we now keep them locked up in the coop, and I do believe they are happy as can be!