Saturday, May 30, 2015

PCH Transfer

Happy 3 weeks to our sweet boy!  It has been awhile, I know.  Austin is doing great so I've been getting lost in his progress and not thinking about much else.  Since he was born, he has been dealing with hyperglycemia and is being treated with insulin.  The doctors at IMC were in constant contact with the endocrine specialists at Primary Children's and the hope was that as soon as he got up to full feeds, his sugar level would normalize.  Unfortunately that never happened so he was transferred to PCH on Monday, May 18th despite mine and Logan's reservations.  We love this hospital and knew he would receive excellent care here but we were approaching the two year anniversary of Eli's passing and we weren't sure how it would feel to be back when much of what we had experienced here was so difficult.  Despite our worries, we wanted the very best care for Austin so we were supportive of the transfer.  Fortunately the nurses are wonderful (we've picked up a couple primaries that we love) and the rest of the team is taking great care of our boy.

It has been determined that Austin has neonatal diabetes but we're waiting for genetic testing results that should hopefully tell us if it's something he will grow out of or if it's permanent.  We won't receive the test results until July so in the mean time we have been focusing on typical preemie milestones like gaining weight and teaching him to eat.  Aside from his wacky sugar levels, Austin is doing really well!  He officially hit 4 pounds a few days ago and is improving his eating skills every day.  Right now he eats roughly 40% of his feeds by mouth and receives the rest through his NG tube.  As soon as he is eating full feeds by mouth and consistently gaining weight then we will have more serious discussions about when he can come home.  We can't wait for that day and hope it happens within the next 2-3 weeks!

Logan and I spend our days at the hospital and thankfully they are pretty boring.  We know what it's like to have "exciting" hospital days and we want nothing to do with them.  We get to hold and cuddle Austin as much as we want (which is basically all day) and we even get to dress him in adorable preemie outfits now that he is sustaining his own body temperature :) For the first couple weeks Austin was really tired, as a preemie should be, so he was super chill but we're finally starting to see his little personality come out now that he's bigger and more mature. He doesn't like getting his diaper changed or temperature checked and he of course hates getting his insulin injections.  We don't like seeing him sad but it sure is nice seeing him act like a feisty baby!

Being back at the hospital has been easier than I expected it to be.  It is great seeing familiar faces and we are meeting many new wonderful people.  May 25th marked two years since we lost our boy so that was a tender day for sure.  Logan and I went to the cemetery in the morning and then went straight to the hospital because there was nowhere we would rather be on that day than with Austin.  I had an emotional moment as we pulled up to the hospital because I really couldn't believe we were doing this hospital thing again but as soon as we saw Austin I felt so much better!  We have felt Eli with us more than ever since Austin was born and we know he takes the night shifts when Logan and I go home to sleep :) The night nurses are great but nobody does the job like an older angel brother!

Enjoy some pictures of our boy from the last few weeks:

Ps...I will try to be better about updating my blog more often but if you'd like more frequent updates you're welcome to follow me on Instagram (@lizrjorgensen) where I post daily about his progress :)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Austin Michael Jorgensen

To those of you that read my blog but don't follow us on social media, our little Austin is here!  He obviously arrived earlier than expected and the past week has been a whirlwind, which is why I haven't gotten an update posted until now.

We went to our scheduled NST on Friday the 8th expecting it to be a regular checkup but when we learned that my AFI (Amniotic Fluid Index) was only 3.5 we knew we wouldn't be going home.  When the Sonographer left the room to get the doctor, Logan and I both agreed that we wanted this baby delivered since it no longer seemed safe to keep him in utero.  The doctor came in and completely agreed that I needed to be induced so we headed straight for Labor and Delivery to get things going!  

I was anxious to be checked so we could see if I had made any progress on my own because I knew we could be in for a long labor if we had to start from ground zero.  They got me hooked up to everything and then checked me and said I was roughly 50% effaced and dilated to a "fingertip".  I wasn't as worried about being dilated as I was about my cervix being thinned.  They started me on a really low dose of Pitocin to see how Austin would handle it and to start thinning my cervix.  They didn't want to use other medications or methods to thin my cervix because they were worried Austin wouldn't be able to handle it because he was so small. They got everything going around 11:00am and by 9:00pm that night I still hadn't made any progress.  I was contracting and dilating but my cervix just wasn't thinning.  They decided to use a foley balloon to thin my cervix and by this time we were anxious to make some sort of progress so we were all for it!  Putting that foley balloon in and inflating it was no fun!  I was a bit bummed when they said it would take 12 hours for the balloon to do its job because I knew we'd be in for a long night.

Logan a I did our best to get some rest throughout the night, which was pretty uneventful.  Austin was handling everything very well so there wasn't any concern about him at this point.  By 9:00 the next morning I couldn't wait to get the balloon out.  Not only was it uncomfortable but I was anxious to see if it had thinned my cervix at all.  When they took it out and checked me I was only a bit more effaced (probably 60%) but I was dilated to a 3 so that was encouraging.  They brought a resident in to break my water hoping that would speed things up but she struggled getting it broken.  After a few minutes of messing around up there she was finally able to break it but said that we didn't see/feel a rush of fluid because mine was so low.  Now that my water was broken they decided to turn up the Pitocin and really try to get things going.  **I totally forgot to mention above that I had gotten my epidural a long time ago, shortly after we were admitted to labor and delivery, so I was quite comfortable.**  The hours slowly creeped by and I was steadily dilating but my cervix just wasn't thinning.  By this time I had also started to bleed so that was worrisome.  Austin was doing really well still but when the nurses said: "We'd rather have you not bleeding but it's not the end of the world." that still freaked me out.  By this time it was probably 1:00pm and nothing was changing so I asked them to call my doctor.  Because my doctor typically works at Riverton only, he told IMC that they could make all the decisions during my labor and that he would come as soon as I was ready to deliver.  Even though I wasn't ready to push, I wanted him here to give his take on everything.  They reluctantly called and he was more than happy to come check out the situation.

The minute he walked in the room we all felt 100x better!  He checked out my bleeding and assured me that everything was okay and then decided to check me himself even though they had just done it before he got there.  As soon as he checked me he had a confused look on his face and said: "Have they not broken your water?"  I couldn't believe it.  We had sat around all these hours and the reason I hadn't been progressing was because the resident never really got my water broken.  My doctor got his little tool and within 5 seconds my water was broken and sure enough there was a giant rush of fluid.  I know med students have to learn and practice somewhere but one thing I love about Riverton hospital is that it's not a teaching hospital so you only have to work with your doctor.  Okay, enough of that.  

As soon as my water broke, things progressed much faster.  Within two hours I was fully dilated and this kid was sliding right down the birth canal.  They quickly got us to the OR (I had to deliver there because they needed to pass him straight through to the NICU) and after 3 or 4 pushes our little Austin was here!  They put him right on my chest and I couldn't believe how TINY he was!  We knew he would be small but my goodness, he was extra small.  He let out a few little kitten cries and after letting me kiss his head they passed him through the window to the NICU.  A couple minutes later one of the nurses poked her head through the window and announced that he was 3lb 8oz and 17in long.  We were in love with our tiny guy!

Everything from here on out was quite a whirlwind.  They got me cleaned up pretty fast, took us back to our room in Labor and Delivery, and told us that we would be able to go see him on our way to my room on the floor.  Unfortunately when we were ready to see him they called to say they were still working on getting his lines in so we needed to wait a bit before going to the NICU.  Not too much later they took us down to see our sweet boy and wow, that was pretty tough.  Logan and I knew Austin would need a bit of help when he was born and when they told us he was on CPAP for his breathing we still weren't too worried but seeing him was another story.  We both had immediate flashbacks of everything Eli went through so seeing Austin was far more difficult than we anticipated. 

Not only did he have a breathing mask on, but he also had bili lights surrounding nearly every inch of his body and multiple lines for IV access so the only part of his body that we could really see were his little feet. Austin is considered IUGR (Intrauterine Growth Restriction) because he's so much smaller than a typical 34 week baby.  The original theory was that my placenta wasn't functioning properly, causing him to be little but my placenta looked normal after my delivery.  Our theory is that Austin's growth basically stopped when he became so anemic in utero.  Up until my 29 week appointment, he was measuring a few days ahead at every growth scan but after that he was always measuring behind and never really measured past 30 weeks.  30 weeks is the first MCA scan that showed he was anemic but remember we put the transfusion off for a few weeks after that.  I'm sure his body was using all of its energy to get blood to his organs when he was so anemic that he didn't have the energy to focus on his growth.  We have no regrets about the decisions we made during my pregnancy and we know there was a reason he was supposed to be born when he was so we're just thrilled he's here and finally thriving!

Austin has been in the NICU for 1 week and has made wonderful progress.  He now only uses a nasal cannula to breathe, has graduated from the bili lights, hasn't needed a blood transfusion, and is quickly regaining his birth weight!  It's hard to put a timeline on when he might come home but our goal/guess from the beginning was one month.  If that's accurate then he should be home in 3ish weeks!

It feels so good to be a family of 4!  We feel Eli with us constantly and know he is taking the night shifts at the hospital when Logan and I can't be there.  We are so proud of Austin and all of the progress he is making but we can't wait for him to come home!


Friday, May 1, 2015

33 Weeks

As each week passes we feel better and better so 33 feels great!  This week actually went by much quicker than the previous weeks and I think it's because we went to the doctor on Monday and then not again until today.  It was so nice not having to go every other day!  Things were quiet this week and went just as we expected so we're happy about that!

Monday was a busy day!  We had an MCA scan and NST in the morning as well as an appointment out in Riverton with our regular OB in the afternoon.  Now that we're getting closer and closer to delivery these appointments become more important each time filled with a lot of information.  I was really looking forward to our MCA scan this time because it was the first one since the transfusion so I was anxious to see how everything looked.  I was also really looking forward to our appointment out in Riverton because it had been three weeks since we had seen our OB and SO much had happened since then!  The doctors at IMC have kept our OB in the loop but I was excited to talk to him myself and get his take on everything.

The MCA scan and NST couldn't have gone better!  Austin is clearly loving his blood because his MCA level came back at 35 which is all the way down in D.  This made us very happy!
The fluid around Austin's heart also looked much better and he was quite a bit more active than he had been recently so we loved seeing that!  The NST was a slam dunk and at the end the nurse came in and said: "You have a textbook baby!" Hearing that was definitely music to our ears.  They asked us to come back on Friday morning (today) for a repeat MCA and NST and told us that at that time we would prep for a Monday transfusion.  Even though Austin looks great on the scans, they have to plan the subsequent transfusions based on time rather than where he is on the graph because the graph can become unreliable once a baby has received a transfusion so we had been anticipating a transfusion on Monday the 4th all along.

Our appointment on Monday with our OB also went really well.  Lately these appointments have mostly been us updating him on everything that has been going on as well as him asking us how we're doing so they're not too eventful which is just fine with us.  It's nice going to a doctor appointment occasionally that won't bring all sorts of unexpected news.  We'll see him again in a couple weeks and at that time he'll check to see if I'm starting to make any progress on my own since I'll be induced early.  Fingers crossed my body starts itself like it did before my induction with Eli!

Our appointment this morning went really well also so we're feeling good!  Austin's MCA level is still great and came back at 45 today which means he's still in D.
There doesn't seem to be fluid around his heart or anywhere else and his heart rate and movement were really strong during the NST so the doctors are very pleased with how he's doing.  My amniotic fluid was a bit on the low side this morning but they're not too concerned about it so we'll just keep an eye on it and I'll remember to drink a lot of water this weekend.  Even though Austin is doing so well, we're still moving ahead with the Monday transfusion.  They expect that he has lost some of the blood he received a couple weeks ago but they don't anticipate him being as anemic as he was before the last transfusion.  We definitely don't want him to get that low again.  The current plan is to do the transfusion on Monday and if all goes as expected, we'll schedule my induction for roughly three weeks after that, which will put me right around 36 1/2 weeks. That will be the very longest they'll let me go (even if he's doing really well) but they'll also do scans two times a week and if he gives us any reason to think he needs to come before that then they'll just take him rather than do another transfusion.  Fingers crossed Monday goes well and he is able to cook for another three weeks!  As much as we'd love him to stay in even longer, we know that's not safe for him so we're getting pretty excited to meet our little guy!

They're giving me another dose of steroids for his lungs prior to this transfusion so I received the first injection this morning and I'll head back to the hospital tomorrow morning for the second injection and also to have my blood drawn and prepped for the transfusion on Monday.  We would love and appreciate your prayers and positive thoughts as we head into Monday's procedure around noon!

Even though this is our second baby, people have been incredible to us and still wanted to give little Austin a shower.  Our ward wanted to do a shower to help me get to know more ladies in the RS since we've been in the Primary most of the time and Logan's work did a super nice lunch for us.  These showers happened this week and they were both so much fun!  One funny bit of info: I had three showers with Eli but because he unexpectedly came early they were still held even though I couldn't make it to any of them.  The showers this week were my first two showers that I was able to attend!

Our ward shower was on Tuesday evening and little Austin was beyond spoiled!  The food was amazing and there was a great turnout and a ton of support from the ladies in the RS.  I feel so blessed to be in such a wonderful ward that has shown us so much love and concern.  I hope they know how much we appreciate them!

Most of the food hadn't been brought out at this point but aren't those centerpieces adorable??
This may or may not have been the best Cobb salad I've ever had.  It was to die for!
Logan's work shower was on Thursday (yesterday) and it was great!  The food was delicious and everyone was so good to us and more than generous to our little Austin.  He is going to have a good start in this world because of them!  Logan has always loved his job and it's easy to see why after spending more time with his co-workers and meeting some of them for the first time.  I completely spaced taking a single picture, which I'm super bummed about, but we definitely had a fantastic time and are so grateful to everyone who contributed to the shower in any way!

Weight: 147.2 (This week: +3 | Total: +26.4) Because Austin will be born a month early, I started getting concerned that he would be super small so I told myself I needed to eat more to fatten him up.  I'm sure that's not how it really works but it made me feel better :) I guess you can say I definitely ate more this week! Haha...Whoops!

33 weeks down, 3.5(ish) to go!