Wednesday, December 31, 2008

31 December- Happy New Year!!! Kel has almost made it through day three of her stay and the visitors have started pouring in. We thank all of you who have made time to come by. Even though Kel and I weren't real excited about being in the hospital early, it has had its benefits. Since Kel's water broke seven weeks ago the attention has been focused on Kel's health and how Kel was feeling. Suddenly we've reached the point of viability and doctors and nurses are flooding us with information about Caroline and what to expect. Tonight we received a visit from one of the doctors in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Whether Caroline is born soon or ten weeks from now she will assuredly spend some time there. It was great that she used words like optimistic and hopeful but as a neonatalogist she was able to inform us of many more risks and things to watch out for that we had not heard up until now. Of course the biggest concern is still lungs but we heard warnings about her brain, her eyes, her food intake and much more. Still the doc said the best prevention is for Caroline to stay inside Kel until that 34 week mark. They even let Kel come off of her monitors for half an hour so that her and I could tour the NICU. What an overwhelming experience. Kel and I's hearts broke for those tiny babies but it was very nice to see what kind of care Caroline will be receiving. Please pray for longevity. The longer Caroline stays in the womb the better her chances and the shorter amount of time she spends in the NICU. Please pray for her lungs, that they grow and develop on schedule. And finally, please pray for Kel and I, that we are mentally and emotionally ready for the huge hill we have yet to climb. The road has been so long already but with new information we see that the hardest part of Caroline's journey has yet to begin.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

30 December- Yesterday would have been the first Monday in 8 weeks that Kel did not visit St. John's. She was pretty excited about the idea of a full week away before having to check in this coming Friday. The excitement faded last night when some abdominal pain and spotting warranted a trip to the WEU. Tests and an extended Q&A session cleared us of any immediate concern, but it was decided Kel would begin her stay in Labor and Delivery for continuous monitoring and steroid treatments which were supposed to begin Friday.

So here we are starting day two of Kel's extended stay in room 8 of St. John's L & D center. While its early, it has already been a very busy day. Kel has seen three doctors (resident, regular OBGYN, specialist) and we went for an ultrasound to do measurements. Caroline is now 1 lb 10 oz and seems to be growing right on track.

So far the news is good, but Kel was unable to mentally prepare for her move since it came 4 days early, and since we've been here we've heard many more warnings about the lungs. Needless to say, we need lots and lots of prayers.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

December 25- Merry Christmas to you all. We hope your holiday is as blessed as we are. Fortunately we have had a nice and relaxing day thus far which is more than can be said for Christmas Eve. Kel had another little scare yesterday which equaled a trip to St. John's where we spent about 3 hours. Kel was put through some painful examinations to ensure everything was still okay and thankfully all is well. We did however get a bit of surprising information. We apparently have been using incorrect dates in determining how far along Kel is. For a normal pregnancy 3-4 days really would not make a difference but it certainly does with us. So just to clear things up, Kel does not reach the 24 week mark until this coming Sunday. That is when, in the view of St. John's, our baby is viable and could be delivered if need be. Of course we are all looking to get well past that mark but a milestone nonetheless. Doctors yesterday also reminded us of the biggest obstacle still to overcome. With such a low amount of fluid there is a real chance of the baby's lung tissue not being able to develop to a stage necessary for breathing outside the womb. This is a huge huge concern and an even bigger prayer request.

Since some of you may not be checking the comments section you may have missed others calling her by name, and since Christmas is all about giving,we thought we would provide the rest of you with a name to put with the hundreds of prayers you've lifted up. Caroline Hope Blankenship has become much more active in Mommy's belly the last couple of days and we are HOPEful that she will hold out until the 32-34 week time period where doctors have mentioned many stories of success. Please pray that as Kel prepares to move in to the hospital (1 week and 1 day) that she be filled with joy and not overcome with fear and loneliness.

Monday, December 22, 2008

22 December- It may not seem possible but we've just completed our last weekly check-up before Kel checks in to the hospital next week. That's right, we've hit the 24 week mark. A huge milestone that we are so blessed to have reached. Kel's report at the doctor today was much of the same. Good blood pressure, good fetal heartbeat, signs of baby movement, and a bit more fluid than last week. Both doctors were able to give a great deal more information about what Kel should expect when she moves in next Friday. Her OB-GYN even said he was "excited" that we've made it this far. While Kel and I could not be happier of the progress she has made, we ask that you pray for two specific things. First, Kel faces a whole new challenge when she goes to live at the hospital for an unforeseen amount of time. Second, that we continue to progress forward hitting new milestones and amaze the doctors even further. Thank you all and Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

18 December- While the trend has been good news and blessings, today we hit a small bump in the road. This morning Kel received a phone call from her specialist's office explaining that her White Blood Cell count was elevated. This has been one of the key signs to watch out for since trouble started. As you can imagine Kel's emotions began to whirl. As she asked questions it seemed the nurse was unfamiliar with the details of her case which frustrated Kel making the emotions worse. The nurse tried to explain that it was no big deal and they would just test again next week. This was obvious since Kel's been tested every week for the last five. Kel followed this up with more calls to the other doctor and spoke again to the office which had called. It turns out that her levels are up a bit from last week but not high enough for serious concern. The nurse was just making an informative phone call not realizing the panic it may cause. Well we all breathed a sigh of relief but it is still a big big prayer request that the cell count go back down or at least stop climbing ASAP. Thanks for the continued support.

Monday, December 15, 2008

15 December- While the weather outside is frightful, the exams remain delightful. Ok, so maybe that's a stretch but Kel did have another good appointment today. The fluid levels were up a bit from last week, the heartbeat is still right where it is supposed to be, and Kels' white blood cell counts are normal. Even more exciting is while last week's technician would only give a 51% suredy of the baby's sex, today's said she is 85% sure its a girl. Good thing cause the pink stuff has started rolling in. Last week we were unable to talk to Kel's specialist who today cleared up some information about Kel's stay in the hospital. The date is set for January 2nd, and she will be admitted to Labor and Delivery, not Antepartum like we originally thought, The purpose for the change is the specialist requesting a much closer eye on Kel and the baby than what the Antepartum unit can provide. This puts Kel more at ease since she will be much more 'in the know" about the situation. While we spoke with the specialist today, he was willing to admit the obstacles we've overcome but reminded us of his (and now our) greatest fear still to come. While Kel and the baby could beat all the odds and get to a good date for delivery, the lung development is still a serious concern. The absence of fluid does not allow the baby to take in the amount of fluid it normally can and that is what develops the lungs. While steroid shots later in the pregnancy help lung maturity, if development has not occurred before then, the steroid does no good. The scariest part is that no one will know until we cut the chord and the baby attempts to breath on its own. Please pray that we continue to beat the odds and give our doctors one more thing to be surprised about.

Monday, December 8, 2008

8 December 2008- Its Monday again which means Kel was back at St. John's for check-ups. Today was an important one as the ultrasounds were more extensive in order to measure certain developmental areas. First we met with Kel's regular doctor who seemed a little more positive as he began to explain the obstacles we've already overcome and the plan for the future. He explained that if we make it to 36 weeks that would be furthest he would allow Kel to go and therefore the baby's latest arrival date is now March 18. Next came the ultrasounds which showed our baby girl (3 different specialist have now guessed) was developing right on schedule. They measured everything including spine, heart, brain, legs, skull, and even approximated the weight to be 1 pound 0 ounces. It was a great feeling to know that even through the tough situation, Baby B is growing like normal. Fluid levels were down a bit today, so pray for that and pray that we continue to avoid infection as that still proves the greatest threat at this point. As always, thanks for your continued prayers and support. (SCROLL DOWN FOR NEW PHOTOS)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

6 December 2008- We had intentions of posting a completely positive blog today about various blessings of the last few days. Unfortunately before that could had happen, Kel started today with a little scare. The fluid which has been leaking for the last few weeks had turned colors overnight which we had been told to look out for as a possible sign of infection. As you can imagine everyone's heart began to race as I literally raced home from KC (drill weekend). A quick trip to the hospital amounted to more tests and ultrasounds only to show that Baby B is still fighting and no infection was detected. This was one last blessing to finish off a week full of them. So now back to the beginning. To make a long story short, Kel and I experienced 4 or 5 very unexpected blessings this week ranging anywhere from finances to friends to flu shots. It would take forever to explain that last sentence but know that while some had little or nothing to do with the pregnancy, all showed how God is in the small stuff and taking care of everything. The timing of these blessings have shown Kel and I that while Baby B's journey is far from over, we're not in it alone. Keep praying and be confident that they are being heard.

Monday, December 1, 2008

1 December 2008- We've reached a new month and we are so thankful for the blessings which have brought us this far. Kel had another appointment with the specialist today and again, the heartbeat still looks good. We have gone another week of clear blood tests and no signs of labor. As excited as we are to reach another week this evening has been pretty rough. Thankfully we were able to spend quality time with old friends but Kel lost a lot of fluid tonight. With no real explanation as to why there is so much at certain times all we can ask is that you please pray that the leaking slow down and that the lack of fluid not affect the tiny baby inside. Of course we are thankful the fluid remains clear but it is still not a very comforting feeling. With little or no fluid inside the doctors continue to warn us of the multiple effects it can have on the baby. Next week we get to measure more of the development of the baby so we need more prayers that the development has continued despite the overwhelming odds. Thanks for continued support.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

27 November 2008- First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to all of our friends and family! It has been a busy couple of days but we have enjoyed the many visitors and look forward to more this weekend. We have been wrestling with a pretty important decision regarding the future. From the beginning we were told that somewhere around the 24-25 week mark, Kel would have to re-enter the hospital and stay for the duration of the pregnancy for 24hour monitoring. Well, 24 weeks falls right on Christmas Eve and as you can imagine Kel was not too excited about being admitted to a hospital then. So our family has thought and prayed and as long as there are no changes in the overall situation, Kel will be moving into St. Johns on January 2nd. Please pray that we make it that far, and that when the time comes the joys of the milestone will outdo the fears of hospital life. On a more positive note, while it can't be confirmed, it's quite possible Daddy felt his first kick while rubbing Mommy's belly last night. A small sign that the little fighter is using what little room she has. God bless all of you this holiday season and thank you so much for the continued support.

Monday, November 24, 2008

24 November 2008- We have just returned from our weekly trip to St. Johns and our baby continues to prove her stamina. The fluid levels have increased a bit more, the heartbeat is still in the normal range, and she was moving around a lot during the ultrasound. We have included some pictures from today's ultrasound and while they are really small you can easily see major features like the head and torso and those used to looking at them might see arms, legs, and even hands and feet. Doctors still like to remind us of the longshot but we continue to pray that our baby is one who can pull through. It was so fun to watch her move and stretch today and really gave Kel new energy to keep up her efforts of following doctors orders. Thank you to everyone who has been praying and please keep it up.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

22 November 2008- We've waited a few days to post an update acting on the philosophy that no news is good news. There aren't really any big changes in the situation other than as Kel continues to follow doctors orders and stay in bed, her body is slowly acting out. It had been small pains in her hips and back but now the pain has increased and moved to her shoulders, neck and other areas. She is doing a great job of fighting through the cramps and pains but since she is on strict bed rest a small change in laying position is really all that can be done. As for the pregnancy, unfortunately the fluid continues to leak but many visitors have said Kel looks more noticeably pregnant which we hope means the baby is continuing to grow and develop. Our new prayer requests are that the pains Kel has been experiencing will go away and that our doctors appointments coming up on Monday give us another week of hope. Going back to earlier prayer requests, we continue to pray for the baby's protection, that she stays safe from infection, and that Kel avoids going into labor. Thanks for all your support.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

18 November 2008- We are so thankful for the unwavering support of our friends and family. Kel has gotten many phone calls and emails about people coming to visit. Please feel free to come by any time, she loves to have guests. Only two requests: one that you just call first to warn the current Kel sitter that you are on the way so they can let you in, and two that you avoid coming any time you're feeling even a little under the weather. We are trying to avoid germs and infections at all cost. People have been afraid they are going to overwhelm us/her by coming uninvited, well this is your official invite. Also, there are a couple of new prayer requests from the home front. Kel is very used to being an active person on her feet most of the time. Her body is beginning to crave that activity. As the time passes she is beginning to get restless. She knows how long the road still is but now her unused muscles are getting achy. Her hips and back have specifically been bothering her and it is affecting her ability to rest at night. Also, please pray for our family as they go back and forth from our house on a fairly constant basis. This is very tough on them too.

Monday, November 17, 2008

17 November 2008- Kel just called from St. John's where the first of the tests are complete. The ultrasound looked good as the baby's heartbeat is still in the normal range. At this point she still appears to be free from infection and even though she continues to leak fluid, the level was up a bit from last week. She got to speak to the high risk specialist who explained the milestones we've already reached. Most women either deliver or succumb to infection within the first week of their water breaking prematurely. We have now passed that point. Of course we still have a long road ahead but doctors are now mapping out the plan to move ahead which is a great sign. The specialist also explained that while lung development has been a concern, it is possible the baby was able to develop enough before the break that it may not be an issue. While all of this seems to be good news doctors know the many risk still involved. Of course we will know more in the future. Keep praying.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

15 November 2008- We are so thankful for all of the thoughts and prayers that have poured in since we began this blog only 24 hours ago. We certainly feel the effects of such love and support. Today started out rough with the presence of more leaking fluid leading to a rollercoaster of emotions. We find comfort in knowing we are almost through another day with no fever, infection, or signs of labor. Kel has made multiple appointments for this coming Monday to test the progress and growth. We are now in prayer for a bit of good news during those appointments. These appointments will now come weekly and place Kel under a great deal of stress with blood tests and fluid measurements every week. Please continue to pray for the protection of our baby and that despite the adversity, she continues to develop on schedule.

Friday, November 14, 2008

14 November 2008- This is hopefully the first of many posts detailing our journey through the hardships we've been presented. If you haven't heard, Kel went to the Women's Evaluation Unit on Monday 10 November after it was suspected she was leaking Amniotic Fluid. Sadly, doctors were able to confirm that her water had broken sometime earlier. As most of you know she is only 18 weeks pregnant so this presents quite a problem. After prolonged lists of what could and is likely to go wrong, and after multiple tear sessions, we vowed to trust God and stay as positive as possible in the given situation. Kel stayed in the hospital for three days having had blood tests, multiple ultra sounds, and other medical procedures to determine the baby is still strong and holding on amidst the tough scenario. She will be on strict bed rest for the next seven weeks or so until the baby is viable and could be delivered if necessary. At that time we are told she will live at St. John's until the baby comes. If there is a positive to come from any of this, the 18 week ultra sound was able to determine that the baby appears to be a girl!!! We will update as soon and often as possible but until then we ask that you pray for a few specific things. First, that Kel's fluid begins to restore itself and continues to protect the baby. Second that her womb is able to avoid infection which would prove the end of the pregnancy. Lastly, that God provide strength to all of us as we push through this journey.