Friday, May 27, 2011

A Beautiful Face!

We had our last ultrasound yesterday, May 26th to check on baby's growth. He is 37 weeks and measures about 6 pounds 15 ounces. He should be a good size when he is born! We were finally able to get a good picture of baby Bennett's face! Up until now, he has been shy and always kept his hands over his face. Today, he decided that we could get better acquainted! Andrew and I noticed right away that he looks just like Matthew, chubby cheeks and all! Our feelings of anxiety have been temporarily washed away because we are so in awe of our strong little guy! We showed Matthew the pictures of his brother and he had the biggest smile ever! We think he is getting excited to meet his baby brother, kissing my belly and always asking about Bennett. We can't wait to meet him in person--only a week and a half left!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Two Weeks Until Delivery Day!

My c-section is scheduled for Tuesday, June 7. I will be delivering downtown Indianapolis at IU hospital. Bennett will be transferred next door to Riley for his surgery and NICU stay. We are getting excited and nervous for his arrival. Matthew has been talking about his brother and wants to teach Bennett how to play cars when he gets here. He has been extra clingy to me for the last few weeks, probably sensing that change is coming. I'm starting to worry about how we are going to handle all of the events at the hospital. I am praying that my recovery is quick and easy so that I am able to be present for Andrew, Matthew, and Bennett. We are also praying that Bennett has as little pain and few complications as possible. It is so scary not being able to plan everything and having to put your trust in other people. The only plan we have is to have the c-section done in the morning and hope to be able to see Bennett for a few minutes before he is taken to be prepped for surgery. His surgery is supposed to take place that same afternoon. My parents will be taking care of Matthew the day of the c-section. They will bring him to the hospital and we are going to try to allow him to see his new baby brother before the surgery. It is really important to me that he sees his brother, even if it is very brief, because he will not be allowed to visit the NICU. We have been told that the average stay for spina bifida is 10-14 days. We really want Matthew to see his brother as soon as possible so he starts to understand why we are at the hospital. Dr. Golichowski, who will be delivering Bennett, has told us that if all goes well, we may be able to keep Bennett in our room for a few minutes before he is taken to Riley. Hopefully, all goes smoothly and we are able to have an intimate moment with just Andrew, Matthew, Bennett, and myself. We are prepared for this not to happen, but hopeful that it will work out. Andrew plans to follow Bennett to Riley Hospital next door when he is transported for his surgery. My sister, Christine, plans to stay with my the first day while Andrew is gone. I really hope to feel well enough to visit Bennett the first evening after his surgery. I really want to be able to meet him before anyone other than Andrew visits him. I want to bond with him as soon as possible. Matthew will spend the night with my parents, his Nana and Granddad, the first night. Andrew plans to spend the first night in the hospital, but return home with Matthew the second night so they can get back to some kind of normalcy. I hope that I can join them after 3-4 days. We have a lot of friends and family who have offered to help, so hopefully everything will work out somehow.

Another delivery decision we have made is to save the umbilical cord tissue and blood. It was a difficult decision because there is not a lot of work with spina bifida and cord blood yet. It is an option to save the blood for any child. The cord blood contains stem cells which can be used to regenerate cells or repair tissue. This is currently used for leukemia, cerebral palsy, etc, and other research is also being conducted. There is also a newer option to save umblilical cord tissue, which contains cells closer to embryonic cells. Research is finding that this has healing power for the spinal cord, but this is still in early research stages. We are thinking it would be a good idea to save the cord blood and tissue just in case there is a future breakthrough with spina bifida. At this time, there is not a lot happening with spina bifida and cord blood. I have found studies in India and China, but I think they have both been closed. We do not know what the future will bring, but we think it's a good idea to be prepared in case there is a chance we could help Bennett in some way. The cord blood also works well for siblings if there was any future need for it. We recently found a company called AlphaCord that is affordable. They have banks across the country, including one in Indiana. They are FDA and AABB certified. I have read forums of other parents of children with spina bifida banking cord blood with Alphacord. We decided that it would be a good choice for us. We have signed up and received the collection kit, so we are ready for delivery day.

In the meantime, we have another ultrasound scheduled for May 26th. Hopefully this will be our last! Also, I have one more weekly OB appointment May 31st. I'm starting to feel normal, uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms. It's getting harder to get anything done because I'm feeling really tired. I am also having a lot of heartburn, and in the past week I have had some pressure pains. It's getting close! We're just hoping to make it to the scheduled c-section date!