Friday, January 27, 2012

January 31, 2012

Drake is scheduled to arrive into the world on
Tuesday, January 31, 2012.
The C-Section procedure is set to begin at 1:30 p.m.

That's the plan, unless any more surprises come up. I'm doing ok. This is all taking its toll on me for sure. Feeling really exhausted and overwhelmed. Desperately wanting to just hold my baby. At the same time, trying to cope with the fact I will most likely not get to hold my baby for awhile. We're prepared for him to be whisked off to the NICU right away, and we trust the team of doctors who will be taking care of him. We're bracing ourselves that we may not have long with our sweet baby boy. Trying to stay strong and not utterly fall apart at the mere thought of losing him. An emotional juggling act that I still can't believe I am in the midst of.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Drake's Latest Plan

This past week has been an emotional roller coaster to say the least! We've been through differing doctors opinions and difficult choices during our time here at UCLA. Last Thursday after seeing the Cardiologist, we learned that Drake's heart had gotten worse. This led the cardiologist to feel the best decision was to deliver Drake ASAP. However, our OB had a different opinion, thinking it was better to continue to wait to allow him to mature and gain more weight/strength. Thursday night, Jon and I were totally overwhelmed. The doctors had presented both sides and told us "It is up to you what you want to do." We couldn't do it, making such a HUGE decision on the timing of his birth was too much. The pros and cons seemed too brutal. The main issue was presented as whether we wanted to risk death in utero or death out of utero. Both risks are very probable. So we were faced with: Keep him in and let him develop, but risk sudden death due to an arrhythmia in utero. OR Take him out and risk complications of prematurity on top of heart failure and hydrops, therefore leading to risk of death shortly after delivery. How do you pick between those things?? We didn't. We said we wanted more time to make a decision (I guess sort of by default opting to give him more time). We asked for another appointment with the cardiologist to see if Drake's heart was rapidly getting progressively worse on a day to day basis. He happily agreed to see us on Monday. We also met with our OB again yesterday, and she gave him a good look too via ultrasound. He had not gotten any worse over the past 3-4 days. Actually, one thing, the umbilical flow to the heart, actually looked a little better!

Sooo.... all that leads to the most recent update on Drake. Which was emailed out today:

Hi all,

The latest news to share is that Drake will only be cooking for another week at the most. After several ups and downs and back and forths, all doctors have come to agreement it is best to not let him stay in utero much more than a week. This is due mainly to two factors 1) His condition is very poor and he is at high risk for death in utero. 2) Although my preeclampsia remains stable, it is still severe and best not to push it much longer.

The cardiologist will be examining Drake again on Thursday. If his heart looks worse on Thursday, they will deliver him via C-Section either the same day, or the next day. If his heart looks the same as it did when he was examined yesterday, they will wait until Tuesday for the C-Section.

Once Drake is born, no one is sure how he will fare. The main priority will be to get him stabilized ASAP, which means he will be handed over to a team of doctors and taken to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). There are no surgeries that can be preformed for his condition. We've been thoroughly counseled on the reality that his chances of survival are poor. It could be hours, days, weeks, etc. The cardiologist said he believes there is about a 1% chance he will live very long without a heart transplant.

Many of you have asked what will happen once Drake is born if he does survive. I will do my best to answer that based off what we know right now. As soon as Drake departs from the womb and is stabilized, they will examine him thoroughly to try to determine what will be most helpful to treat him. They will also begin all the steps to evaluate him for a heart transplant. If he is considered a candidate for a heart transplant, the wait for a heart will be a couple of months minimum. (Key word there being minimum, since he will be so little the wait will be long!). The prediction is that Drake will need to remain in the hospital, under intensive care, until a heart is available. We're praying that he is able to maintain his strength and keep his fighting spirit during this time.

However, as we've said before, we also know we are literally praying for a miracle. That has always been the case. So far, he already is a miracle. The doctors all are surprised he has made it this far. This leaves us all filled with Hope, and leads us to pray for a BIG miracle. Drake will have many challenges to face and many odds to beat. Of course it is our personal desire, for our baby to be one of God's miracles. This is one of those seasons of faith where it is extremely challenging to pray for God's will, because we want our baby, alive and well, in our arms forever! We know we have to put all our trust in the Lord, and that no matter what happens, he will carry us through and he will be there. We're experiencing that every day now, as we are surrounded with love and support from others. God has been so good to us. Also, the gift of being at one of the best hospitals in the country. The team of doctors and nurses have been not only brilliant, but also kind and compassionate. We are very lucky.

A few specific prayer requests in addition to what we have mentioned above. As if the above were not enough to ask for! :)

1) I (Stacy) am extremely nervous about the C-Section. I know it is a very common procedure and I'm sure I'll be fine. I'm less nervous about the medical aspect of it, and more concerned about the psychological aspect. I'm terrified of the spinal epidural procedure (phobic of IV's/needles) and also very anxious since Drake is at such high risk and I will just have to be laying there. Prayer's for Jon's as well in this regard- strength and a calm spirit as he has to support his crazy wife who will probably be completely panicking, and as he watches his vulnerable son being born.

2) Peace for the upcoming days as we await for these final milestones and decision points before Drake is born.

3) Safety and good health for our family amidst all of this. Our parents are already here and others will be traveling to be here once the delivery is a "go".

Much love and thanks,

Stacy, Jon, and Drake Peterson

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The "One, Two....Pow!"

Well, things certainly can change quickly! Within a week I developed severe preeclampsia. Before I get into things, for those of you who have no idea what preeclampsia is here is definition of from the Mayo Clinic Site:

Preeclampsia is defined as high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy in a woman who previously had normal blood pressure. Even a slight increase in blood pressure may be a sign of preeclampsia. Left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to serious — even fatal — complications for both you and your baby.

So what's the One- Two, Pow? Well... it sort of felt like enough to be dealing with the fact that our baby might not make it, or be very sick, but then when my health went downhill really fast.... we were thinking it was a little overkill for pete's sake! One of those times where you say, "Really God, now this too??" Despite the question, God is with us and completely carrying us through this experience.

Last Weds at my OB appointment in Santa Barbara, my blood pressure was up and I had started to look puffy. She sent me in for lab work and since I was still recovering from a virus anyway, told me to stay home from work the rest of the week. Thursday around lunch time, Doctor called me back, saying my liver enzymes were high and I needed to get to UCLA to have them check me out further. They wanted me at UCLA in case I needed to be admitted, since this is where Drake's delivery will occur. Thursday, we drove to UCLA and were here until late Thursday night. After several hours of tests and monitoring, they agreed to let me go home to Santa Barbara under the condition I was on bed rest, checking my blood pressure at home, and going in for check ups at least twice a week. It felt a bit like a "false labor experience". We had our bags packed and ready to go. We decided to keep them packed just in case.

I was disappointed to have to start my leave from work much more suddenly than I anticipated. I had sort of been hanging onto work, happy to have something else to think about, invest in, and get me up and going every day. Also, I like my job and genuinely care about the families I work with and I hated leaving them with such short notice. My supervisor was incredibly supportive when I had to call her and tell her I was done, all of my co-workers have been amazing supports through all of this, which really put my mind at ease. We discussed getting to word out to all my clients and how my clients would be covered while I was gone and set up one final "bed rest style" meeting for the next week, where I could have my last formal case review time with her and let her know all the loose ends that needed to be wrapped up along. Good thing we already work very closely and she knows where my clients are at in their process, needs, etc, because that never happened......

On Sunday afternoon I began having some pains under my ribs on my right side and my blood pressure started creeping up. We called our primary doctor at UCLA and she told me to go to Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara right away, to have them run more labs and check me out. They hooked up me and Drake and our local OB met us there. Almost immediately upon seeing her, she told us we needed to get to UCLA. So, off we went.

I was admitted to Labor and Delivery upon arrival at UCLA on Sunday Night. after a few more blood draws and urine samples done STAT, I was diagnosed with Severe Preeclampsia. I was immediately started on a IV drip of Magnesium Sulfate drip, which is a medication to increase blood flow and prevent seizures (which apparently was the danger zone I had entered). Side note: The IV/needle experience warrants a blog post in and of itself, coming from someone who has needle medical phobia. I will have to share my thoughts on all this later as it has been quite a process for me through this pregnancy. Anyway, getting my IV in for the meds was the most awful part of all this for me! It wasn't your typical experience either. Of course, the girl who is a needle phob gets the veins that decide to do funky things at the time the needle needs to go in (Makes me a little light headed just to talk about it again). After several different pokes, several different nurses, injection sites,methods, etc. the nurses gave up and decided they needed to call the Anesthesiologist on call to get it in. I tried to zone out as much as possible and practice relaxation exercises with Jon, while in the meantime I was literally shaking and my body had gone into a panic. Obviously, it eventually ended up in.

The Mag drip makes you feel like have been hit by a truck almost instantly. It also makes you feel like you suddenly entered a sauna or decided to lay out in death valley. They warned me I would probably feel like I had the flu for the next 24 hours, and they was pretty much correct. It also made me really loopy and tired, so I was at least sort of out of it for the whole thing. It can also make your body go toxic, so close monitoring is required at all times and you are not allowed to move much at all.

Steroids were also ordered for Drake. At this point, they did not know whether or not I would stabilize and they wanted to be prepared in case we need to go in for a C-Section within the next 24-48 hours. The steroid shots I was given were to help Drake's lungs mature faster. (Not to enhance his athletic skills, but Jon says that would be OK too). They kept him on a constant monitor throughout all of this, and he stayed the same, just plugging along with his little miracle heart that really shouldn't still be working- Good Boy Drake, you're a tough cookie!

By Monday evening, there were many things to be grateful for:
1) They were able to stop the Mag Drip (thank God!).
2) So grateful that Drake had stayed the same (again, PRAISE God!)
3) Our parents were able to hop on a plane and get out here, and were in my hospital room by late Monday night. (Such a relief and blessing)
4) I was showing signs of stabilizing and starting to feel much better.
5) An amazing hubby who has been by my side second by second. Keeping me calm, and keeping me laughing too!

So where are we at now? I still have severe preeclampsia, but I'm stable. However, I have to be at the hospital, on hospital bed rest, until the time comes for Drake to be born. The timing of that is still on TBD basis, day by day. All depends on two factors now: Me and Him. We're really in this together! They still want him to cook as long as he can since he isn't getting any worse. The more mature he can big, the less prematurity complications he has to deal with on top of his heart condition. However, they also don't want to put me at any higher risk, so it is a balancing act. Our doctor gave us an average guess of two weeks, but really, who can predict. None of this has been predictable!

I have family here with me. My parent's are staying at a hotel near by and Jon's Mom is also here. Jon's Dad is in Congo for work.... so we've only had minimal communication with him. (Prayers for him appreciated also!) He is scheduled to be back in the U.S. on the 24th. My dearly beloved friend picked up and drove out here from Vegas to be here, amazing!! (Love you Ali!). Other who are nearby UCLA have visited as well. Also, flowers and some fun packages have ALREADY begun to appear in my room. I feel so spoiled and very loved, thank you!

Being on bed rest has allowed me some time to write a long post, so thanks for reading all the way through! I'm sure there will be more to come. Unless things take another quick turn......

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Most Recent Belly Pic

I think I've grown in the past 11 days, but here I am on New Years Eve.