Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow...

...we are going to Addenbrookes for another scan (at least that's what it feels like!). Probably not many more weeks left though and we're getting quite excited!

Clare saw the midwife today and it seems Andy Jr's head is nearly engaged. This is good news! By this stage (34 weeks), most babies are locked into place and can't move too much. However, because his limbs are shorter and there's more room to swim about, there is always a chance he'll be in a awkward position when the waters break and this could mean a tricky delivery. Luckily, this doesn't seem to be the case for him.

Clare's tummy is pretty big now. As a a very rough rule of thumb, your tummy should measure from top to bottom in centimetres the same as you are weeks pregnant. (by that notion, I should be about 26 weeks pregnant as well!). Clare is measuring 40 weeks already!

We also found out today that we've got the same paediatrician as Kara has and he comes highly recommended...Such blessings!

So no doubt I'll be back tomorrow with the latest in the saga. Till then...!

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Knoah's Video

Clare and I are regular readers of Tonya's Blog and she's recently posted a video showing pictures of Knoah. It is a lovely video and can be found here (have some tissues at the ready!)

Saturday, 25 August 2007

That was the week that was

It's been another week of progress and learning! The time is certainly flying by and our boy will be with us before long (what a relief that will be!). So here's what we've been doing...

A visit to see Kara
... well actually Kara's mum, Jan, as Kara was already in bed. Kara is 8, lives near us and has achondroplasia. Jan very kindly put a card through our door after we found out about our boy to say we could come round and talk to her. We spent a lovely evening with her. She filled us in about Kara's life so far, the Restricted Growth Association conference, and generally useful information. Jan has said we can ring her at anytime and we feel very reassured to know that someone has gone ahead of us and can give us advice about what it is like to bring up someone with achondroplasia in the UK.

Hospital Visits
We started at Ipswich at the beginning of the week seeing a different obstetrician who gave us some reassurance about what will happen at the birth. It seems that the labour will be treated as normal (unless anything tricky crops up) but that after the birth, the care will really kick in and baby boy will be seen by a paediatrician straight away. We saw the special care baby unit (again!) and they seem to think that he will inevitably end up in there for at least a few days so they can observe him. Hopefully, he will arrive on time and so won't need to be in there long. If he comes early, he may have a lengthened stay.

We also went to Addenbrookes this week and everything there is progressing well. The consultant seems very happy with how baby is doing. His legs are still growing, although not quite as fast this week. His head may be starting to get a bit bigger now but we will have to see how that develops over the next few weeks. Clare's fluid is slightly up on last week, but not as high as the week before. So, all in all, good news!

Little People, Big World
Mark and Sarah (Clare's brother and sister-in-law) have recorded loads of episodes of Little People, Big World for us and we went round to watch them last night. The series follows the Roloff family: Both parents have dwarfism as does one of their four children. The series is very amusing, mainly due to all the crazy things the kids get up to on the family's massive farm in Oregon. The programs showed a bit of the Little People of America conference, which lasts a week and occurs once a year. It certainly was a fascinating insight and we learnt a lot from it.

Ok, so that's out news! Our boy has stayed in for another week which is really excellent. God continues to bless us as we put our trust in Him.

Psalm 121

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;

8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

A big thank you!

We've now made our blog address more widely known to friends around the globe and have been overwhelmed by the emails we've got back. So thank you very much to everyone who has made us feel loved and supported! Feel free to comment on this blog site if the mood takes you as well. You can click on the little comment link at the bottom of each post to have your say.

Thanks again!
Andy and Clare

Sunday, 19 August 2007

The final countdown....

Clare's extra fluid means that Andy Jr could turn up anytime between now and the due date of October 10th. This lengthy time-frame makes it tricky to motivate yourself that he could actually arrive tomorrow and therefore you need to be a bit organised about things.

Finally the penny has dropped with us and we're gearing up for the birth! Firstly the nursery's done. In a fitting acknowledgement of my painting and decorating expertise, I had virtually nothing to do with it. Many thanks go to Clare, Fran and Clare's dad, Jon, for the frankly stunning result show here.

(Before we get inundated with nursery decorating requests, I should point out that the cute, little sea-creatures are stickers and not hand-painted!)

Clare has almost put together a bag to take to the hospital...well... she's made a list of what needs to go in it! I think the major sticking point is how to fit in amongst all her stuff the vast amount of food I need for whilst she's in labour.

And most importantly, we have an appointment to see an obstetrician on Tuesday who will go through the whole thing with us, including a session with our paediatrician and (another!) visit to the special care baby unit. The obstetrician we are seeing this time is not the one who caused minor upset/panic last time and comes highly recommended so that has put out minds at ease.

By luck or providence (depending on your belief system), there is a lady in Ipswich who is giving birth to a baby with Achondroplasia this week! We are hoping to squeeze in a visit to her, if that is ok with her.

As if this wasn't enough, we are visiting Kara and also have our regular Addenbrookes session on Friday!

So a very busy time all told. Please think of us rushing around this week. I have to fit a job in somewhere around all this but, more importantly, rushing around increases Clare's fluid so pray that she might find time to rest amongst all this excitement.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Another visit!

We've just come back from another of our weekly visits to Addenbrookes. It's starting to feel like part of our normal routine now! They were just looking at Clare's fluid levels this time which have gone down again slightly. She's had a quieter week and I think this helps with the fluid/pain levels. We have a growth scan next week so we'll let you know how that progresses.

Our consultant in Cambridge is excellent and very friendly. He's been most accommodating about appointment times because I'm trying to minimise time off work. We feel very blessed to have this level of care. He seems to think that Clare could well go to full-term. He has said he will induce her at about 39 weeks if she makes it that long.

Clare also spoke to a lady called Jan today, who lives very near to us and goes to a local Baptist church. Her daughter, Kara, has Achondroplasia as well and we're going round to see them next week. Kara was delivered at Ipswich hospital so that should give us some more insight into how the whole process works.

So overall, we've had a very positive day! All these things continually convince us that, despite adversity and problems, God is in control of all situations.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8 v28

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

What's in a name?

Clare and I were having the usual discussion in response to the question, "So...have you thought of a name yet?" We were going through the list.... Mark*, Jon, William, Arthur...

“Arthur?”, our friends questioned.

“Yes, it might sound a bit old-fashioned, but we rather like it”, was our reply.

“But you can’t call him Arthur…Arthur Dungey….’alf-a dungey…half a dungey!” was the incredulous response.

“Ah… we hadn’t thought about it like that!”

It does beg the question, are we prepared to be parents when we can’t even think of a sensible name?!

* Genuine potential candidates have been omitted to protect people from inadvertently stealing the names we might want to use!

Sunday, 12 August 2007

I'm back!

... although you may be wondering where I've been! Apologies for the lack of posting but Clare and I have spent the last 2 weeks in Southwold doing a Scripture Union Beach Mission there. This is basically a Christian activity camp for kids with lots of fun and mess going on. I was involved with 5-7 year olds, but unfortunately, Clare had to take it easy because she has some extra fluid (more about this in a mo!).

Nevertheless, it has been a great time to gain some perspective and focus on God some more. A huge thanks to the team who have consistently made us feel loved and supported.

During the two weeks, we have had two further scans at Addenbrookes. The highlights of these are:

  • Clare's amniotic fluid level has gone up. This is to be expected with Achondroplasia, because the baby does not swallow as much of the fluid as he should. Consequently, Clare is much larger and more uncomfortable than before. The increased levels means that he may well arrive early, but we’re hoping to make it to at least early September. (The due date is October 10th)
  • Baby's legs are growing! The femur is now about 37mm which is still short (even by dwarf standards!) but on the charts, he is growing at closer to the normal rate.
  • Head and chest are normal size, with no evidence of frontal bossing
  • CCAM is probably still present, but diminishing in size as his lungs are growing.
  • He has hair! And by the looks of it, he’ll have a curly mop, just like his dad!
  • We now have to go for weekly scans at Addenbrookes

The next major decision is where to have him delivered, Ipswich or Addenbrookes. We were reluctant about Ipswich after our previous encounter and really praying about what the right thing to do was. The way God has blessed us with the people we have met will probably form the basis for a completely different post, but we ran into someone at the mission who had nothing but praise for the way they helped when her twins arrived early. This has put our mind much more at rest about Ipswich. Our next appointment is on Thursday so please think of us as we make more definite plans about that.

As I mentioned, Clare is feeling much more uncomfortable and less mobile because of the extra fluid. The baby’s position seems to give her lots of pain in her ribs. This is coupled with painful hips as well because apparently… (the things you learn!)… these get looser in pregnancy! Clare has found this worse at night. A pillow between her legs seems to help but makes turning over a bit of a mission. Remember her in your prayers!

So, I'm back to regular blogging...keep tuning in!

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29 v11