Sunday, 30 September 2007

So this is it!

Tomorrow, Clare goes into hospital to be induced. We tried most things to get LD out naturally but he 's still in! So, we're looking forward to tomorrow with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. The bag is packed and everything is pretty much sorted so we're feeling really happy that we've finally made it.

Looking back, it's been a long 10 weeks since Clare's fluid level went up and the doctors said that our boy could arrive any day. There's been a lot of hospital visits and plenty of ups and downs during that time. We feel very blessed to have a great family on both sides who have supported us all the way. We also have a huge amount of friends who have shared the journey with us; from church, work, Southwold Beach Mission, and our NCT class, to name but a few.

We have made lots of new friends through this whole experience and many who have found themselves in a similar situation to us. We like to particularly mention Knoah and his mum, whose blog has been an excellent source of information and a comfort to us; and also Kara's mum, Jan, who made everything seem do-able.

Most of all, we have to give the honour to God. Without our faith in him, we firmly believe this would have been much harder to deal with. When you become a Christian, God doesn't promise you an easy life but He does say that He'll be there with you all the way and He'll help you to get through it. This has certainly been our experience.

So a new chapter of our life is about to start and next time I post I will have some lovely pictures of our new son to share with you! Thank you to all those who have faithfully read the blog so far. Stick with us for the next exciting installment.

As is appropriate, the last word goes to God! This is a very well-known part of the Bible, but one that we find to be true and that gives us great hope for the future, whatever that may hold.

Psalm 23

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.

4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

The date is set!

Yesterday, we went to Ipswich hospital and set the 1st October as the date for Clare's induction! We could have had a slightly earlier date, but we wanted to avoid potentially running into the weekend as there are fewer staff around then. The 1st is a Monday so we've got the whole week to get him out, although hopefully he won't take that long.

So we are feeling very happy at the moment. We finally have an end date which is something to aim for. Ideally, we would like him to appear a bit before that because being induced isn't a barrel of laughs (says he, speaking from experience!). But if all else fails, we have that date set in our minds. It's a good job it's still just under two weeks away because we're still not entirely sorted!

Apologies for the lateness of this posting. The number of enquiries we've had from people shows how much they are thinking about us. We really appreciate your thoughts and prayers!

Of course, the downside (not really!) to this is that in two weeks we start the process of being parents and then the fun really begins!

Sunday, 16 September 2007

If you're interested...

For those wanting to keep themselves informed, a couple of interesting things:

Tonya has recently been contacted by a lady in South Africa whose daughter, Leah, has Achondroplasia. She's posted a You Tube video here about it.

Channel 4 has started a series called "Born to be different" and it concludes on Thurday at 9pm. The first episode was last week and it follows the lives of 6 children who have had various medical issues from birth. One of them is a boy called Hamish with Achondroplasia. The programme was very interesting and certainly helped to put what we're dealing with into context, when compared to other congenital problems.

So tomorrow we are going to Ipswich hospital to set an induction date! Exciting times and we'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Baby face!

We started the week with a small, overnight expedition to the hospital. Clare had a pain at the top of her tummy so we went to check it out at about 10pm. It wasn't a bad pain, just different to all the other pains she'd felt so we thought it was better to be safe than sorry. Baby's heart was fine but they seemed to be massively over-cautious and kept her in overnight all the same. When the heart rate was good the next day, they let her go. The plus-side to the trip was that she could check out the ward she will stay on if she's induced.

Yesterday marked a significant milestone on Little D's journey... his last scan at Addenbrookes! We had quite a comprehensive scan and the consultant set an induction date of 38 weeks. We are going to Ipswich on Monday to get a definite date but it looks like it may be somewhere around 26th September. We are both very, very excited!

In other news, his legs have grown, though not much over the last few weeks. All his other measurements are good and, although the head is slightly above average, it is still within the normal range. Clare's fluid was slightly down which was also reassuring.

The best bit was another 3D scan the results of which are here...

So the diet will start just as soon as we get him out! I'm not sure how much of a dwarf he is going to be with a face as chubby as that.

Some people might think that he looks like his dad, but I can't see it myself!

Let's just hope he doesn't inherit my hair!

So the clock is ticking and he'll soon be here which is probably a good job because Clare's body is slowly giving up on her, bit by bit. Please remember her in your prayers because tonight her shoulder, tummy, ribs and knees are all giving her trouble.

[if you have trouble's like heads and shoulder, knees and toes.
Shoulder, tummy, ribs and knees; ribs and knees.
Shoulder, tummy, ribs and knees; ribs and knees!]

So Thursday was an incredible positive day! We feel very blessed and reassured that God is faithful through good times and bad.

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
Lamentations 3 v21-25

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Just one more thing!

With all the busyness of the last week, I forgot one more element of our hectic week! Yesterday we had our first National Childbirth Trust antenatal class. These are not free like the NHS classes but we certainly found our first one very informative. This was the first of two sessions and covered all topics related to labour and giving birth. Even though we'd read about a lot of the things they covered, it helped the information to sink in a bit more and gave us the opportunity to ask questions.

In terms of delivery, it seems like our birth will be similar to any other. As Achondroplasia typically means that the baby has a bigger head, often a Cesarean section is required because the pelvis is simply not big enough to get the baby's head through. Little D's head is a fairly normally size at the moment and so hopefully a C-section won't be needed.

Although, we have been told that Clare can have any of the normal pain-relief, we are wary of pethidine at the minute because it can slow the baby's heart and breathing slightly. This is no major issue with normal delivery but because his lungs may be a bit smaller and also the CCAM issue, we may decide it's not worth the risk.

So this week's baby schedule is almost as busy as last weeks! Clare is going to a NCT breast-feeding class on Tuesday. We have another scan in Cambridge on Thursday and our final NCT class on Saturday. I think we're looking forward to his arrival mostly because it will give us a bit of a rest!

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Blooming big!

In case you're wondering what a high fluid level actually looks like....

The final installment

...for this week at least! We went to see our consultant at Addenbrookes yesterday for our weekly session. Clare's fluid was slightly down on last time and seems to have stabilised in the 30 -35cm region. He didn't take any growth measurements today but has confirmed that, assuming Little Dungey doesn't make an early appearance, Clare will be induced at 38 weeks which will be sometime in the week starting 24th September!

His reasoning for this is that LD will be as developed as he can be by that stage and it would be better to control the environment and circumstances surrounding his delivery.

Our consultant now has two weeks off and this may mean that we don't see him in his official capacity again. This was a slightly sad moment for us because we seem to have developed a good relationship with him and have quite a laugh together. He certainly has given us excellent care and we will definitely take the little one back to see him.

We still have weekly scans scheduled but these will be with a different consultant. Clare has seen him once already and he is very good also, so we are not worried about that.

So that date is (nearly) set. Clare and I are getting very excited at the thought of finally meeting our boy. It's been a long time coming but we can see the end in sight. There's just the small matter of labour to get through now!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

We're off to see the wizard!

...well, close... the paediatrician, anyway! He's the one that Jan recommended and was very pleasant, just as she said. He has told us that a paediatric consultant will check over Little D when he emerges and that they will assess what the best course of action is after that.

It seems unlikely that they will test genetically for Achondroplasia straight away. Instead, they will diagnose from what they observe of him, with a genetic appointment later on. From what he said, it seems that although there is an Achondroplasia gene, it can be caused by a number of genetic issues. So finding the A-gene will prove it definitely is Achondroplasia, but not finding it does not necessarily mean that it isn't.

We were hoping for a slightly faster diagnosis than that, but he is more concerned with dealing with the immediate issues after he's born and rightly so. He seems to think baby may not need any specialist care in the first instance, but will be referred to the appropriate medical consultants as necessary. He has also said that, unless there are any issues, Andy Jr may not need to go into the special care baby unit. They will keep an eye on him initially, but then we will be free to go!

As Clare has extra fluid, they will most likely test that all the pipework to his stomach is working correctly, just in case that is why he's not swallowing the fluid. Extra fluid is common in our circumstances, so this is a precautionary measure and unlikely to be the cause of the problem.

So, all in all, we feel we are in safe hands. We are reassured that we're not at red alert just because our son has Achondroplasia and that they feel there may not necessarily be any complications. If there are, however, we have confidence in their ability to diagnose and treat the problem.

Final Stop (well, this week): Addenbrookes on Friday!

So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6 v31 - 34

Monday, 3 September 2007

The day today

The first of this week's many hospital visits was to the obstetrician. It was quite a short one just to touch base and we're going to see him again in two weeks time. Hopefully by then, we will have a better idea of if they are going to induce Clare and when that will be.

We did get a bonus scan out of the visit though (as if we don't have enough already!). Clare's fluid was a bit lower and Little D's head is still where it should be so that's encouraging.

Next stop: Paediatrician tomorrow!

Sunday, 2 September 2007

What makes you tick?

Today, Little D has been more active than ever before! Normally, Clare will say "Come and feel...he's moving about!" but by the time I've got there, he's stopped his wiggling. However, this evening he's been so active that I've been able feel him for ages as he shifts himself around. He seems to respond to noises on the TV and in particular the music of Meatloaf and the Lord of the Rings film... well, I guess there's no accounting for taste!

There is nothing major to report about our appointment this week. He is still growing in his own little way. The measurements were more tricky to take because his head appears to be engaged and our consultant couldn't get a good enough view of his long bones to get a reading. His head and body are doing well so things are looking good for the big delivery. The consultant seems very happy with his progress.

We had a neonatologist in with us to do the measurement and she filmed the whole proceedings for some case study she was doing. My son's debut on the big screen...I'm so proud! Unfortunately, she didn't let us have a copy but I'm going to keep an eye on You Tube just in case!

Clare's fluid was at its highest and she is pretty uncomfortable. The extra fluid is wearing her down a bit and, even though she wants him to stay in for as long as possible, she would quite like him out so she can have her body back!

We also hit a landmark milestone on the 1st of September. Andy Jr will now be the oldest in his year rather than the youngest (which would have been the case if he'd arrived prior to the 1st). Praise God for his many blessings!

This week is a busy one. Obstetrician on Monday; Paediatrician on Tuesday; Pregnancy massage on Wednesday; Addenbrookes on Friday. Please pray for wisdom for the consultants we see and strength for Clare as she rushes around to all these appointments.