Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Today was a good day. Caleb is off the last medicine to increase his blood pressure. Now he is on one to keep it down. Go figure! He is off one of the pain medications, now he is only on morphine and Tylenol.

He still has some extra fluid, so he is still on diuretics. We have had a tough time keeping his diuretics at the right levels because he is short of access to give him medications. We have limped along one short because it is very difficult to get a new line placed in little bodies that have been poked too many times. Now that we have weaned off some of the medications, the nurses don't have to switch as much to get things to work.

Caleb has a little oozing from his incision. It is not anything they are super concerned about, but they did put him on some antibiotics today.

Caleb has "sprinted" (practiced breathing without much support from the ventilator) several times today. Usually, they sprint for one hour a few times before they take out the breathing tube. Caleb sprinted twice this morning for one hour at a time, and once this afternoon for two hours. They are planning on sprinting him for one more two hour stretch. He has done very well so far. They are doing the extra sprints to get him as strong as possible for tomorrow and to see if he is really capable of coming off the ventilator with his diaphragm the way it is. They are planning on extubating him tomorrow morning, so we should know tomorrow if he needs the surgery or not.

He is still being fed breast milk through his NG tube and is still doing very well. Now he is up to 20 mL every hour. The next step is 40 mL every two hours to get him ready to eat more like a normal baby.

Tomorrow will be a big day. If we can get him off the ventilator, that will be a huge step forward. Hopefully, the second try will be the charm!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Caleb is still weaning off the last blood pressure medicine and coming down on the pain and sedation medication. Phil was in Ann Arbor today and I was home, so the boys hung out today. Caleb was awake a good portion of the time they were together. The kids and I ran errands and went swimming at Chris's. It was nice to be home and be a mom again.

The cardiologist thought he heard some noises in Caleb's heart that should not be there. They did an echocardiogram, and everything still looks good. They also looked at his diaphragm, and can see that the left side does not seem to be moving. They are still going to try to let him breathe on his own again on Tuesday or Wednesday, but they think he might require surgery.

He is getting more and more breast milk each day and tonight he had a dirty diaper. Now we can count his digestive system as a working system. If we can get the respiratory system on board, we will be making real progress!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

We are still in "two steps forward, one step back" mode. Today, Caleb got his chest tube out. He has not had an SVT episode since yesterday at 4:00 pm and is off the epinephrine. They are working on weaning him off the dopamine (the last blood pressure medication) and reducing his pain medicine and sedation medicine. He has started back with small amounts of breast milk. These are all the good parts.

They took Caleb off the ventilator around noon today. His oxygen levels were marginal, so they put him on additional respiratory support (CPAP - continuous positive airway pressure like the people with sleep apnea use). They noticed that his left lung was not keeping up with his right lung. They did an ultrasound and found that the left side of his diaphragm seems to be paralyzed. The nerve controlling this portion of the diaphragm is sometimes damaged during surgery. Because Caleb was never off the ventilator between the surgeries, they don't know which surgery caused the problem. The nerve may be "irritable" (like everything else after two open heart surgeries in a week) or it may be permanently damaged. If it is damaged, they will perform surgery - hopefully from the side, not through his chest incision - to pull his diaphragm down and stitch it in place. With the diaphragm down, he can pull air into his left lung when the right side of his diaphragm works. The doctor said that this is not uncommon and the repair should not cause any long term detrimental effects. Hopefully, the nerve just needs some time to rest and kick back into working mode. We should get a better idea tomorrow morning. For the time being, he is back on the ventilator - one step back.

At least we are still moving forward and the doctors seem to have a fix for each new complication that arises. All of the doctors and nurses mention the fact that Caleb has a timeline all his own and no one can push him any faster than he wants to go. Hopefully, he decides that he wants to be held by his parents and come home with his brother and sisters soon.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Caleb is doing well today. They weaned him off the epinephrine (blood pressure medication) this morning. He was still having drops in blood pressure, but it was good for the majority of the time and usually a result of lower blood volume. His oxygen levels are still good. They removed his catheter (it went back in for the second surgery) and after a slow start, he is peeing on his own again.

This afternoon, he had some more SVT (supraventricular tachycardia) episodes. His heart rate jumps by about 100 beats per minute. This is the same thing that happened before he had surgery. When they did his first surgery, they connected leads to his heart so they can control his heart's electrical impulses with an external pace maker. They were able to stop the SVT episodes quite quickly with the pace maker. At least one time, the SVT stopped on its own before they had to intervene. Because his blood pressure also dropped, they put him back on the epinephrine at a low dose. They are thinking that he just needs a little longer to adjust to the change.

The doctor said that the SVT could just be because his heart is "irritable" after the two surgeries. A good portion of the time, these issues resolve themselves as the heart muscle calms back down. The worst case scenario would involve putting in a new line and giving him medication. They know what the problem is and they can fix it, so we can live with that!

They also "sprinted" him today. This is a test to see if he can maintain adequate oxygen levels breathing on his own. He did very well on his first sprint. He will have a few more and if he does well, he should be able to come off the ventilator soon.

Caleb got an NG tube today and a little bit of breast milk. This is the first real food he has had since his surgery.

The doctors think that his chest tube will be removed tomorrow, so we may be down two tubes shortly! We are still making significant progress and no one seems too concerned about our little setbacks. He is awake more often and I got to see his eyes. It was definitely a good day!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

Caleb's chest closure was a success! They did it right at his bedside and had no problems. All of his levels are great and he required minimal additional support to keep his levels great. I am guessing that the doctors are going to start weaning him off the blood pressure medicine again. They tried some this morning, but Caleb wasn't interested. Now that he is put back together, we might have some better luck.

His blood sugar levels have stabilized and his oxygen levels are great with 35% oxygen saturation on the ventilator. I would guess that we will try to go down to 25% soon!

Everything seems to be great now and everyone is very optimistic!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Caleb made it through the surgery just fine. As of right now, it looks as if the surgery was a success. His oxygen levels in his blood were good after surgery, even with an oxygen saturation of 45% on the ventilator. We never reached that low of a saturation after the first surgery. He is far more stable than he was last week at this time. We are cautiously optimistic.

They did not close his chest, but they are thinking that it might be as soon as tomorrow. He was still bleeding a little, but very shortly after surgery, that seemed to stop. Getting his chest closed would be a huge relief. He looks much better than last week. Because the bleeding slowed much sooner, his chest is much better looking (if you consider being able to see into your baby's chest better looking - I vote for gross!)

His blood sugar is off, but when I left earlier, it was stopping its slide and heading back up. He is still needing more blood proteins to keep his blood pressure up, but they don't seem too concerned at this point. He is off the paralytic medication again and they are already considering decreasing some of his blood pressure medications if his volumes would hold constant. He is peeing like crazy, so hopefully he won't swell up to a point where they can't close his chest tomorrow.

There is no way to describe how phenomenal the doctors and nurses are here. Caleb is not just some other baby with a bad heart. To them, he is our child and Ella, Sam & Maeve's brother. They remember who I am, they remember Caleb's name, they offer encouragement. There is no way that we could be any more thankful for the care that Caleb and the rest of our family have received!

Overall, things look good. Tonight may very well be an up and down night, but we will be happy to get some ups again! Thank you so much for your all of your thoughts and prayers!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Caleb will be having surgery around 8:30 am tomorrow morning. Everyone is in agreement that the current shunt is not working and we need to try something else. I spoke with the surgeons and cardiologists and the new shunt will now run from the aorta to the pulmonary artery. They believe that he has good blood flow in his aorta and that this new shunt should get better blood flow to his lungs.

They put Caleb back on the medication to paralyze him so he could use all of his oxygen for vital body functions, instead of using oxygen moving around. Last week, the thought of paralyzing my baby terrified me. Today, it was a relief to know that he could not work himself into a fit and send his blood pressure and oxygen levels down to dangerous levels. He needed some more blood and infusions of albumen (blood proteins to increase his blood volume) to keep his levels in check. His oxygen levels hovered around the bare minimum, but for the most part, they were acceptable.

The plan for tonight is to keep Caleb paralyzed and keep him at acceptable blood pressure and oxygen levels to perform the surgery tomorrow morning. The doctors and surgeons are optimistic that the surgery should work. I am hopeful and tentatively optimistic as well.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Caleb is one week old today. What a week it has been!

They were able to remove the light for the jaundice this morning. Caleb got rid of his fancy sunglasses and I was able to see his eyes again.

He was pretty stable throughout the night and morning, so they decided to try to close his chest this afternoon. The doctors figured that they could see if there was a clot pushing on something, causing the difficulty in getting blood to the lungs under a normal blood pressure. They started the procedure at 1:00 pm and said that is normally takes an hour and a half, but to figure a little longer with Caleb's tendency to overreact to everything. They wanted to go slow and see how things went.

I checked on him at 3:30 pm, and the surgeon met me in the hall and said that they were going to open the chest back up. They had gotten him closed, but his oxygen levels and blood pressure were quite low and they were not comfortable leaving him that way overnight. He was not necessarily in danger, but they didn't want him to crash when someone turned away for a second or to require emergency surgery in the middle of the night.

At around 5:00 pm, I found out that opening the chest back up went fine and that Caleb had done a decent job of getting stabilized again. The only ground we lost was that they had increased the oxygen level on the ventilator from 50% to 90%. We now know that there is nothing pressing on the heart or shunt. That makes one less variable in the equation.

Now, we are faced with two options. One is to wait another 48 hours and see if he can get stronger and get over this hump. Caleb seems to make some progress, but not enough to get to where he needs to be. The other option is to modify the shunt - whether it is the size, location, etc. - to better fit Caleb's situation.

As of right now, his lungs look and sound great and do not seem to be the problem. The issue seems to be one of plumbing. Most likely, something will be done to modify the situation in the next two days.

The good news is that everyone seems to think that this can be fixed, when we can find the right solution. No one has told us that we are running out of options and although we still aren't sure what the deal is, we know how to keep Caleb at levels that are not critical at this point. The problem is that we don't want to stay at these levels forever, we want to get him patched up.

Our new neighbor in the PCTU is a six month old girl with a condition similar to Caleb's (a very undersized right side of the heart). She was in the hospital for less than two weeks after her first surgery. She just had her second surgery yesterday and she is already off the ventilator, sucking her pacifier and pinker than her parents have ever seen her. It is nice to see that it can be done and to think that perhaps Caleb is taking care of all of his drama during this surgery and the next one can be much less complicated.

The parents of this baby have been a huge comfort to me. They know the ins and outs and have a lot of good information. The mother reminded me that if Caleb needs surgery again, his chest is already open and all of the other repairs have already been made. Most likely, a second surgery would be much less involved than the first and should cause less stress on his body. She also reminded me how strong and resilient these babies are. Angels don't just come disguised as doctors and nurses!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

When I got to the hospital this morning, Caleb had gained back most of the ground we lost last night. He was back off the paralytic drugs and had reduced some of his blood pressure medication. His oxygen saturation on the ventilator was still elevated. His catheter was removed and he is now peeing in the diaper.

Caleb was relatively stable today. He still bounces up and down too much for comfort. When he pees, he pees too much and his blood pressure drops. When his blood pressure drops, his oxygen saturation drops. The doctors would like a lower blood pressure and to reduce his blood pressure medication, but whenever his blood pressure drops, his oxygen saturations do too.

He is now on a light to help with his jaundice. The hematologists are checking on him to figure out why his red blood cells are breaking down (the cause of the jaundice). It may be a result of the heart/lung bypass, it may be something else, they don't know for sure.

The plan for the night is to wait and see if his levels will stay stable, instead of over-reacting to every little change they make. We may wait a day or two more to see if his lungs get stronger and do a better job of oxygenating his blood. He should be getting higher dissolved oxygen levels than we are getting and they are not sure if there is a problem with his shunt (the new connection from his heart to his lungs that they put in during surgery).

The major concern now is the next step. If his oxygen levels won't stabilize, it may be necessary to have a second surgery to either replace the shunt with a larger one or add an additional shunt. Of course, they would prefer not to do more surgery if we can avoid it, but they don't want to wait forever without making more forward progress. Hopefully in the next couple of days, the correct path of action will become clear.

I spoke with one of the cardiologists today. She said that Caleb's heart was trickier for the surgeons than normal. Right now, his aorta, pulmonary artery and shunt all come out of his undersized right ventricle. Normally in tricuspid atresia, the ventricle is so small that no vessels or maybe one are located there. Caleb's ventricle was large enough for the vessels, but not large enough to work. The structure of his heart and the location of the vessels make it difficult to see exactly what is going on with a heart catheterization (the usual standard to see the heart in depth), so in essence, we are flying blind.

On a very bright note, the nurse let me help give Caleb a bath tonight. He got mad and started crying, but because of the ventilator, there is no sound when he cries. As soon as we finished, I put my hand on his head and the nurse and I each held one of his hands, and he quit crying pretty quickly. I got to do normal Mom stuff!

Thanks for the prayers and all of the wonderful comments!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I think that we are in "two steps forward, one step back" mode now. Most of the day, we were moving forward. He was weaned off one more medicine for blood pressure and they reduced the number of breaths from the ventilator and the oxygen saturation on the ventilator. He started a new drip with nutrition, but it is not the kind where they put it into his stomach, it goes into his blood. His eyes were open many times and he would hold your finger - both wonderful things to see!

He is getting a little jaundiced, so they are checking to make sure that his liver is not breaking down his blood. I am not sure exactly what this means, but they do not seem overly concerned.

Around 11:30 pm, we got a call from his nurse. His temperature had gone up some, his oxygen levels had gone done and his blood pressure had gone done. Nothing was drastic, but they wanted to try to stop any kind of major slide. They increased some of his blood pressure medicine, increased his oxygen saturation on the ventilator and put him back on the paralytic medicine.

Phil and the kids stayed overnight with me. Phil went to the hospital this morning and of course his cell phone is dead because they weren't planning on staying overnight and he didn't bring his charger. He was able to text me that Caleb is doing ok this morning (Monday), so it does not sound like the slide was too drastic.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Caleb had a great day today! This morning, he was weaned off the drug that was paralyzing him. Now he is able to move and twitch and can even open his eyes. He looks very dopey when he opens his eyes, but he can do it. It is wonderful to see spontaneous movements instead of perfect stillness all of the time.

Caleb was also weaned off one of the drugs that was helping to regulate his blood pressure. His pressures dropped when the drug was eliminated, but it was still within the doctor's preferred range when I left.

We also made gains in the ventilator department. The oxygen levels were reduced to 50% and the number of breaths given per minute was reduced to 25.

Caleb received the plasma and that increased his clotting capacity and reduced his bleeding quite a bit. You would not believe the difference in the amount of blood on his body. He looks so much better!

They decided not to open the chest and see what was going on today. The cardiologists wanted to look, but the surgeons wanted to wait and see. Today, the surgeons won. The surgeons worried that opening things up would only increase other bleeding and because he was improving, they felt waiting was the best option. Knowing the gains we made today, they seem to have been correct.

I made it to the hospital in time for rounds this morning. After our progress last night and this morning, I was thinking that maybe I was overreacting yesterday morning. However, several times during the explanations of Caleb's situation, I heard "for someone that was so sick yesterday" and "considering how poorly he was doing yesterday". Things were probably as bad as we suspected yesterday morning, but he has turned it around today and it was definitely a good day!

Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 12:30 am

When Caleb decides to start in the right direction, he means it! Around 5:00 pm, his levels started going in the right direction. The respiratory therapist started to reduce the oxygen saturations in his ventilator, starting from 100%. I just got off the phone with his nurse, and now he is down to 65% oxygen saturation and his PO2 levels are still holding at 41! The nurse has been able to reduce some of the medication regulating his blood pressure and it is staying strong at the right level. Soon this will start trying to reduce his nitric oxide levels in the ventilator.

He had an ultrasound of his brain to make sure that there was no bleeding from all of the stuff that is going on. The ultrasound looked fine.

He is still bleeding some from his surgery. He not only looks gross (and beautiful), but some of his blood levels are suffering. They are giving him plasma to try to increase his clotting ability, so hopefully that will start working. They are going to check his levels again around 3:00 am.

In the morning, they are going to open up his chest (it was never closed for real, just Saran Wrapped shut) to make sure there is nothing in particular that is causing the bleeding. That will be done right in the PCTU so he will not have to go to an operating room.

I forgot to post about the heart catheterization earlier. The shunt looked fine, but they weren't sure about the volume of blood flow to the lungs. They thought it looked a little low, but they decided to see if he can maintain the proper oxygen saturation with the volume he is getting before they worry. Other than that, everything looked the way it should.

After the rough start this morning, it has turned out to be a wonderful day! Thank you so much for all of your prayers and comments. It sounds really cheesy, but it does make a huge difference when you are struggling to hold everything together to know that people are praying for you and helping to shoulder your worries. THANKS!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010 - 6:30 pm

Caleb is much more stable now. Today was supposed to be an up and down day, and this afternoon, we got some of the "up" part. They decided to do a heart catheterization after lunch to see if there was a reason things weren't going better. He didn't come back until after 4:00 pm. They couldn't find any problems that were the glaring culprits, so that seems to be good. The surgeon stopped in to see him, and she said that her preference was to "wait for the dust to settle" and see what happens. As of right now, that seems to be working.

Of course, right before he goes down for the heart catheterization, his PO2 levels go way up to 40 - that was really good. He had some bleeding from where the catheter was put in his leg. When he came back his leg was blue having improved from purple. When I left his room a little while ago, it was pinking up.

Now we start again to try to wean him off some of the stuff because he has stayed stable for a while. Hopefully we can make some progress.

I am doing surprisingly well now. A quick breakdown in the Chapel does wonders for a person's outlook. No crying since this morning. When I checked on him after the first reports, we were both doing better. His numbers were up and my tears were down! They let me hang out right next to him and put my hand on his head. This may sound like a little thing, but here, when they are hooked up to so many wires and tubes, it can be huge!

Thanks again for all of your prayers and comments. We are all pushing forward!

Friday, August 20, 2010 - 12:00 pm

Caleb is really struggling today (and so am I). He is going in shortly for a heart catherization to see if they can find what is causing his low oxygen levels. He was up and down throughout the night and they are unable to wean him off any of the drugs, the nitric oxide or reduce the amount of ventilation. My understanding is that if they were still doing everything 100%, he would be stable. The problem is that if we have to keep everything at 100% to keep him stable, we can't move forward and we have no where to turn if things get worse.

The gut feeling I am getting from the cardiologists is that we will end up going back to surgery and rerouting the shunt to pick up more blood flow (or more consistent blood flow) to his lungs. They are planning on making a decision early this afternoon.

Please keep praying for him.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

After today, I don't even know where to begin. I apologize in advance because there are going to be mistakes in this post. I don't seem to be able to remember my name, much less how to spell all of the medical terms that we have learned.

This morning, Phil came back to Ann Arbor from home and met me a little after 6:00 am. We wanted a chance to hold and snuggle Caleb before his surgery. The surgery people were supposed to meet with us at 6:30 am, but they didn't make it until about 7:30. We didn't complain about the additional time with him! Caleb was hungry and mad when we got there, but as soon as we held him, he snuggled in and fell asleep. We met with the surgeon and he explained what they were going to do. The plan had changed a little because of what they had seen on the echocardiogram on Tuesday.

At about 8:15, they took him off to surgery. The surgery required stopping his heart and putting him on the heart/lung bypass machine. I am going to try to explain what they did for the surgery, but it is kind of tricky. In a normal heart, the blood flows into the right atrium, through the tricuspid valve to the right ventricle, then out the pulmonary artery into the lungs. It comes back from the lungs into the left atrium, flows through the bicuspid valve into the left ventricle and out through the aorta into the body. In Caleb, there are pieces missing, holes and stuff in the wrong spot. He is missing a tricuspid valve, so blood comes into his right atrium, goes through a hole in the wall between the right and left atrium, goes through the bicuspid valve and into his left ventricle. His left ventricle is the right size and working properly. From the left ventricle, blood flows into his pulmonary artery (located in the wrong spot) and through the hole between the left and right ventricle (the hole that shouldn't be there, but is beneficial in his case). When the blood gets to his tiny, useless right ventricle, it can exit through his aorta (also located in the wrong spot). The surgeon combined his pulmonary artery and his aorta to send the blood from the left ventricle off to his body. He also increased the hole between his left and right ventricles to make sure this pathway does not grow closed as he gets older. Because there is now no outlet from his heart to his lungs, he placed a shunt (a little Goretex tube) to take some blood from the aorta to send to the lungs for oxygenation. This is not exactly what they had planned, but they weren't able to determine exactly where his aorta and pulmonary artery were until he was born.

The surgery went well and the surgeon came up to talk to us around 1:30 pm. He said that the repair looked good, there was some bleeding and they did not close his chest to allow for swelling. He said that we should be able to get in to see Caleb around 2:30 pm. Phil and I went for a walk to get out of the waiting room and came back at 2:30.

The PCTU staff told us that they weren't ready yet and that they would need another hour or so. Around 3:45, they finally came and got us. When we got to Caleb's bed, there were about eight to ten nurses, doctors, cardiologists and respiratory people around his bed. We were told that Caleb was not stabilizing well and they were quite worried about his oxygen levels. They wanted his PO2 levels to be a minimum of 30 and Caleb's would not budge above 25. His blood pressure was not as strong and steady as they wanted it either. He was a funky purple/blue color.

They tried cooling him to reduce his oxygen demand, but that did not work. They tried giving him some heavy narcotics to slow him down further, but that did not work. They gave him some more drugs to paralyze him, but that didn't work either. There were a few more options to try, but one of them was operating again to change the repair and one was putting him back on the heart/lung bypass. After about 45 minutes of watching and getting more and more terrified, Phil and I headed to the Chapel for a little breakdown and lots of praying and crying.

We fortified ourselves with Coke and Sun Chips and headed back to the PCTU. When we got back, he had been moved to a larger area in the event the more drastic procedures were required. They had tried their last non-invasive effort - adding nitric oxide to the ventilator oxygen - and it was starting to work. His blood pressure was stabilizing with some drugs and some of his oxygen levels were coming up slightly. They did a test on his blood gas levels and his PO2 level had come up to 32. Phil and I must have looked like idiots with the huge smiles we had on our faces! We stayed around until about 8:00 pm to get his next results which had a PO2 level of 33. The doctor in charge said that they would be happy with that and that they felt that we could now take a wait and see approach to watch the numbers and make sure they continued up.

When we left, Caleb was hooked up to 10 different drugs and liquids, the ventilator and the nitric oxide. He is really gross looking, full of tubes, leads, and his chest is bloody and covered with something that looks like Saran Wrap, but he still looks beautiful to us and at least he has hopefully turned the corner. I just called the nurse at 11:30 pm and she said that we are still making gains and things are still looking good.

You will never know how much your prayers helped us today. We knew that when we got to the point where all we could come up with was "Help us", everyone else was picking up our slack. THANK YOU SO VERY, VERY MUCH!!!

If you have made it to this point in this post, you deserve a reward. Here is what we hope to see again in a another couple of weeks:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Today was Caleb's day to show off. He has nursed three times so far today and met his brother, sisters and both sets of grandparents. He is still doing great. He has good oxygen saturation in this blood and his heart rate is good.

Caleb had an episode last night, but the staff in the PCTU knew just what to do and were calm and efficient. I was holding him when his heart rate soared. They got his heart rate back where it belonged and then gave him back to me to finish eating. It scared me, but they weren't overly worried. They changed the position of one of his lines and there have been no episodes since. They think that the line was irritating his heart and causing the odd electrical impulse to screw up his heart rate.

He is scheduled for surgery first thing tomorrow morning. We meet with the surgical people at 6:30 am. They think that he will go in around 7:15 am.

Ella, Sam and Maeve were very impressed with their little brother. Everyone wanted to touch him. They all said that he was really little and cute. We'll see if they are as interested when he comes home!

Thanks again for all of your prayers and good thoughts!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Phil and I just got back from the PCTU. They did an echocardiogram of Caleb's heart and still aren't exactly sure how he is plumbed and whether the holes in his heart that are beneficial will stay open. It does not decrease his chances of survival, it just might change the plan of attack.

We also found out that we can hold him in the PCTU, with the exception of right after his surgery. While we were up there, the nurse brought us over a rocking chair and I held him for about 45 minutes. The Pediatric Cardiologist in the PCTU stopped to talk to us on his rounds. He explained everything to us and told us that we could feed him before his surgery. I tried to nurse him, but once again, he was too mellow and I couldn't get him to wake up long enough to eat. Finding out that we get to hold him and that I can nurse him before the surgery has got to be the most wonderful news I could get!

Tomorrow, we should find out about the surgery schedule and exactly what they are planning to do. I don't feel the overwhelming pressure to get his surgery right away knowing that we can take care of him before the surgery.

Just a little bit of trivia:

The meaning of the name Caleb is "dogged" or "strong in the face of overwhelming odds". Caleb was one of the spies sent into the Promised Land by Moses to see what was there. Of the twelve spies, only Caleb and Joshua thought that God could deliver them into the Promised Land. Because of the lack of faith of the other ten spies, the Hebrews decided not to try to enter the Promised Land and spent another forty years wandering in the wilderness. The only adult Israelites allowed to survive the forty years and enter the Promised Land were Caleb and Joshua.

Thanks for your prayers and support! They have meant so much to us.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Caleb Philip Dougherty is here! He was born at 1:12 pm and weighs 7 pounds, 12 ounces. He is mostly pink and was quite alert and calm after he was born. Both Phil and I got to hold him before he was taken off to the Pediatric Cardiothoracic Intensive Care (PCTU). He has chubby cheeks and likes to suck on his fingers.

I started the Pitocin for the induction around 2:30 am. By 8:30 am, we had still made no major progress. They increased the Pitocin and by 11:30 am, we were far enough along to break my water. After that, the labor progressed very rapidly. I asked for an epidural, but by the time it was complete, it was nearly time for him to be born. We went to the delivery room so Caleb could be close to the Neonatal ICU and a few minutes later, Caleb was born.

We are hopefully on our way up to see him in the PCTU in a couple of minutes. When we have more information, I will post it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hello from Ann Arbor. There is nothing to report yet. They aren't actually going to start the induction until sometime between midnight and 2:00 am. They are trying to get the baby to come in the morning, when more of the doctors are here. So now we wait!

The baby has been monitored and is still doing super. We have met with about five nurses, doctors, anaesthesiologists, etc., each of them asking the same questions (Do you smoke, drink, do drugs?) I am not sure if they just don't communicate or if they are trying to trip me up.

Hopefully, tomorrow morning I will post more interesting information!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Today was my last doctor's appointment. I had an ultrasound to check on the baby's growth and his heart. The ultrasound said that he is 7 pounds, 5 ounces and is still right on track. It will be interesting to see how that measures up with his actual birth weight. His heart still looks the same with no new fluid around it and no new problems. Everything looks just like it should.

I had another non stress test today. It seems as if this little guy has two energy levels - asleep and very awake. Today was very awake. Even though he is running out of space, he still manages to move away from the monitor. We did finish in forty minutes or so, one of our best tests to date.

The doctor checked, and I am making progress, but am not in the red zone yet. I asked her what we are supposed to do if I thought I was starting labor. She said that I should see if I feel like I could make it to Ann Arbor or not. So, I guess the plan is to drive as fast as we can and hope I don't have the baby at the Brighton off-ramp!

The induction is scheduled for next Monday. The hospital will call us and then we are supposed to head to Ann Arbor. I have a suspicion that we will be a little jumpy on Monday. The next post should be when the baby is here!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Another marathon non-stress test today. A Snickers candy bar and fruit snacks don't work as well as grapes. After the first 20 minutes, the nurse woke him up with the buzzer. Then he was really awake. I was having contractions again, so they wanted to monitor longer. After 1 1/2 hours (half of which I slept), they sent me on my way. The contractions weren't very strong and slowed way down when I laid on my side. I guess that is good, because I am cleared until Tuesday.

Countdown: 11 days

Monday, August 2, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Today I had another non-stress test. The grapes didn't wake him up today, but the little buzzer did and we passed the test. There are no new concerns and everything still looks fine. The doctor wants to see me again on Thursday, just to keep a close eye on things. I appreciate the fact they are doing what they can to keep us on track for delivering in Ann Arbor. I know there are much worse things, but I really want to be in the same place as the baby and do not want him to have to travel without his Mom!

According to "What to Expect When You are Expecting", 37 weeks is considered full term. I am still holding out for two more weeks if I can get them though. I still have work to finish, the last of the back to school shopping to finish and packing to do. I didn't realize how tricky it is to plan and pack for both delivering a baby and staying out of town for 10 days to 4 weeks!

Countdown: 2 weeks