Roller Coaster

I never imagined this blog would turn into a medical play-by-play. But it seems many of you are interested in our journey with Baby Ocho.

Yesterday was a roller coaster of emotions. My day started with an appointment with my OB. I was touched by his concern for me and the baby. He said that he always treats his patients like family and, if I were his wife, he would want me to deliver at another hospital with another OB. It was hard to hear but not completely unexpected.

I had hoped that I could deliver the baby at our local hospital with my wonderful OB. I then envisioned a week or two at home before the first operation. But this is wishful thinking. Baby Ocho is not leaving the hospital, unless there is a miracle. I am beginning to grasp just how sick this little one appears to be.

No one can tell us exactly what will happen when the baby is born. My OB explained that my heart is acting like a by-pass machine. Yes, the baby’s heart is working and has been beating since 8 weeks gestation. But I am doing the breathing and therefore oxygenating all of the blood that baby receives. Once the umbilical cord is cut, the baby’s heart has to take over. He told me to prepare for quite a show in the delivery room. Lots of specialists, nurses, techs. All there to help Baby Ocho survive.

Sam and I have decided to take some of the variables out of the situation. So I will deliver at another hospital, much further away but renowned for their cardiac care. This hospital has the highest level of NICU available in the state, so baby will not need to be transferred to another facility. This seems like a wise decision. But I was incredibly emotional leaving my OB’s office. He handed me a prayer card, the same one he gave me after Johnny was born. He told me that I need his prayers now more than his medical expertise.

A few hours later, I received a call from the Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) practice that my order for the genetic testing was available. There wasn’t a car at home so Michael’s sweet girlfriend Annie drove me to the hospital. I met with the nurse and we filled out the forms for the testing. While I was waiting at the lab, the MFM OB asked me to return to his office for a chat.

This doctor is incredibly compassionate and kind. He wanted to talk through my OB care and the decision to deliver at another hospital. He encouraged me to continue with my regular OB and to make one or two appointments with the hospitalists that will deliver the baby. He asked how I felt about being delivered by someone I didn’t know well. I told him that after 7 deliveries with 6 different OBs, I am fine with the janitor performing the honors. In my experience, the nursing staff makes or breaks the whole experience anyways. And I’m pretty sure my mind will be laser focused on Baby Ocho and waiting to hear the first cry.

So, I plan to continue locally with my doctor and deliver at the specialized hospital. It sounds like there is a fabulous team in place. My baby’s case has already been presented to the cardiac care team there. The MFM OB assured me that when I walk in to deliver, there will be dozens of people who know exactly what is going on with Baby Ocho. That amazes me. In the coming weeks, Sam and I will meet with the cardiac team and tour the specialized areas where the baby will be spending quite a bit of time.

After this visit, I went to the lab for the genetic testing (just some simple blood work). Afterwards, God gave me little glimmers of hope. Angela picked me up from the hospital and we dropped some items at Goodwill. My friend Jill from the Y was in the car in front of us. Jill water runs with me and gives me fabulous book suggestions. It warmed my heart to see her. She promised me a socially distanced coffee date. I can’t wait for a nice long visit.

Then Angela and I decided to hit Starbucks. I’ve never been much of a Starbucks gal, but my in-laws gave me a gift card for Mother’s Day and my kids taught me how to use the app. I logged in and found points for a free drink. I have no idea how that happened but the strawberry lemonade made for a lovely ending to a long day. As always, Rudy waits for attention, blissfully unaware of the situation.

Many of you have asked how I am doing. In some strange way, I feel relieved. I have had a nagging feeling all along that something was wrong with this pregnancy. Maybe it is because of my age. Maybe it is because I have physically struggled with the pregnancy more than is normal for me. But, now that the heavy predictions are in, I am better. I have survived the initial hit, albeit with streams of tears and hours on the phone with my dear family on both sides. And cuddles from my small humans.

I’m not used to being so emotional. I cry during movies (just can’t handle Beth dying in Little Women or Shelby dying in Steel Magnolias) and tear up at Folger’s Coffee commercials. But, generally, I use humor to deflect from too much emotion. Not now. The spigot is open full throttle. If you need to have a good cry, let me know.

Sam is taking it all in stride, matter of fact and straight forward. He’s the very definition of an engineer, like the NASA men that held it together during Apollo 13. A steely-eyed missile man wearing sturdy khaki pants. I suppose I’ve cried enough for both of us. It’s probably a blessing that one of us has some emotional stability. The kids have been wonderful.

How are things at home? Well, as chaotic as ever. I opened the refrigerator and found 7 dozen eggs and 3 jars of pickles. But there is no toilet paper in the house. I could use a little focus. The special dental flossers arrived from Amazon. Obviously, I’ve got to read the descriptions better.

I ordered 2 of these 4 packs. So, we have no toilet paper but are well-stocked with 1200 flossers. Gulp. This might be genetic. My folks recently placed their first online Sam’s Club order. They ended up with 10 pounds of meatballs, 15 pounds of tater tots, and 4 gigantic bags of broccoli. Which will make for some interesting meals.

I am profoundly grateful for all of the comments on this blog, the texts, the emails, the phone calls. I’m trying to respond to each one of you. There has been such an outpouring of love and prayer for our family. Baby Ocho is on prayer lists all over the country and in the thoughts of many. In addition to the prayers, I am grateful for the encouragement. Thank you for believing in me and my family. Everyone seems to think we can handle it. I am beginning to believe it as well. I am truly humbled to be the recipient of this goodwill.

I count it miraculous that my child’s broken heart has filled mine full to overflowing.

14 thoughts on “Roller Coaster

    • 1. ❤️
      2. HOW do you continue to look so young??!!
      3. I completely forgot you have a dog
      4. Have definitely had similar Amazon experiences. Sometime ask me about how I ended up owning 200 adult diapers and 4 lbs of psyllium husk powder 🙄

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  1. We’re praying for you Kathleen that everything will go well for you and your family. Rest assured you’re in our daily prayers, when we pray the “Devine Mercy Chaplet “ @ 3 pm daily.

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  2. Kathleen, you are an inspiration and mentor for us all. There is so much love in your family and household it makes me yearn for you and baby Ocho to be well. I have put you not only on my Bible Study’s prayer list but that of my 3,000 member church’s prayer list for The Greatest Physician’s special mercies. God will have you and baby Ocho in the palm of his hand. You are in my daily prayers. Pat B.

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