I have fallen a bit behind in posting last week's blog. I had promised myself to keep this current, but I just needed some time to process the information I received last week. It wasn't all that upsetting, but it just took me some time to put it all in perspective.
Before I get into details, I want to thank everyone who has emailed me with prayers and well wishes. I apologize that I haven't had a chance to respond to them all yet, but I am saving them and I will eventually get around to thanking everyone personally. Your concerns have all been very appreciated.....you'll never know how they have lifted me up and given me hope!!
Last week was a (2) visit week. The first visit went very smoothly....stress test showed that heart rate and movement still appeared normal. The baby still looked great during my second appointment for the bio-physical profile. The only concerning thing was that my amniotic fluid levels had risen from 26cm the week before to 34cm this past week? We expected to potentially have this problem, I was just hoping they would fluctuate back and forth and the increase would be slower.
What causes the fluids to rise? All babies practice breathing while still in the womb. They inhale amniotic fluid and it processes through their bodies and is then excreted back into the amniotic sac. Because our baby's organs are all pushed to the right side of his body due to the CDH, it is more difficult to process the fluid and the whole procedure is much slower than normal. My body then generates more amniotic fluid to compensate for what he has ingested, then he passes some and my fluid levels rise. It's a vicious cycle of both of our bodies doing what they are supposed to do without knowledge of how the birth defect is throwing a wrench in things. On the positive side, I like to think he is in there really practicing his breathing so that what little lung he has developed is very ready to work hard!!!
The main concern with the fluid levels rising too much is that it will cause me to go into premature labor or that the baby will develop hydrops. What will most likely happen is that they will send me to Chapel Hill to have some amniotic fluid drained unless my levels go back down. We'll get a new reading on this tomorrow when we go to CMC. They will check my fluid levels as well as for hydrops. Hydrops is when the baby is unable to process the fluid and it begins to hold fluid around the heart and abdomen. In the case of hydrops, they'll decide whether to attempt to drain the baby's body with an injection or to deliver early. With all that said, I'm really praying that my levels will drop a bit at least for a couple more weeks. His little lungs need all the development time they can possibly have and I really want to be home with Jack for Christmas!
Now, having caught everyone up on the medical viewpoint, I'd like to share what the Lord brought to my mind this week. I have met so many wonderful people through this whole experience. Many of them have been very strong Christians in whom I have found much strength and wisdom. I really got that on my mind in the bed Friday night and I was reminded of 1 Kings 18. I remembered that during the time of famine under King Ahab, the prophet Obadiah had lived in King Ahab's castle as part of his court and, therefore, had been unaffected by the hunger the famine had brought on the land. Obadiah had taken 100 other prophets and hid them away in a cave so that King Ahab could not find them to harm them. Obadiah brought the 100 prophets food in the cave.
When I first studied this scripture, I felt sorry for the hundred prophets who had to hide away in a cave while lucky Obadiah got to live in the kings palace. But the more I thought about it, it was Obadiah who lived the more complicated life and he didn't know it. He had to live a lie in Ahab's palace every day, day in and day out sneaking food to the other prophets and attempting to hide his allegiances to God. Now, while the hundred prophets didn't have much from a world perspective, they lived in the protective environment their Lord had provided them. He was also providing them with food....everything they actually needed. Meanwhile, they lived all together in a place where they could share with one another about what God had done in their lives and what he was teaching them on a daily basis.....what a wonderful place to live.....they were living in their King's palace.
As I have met these friends, I have found so many times that it's almost unbelievable that we were in some way connected or share some kind of a similar past history. It has given me some insight to how I believe heaven will be. For an eternity, we will meet and share with other Christians and through our common histories and experiences, we'll gain a better and better understanding of how God worked even through the difficulties of our lives for the good of his other children. I believe our understanding of how we are all interwoven will be overwhelming and it will give us more and more reason to praise him for his wisdom and sovereignty!!
I'll update you as soon as there is something worth sharing. Much love to you all-
Betsy, Travis & Jack