Friday, May 29, 2009

Let the voting begin.....

I added a poll to the top of this blog to see what everyone's opinions are regarding Jacob's date of arrival. It will be interesting to see what people think! Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Doctor, Doctor, Doctor....

Today was a super packed day filled with three doctor appointments!  I took today off from work since it didn't make sense to try and get work done between all of these appointments.  Here is a brief overview of what we experienced:

1. At 10am this morning, Keith and I visited the Pediatric Diagnostic Center (which is the same specialist that we saw at the beginning of the month). Similar to the last appointment, an Ultrasound Tech did an ultrasound first and then Dr. T came in to look at Jacob a little more and then to talk to us.  The Tech measured his head and his abdomen and said that they both looked good. She said that he was measuring at 6 lbs, 4 oz - which puts him at the 58th percentile (pretty much average). It seems that he has tapered off with the "growth spurt" that they have told us about the last two ultrasounds that we had.  Thank looks like I won't have to worry about pushing out a 10 lb baby!!!!  Dr. T did say that his left kidney was measuring at 10 mm and his right at 13 mm, which is bigger than they should be, but not severe by any means.  He put some of the pictures on a disc for us to take to our next appointment which was with Dr. Peters, a pediatric urologist.

2.  At noon, we had an appointment at UVA with Dr. Peters, who is a well-renowned pediatric urologist. I am glad that we got to see him because he was very imformative and answered a lot of our questions.  The bad part about seeing him is that he practices in the Urology Clinic at the UVA hospital, which is a pain in the you-know-what to deal with.  We had to park in the parking deck (on the 7th level because it was so packed!), walk about 3 blocks to the building that the Clinic is in (through a bunch of construction!), take an elevator up one floor, walk a ways around a bunch of hallways and then finally get to the Clinic.  Once we arrived (about 20 minutes before 12), I had to wait 30 minutes to register and then we had to wait another 30 minutes before we were called back to see the doctor.  In the end, we didn't end up seeing him until 10 minutes to 1, even though our appointment was at noon. UGH!

Like I said previously, he was very informative and talked to us at great length about Jacob's condition and his opinions and suggestions for treatment.  He said that there is nothing that can be done until he is born (which we already knew), but that he suggested that we start him on antibiotics - amoxicillin - from the first day he is born.  This will help to keep any kidney infections from occuring, which can be very harmful to babies.  We could skip the antibiotics but we would need to be very vigilant at paying attention to signs of infection - some of which can be obvious like a fever or bad smelling urine.  But, sometimes symptoms of infection are harder to see since they can be "normal" newborn issues like fussiness, trouble eating or tiredness.  Since we want to be as cautious as possible, Keith and I have opted to have him take the antibiotics. I can't remember how long Dr. Peters said he would be on the medicine, but I believe it may be for a few weeks.

The next step would be for him to have an x-ray at 4-6 weeks of age to see if the dilation is still present and to measure what it is.  There is also a test that we can have performed at that time on his bladder that would tell us whether or not he has "reflux of urine" which is one of the things that might be causing the dilation. Dr. Peters said that we could wait and see how things go, but he suggests that we have the test performed so that we can either rule out the reflux or, if he does have it, treat it with additional antibiotics and/or other treatments so that it doesn't get worse as he gets older. We don't need to make a decision right now as to whether we want him to have the bladder test, but I think we are leaning strongly towards having it, again so that we can be as cautious as possible and try to keep any additional problems from occuring.

3.  After the meeting with Dr. Peters, Keith and I had lunch and then he went to work.  I had a 2:45pm pre-natal appointment with my OB, Dr. Wamhoff.  This was a pretty quick appointment but a lot of things occurred.  First, the bad news - I gained 7 lbs in the last two weeks! Yikes!  Of course, I explained to her that I had just had lunch and that I hadn't eaten very well the past few days (those were my excuses!). Thankfully, she didn't seem overly concerned with the huge weight gain since I had been doing "so well" (as she put it) over the course of my pregnancy. She said that we would just wait and see what the weight looked like next week (I better start eating salads & cutting back on the desserts!!).  My blood pressure was fine - 124/70 and my urine looked good. She performed the Group B Strep test and I should get those results next week. There is nothing I can do if it comes back positive, but they will give me antibiotics during labor so that Jacob does not get the infection.  

She also measured me and said that I was measuring perfectly.  She did mention that I have a long waist so that is why I am not "poking out" as much as I would like to be.  She said that there is more room for the baby to go up so he doesn't need to come out as much.  I guess this makes me feel a little better. (Many people keep telling me that I don't look like I am almost full-term and I keep this good or bad?!)

Dr. Wamhoff did comment about the swelling in my feet, ankles and legs and said that I really need to be wearing the compression hose all the time (YUCK!). I told her that I got some from our Sports Medicine department at work and that I had been wearing them and I know that I need to do it more often now (it just sucks because you can't really wear them with capri-type pants unless you want to look like a huge fashion nightmare!'s so darn hot that they are not comfortable!).  But, I know that I need to wear them and so I will......soon.

All in all, it was a super busy, yet very informative day!  It was fun seeing our little man on ultrasound again (this will be the last time we see him until we meet him on his birthday!).  I am getting really excited and nervous about the upcoming labor but I am definitely ready to meet this little guy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

An exciting new purchase!

This past Sunday, Keith and I ventured to Best Buy to purchase a new camera. The one that we currently have has been dying a slow death and when we went to use it on Saturday, it was putting funky lines on all of the pictures. I definitely wanted to get a good, reliable camera before the baby is born.

We didn't really have an idea of what we wanted other than I was told by a friend of mine here at work (who is the Director of Video Operations and knows a lot about cameras) that it was worth the money to invest in a good SLR camera versus buying a regular point-and-shoot. He said that we would end up paying more, but in the long run, it would be worth it, especially with the baby coming.

We looked at a Canon model and a Nikon model at Best Buy, both of which seemed to be very similar. The guy that worked there told us that Canon & Nikon are virtually the same, it's just a matter of preference of which one you want to buy. Keith and I, being novices when it comes to cameras like these, chose the Canon because that is what kind of point-and-shoot camera I had previously AND it seemed to have less buttons on it - less that we have to figure out! :-)

We were really excited when the guy in the store told us that we could get a discount on the camera also. They were running a promotion and customers who signed up for a Best Buy credit card could choose a flag that had randomly labeled 5%, 10%, or 15% coupons on them. Since we were planning on paying for the purchase with money from our savings account, we decided to go ahead and open the account (and we can pay it off immediately) to get the discount. Luckily, Keith pulled a flag that had a 15% off coupon!!! And, in addition to that, since we bought 3 accessories (a camera bag, a memory card and an extra battery), we got 15% off of the accessories also! Score!! We ended up getting some awesome things and not spending as much at the same time!!

Here is a picture of our new camera:

Click here - Canon EOS Rebel XS - for more information on it.

We haven't had a lot of time to really use it in the past few days, but I did charge the batteries and load the memory card on Sunday night. I also read the user manual and took a few random shots of Keith and other stuff around our house, just to play with all of the different settings. It seems really cool and I am excited to use it this weekend when we venture to Richmond for a baby shower and visit with mine and Keith's extended families who are coming into town for the shower.

Stay tuned for some awesome photos from our weekend!

Monday, May 18, 2009

34 weeks & 3 days

Life has been pretty hectic lately and unfortunately blogging has definitely taken a back seat!  I often think about all of the blog posts that I want to do but have just not found the time to actually sit down and do them.  I was wide awake early Sunday morning around 5am (I woke up to pee and had heartburn and couldn't get back to sleep) and I thought about grabbing the laptop and doing a blog post, but I decided to read and then try to go back to sleep instead. Right now, I should be laying down with my feet propped up (because they are super swollen!) but I just need to post an update first.

So here I am....over 34 weeks pregnant! Oh my gosh, only a few weeks left. In all likelihood, in less than 6 weeks I will be a mom. Holy crap!  I am so excited and scared and happy and nervous and anxious and worried and all kinds of emotions are running through me!!  I must admit that I haven't really enjoyed being pregnant as much as I thought - or hoped - that I would.  I have wanted to be pregnant for so long, but now that I am in the home stretch, I am definitely ready for it to be over.  My sister, Katie, said that she thinks I have had all the possible pregnancy symptoms a woman can have....and I must agree with her!!

At this point, the symptoms I am still experiencing are (from worst to not-so-bad-but-still-troublesome):
  • Numbness in my right hand/fingers - the three middle fingers of my right hand stay numb pretty much all of the time (especially when I am typing or using the mouse at work!). I have a brace that I wear at night (although I don't think it really helps all that much) and I recently bought a brace to wear during the day.
  • Swelling!  My feet stay swollen pretty much all of the time and are pretty bad at the end of the day. My ankles swell too, especially at night.  One of the sports medicine trainers at work gave me some anti-embolism support hose to wear to help the swelling and hopefully keep me from getting varicose veins in my legs. The biggest problem with the swelling is that I have very few shoes that fit. I have had to start wearing slippers at work because the only other alternative is to go barefoot!
  • Heartburn....I was able to control this for awhile by taking Zantac once a day, but recently I have started having heartburn at night so the doctor told me that I could take it twice a day now.  Even doing that, I still wake up most nights with an awful burning and I end up chewing on a few Tums at 3am.
  • Snoring - this, of course, is not really bothering me but it is definitely keeping Keith from sleeping well.  Recently, we have even started sleeping in separate rooms some nights so that he can get good uninterrupted sleep!
  • Other annoying symptoms that I have been experiencing are: low back pain (especially when I stand for long periods of time), random nauseousness, bleeding gums when I brush my teeth (oh, and still gagging when I brush too!), periodic cramping in my lower abdomen, and of course having to pee all the time!
All in all, I am definitely ready for all of these symptoms to be replaced with other "fun" things that having a baby and taking care of a newborn entail. I am sure I will be complaining of other things at that time, but right now, I am very much looking forward to the next step....the birth of my baby!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Home Improvement Projects

Over the past few months, we have been doing a few home improvement projects.  There were certain things that we wanted to get completed before Jacob arrives.  Thankfully, three big projects are now complete!!

First, back in March, we decided that we wanted to add some shelving in our garage.  I can't say enough how much I LOVE having a garage!!! It is so awesome to have a place to store things and it's so nice to not have to worry about starting the car when the weather is cold.  I love that I can pull the car in the garage and I don't have to unload the groceries (or anything for that matter) when it is raining!  I LOVE OUR GARAGE!  But.....we needed more storage space and wanted to get some things up off of the floor.  So, we went to Lowe's one day, bought all of the shelving and brackets and my dad came from Richmond to help Keith put them up.  After a few "hiccups", the shelves were complete (and now they are full of lots of things!).  It is so nice to have a garage that looks organized!  Here is a picture of Keith and Dad showing off their hard work:

The second big project was to replace our over-the-range microwave. Unfortunately, about a month after we moved in (10 months ago!), it broke. Luckily, we had a counter top microwave that we had used in our last house, so we just decided to continue using that one until we could get a replacement for over-the-range.  I certainly thought it was going to be sooner rather than later, but...9 months later......we finally purchased a new one.  Our brother-in-law, Shaun, came over this past Saturday and helped Keith install it.  I am really glad to get the counter space back where the other microwave was sitting. Here is a picture of our newest kitchen appliance:

The third project that we wanted to accomplish before the baby arrives was to install a ceiling fan and light in his room.  Our master bedroom is equipped with a ceiling fan but the two guest bedrooms only have overhead lights, but no fan.  Lucky for us, Shaun has experience installing a ceiling fan in Pierce's room so he was able to come over and install this one for us.  I would say that he "helped" us, but the truth is that he did 90% of the work and Keith and I helped him!! I love how the new fan and light look and I am glad that we were able to get it in before Jacob starts using that room.  Here are pictures of the before and after:

Keith and I are so blessed to have awesome family members who are "home improvement savvy" and who are willing to come over and help us with these projects.  Since Keith and I are fairly new homeowners, we aren't the best at knowing what to do.  We can't thank Shaun & my dad enough for all of their help! 

Monday, May 4, 2009

Specialist & Ultrasound

Like I mentioned last week, when I went for my follow-up ultrasound last Thursday, the doctor was concerned enough about Jacob's right kidney to suggest that I see a specialist.  Luckily, the specialist - Dr. T. (his "real" last name is really long and hard to pronounce!) - was able to fit me in for Friday afternoon.

When we first got called to the back at Dr. T's office on Friday, an ultrasound tech performed a regular ultrasound.  She was very friendly and talkative and even at one point said, "this doesn't look that bad.  If I were your doctor, I wouldn't have even sent you here".  Of course, she is a high-risk OB technician, so she is used to seeing a lot of really bad stuff.  To me, this comment was both reassuring and sort of dismissive on her part, but I tried to concentrate on the reassuring side of it.  

Once she was done, she said that Dr. T would be in to review the pictures that she had taken and also to look at the baby a little more.  Not much longer, he came in and he was very friendly.  He did look at what she had done and then proceeded to move the wand around my belly and look at Jacob a little more closely.  He pointed out both of Jacob's kidneys to us and took measurements, similar to what the technician had done.  He also looked at Jacob's heart, brain and stomach and explained that sometimes "issues" arise in these areas later in pregnancies and he wanted to look closely at them to be sure everything looked OK.  He assured us, though, that everything looked great!  He asked me to clean up (all that goopy stuff that they use for ultrasounds really makes a mess!) and then to come to his office so he could explain things to us.

Once we got to his office, he asked us what my OB doctor had told us about Jacob's kidneys. When we told him the little information that we knew, he proceeded to go into great length and specifics about what is going on.  He explained everything marvelously and even drew a picture so we could understand it better.  Basically, long story short, Jacob has a dilation of the area where his kidney meets the urethra (which is the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder). This dilation could be caused by four different things: 1. the urethra opening where it meets the kidney is not large enough, 2. the urethra opening where it meets the bladder is not large enough, 3. there is a "reflux" of urine that is splashing back into that area when his urine is passed through the urethra to the bladder, 3. his urethra is bifurcated (split) and he has two urethra instead of one.

The chances that it is #4 is very slim.  There is a better chance that it is #1, 2 or 3 and in all cases, it could correct itself over time.  He explained to us that Jacob's case is a very mild case as the "standard measured dilation" for cause for alarm has changed in recent years from 7 cm to 10 cm (and Jacob is measuring 9.5 cm). He said that he has seen a lot worse and he didn't seem overly concerned or think that this was going to be a huge problem in the future.

However, he does want to see me back for another ultrasound in three weeks so he can measure the dilation again to see if it is growing or if it is "fixing itself" (as many do over time). He would also like me to see a pediatric urologist named Dr. Peters after I have the next ultrasound.  He said it would be good for Dr. Peters to review the ultrasound pictures that he takes in three weeks so that he can give our regular pediatrician suggestions as to what needs to be done when Jacob is born. Dr. T said that the worst thing that can happen is that the baby would get a kidney infection which can cause severe damage to a newborn or infant.  He said that it doesn't take long for a kidney to fail in small children when they have kidney infections. So, our pediatrician will need to monitor Jacob carefully for the first year whenever he gets a fever or becomes ill.  Dr. T also explained that if surgery needed to be done to correct this dilation (if it doesn't correct itself over time), that this surgery wouldn't be done until Jacob was at least one year old.

So, all in all, even though this is still a scary and unknown thing, talking to Dr. T really put us more at ease.  I am glad that he is going to do another ultrasound to see how things are progressing.  Of course, the best news would be that the dilation is reducing on its own and then we have nothing to worry about.  But, if not, I do believe that between Dr. T and Dr. Peters, they will be able to tell us the best course of action and will make sure that Jacob is cared for properly once he is born.

Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers.  We know that God is in control and that he is watching over us and our precious baby.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Quick update

I am feeling a little better after meeting with the specialist today and having another ultrasound. It seems that the issue with his kidneys is probably something that can be easily fixed or at least will be manageable. It's late now and I have to get up early tomorrow so I will update everyone on the specifics either tomorrow night or Sunday.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!