Sunday, March 21, 2010

Zoe the "Model"

We made it to Philly and back in 55 hours; arriving at 8 p.m. ET and needing to be at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia at 7:15 a.m. the next morning. Very little sleep was had Thursday night. Too much anxiety and the time change didn't help.

Our wake up call came in at 5:30 a.m. (2:30 AZ Time) Friday morning. We had a good breakfast, knowing it would be a long day and made it to CHOP on time - without getting lost. First test: level 2 ultrasound lasting 1.5 hours. Zoe passed with flying colors with the exception of her known heart abnormalities. We saw 10 little fingers, 10 little toes, plump lips and one button noes. It's hard to fathom that such a seemingly well developed little girl has just one underdeveloped organ causing all of her troubles. She is still quite tiny, but doctors aren't concerned at this point, she continues to grow at her own pace - just like Emerson.

After the ultrasound, we met with one of CHOP's midwives and OBGYN. All systems are go for a normal delivery at the Special Delivery Unit (SDU).

Once Zoe is born, they'll pass her through a window from our labor and delivery room to run immediate testing. I won't get to hold her right away, but after they've done a thorough check, they'll place her on my stomach for a short few minutes before taking her for pre-surgical testing. She'll also receive a prostiglandin injection to keep her patent ductus arteriosis open until surgery. The prostiglandin is Zoe's lifeline. Assuming all of Zoe's tests show she is healthy and ready for surgery, she'll undergo her first open heart surgery (the Norwood procedure) at 3-5 days old. Dr. Spray is our surgeon and known as one of the best in the world.

Next on our itinerary at CHOP was the dreaded fetal ECHO and oxygenation testing. I worry each time we go for the echocardiogram, since they are closely monitoring Zoe's heart for restriction of the atrial septum. Restriction has been a concern to doctors for the past several months and if this complication arises, Zoe's survival rates can drop to nearly 50%. The ECHO was performed first without oxygen to check her heart. I was then placed on oxygen so the sonographer could measure the levels of oxygen Zoe is receiving in her lungs. Caleb and I couldn't resist and I told him to snap a photo on his phone of silly me on oxygen.

Then, I tried to anticipate the results by watching the color doppler - not an easy task. I thought things were going well...but what do I know? Apparently, more than I give myself credit for. My educated guess was accurate. When we sat down with our fetal cardiologist, Dr. Szwast, she had a big smile on her face and said, "Zoe is the model patient." She continued on to say that thing are looking very good. She sees absolutely no signs of restriction. Her HLHS is textbook with no complicating factors. A huge sigh of relief!

They forewent the fetal MRI since we received such positive results. I will have to do the MRI, however, when we relocate at 36 weeks. And yes, "Houston, we have a relocation date." April 13.

After meeting with the program coordinator (whom I adore), the social worker and billing department manager (saved the best for last), we were set free.

The weather in Philly was fabulous - 71 degrees. We made reservations at Rouge and sat on the patio people watching while we ate. Caleb got to enjoy a few lagers and I asked the server for a "fun, fancy virgin drink." He brought me a muddled berry lemonade in a brandy wine glass. I was really happy, almost as happy as if it'd actually been wine in the glass. After dinner we walked up and down Walnut street window shopping. Philadelphia is home to the first Anthropologie which is now located in a 4-story mansion.

After shopping (and dessert of course), I finally got some much needed sleep. Saturday morning, a massage helped me relax even more. We couldn't go to the airport just yet...not without consuming a Philly Cheesesteak. Caleb had done his research and had his heart set on "Wit or Witout", Philly's newest and best-rated of 2009. We were so impressed with ourselves for finding the restaurant and making it to the airport to return the rental car on time.

I got to pre-board as a big ol' pregnant lady and off we were to pick up Emerson at my parents. Thanks mom and dad for watching Ms. Emmy while we were in Philly!

Now, for the next few weeks, I need to work a ton, go to more doctor's appointments and pack for April 13 when the second half of the Lihn Adventure begins. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Momma Lihn

Friday, March 12, 2010

Nervous Nelly

With another trip to Philadelphia on the horizon, Nervous Nelly emerges. We have a full day of testing at CHOP on Friday including meetings with maternal-medicine physicians, fetal cardiology for Zoe's echocardiogram and oxygenation testing, fetal MRI, a midwife and program coordinator. Most importantly, we'll learn our Philadelphia "relocation" date. It'll be sometime shortly after Easter. Wow, Easter sure is fast approaching. I feel like this pregnancy has flown by; Caleb feels like it has lasted 20 years.

Emmy will stay with Grandma and Grandpa while we're in Philly for testing. She sure loves her "Papa!" They are BFFs.

We have a lot to do before we pack and relocate to Philly. I'd like to put the finishing touches on Zoe's room, even though when she comes home, she'll be sleeping in our room for quite some time. I thought I was nervous about bringing Emerson home...

Until my next update (post-CHOP visit), enjoy some pictures of our Sunday Brunch with Granny, Papa and Great-Grandma.

(Emmy loving springtime flowers in AZ. Too bad she has allergies already.)

(Granny and Emmy smelling the flowers pre-brunch.)

(Papa, Granny and Emmy being goofballs!)

(Four generations - Mom, Emmy, Me, Zoe and Grandma Olney.)

(The Lihns - all four of us...)