Yesterday's appointments all went very well (as did last week's -- forgot to update afterwards). As we wrote in prior weeks, the only thing we were a little worried about was how much her hydrocephalus would build up before leveling off. In the month or so following the surgery, the measurement of fluid in her ventricles increased about one mm per week, and we were worried that might continue. Well, the past two weeks they have held steady; they are now at 10 mm and 11 mm (up to 10 mm is within normal range, and 11 is nothing to be worried about). A very good sign; hopefully they continue to stay where they are at.
Another good sign is that the past two weeks they have noticed some spinal fluid in a certain spot near the brainstem. This is a very positive thing. Kaitlyn has what is called the Chiari II malformation, which is a common symptom of spina bifida; it occurs when the open lesion in her back allows spinal fluid to leak out, which causes a downward suction that pulls the lower portion of the brain into the top of the spinal column. (Kaitlyn's Chiari was down to the C3 vertebrae, slightly worse than the average kid with spina bifida, which typically is at around C2.) Severe Chiari can cause various problems with eating or even breathing. Well, the fluid they have noticed over the past two weeks in that area is a good sign, indicating that the brain is beginning to be buoyed back up and will hopefully reverse the Chiari altogether.
Shelly is feeling very well lately. The past two weeks, like before, they have found no signs of labor, and no other issues to worry about. This Friday will be a big milestone for us -- Kaitlyn will be 30 weeks along that day. They tell us we should feel pretty good about reaching 30 weeks; and if she makes it to 34 weeks, we should be jumping for joy. At that point, Kaitlyn should be pretty much fully developed and just packing on weight. If she's still patiently waiting, they will deliver her by scheduled c-section at 37 weeks (which would be mid-October). We'll see. They tell us that the average baby with this surgery comes around eight weeks after the surgery; it's been nearly six weeks already! No surprises yet, so we'll keep hoping and praying for the status quo.
More fantastic news: our other two kids are here with us, probably for the rest of the time we are here. Shelly's brother Mike brought them up to us this morning, and he will stay with us too (they want us to have a second adult to help care for the kids, and to be available to watch them if I need to rush Shelly in to deliver). We really appreciate him being here. And we are so happy to have our little Damon and Audrey here for good. Hopefully we can keep them from climbing all over mommy too much.