Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Birthday

Our little Kaitlyn was born at 6:12 this morning and is doing quite well. She does need a breathing tube, which is not uncommon at this stage -- she was a little over six weeks early (gestational age was 33 weeks 5 days). Babies who have had fetal surgery typically come on average about eight weeks after surgery, and she lasted almost ten, so she is already beating the odds. She is breathing mostly on her own; the ventilator is helping her to be able to expand her lungs enough. They've already started weaning her off of it, decreasing the rate from 50 bpm to 40 and now to 30.  They've taken a chest x-ray and done some bloodwork to test for infections, and they haven't yet seen any issues related to prematurity other than getting her to breathe on her own. They tell us that she has been pretty feisty and vigorous when awake, so they're pretty confident she will be entirely off the ventilator soon, hopefully sometime tomorrow.

Shelly is doing great. She woke up with contractions at around 3:30 this morning, so we threw a bag together and took a cab to the hospital. About five minutes after we checked in, her water broke. She was already dilated to 5. The surgery happened very quickly and went smoothly. She did have some rough times today, some vomiting and pain and grogginess, but the past few hours she has felt better than she has in a long while. She's had a flu -- probably the famous H1N1 swine flu -- for about two weeks and it was positively horrendous, but she was finally starting to turn a corner yesterday. Being on an IV all day has probably helped as well. She's amazed that today, even while recovering from a c-section, can feel worlds better than she felt just a day or two ago. And there is absolutely no comparison between this recovery and the nightmarish aftermath of the fetal surgery she had ten weeks ago. She still has some pain, of course, but it's tolerable.

I've posted a few pictures of Kaitlyn below. Will post some better shots of her face without the tape mustache, once they get the breathing tube out.  She posed with a few silent cries -- silent because of the feeding tube, which goes through her vocal cords.  I couldn't catch her with her eyes open; they look dark blue. She's got some hair, much lighter than Audrey's was when she was born; but Audrey's is has lightened quite a bit, and Damon's is practically white, so it looks like we'll have our third little towhead. She is almost 17 inches long and weighs 5 lb 1 oz, pretty good for her age (average at 34 weeks is 4 lb 12 oz). We heard her crying right after she came out, but they whisked her away pretty quickly. Shelly only got to see her for a few minutes, and then they decided she should probably stay out of the nursery for at least a couple more days because of the flu she had. So that's just about the biggest bummer of the day, that she won't be able to see her daughter for awhile; I'm trying to take lots of pictures for her.

Kaitlyn's back has healed fairly well. I couldn't get a picture of it since they keep it covered, but we saw it briefly; the skin has mostly grown over the skin patch they put on her two months ago, covering I'd guess about 80% of the previously open area. She might need another minor procedure to close the rest, but they may just wait to see if the skin continues to heal on its own. We'll see about other spina bifida issues in the weeks ahead. I've seen her move all six joints in her legs, and she squirms her toes when I tickle her feet, so she does have some sensation there. We're not sure yet about bowel and bladder function, but will find out how things go over the next few days. Hydrocephalus is the most nerve-wracking of the wait-and-see issues. At last checkup on Monday, her ventricles measured 14 and 11 mm. The one that is 14 was up slightly yet again from the previous week, and about twice what it was before the surgery. But we're trying to stay positive. We will keep doing ultrsounds and measuring her head circumference, and hopefully her body will learn how to reabsorb the fluid without requiring a shunt.

Thanks again to everyone for your prayers. We truly do feel blessed. Everything has worked out so well for us. We are so grateful to have had this surgery, and that she waited as long as she did. We will keep everyone posted.


22 comments:

  1. Kaitlyn is undoubtedly the most beautiful little baby girl in the world right now. She truly has the Burr "look", and it sounds like her personality is strong, as well as her muscles! What a blessing we have had as a family. We feel so honored to have her join us. Shelly, you are our heroine! You have been so courageous and full of faith and strength through this difficult road. We know the road is still long ahead, but we also know you are up for "the journey"! Congratulations, Mommy and Daddy! We love you more than we can say. ~Mom & Dad

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congratulations! She's beautiful and she looks like one tough cookie =).

    ReplyDelete
  3. Shelly and Kendall-
    She is so beautiful! I am so happy for you guys...and so happy that Kaitlyn is here. I'm glad Shelly is feeling better.
    Congratulations!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh my goodness! 5 pounds at 33 and 5/7--what a chunker! She is beautiful and I'm so glad things are going well so far. I hope she gets to lose that lovely little mustache today and that Shelly continues to recover well. Congratulations.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Everything sounds like it went really good. I've been so behind on the blogs, but I'm glad that I saw on FB that you had your baby. She looks great and just as cute as can be. Shelly you are incredible!! Keep truckin' you guys! Love you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. congrats you two! sounds like everything went fairly smoothly, keep us posted! so happy for you!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Congratulations to all of you! Kaitlyn is absolutely beautiful and it just brings tears to my eyes to hear that everything has worked out well and hopefully will only continue to get better. What a blessing! Thank you so much for keeping us updated!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh wonderful news! Congratulations.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Our hearts and prayers are with your sweet family. What beautiful pictures of your precious Kaitlyn. I am so sorry to hear of Shelly's struggles with the flu. I really hope this weekend brings wonderful things for your family...especially for Shelly who so deserves to hold that perfect little bundle. Congratulations and best wishes from afar!

    ReplyDelete
  10. She's beautiful. I hope that she continues to get stronger and that Shelly can finally feel like herself again and htat hopefully you can go HOME soon!

    ReplyDelete
  11. She is so cute! And she looks so big! I am very happy to hear things are going well and that Shelly is feeling good. I can't wait to meet Kaitlyn and to see all of you again. Post more pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  12. She looks amazing! She is a fighter. I am sorry Shelly has had the flu for so long. Hopefully she will feel better soon. What a sweet little girl. Thanks for the good news.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Congratulations and best wishes to all of you!! We are so happy for you. She is so very beautiful. You have been such an inspiration to all of us. Our Love and Hugs to you!!
    Uncle Brent and Aunt Suzanne

    ReplyDelete
  14. Congratulations! She is beautiful! Shelly, I'm so sorry about you being sick--I think your experience trumps the toughness of a marathon or something like that. I'm thoroughly convinced that you've proved your toughness these last couple of months. Way to go! I hope you feel much better very quickly. Congrats! I'm so glad to hear that her feet are ticklish.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow! I wasn't expecting to see this news today. Kaitlyn is beautiful and I can see the family resemblance already. I'm so glad Shelly is feeling so much better. Congratulations!! I look forward to hearing more about Kaitlyn's life on the outside.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Congratulations on your beautiful little girl! It sounds like she is doing AMAZING!!! God is so good! I can't wait to see more pictures and read some more updates! :)

    your friend from babycenter

    ReplyDelete
  17. Congratulations on your big little girl! Can't wait to see more pictures. I pray the hardest is behind you all now.

    ReplyDelete
  18. She is beautiful! We will continue to pray for all to go as it should. In the meantime, get feeling better so you can hold your precious one!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Wow, that is so amazing. She looks so beautiful even with the mustache :) We pray that everything continues to go well and that Shelly feels better soon.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Congratulations on your little joy. We Pray thinks will look up from here.The pictures are beautiful.So happy Shelley is feeling better...the Menkes

    ReplyDelete
  21. Shelly,
    I am amazed by your strength and courage against such difficult odds! That sweet little girl is absolutely precious - what a special feeling it must be to finally hold her. We think of you and your family every day. Hang in there! What a trooper you are. :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. WOW! What a miracle she is. I have been out of town for 2 weeks so i am now just reading the updates. She is beautiful.
    Congratulations!
    Best of luck!

    ReplyDelete