Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day of Surgery

Spending time with Charlie before his Norwood surgery

Mommy snuggling Noah

Noah gets a tan

Our brave little boy, a few hours post Norwood procedure

As we are sure many of you figured, today has been quite a roller coaster ride. We went to Children's early this morning to be with our little buddy before surgery. We got to hold him and snuggle him, and remind him that he needs to be strong. He listened quietly and attentively, and we dropped him off at the surgery wing with his CICU nurses at around 8:15am.

Josh remained at Children's with Mina's dad, and Mina went back to WHC to be with Noah. Josh had a pager which gave him surgical updates, which he posted on Facebook and texted to Mina to make sure everyone was in the loop. His surgery went pretty smoothly; towards the end he had trouble stabilizing his blood pressure and we were unsure whether he would have to be placed on ECMO (Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation) or not, however, he stabilized and was able to return to the CICU without it. Mina was able to come back from WHC in the evening to see her boys. Josh is staying the night with Charlie in the CICU.

And so now, the hardest part begins. So far he has been relatively stable. His oxygenation is pretty good. He had a bit of bleeding (expected with this surgery), so he is currently being transfused. His lactic acid levels are slowly rising, which as of now, the doctors are keeping a close eye on. He is also not putting out a lot of urine, so they are also keeping an eye on that. His heart rate and blood pressure were not stable, so they lowered the dosages of Dopamine and Epinephrine. Since then, his BP and heart rate have stabilized.

So, thus far, the news is mostly good. We did not expect to come out of this with no issues, so we are taking it in stride. It is difficult to see our little pumpkin this way, but we are so proud of him for being so strong so far. Charles Matthew is truly one amazing little guy!

As far as Noah, due to his prematurity and his breastfeeding issues, he is now pretty jaundiced. He is getting his little suntan in the nursery at WHC, which is why Mina spent a fair amount of time here - making sure he's getting fed and his jaundice is getting under control so that he can come home tomorrow with her.

Another answer to a huge prayer - somehow, although they have been full for a while, the Ronald McDonald house has just enough room for us starting tomorrow after discharge from WHC. We had been told at first it was full; we were then told only two people could stay there - Noah counting as one of the people. Now, all three of us can stay together! Pray that Noah is able to come home tomorrow It has already been quite a beginning, but there's one thing we are both quite sure of...we are both possibly the luckiest people ever to be blessed with such wonderful babies! No matter the hurdles, they're already teaching us so much. There have already been lots of tears, of course - but lots of joy too. We can't wait until our family is all together again!

We will update as we receive more information, probably towards the end of the day. Sorry if we don't get back to people personally - we are a little overwhelmed, but trust us when we say we appreciate every single little word of prayer and encouragement. Yet another reason we are blessed.

Josh and Marina

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Charlie's Surgery Tomorrow

This afternoon we were called in for a meeting at Children's Hospital with the surgeon who will perform Charlie's Norwood Procedure. The surgeon drew us a few illustrations of Charlie's heart and explained to us in detail the operation and the risks associated with it. The surgery is expected to take approximately six hours and is scheduled to begin at 8:30 am tomorrow. We will have a transport team take Marina to Children's before the surgery to spend some time with him before the operation. Children under 12 are not permitted in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) so Noah will not be able to join us. Once they take Charlie, Marina will return to Washington Hospital Center to be reunited with Noah. Josh will remain at Children's to wait on the results and spend the night with Charlie while he recovers. The twins are only days old and already have us wishing we could be in two places at once. The Norwood Procedure is very complex and affects virtually all of his vital organs. One major risk during surgery is bleeding. Charlie will likely need several blood transfusions during the operation. With so much uncertainty around his operation and recovery, Marina and I really have no idea what the next few days and weeks will require of us. All we are left with is the reality of the situation that since diagnosis we have tried so hard to ignore. We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from our family, friends and colleagues. We ask that everyone keep Charlie in their prayers tomorrow. Charlie has surpassed his doctors expectations up to this point and we continue to hope that his strength will not leave him during the difficult days ahead.

With Love and Many Thanks,
Josh and Marina

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The boys are here!

Charles Matthew Baer
4/26/2010 @ 8:09am
5 pounds, 4 ounces

Noah Raymond Baer
4/26/2010 @ 8:08am
4 pounds, 15 ounces

Noah Raymond and Charles Matthew were born yesterday, at 8:08am and 8:09am respectively! Noah was 4 pounds, 15 ounces, and Charlie was 5 pounds, 4 ounces. Noah was breathing a little fast, so he went to the NICU to transition, but is rooming in with Mommy and getting the hang of breastfeeding little by little :)

Charlie is also doing very, very well! He was intubated shortly after delivery, and a quick 2D echo was done at Hospital Center to see the severity of the ASD they were expecting - only to find that the Foramen Ovale was closed a lot less than previously anticipated! He was stable and transported to Children's with Daddy by his side. The nurses at Children's commented on how feisty he is for an HLHS baby! He is very squirmy and doesn't like to be messed with. He was doing very well breathing-wise, so he was extubated yesterday evening, and has been on room air since! He is doing really well, only on the prostaglandin to keep his PDA open, and Zantac, because he is not eating. Mommy got to hold him for the first time today, since he is extubated. Hopefully, Daddy will get some snuggles in before the surgery.

The surgery date is not set yet, and will be decided by tomorrow afternoon. It is looking like either Thursday or Friday. Mommy and Daddy are loving their new roles, albeit getting very little sleep. We both feel so blessed to have these boys finally here! The power of prayer has proven itself once again, and we thank everyone for keeping us in their prayers the past few weeks. The ride has just begun, but we are thinking positively, and are excited to see where it leads us! We will update tomorrow afternoon when we find out when Charlie's surgery will be.

Love, Mama and Papa Baer :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

We are all set!

So today's appointment was relatively well. We had a slight scare where Charlie had a decel during the NST, or, his heart rate dropped for about a minute. We were sent to labor and delivery for extended monitoring and everything was fine. Mina is back home for the weekend!

Delivery is set for 0730am on Monday! We have to be at WHC at 0530 just so Mina can have her labwork done, get prepped and all of that jazz. Charlie will be going to Children's following an echo which will determine or not whether he will need to be catheterized. Josh will be following him there. Hopefully Noah will not give us any reasons to worry on Monday.

We will update whenever we can, as soon as we can. Thanks for the prayers, everyone, and let's all pray for an uneventful weekend! :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Great news!

So Mina had another NST/BPP today, both boys once again did great (Charlie certainly dislikes being monitored and kicked the monitors a LOT during the NST!). Dr. Downing did another cervical check, and the great news is, since Mina is still 2 cm, she did not need to be admitted!! She's back at home, resting and happy. She is battling a bit of an ear infection, but Dr. Downing gave her a prescription for eardrops so hopefully it will end up clearing up soon!

Next appointment is Thursday, we are bringing Mina's hospital bag just in case, but hoping to hold out until Monday, when Mina is scheduled to have her c-section. We will update on Thursday! Thanks for the love and prayers!

Friday, April 16, 2010

35 Weeks!

Today we had our NST/BPP/Growth scan/cervical check appointments at WHC. NST and BPP were fantastic! The boys were having a party in there. The growth scan was alright - they get more inaccurate as the boys grow, because they are so squished in there. However, they each only grew about half a pound - they should have grown a pound since last time. So while we're not TOO concerned, we certainly are a little concerned. Cervix was unchanged, which is wonderful.

So the game plan is now as follows - Mina will go in for her NST/BPP on Monday morning, and follow up with Dr. Downing afterwards. After that, she will probably be admitted to the hospital for the remainder of the pregnancy, and we will deliver the boys either on April 26th or 27th (unless they decide to come earlier).

It feels very good to finally have a game plan. We are praying the boys are willing to stick to this plan :) We will be sure to update everyone on Monday.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Echo & OB Visit

Hello! Today we had Charlie's monthly echo as well as another OB visit for Mina. The echo went fantastic - Charlie's heart function continues to look good, and his foramen ovale is actually still open. Dr. Donofrio explained that she had been anticipating it to progress to closing, which is why she had wanted to deliver at Children's - but at this point, she feels comfortable delivering at Hospital Center. Great news! Dr. Donofrio stated that Dr. Downing was beginning to feel more comfortable with delivery next week, but she wants to hold off a little bit longer to allow the boys' lungs to mature a little more.

We then went over to Hospital Center, where Mina had her NST and BPP - once again, both babies are doing great. Heart rate tracing was reactive on both children, and they both got an 8/8 on their BPPs.

Lastly, we stopped by Dr. Downing's office just to check in with him. He seems to be comfortable with the idea of holding off on delivery and being put on hospital bedrest next week if need be. He then checked Mina's cervix, and unfortunately she is now 60% effaced and almost 2cm dilated. Not exactly the news we were looking for. We are going back on Friday, where she'll be checked again, and we'll have a better idea of the game plan then. Until then, Mina is off her feet and desperately trying to keep the boys cooking!

It's finally real now, though, that within the next two weeks, these two little boys will be making their debut. We are so excited to meet them, scared of what is to come, but hopeful that it will all turn out alright. Thanks again for the prayers, and we will update everyone again on Friday after the next appointment!

Friday, April 9, 2010

34 weeks!

So the boys have finally made it to 34 weeks! How very exciting! Mina is still laying low, keeping her feet up, and so far, that seems to be getting the job done!

She went in for her BPP/NST today, and mentioned that she has been feeling a lot of pressure. Dr. Downing did a cervical check, and while things are mostly unchanged, Noah's butt seems to be pretty low, indicating he's dropped and moving into position. We're hoping he's not trying to make an early escape, so now more than ever, Mina needs to take it easy. Every week that we make it is another hurdle crossed. So bring on the 35th week!

Next week, we have our next echo at Children's, we can't wait to see how Charlie is doing. We also have a growth scan on Friday. We will be sure to keep everyone posted!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

32 Week Update

So Mina's monitoring has been going pretty well so far. Last week, she had to go to Labor and Delivery for observation because of contractions, but her cervix remained unchanged and her fFN was negative, so she was sent home. So far babies are growing as they should (each weighing in at over 4 pounds now!) and doing very well in utero - aside from beating each other up from time to time. :)

Yesterday was the OB appointment, and unfortunately when he checked Mina, he found she was dilated to 1 cm (but not effaced any more than before). Her blood pressure was also 134/89, which is pretty high for her. So now, Mina's modified bedrest has turned into full bedrest. She can still take showers and use the bathroom, and station herself on the couch instead of the bed if she wants, but she needs to spend most of her time laying down.

We need to make it to at least 34 weeks to give Charlie his best chance possible, and Mina will be 33 weeks tomorrow. So lots of prayers that she just makes it at least one more week, if not the full 5 more weeks we had planned on! Thanks everyone :)