Thursday, February 25, 2010


So I've got my call out to I just sit here, stare at my phone and wait for it to ring. Today? Tomorrow? Who knows. But the lady did tell me that once these things are set up, they tend to happen fast! It was almost like she was warning me. Little does she know that "fast" to me would have been about a week ago!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Boston Bound?

Its been a pretty eventful week here in the Ritchie house...

During my HOURS and HOURS of internet searching after we found out about Little Miss Ritchie's heart condition, I came across an article about a procedure that they can actually do in some HRHS babies before they are even born. We asked the cardiologist about this and for some reason, I'm not sure why, he didn't think that we would be candidates. As much as I respect his opinion, I asked that he get in touch with Boston Children's Hospital (the "pioneers" of this surgery) and at least have them take a look at our case. Four weeks later, I had pretty much come to the conclusion that the physicians there had agreed and that we weren't ideal candidates. THEN, last Tuesday I got a phone call from our cardiologist saying that he received a letter from Boston and that they felt surgery might be an option!!!

So we went to the cardiologist today for another echo and afterwards Dr. Sami was going to get in touch with Boston to check their availability. At some point in the next few weeks we'll be flying to Boston for a full evaluation by their specialists. There is no guarantee that once we get there we will be candidates, so we're trying not to get our hopes up too high. However, if we ARE candidates, they will do the procedure while we are there to avoid multiple trips. Plus, they would ideally do this before 29 weeks and I'm already 26.

Basically, they would go through my stomach with a needle, enter the baby's chest and heart, and proceed to balloon open the valve that is not open (and causing the small right ventricle). By doing this, hopes are that blood flow through the valve would increase and stimulate the right side of the heart to grow over the remainder of my pregnancy. The ultimate goal? A 2 sided heart versus the surgeries that would leave her with just 1 side. I'm continually amazed by modern medicine! Her heart is about the size of a walnut and now they are telling us that they can go in and open up a teeny tiny valve???!?!?

SOOOO....check back in the next couple of days. Hopefully we'll have a better idea of when we'll be heading out. Until then, keep us all in your prayers. It looks like they have been heard thus far!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mr. & Mrs. Ritchie

I can't believe that it has already been a year since our wedding!
And what an exciting year it was...

We finished our basement
Put in a swimming pool
Ate A LOT of bones (well...some of us did...)
FINALLY became Wangerball champions
Hosted and finished second place in the 1st Annual Ritchie Bag-Masters Classic
(We'll keep you posted on the 2nd annual. Don't miss it!)
Found out we're a Mommy and Daddy-to-be!!!!
Just to name a few!

As eventful as things were when it was just us and the puppies, I can't imagine what is in store for us once we have another addition to the family! It has been such a wonderful year and we are so excited to face the future together. I LOVE YOU MATTY!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jamaican me CrAzY! I sit back an think about my life 1 year ago today, I'm filled with mixed emotions. On one hand, we were FINALLY in Jamaica for a week of sunshine and relaxation (oh yeah, and to get married) . On the other hand, it makes me a little depressed to drive up to our mailbox every day and be right next to a snow pile that is taller than my car!! I've got an official South Dakota winter tan (blending perfectly with the above mentioned snow pile) and am OVERDUE for a vacation. Below is the view from our room....sigh....

On the baby front, I demonstrated pure impatience today. The thought of another 4 weeks of waiting to see the cardiologist was driving me crazy, so I called and got things bumped up a week. I will now go see him on March 8th instead of the 16th. Crazy how a week feels like a world of difference!

Monday, February 15, 2010

OB Visit

As always, my visit to my OB was pretty uneventful today! Things seem to be progressing just like they should be.

Blood pressure = good
Belly measurement = "right on track"
Fetal heart rate = 150s
Weight gain = good (tell my pants that)

After the doctors appointments that we have had lately, this 4 week check felt like a cake walk! On one hand my OB visits are kind of ho hum and routine; not focusing on our biggest issue. On the other hand, its nice to go to the doctor, hear a pounding little heart on the doppler and not get bad news! It makes me feel...well..."normal".

Its hard to believe that its only been 1 month since we found out that we are going to heart parents. As Matt put it, the first week felt like a month in itself. Now we have to wait another month for the next round of appointments. As of now, I see the perinatologist on March 15 and the cardiologist on the 16th. I sometimes find myself thinking that we're going to go to these appointments and they will tell us that her little heart has fixed itself. I don't know if that makes me naive or just an optimist and firm believer in miracles! I like to think that its the latter.

On another note...It was almost exactly 1 year ago that Matt and I (and many of you!) headed off to Jamaica for the big wedding. Can you believe that we'll hit our 1 year mark on Saturday?! Who is ready for a reunion trip?!?!?!?!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

24 weeks

Nothing new and exciting to update on, but I thought that I would share a quick picture for those of you that I don't get to see on a regular basis. Matt was gone for 10 days and when he came back he said "wow, Babe, you are bigger!" The first picture is at 20 weeks and the second at 24 weeks. I'm not huge, but definitely starting to round out a little other words, I feel more pregnant than just chubby!

I have an OB appointment on Monday and then will go back to the cardiologist and perinatologist in another 3-4 weeks. We've got a list of questions that just keeps growing so hopefully we can feel a little more "informed".

On another note...February 7-14 is Congenital Heart Disease awareness week. Congenital heart defects affect nearly 1 in every 100 babies born. This week if you say a little prayer for us, please include all of those other little kiddos (and their families) out there who are faced with similar heart issues!!


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Is it Sunday yet?

I'm never one to wish away a weekend, but there are LESS THAN 24 HOURS UNTIL MATT GETS BACK FROM AZ! I didn't realize how long 10 days would feel. I miss him, the dogs miss him....we're just ready to get back to normal!

We got a special delivery in the mail the other day...

Thank you VERY much Aubrey! You are such a big girl and so generous for sharing!
(From the looks of it, the Rockows got their money's worth! HAHA)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Here Goes Nothing! goes my first effort in the world of "blogging." You'll have to forgive me if I ramble (I have a way of doing that!) This one might be a little long as I have LOTS to cover!

As many of you already know, Matt and I found out on January 18th that we are going to be welcoming a little baby girl into our lives this summer. WOOHOO (I think that might be what I secretly wanted)!!! Though Matt already had plans to teach his little boy how to kick a football (the next Alex Henery, perhaps?), the thought of having a "daddy's little girl" has him very excited! I'm 23 weeks today, and though the piles of snow outside our house may make it feel like forever away, I'm sure that June will be here before we know it.

Now comes the emotional rollercoaster.....about 30 minutes after the sonographer told us we were having a little girl, the doctor came in to take a quick look at the ultrasound. When she got to the heart, she said that there are 3 views that she like to check routinely. Because I am carrying a little wiggle worm in my belly, she was having trouble getting the 3rd view. However, from what she COULD see, she thought that one side of the heart looked a little smaller than the other. She left the room and re-emerged about 5 min. later letting us know that we had an appointment with a pediatric cardiologist set up for the following afternoon. Wow, that was fast. Needless to say, it was a long rest of the day not knowing what was going on.

The very next day we went to see the cardiologist, Dr. Sami, who preformed a fetal echocardiogram (its 100% amazing the detail they can pick up from a teeny tiny heart at only 20 weeks) I didn't even really watch the ultrasound monitor...just Dr. Sami's face...and I could tell that something wasn't right. After what felt like forever, he sat me up and told us that our little girl has hypoplastic right heart syndrome (HRHS). All I can say is that its a good thing we have both taken anatomy classes, because everything after that point is kind of a haze. HRHS is a congenital heart defect in which the right ventricle of the heart fails to grow and develop appropriately. Because of this, the heart cannot adequately pump blood into the lungs to be oxygenated. No one really know WHY this happens...but it happened.

So, what does this all mean???? Good question! We are still trying to wrap our heads around it as well. Right now all of her oxygen comes from me, so there aren't any major issues during pregnancy. Most babes, however, will need to have surgery within the first few days to place a shunt in the heart. This is just a temporary solution until the baby has a chance to grow and can tolerate a bigger procedure. 2 more surgeries are likely to follow, with the goal of totally bypassing the right side of the heart. You heard me right...she'll run on 1/2 of a heart. I had NO CLUE that this was even possible. We haven't had a chance to meet with a surgeon yet, so we are keeping a list of questions. We'll know more later.

Needless to say, we (all 3 of us) have a long road ahead of us. I've read a lot of blogs from other "heart mommies and daddies" and admire the strength that they all seem to have. I can only hope and pray that when its our time we will be the same. Until then, I'm sure that we will have good days and bad days, maybe even terrible days, but we know that we have to keep our heads held high. Our little girl continues to thrive and grow each day, and I have 17 weeks to be the best home for her that I can be! Everytime that she decideds to make herself known through a dance party in my belly, I'm reminded of just how lucky we are.

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for all of the thoughts and prayers you have sent our way over the past few weeks. I never underestimate the power of prayer and we've had lots of it. From a first grade class in Omaha to family friends visiting Burma. Though we have always known that we have an incredible support system of family and friends, you kind of take advantage of it until something like this comes along. We are forever grateful for each and every one of you. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU and keep those prayers coming!