Thursday, March 25, 2010

Heart Update

Well today I am officially 30 weeks pregnant! I have a crazy feeling that from here on out time is going to fly by.

We had an appointment with the cardiologist (Dr. Sami) this afternoon with a repeat echo. Things are looking pretty stable with our little heart. There haven't been any significant changes from the echo that they did prior to the potential Boston trip (other than the fact that our little girl is growing and wanted to kick the little doppler device around!) They were able to get better views of the heart than they had in the past. I think that as she is starting to get a little more cramped in there, they can keep her in one position longer! Dr. Sami did say at one point that she has a "beautiful" aortic arch. This has absolutely nothing to do with the defect, but it made me smile!

So once the echo was completed and we discussed what he saw, discussion turned more toward the planning phase of things. Once a month Dr. Sami does a cardiac conference with the physicians/surgeons at Children's in Omaha. They just did this on Monday of this week, so it will be another 4 weeks before he can take our case back to that group. He will get their opinions on the most recent scan and will get back to us at that point. While he doesn't think that there will be any emergent issues immediately after birth, he still feels most comfortable with us delivering at Children's. Matt and I couldn't agree more. So the plan is for me to be induced in Omaha at 39 weeks unless their is a difference of opinion at their next conference. After she is born they will start a drug called prostaglandin to help maintain blood flow through the heart. They will also do a cardiac cath to get a better feel for what is going on within the heart and surrounding vasculature. From there...everything is up in the air.

On a totally different note (one you could probably care less about but might be slightly entertained by)...I came home to a kennel full of dog poo this afternoon. This hasn't happened since the first day Stella was in her kennel all day. Why did it happen then, you might be wondering....


Yesterday while we were in the front yard enjoying the beautiful weather, out sweet little angel dogs found a box of granola bars and helped themselves. The vet assured me that there wasn't enough chocolate to harm dogs their size, but warned that they might have some "digestive issues." Between Stella poo and Maybe hacking up Kudos wrappers, I hope they learned their lesson. I think that they are testing me to prepare me for motherhood!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Much to my surprise!

In all of my blogs so far, I don't think that I have really expressed how wonderful my husband is. I think that its about time that I brag him up a little!

About a week or so I think that reality started to sink in a little bit for me. On one hand I am excited beyond words to finally meet our little girl. I can't wait to hold her and to kiss her little cheeks. I am so excited to be a mommy to this special little girl. On the other hand, the closer that we get to that day, the more I start to worry about all of the unknowns that will accompany it and the days, weeks, months to follow. I'm very much a "planner" and this whole situation is teaching me a very valuable (but difficult) lesson...some things are just out of our hands and you can't let yourself fall apart because of it.

Having said this, I think that Matt could pick up on my need to check a few things off of our "preparing for a baby" list. Now that I think about it, it probably wasn't that hard to pick up on. We were walking past the baby section at Target one day and all of a sudden it just hit me...I felt very unprepared. I totally understand that you probably never really feel 100% ready, but again, I'm a planner. Sure I've bought a few cute little girlie outfits, but heck, we didn't even have a place for a baby to sleep. Before he knew it, I started plucking baby supplies from the shelves. Baby wipes, blankets, lotion, you name it. It wasn't anything huge, but I felt surprisingly better.

That brings us to my wonderful wonderful WONDERFUL husband. My husband who knows the way that I work and understands that maybe I get a little antsy from time to time. My husband who knew, maybe even more than I realized myself, how much it would help me feel more prepared just to get the nursery finished. My husband who apparently is always full of surprises. I called him on my way home this afternoon fully expecting him to be finishing up a nap (after all, he went to work at 2AM today!). Much to my surprise, his response was "You'll probably beat me home. I had to run an errand." By errand what he meant was he DROVE TO OMAHA to pick up our nursery furniture from my sister's house! I guess he's been planning on this for about a week or so, but wanted it to be a surprise. Wow...was it ever!

So now we have a nursery! And even though there are still 2 puppies inhabiting the space, its absolutely perfect. If I thought that some silly little baby supplies made me feel better, just imagine how I feel today. I can't stop smiling when I think about it...and at the same time my eyes well up with tears because I am again reminded of just how lucky I am to have Matt in my life. It makes difficult times more bearable knowing that he's by my side every step of the way.

Ok, thats my sappy moment of the day! Time for some pictures. It looks a little cramped in the photos, but in person its exactly what I envisioned. Again, try to picture things without kennels!

The paintings above the crib and changing table were courtesy of Matt. Aren't they cute!? Now we just need to get a mattress so that we can get the bedding in and we should be good to go!

30 weeks along tomorrow. Stay tuned for a cardiologist update!

Monday, March 22, 2010

OB appointment

Well, today I officially had the last of my every 4 week OB visits. I will be 30 weeks along on Thursday and from now on I "get" to go in every 2 weeks for a quick check. Like I said before, these visits are always quick and easy!

Weight gain: Right on track, not too little, not too much.
Belly measurement (uterus): 29" Apparently this is normal
Blood pressure: Good as always
Baby's heart rate: 142 beats per minute. At all of my other visits its been in the 160s, but Dr. Berdahl says that she's still in good range. I think that when it comes to anything heart related, I'm just a little paranoid!

Had my glucose tolerance test last week and found out today that I passed with flying colors. No gestational diabetes for this girl. I celebrated by eating a bowl of ice cream and some gummy bears.

My cardiology appointment is on Thursday afternoon and Matt and I are both hoping that we will start discussing how things are going to play out come May. I think that some sort of a "plan" would help ease my mind and it would be nice to at least have some idea of where we'll be and who will be delivering our crazy little monkey!

Not much else to report on the baby front. The little one continues to beat me up from the inside, but I welcome every round house kick and karate chop! I tried to describe the feeling to Matt the other night, but its just beyond explanation...totally creepy and weird, but at the same so incredible and satisfying. I've felt great so far but can tell that I'm starting to slow down a little. Matt got me a prenatal massage for my birthday so I'm thinking that this weekend I might pamper myself a little!

Keep the prayers coming for that little heart of ours!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


So this is totally not a baby related post, but I wanted to share a YUMMY recipe with you all! Matt and I decided that we wanted to start a new Sunday morning tradition in our house...BRUNCH! Well, you can only do pancakes, waffles and french toast so many times before you need to spice things up a little. I found a recipe for apple pancakes and we tried them this morning.

I skipped the orange zest and added cinnamon. YUM! Also, I didn't do the cinnamon butter because I knew that I would want to slather it on everything or just end up eating it straight out of the bowl. Pregnant ladies can do that, right???

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Who says football is just for boys?

Here is the newest addition to the nursery...

We may be having a little baby girl, but that doesn't mean that its ever too early to start pushing a little Husker pride!

Hope that everyone is having a good weekend. The sun is shining here but its still a little on the chilly side. We're anxiously awaiting another warm up this coming week. I have appointments on Monday (OB) and Thursday (Cardio), so check back for updates!

Monday, March 15, 2010

I swear I'm not bitter!

Eight weeks ago Matt and I got our first glimps of Little Miss Ritchie on ultrasound. She was a totally wiggle worm with either her hands or her feet up in front of her face practically the whole time and wouldn't let us get a good shot of her. So, for the past eight weeks I have been looking forward to today...ultrasound #2. I've had many conversations with her over the past week explaining to her the importance of cooperation and listening to your mother. Well she didn't really get much opportunity to cooperate today...

My whole appointment lasted a whoppin' 10 minutes and my sonographer either has a terrible personality or was having one of those "I don't want to be at work" kind of days. I asked about the baby's position (her random movements have me totally confused). Response? A short and sweet "Well, her head is down." After that there was a series of clicks of the mouse as she measured her arms, legs, belly and head (all in total silence), followed by a quick "Well, I'm finished. I'll be back with Dr. Wahl."

After the doctor came in and looked us over, I mentioned that we hadn't really gotten any good pictures the last time. With the same "enthusiastic" personality, the sonographer managed to spend about 30 more seconds trying to get some shots. What did I walk away with??? A picture that once again reassures us that she is indeed a girl, a picture of her spine (every mothers dream picture) and something that she tells me are her lips. BOOOO! Next time I will request to not have her!

All whining aside, it doesn't really matter if I got pictures or not. Everything is looking good and thats what is important! They estimate that she's about 2 lb. 11 oz. (right on track). Her head and belly measure perfect and she's got some skinny little thighs at about the 5th percentile. We'll go back in 6 weeks for one last look! I have my general OB appointment next Monday and a cardiologist appointment next Thursday.

I had originally planned on sharing some pictures from today, but since thats a no go, I'll supplement with some others. Last week Matt did the CUTEST little paintings of our puppies to put in the nursery. Once pictures of nursery wall #2, you will see how everything fits together!

Miss Maybe
Cartoon Maybe
Miss Stella
Cartoon Stella

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A work in progress

Matt and I have managed to keep ourselves pretty busy lately getting the nursery ready for our little girlie. We decided to keep things pretty gender neutral and also decided that we didn't want to paint any walls. SOOO, to add a little color we got creative. I saw a picture on a design website and instantly loved it...very colorful, very eclectic looking and a good project for us to put our creative minds together to create. I was going to wait and post pictures when the room was finished, but am just too excited not to share it now. We've only finished one wall but I am totally in love with it!

We collected random letters (with a little help) over time and then got creative coming up with ways to refinish them. While I did contribute, I will give a majority of the credit to Matt. He had some awesome ideas and put a lot of hard work into things. A big Nebraska "N" made the cut without argument, but I did have to draw the line when there was mention of a Packers "G"! Now we just need a couple of bins to slide into the little shelving unit and it will be complete. Next up....wall #2!

Monday, March 8, 2010

28 weeks

It has been almost a month since we took our last round of pictures so I figured that I better get some new ones out for those of you who don't get to see me much. I'll be 28 weeks later this week and am definitely starting to feel the effects of this rapidly growing little girlie! Putting on socks has become an interesting process, I can't slouch without feeling like I'm squishing something I shouldn't be, and I will never turn down a helping hand to get my butt off of the couch! Also, I'm pretty sure that my stomach is now located somewhere under my ribcage. Does that mean that it will be up by my neck by the time this is all over with!?!? Honestly though, I have been feeling great. I feel like I've sailed through things so far and have my fingers crossed that it continues this way.

For some reason I was instructed by my photographer to give a big thumbs up--it seems to be a signature Matt Ritchie pose.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What a difference a day makes

Yesterday at this time I had just gotten home from work where I had been sitting in the parking lot, sobbing to my mom on the phone (after which I called my sister and sobbed some more while trying to drive myself home.) Yes, I know that this probably wasn't the safest decision I have ever made, but its done and over with. :) Now its 24 hours later, and while I still wish that Boston would have been an option for us, it wasn't. There is nothing that we can do about that, and no use dwelling over it. PLAIN AND SIMPLE. Now we just have to pick up where we left off and start making plans for the next few months. I can't believe how quickly time is going and how soon it is going to be that we get to meet our precious little girl...Who now has a name, by the way! When people ask me what it is, I like to tell them that we are naming her after Matt's sister.................................Kristen! I personally think that Kristen Ritchie has a nice ring to it.

Anyway, I thought that I would TRY to give you all a simplified explanation of Little Miss Ritchie's condition...

Pulmonary atresia (PA): PA is when the pulmonary valve that lets blood flow from the right ventricle of the heart to the lungs has not formed properly or is closed. Sometimes it is due to a tissue membrane that forms over the valve. If this would have been the case, we may have been candidates for the in-utero procedure. My understanding is that they would have poked a hole through this membrane and then ballooned the valve open. In our situation, they cannot identify the pulmonary valve, meaning that they don't really have anything to go in and open up. This is the plain and simple reason why Boston was a no go.

Hypoplastic right heart syndrome (HRHS): The problem above can lead to an underdeveloped right ventricle, which is the pumping chamber in the heart that send oxygen-poor blood to the lungs. Right now, our little girl's ventricle was described to us as "mild to moderately hypoplastic." What that means prognostically, we're not sure yet.

So that's where we stand right now. Unfortunately its hard to get good answers to our questions as they really won't know the full extent of things until after she is born. We were told that they would perform a heart cath after birth that will give them more information as to what is all going on. I called Dr. Sami's office this afternoon and am waiting to hear back as to when they want me back for another visit. I'm 27 weeks tomorrow so I would assume that we'll need to start talking about when and where this little monkey is going to be born and be put in touch with our future surgical team.

Next known doctors appointment is March 15 with the perinatologist. We have another ultrasound so hopefully we'll get some good pictures!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

No Boston...

Not really up for typing but wanted to fill in everyone who has been waiting for some word from us. We got the call from Boston and it wasn't what we wanted to hear. There will be no Boston or in-utero procedure for the Ritchie family. I'll give details of "why not" a little later once things have had time to sink in.

As much as we said "we aren't going to get our hopes up..." we least I did anyway! We'll be ok, though. As I'm typing this I have a little one kick boxing away in there. It makes it kind of hard to be too down in the dumps. I think that she's trying to tell me she's a fighter through and through!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Waiting Waiting Waiting

So I called Boston again today this afternoon (never hurts to nudge a little!). I talked with a nurse practitioner that works with Dr. Tworetzky. Apparently he was looking at our most recent echo as we spoke. She said that if we didn't hear from her by the end of the day, to expect a call sometime tomorrow morning. Since its already after 5 there and I haven't heard anything, I'm guessing that we'll just have to sit tight until morning. Lots of prayers until then!

Other than that, all is well here. The little one is more and more active every day...especially when there is chocolate involved. Matt FINALLY got to feel and see a kick on Sunday so that was pretty exciting. Not much else new!