Brielle is 38 Weeks!

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Brielle is 38 weeks! This past week has been very busy for us. Since October 18, Brielle has been back to her wiggly happy self, which has been a lot of fun for David and I. We missed our happy girl. Brielle and I have been taking it easy for the past few weeks, so I haven’t had too much to post about. I didn’t want to worry anyone, we just didn’t have anything to talk about!

Saturday our nephew brought down David’s mom, Brielle’s Bebe. David’s mom is getting on in years and we wanted her here for when Brielle was born and to check on her and see how she was doing. Since David works during the day, I’ve been busy taking care of her this week.

Sunday we went to church together as a family. I think Bebe enjoyed getting out and going to church and Brielle loved it! She wiggled and danced during all of the music (except for one song), in fact the whole day she was a wild animal! I woke up to Brielle dancing around and went to sleep with her dancing, she was awake the whole day! Monday Brielle slept pretty much the whole day, and I can’t blame her, she must have been exhausted.

Tuesday I took David’s mom to the hair salon I go to to have her hair colored and permed. It was a very long day for all three of us (Bebe, Brielle, and me). But Bebe’s hair looks beautiful now!

Wednesday David and I went to meet with a minister at our church, which I’ll talk about in another post. I think it went well. And then I rested for the rest of the day. I was completely exhausted yesterday.

Today (Thursday) has been a day of rest too. Brielle is getting very heavy and I am tired. But she is having fun, right now she is dancing to Ellie Goulding’s On My Mind. So as you can see we are not quite as exciting as we used to be.

God is Healing Brielle!

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God is healing Brielle and doing great things! I woke up Monday morning and was able to get in and out of bed by myself, as well as do basic everyday things I had not been able to do previously, due to my high fluid levels. Each day I was able to do more and more and my stomach size became smaller and smaller.

Today we had an ultrasound appointment and talked to Dr. B. My fluid levels had dropped from 47 cm to 34 cm! I dropped that much fluid in four days! That is not done. When Dr. B called us back to his office to review the scans, he watched me walk into the office and just looked at me with an extremely puzzled expression. David has been laughing about it all day, because Dr. B looked completely baffled. He asked, “Have you been exercising?” I laughed, “NO.” We talked about my fluid levels and he was very happy to see them down and have talks of amnio reduction off the table. But he was thoroughly confused. The impression that I got was that polyhydramnios does not, suddenly, or rapidly decrease. And the only explanation for this rapid decrease is that Brielle’s swallowing reflex has been healed. Which means God is healing Brielle’s brain and head!

We looked over Brielle’s scans and measurements. Our last measurements she was very underweight and it looked like she would be a very small baby. She’s 5 and a half pounds today. At 36 weeks a baby should be about 6 pounds. Her legs are a week and a half ahead, meaning she has really long legs! Not too much of a surprise considering her parents are tall. Her abdomen, which had been small, had considerable growth, still behind, but not by much.

And now here is the really cool part. Tooth buds develop in a fetus in the first trimester. Brielle has not had tooth buds (meaning she would not have teeth). As we were going over her scans today, David asked what a white line was across her face, near her mouth. Dr. B in a bit of a surprised tone says, “Those are…tooth buds, she has tooth buds.” It is rare for an anencephalic baby to have teeth. Brielle has developed teeth sometime in the past week! At first I just thought that was cool, but then I started thinking how long it takes for a fetus to make tooth buds (weeks) and then how awesome God is to have given her tooth buds. Later it hit me, he wouldn’t have given her tooth buds if she wasn’t going to need them. Brielle is going to need to chew!

David and I are overwhelmed with joy and excitement! Brielle is not completely healed, yet, but she is well on her way. God is doing great and amazing things with her! Things that are not done. I have prayed that God would do this in a way that would bring him the most glory and praise, this week was not the week for full healing, because it wasn’t the right moment. We eagerly await the right moment and in the meantime are incredibly thankful and awe struck of God and his work. He has heard our cries and has stepped in and begun healing her. We have an awesome God!! And we believe God will heal Brielle!

David and I will not stop praying for healing until she is completely healed. We are also giving prayers of thanks and praise. Please join us in thanking God for the miracles he is performing with our baby and asking him to continue healing her. I am humbled and deeply, greatly, thankful that I serve such an amazing and merciful God!

(We will need to request the picture with her teeth because we did not receive that one. The images we did receive were blurry because she is getting so big and because she was wiggling all over the place! Once we have it, we will post it.)

Brielle is 35 Weeks!

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Brielle is 35 weeks! We celebrated a little early this week. Thursday (a day early) we went and saw a Rifftrax of a horrible ’80s movie called, Miami Connection. The guys who do Rifftrax are the same guys who did Mystery Science Theater, they make fun of movies. It is really hilarious. It’s not mean, it’s all in good fun, but they are really very funny. Anyways, we had a good time out and laughed ourselves silly. At one point, David was laughing so hard I thought he was about to have a heart attack.

We also had an appointment Thursday afternoon to check my fluid levels. They were up to 47 cm, that’s a lot. I’m actually feeling better than I was at 37 cm. I can breathe and sleep fine. I’m having a lot of trouble walking and eating. There’s not a lot of room in there for food and my joints are like, “Too much weight!!” So, you know, good fun. Otherwise, everything looked great for both me and Brielle. All of our stats were perfect.

Saturday, my gastroparesis support group threw me a baby shower for Brielle. It was so kind and sweet. It was very special. We watched Jane Eyre, the 1983 Timothy Dalton version. Brielle liked it! We’ve seen two versions now and she liked both. Which is good, Jane Eyre is my favorite book. Overall, this week Brielle and I will be taking it easy and watching a lot of movies. Because that’s about all Mommy has the strength for.

Brielle did do some funny things the other day. I woke up to her dancing her little booty off. I mean flailing her arms and legs in every direction, she is quite the acrobat. I gently patted my belly and said, “Good morning sweet girl.” She froze. She stopped moving altogether and retreated deep in my tummy. I woke up again a few hours later to a new set of acrobatics, this one with lots of punches to my abdomen. So I rubbed on that spot and she once again froze and retreated. I guess I wasn’t supposed to know what she was up to. Silly girl is so shy! Saturday, David and I were watching my tummy and Brielle was kicking so hard you could see my belly jump (it’s harder to see that because of all the fluid I’m carrying). David started talking and she stopped. So I told her Daddy was gone and could she show Mommy how big and strong she is getting? Oh then she started moving again. So David had to sit there quietly and not move while she put on her little show. Later, David kept saying, “How did we get such a shy daughter?” I had to remind him, she’s OUR daughter. You don’t get much more introverted than David and I, what did he expect?

What Happened in the Hospital

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This is an update on what happened at the hospital.

Wednesday morning I woke up and felt pretty good, I had a few bites of breakfast and within a few minutes my chest tightened and my pulse skyrocketed. It jumped all the way up to 250 and would not come down. And my blood pressure was low. After three days of this, my heart felt like it was about to give out. And after three days of being in the hospital the cardiology department was no closer to figuring out what was wrong. I wasn’t feeling too optimistic. The cardiology department had recommended beta blockers, but they are category c and there isn’t much known on its effects on fetal development, that combined with anencephaly and I felt very uneasy about taking them. So I refused. I refuse about all medication unless absolutely necessary because there aren’t studies on how medications affect anencephalic babies. I know I was frustrating the doctors, but I was not going to do anything that might shorten time with Brielle. All medication comes with a price (just look at the side effects for each pill you take), the price was too steep for me. I also didn’t feel like it was appropriate to take medication when we had no idea what was wrong. And when my bp was already so low, it didn’t seem smart to take beta blockers, which would just make my bp even lower. I told them to find another solution.

David and I talked about it for a bit and agreed we should have my parents at least come out. There weren’t any signs that progress was being made or that the doctors were going to figure out what was wrong and my heart didn’t feel like it had much left in it. The pain just kept getting worse. We decided better safe than sorry and that if I did have a heart attack or stroke, that my parents should get a chance to see me before that happens. My parents found the earliest flights out and got there as fast as they could. David was a bit of a wreck. He kept saying, “I can’t lose both of you.”

Within a few hours my heart rate began to decline. When my Dad arrived it was still high, but under 140 (or about around that range). My chest was still in quite a bit of pain and it was difficult to breathe or talk. I talked to a very nice cardiologist and he seemed extremely confused by my situation, every single test came back healthy and normal.

As the day progressed into the evening my pulse came down below the 120’s (most of the time) and we started to notice that it would spike after I’d eat (and after stressful conversations or I’d get upset). I’d already been thinking maybe there was a vagal nerve problem. This nerve is the nerve that is damaged in my stomach and causes me my health problems. The vagus nerve originates in the brain stem and spreads throughout the entire body, including the heart. We eventually came to the conclusion that either my stomach organ (due to gastroparesis and polyhydramnios) was pushing against my heart and causing my heart to work harder, or that the vagal nerve in my heart was misfiring due to issues elsewhere in my body, such as my stomach. Either way, I needed to treat my gastroparesis instead of my heart. So I did and my pulse came down and went back to normal. I took a tylenol and my pain lightened and the stress on my body was alleviated.

By Thursday morning my pulse was within a very healthy range, my blood pressure was back to normal and I was feeling like myself again. I was talking and I had color in my face again. Dr. Bootstaylor knew I wanted to go to the pumpkin patch this weekend, so he was eager to help get me out of the hospital. He agreed that if I didn’t have a spike after breakfast or lunch then I could go home. So at around 4:00 PM on Thursday I was discharged.

I’ve felt great since. I still have moments where it will spike, but it’s generally because I did too much or have too much food in my stomach. Nothing as bad as when I was in the hospital. This really was an answered prayer. I had such a quick and sudden turn around and really there was no original cause or explanation. Thank you to everyone who was praying for me and Brielle.

Sweet Relief!

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I was given Tylenol a couple of hours ago and have been feeling much better. Since I wasn’t in so much pain I was able to eat a big meal and while that made my chest a little tight, it made everything else feel so much better. My pulse has been holding steady around 90-110 (with 110 being about the highest). I can talk and I’m off oxygen and they’ve removed my IV. Super excited that my IV is gone, it was in the crook of my right arm and made that arm unusable. Now I need prayers that things continue to go well, my pulse doesn’t spike again, and that my chest pain goes away for good. Thank you so much for the prayers, they’ve been helping!!