30 Jul '04 - 800 W - + 27 - 24 some helpful links

Hershey Medical Center

Their website

Tetralogy of Fallot

What it is

How to discover it

Esophageal Defects

What it is

Another link

Another link

Fetal Echocardiography

A link



Stopping Preterm Labor

Dr. Spock

For a quick background on what we're dealing with, I've reposted the origional "Catching Everybody Up" below if you click "more"

Well, everyone knows that Kari and I are going to have a son, so I can skip that.

A week and a half ago, we found out that there are some problems. The first thing that we found out was that Kari was carrying some extra fluid in her womb. Apparently, this has the effect of sending most women into early labor, due to increased stress on the cervix.

There also may be a blockage in his esophagus. In all of the ultrasounds, (and trust me, there have been a lot of them), they have never seen his stomach. This apparently is because you can only see the stomach when it is full of fluid, and he isn't able to swallow into the stomach. The good news is that this is correctable via surgery, and it has a very good success rate. The bad news is that surgery will be required very soon after birth, in order to allow him to eat.

Additionally, it seems that there are some heart defects as well. It is a condition known as tertrology of fallow, which simply put, means that there are a couple of holes in the inner walls of the heart, resulting in mixing of the red and blue blood. This results in the tube that goes from the heart to the lungs being underdeveloped, which may limit the amount of oxygen available to him after birth. The good news is that right now, he is not using his lungs, so his development is unhindered by this defect. This condition is not terribly common, but it is not uncommon either, and they have several tried and true methods of dealing with this. The first is to use medicine as a temporary fix, and then use surgery to fix the heart. The second is to do surgery immediately to fix the heart.

A week and a half ago on monday, Kari had an amniocentisis, to determine if the cause of these defects is genetic. The preliminary results ruled out Down's syndrome, as well as two other trisome conditions. We are still waiting on the full analysis. However, when they hooked her up to a fetal monitor, which is standard procedure after an amnio, they found out she was having regular contractions. The amnio was not the cause of this, it turns out, as she was having contractions all weekend, but didn't realize that that was what they were. They managed to stop the contractions with medication, and Kari was put on bed rest for all of last week. The contractions kept coming back, and they upped the dose of the medication (Brethen)

Late last saturday night, Kari started having regular contractions, which sent us to the hospital in Lancaster. They couldn't really stop the contractions, so we were rushed to Hershey Medical Center, because if the baby is born, Lancaster couldn't handle the type of surgeries that were going to be necesary. They hooked her up with an IV and started giving her Magnesium Sulphate, a horrible medicine that works well, but made Kari feel like she was burning up, nauseous, and exhausted. It slowed the contractions down a bit, for a while.

Because the baby is most likely going to be premature, the doctors were really worried about the state of the baby's lungs, so they started a series of steriod shots, which are meant to beef up the baby's lungs. They then started her up on a third medicine to stop pre-term labor, endomethecine (sp?). This medicine works even better, and doesn't cause the feeling of being on fire, nor nausea, nor exhaustion. However, it has some other side effects if taken for long term. It reduces the amount of amniotic fluid (not a problem for Kari), but can cause heart problems for the baby. So, she is not going to be taking this long term.

For the last week, we have been at Hershey, getting routine scares, where Kari starts having strong contractions, and we are generally able to stop them, but, she has dilated to 3cm, and is slowly dilating more. My best guess, using all the knowledge I have, (read: very little), is that we will deliver the baby very soon, probably within the next week. The prognosis after that is that the baby will be spending a lot of time in the hospital after that, getting healthy, before we will be allowed to bring him home.

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