As promised, a brief (maybe) update from my perinatologist appointment this week: First of all, I had a super sweet sonographer who was trying really hard to get some good pictures of Bee's face. She would even adjust the settings on the machine and ask what I thought looked better. I told her if the ultrasound business didn't work out then she could become a photographer. Ha.
I ended up seeing Dr. Chapman, who I hadn't met before but was very nice. She said she was familiar with my case because apparently all the perinatologists from this practice get together periodically and review their patients so that everybody's on the same page...and they had just talked about my case recently. I told her that I'd seen the pediatric surgeon the day before and how we'd had the discussion about where to deliver. Her comment, which made a lot of sense, was "Well, if you want to live with no regrets--and that's what we're about, right?--you should deliver in Charleston. If you want to take some risk, deliver in Greenville." And she's so right. I don't know if I could live with myself if I made a life or death decision involving my child based on what's most *convenient*, and then something bad happened. So to Charleston we will go. And that's that.
Dr. Chapman also mentioned something that the pediatric surgeon had touched on the day before. She was talking about lung volume in babies with CDH and how, of course, you want as much as possible, but that just because the baby has decent looking lungs before birth, doesn't mean they're necessarily going to do well. She said she's more concerned with how the lungs function than how big they are, and there's just no way to know that until you test them out, so to speak. After the baby's born. The surgeon said basically the same thing. "All this talk about pulmonary hypoplasia*, when really what you have to worry about is pulmonary hypertension*. Harrumph." That might not be an exact quote, but that was the idea.
(*My attempt at an oversimplified explanation of these terms is this: Pulmonary hypoplasia refers to the fact that the lungs aren't as big and developed as they should be. This is due to the crowding they experienced during fetal life with all the extra organs and whatnot up above the diaphragm--in the space that should have been reserved just for lungs and heart. Pulmonary hypertension is more complicated, but it's basically the blood pressure in the lungs themselves. Due to the pulmonary hypoplasia, the blood vessels in the lungs aren't as open as they should be, and blood doesn't flow as easily. This causes the right side of the heart to work extra hard as it tries to pump blood through the lungs. All that extra work can end up causing heart failure, which is, from my understanding, one of the major causes of death for CDH babies.)
All that to say, it's impossible to predict how this is going to go. But if you would like something specific to pray for, I'd ask that it be for NO pulmonary hypertension for Bee. It's a beast. It's evil. It strikes fear in the hearts of pediatric surgeons, neonatologists, and, well, me.
But moving on to a more pleasant subject, here are some pictures that our lovely sonographer (Mary Helen) took for us of beautiful Bee.
That last one absolutely owns me. I'm pretty sure even the sonographer teared up when she found that shot. And I love that she labeled it "Baby Bee." So sweet. Anyway, our girl looked good on ultrasound, apart from the obvious, and she's growing great! Up to 3 lb 8 oz now.
Next Wednesday is our big visit to Charleston. My parents will be coming to Greenville to stay with Henry while we're there. Please pray not only for all our doctor's visits, but that our little man Henry will do well while we're gone. I have a feeling he'll do great and I'll be the one who will be a wreck being away from him.