Friday, September 17, 2010

Parker's birth story and updates

So Parker's due date is today, September 17th.  He ended up coming a bit early as we all know so he is 1 day away from being 6 weeks old.  I can't believe how quickly this 6 weeks has gone and I can truly say this has been the most difficult and life altering few weeks of my life yet I feel comforted and fairly at peace with things and I truly believe this is because of the many, many people we have praying for our family.  But I think I'm getting ahead of myself...(I'll warn you now, this is going to be long - I think blogging may keep me out of therapy).

I'll begin this story on August  5th.  I went to my regular check up at the OB.  They had troubles finding Parker's heartbeat on both the Doppler and their non-stress-test machine so they sent me directly to the hospital.  It was the same story there.  Parker's heartbeat was fluctuating between 70 and 140.  This scared the nurses a lot so they called my OB and a specialist who both said to rush me to the OR and prep me for a C-Section and they'd be there soon to evaluate. I was a bit in shock over all of this because I was not expecting to have a baby that day and if it wasn't for the fact that I happened to be at the Dr that day I wouldn't have known anything was wrong.
They did get me prepped and into the OR.  The specialist showed up first and did an ultrasound.  He said there was definitely an arrhythmia present but he didn't feel like we needed to get the baby out - he would just continue to monitor things and make sure baby was alright.  My OB showed up a couple minutes later.  She informed us it was her opinion that we do need to go ahead with the C-Section right then based on the numbers.  They decided since they couldn't decide that it was up to us.  Wow, what pressure is that!?!?!  Shouldn't it be THEIR job to come to a consensus and tell us what to do? Well, we decided not to have a C-Section right then and instead go to the specialists office for a more advanced ultrasound and to stay in the hospital overnight to continue with non-stress-test monitoring. 
At the specialists office we were told that the arrhythmia wasn't anything to be too worried about and that we could go home and come back on Monday for follow up.  We were also told that Parker's right kidney was enlarged and we should have it evaluated after birth but that it wasn't anything to get too worked up about.  Easy for them to say, right?  Before that day, I didn't think anything was wrong with my baby and now he has heart and kidney troubles and based on ultrasound measurements, was smaller than he should be for his gestation!
We did end up staying in the hospital overnight just to be safe.  The NST that evening was a mess!  The numbers were all over the place and really scared me.  My contractions were also getting much stronger and more frequent but I believe this was all due to the amount of stress.  The next morning the NST looked pretty good and the numbers were in a desirable range.  So...the specialist said I SHOULD go home and my OB said I COULD go home as long as I came back on both Saturday and Sunday for a NST.
So on Friday afternoon, I was discharged home.  I think this made me pretty nervous since just the day before I was lying on the OR table minutes away from having a baby.  That night I wasn't feeling as much movement as I normally did and it took a long time to get my 10 kick counts in before bed and when I woke up in the middle of the night.  When I woke up at 8am on Saturday I wasn't feeling movement at all..  I called the hospital and moved up the time for my scheduled NST.  Between 8a-10a I only got 2 very light kicks and the numbers on the NST didn't look good again.  My OB showed up and said we needed to do a C-Section as she was worried about the baby being stillborn.  So, we agreed. 
Parker was born at 11:52 on Saturday, August 7th.  He was 4 pounds, 10 ounces and 17 1/2 inches long.  I got a very quick glimpse of Parker before they rushed him off to the NICU.  He did let out a cry which was very reassuring and I was pleased at his weight because this was quite a bit more than the Dr's thought he weighed when they measured on the ultrasound.
I should point out that at this time, Parker was actually "baby boy".  We hadn't picked out his name yet.  It was between Parker and Ethan.  We had chosen James as the middle name after my brother, Lucas James, who passed away as a baby.  It wasn't until the next day that we decided upon Parker (this was Paul's choice).
We learned fairly quickly that Parker had quite a few medical issues and seemed pretty sick for being 6 weeks early.  The Dr's also pointed out some physical characteristics (which they call genetic anomalies) that concerned them and said because of all of this they consulted a geneticist to see if they could figure out what was going on. 
A few days later, the initial tests came back and we learned that Parker has a very rare chromosomal disorder called a 6q deletion.  This means Parker is missing some of the genetic material on his 6th chromosome and even though further testing is needed to pinpoint exactly how much is affected, the Dr believes it is a significant amount.  There wasn't anything that could've been done to prevent this and we have learned that it is NOT familial.  For more information on chromosomal disorders, check out Unique: Rare Chromosome Support Group's website.
The problem is that it is quite likely that Parker is the only one in the world with these exact genes missing so the Dr's can't tell us what to expect or what Parker's prognosis is.  There are others out there that have 6q deletions, but the exact location of the deletion is different so the Dr's can't really compare them.  What we do know is that we love Parker very much and hope the best for him.  We trust that God knows what he is doing and that he has a plan.  We may not understand "why" but that's OK. 
I don't even know how to start explaining everything that Parker has going on or what we have learned over the past few weeks but I will try to give a brief overview.

1) RESPIRATORY:  Parker has been on a ventilator, CPAP, vapo-therm, and high flow air.  He is now on low-flow oxygen.  He was breathing on his own for a couple of days but he has taken a back step and the Dr's really don't know why.  We have been told he has low tone, a floppy airway, and possible chronic lung disease.  Parker breaths much better while laying on his tummy and doesn't do to well on his back.  Finding just the right position for him is very important and makes a big difference in how well he breaths. 
2)KIDNEYS:  Parker has what is called hydronephrosis which means his kidneys and ureters are enlarged.  He had a scan (VCUG) that shows he has a significant amount of reflux in both kidneys and will need to continue on an antibiotic indefinitely to help prevent infection.  They will do surgery to repair the kidneys but not until Parker is bigger. 
3) HEART.  Parker had a PDA (a valve that should've closed after birth but didn't) and a heart murmur.  The PDA was suspected to be causing some of his respiratory issues so they did another heart ultrasound recently and found that his PDA had closed which is great news because it is one less surgery that Parker will have to go through.  Parker also has a lot of bradycardia's (when the heart rate drops) and these are probably a result of the floppy airway.   
4) Digestion/Eating.  Parker has gone from only get IV fluids and lipids to getting breastmilk on a continuous basis throughout the day by tube feeding to now being able to take a couple of full bottles of milk throughout the day all by himself (the rest are given by tubefeeding still).  He also went for quite a while without being able to digest any of his food (it would just stay in his tummy) and now he doesn't seem to have a problem with the digestion at all.  He did a swallow study to confirm that he does protect his airway so it's OK to give him food orally.  The swallow study did show that he refluxes, especially up into his nose so he sounds quite congested while he eats.  His "floppy airway" also contributes greatly to feeding difficulties.    
5) He is anemic.  Parker is borderline in need of a transfusion but before we go that route the Dr's are trying to increase his red blood cell production through medications.  He is getting a procrit shot for 10 days and extra iron to try and help.  I'm hopeful this will do the trick!  Every time they take blood to run tests it makes this risk higher.  This is why the next series of chromosomal testing has been put on hold.  Parker simply doesn't have the blood to spare that is required for the tests. 
6) Developmental Issues.   We don't know what Parker's status is here and we will just have to wait and see.  It's common for kiddos with 6q deletions to have developmental delays but there are a lot of variations with this so we are hoping and praying for the best.
I think I'll stop there with trying to list out his medical issues. Some of you may have questions and we will do our best to answer them but know that we don't have many answers at this time and may not get answers at all.  We now feel ready to talk about it so don't feel like you need to hold back.
Other than all that, Parker is still our precious little baby and we love him more than we can even describe.  Some of my favorite things:
1) How good he is at cuddling.  Parker loves his cuddle time and so does Mommy!  He also breaths well while I'm holding him so I know he likes it!
2) His little sneezes are so cute!
3) When he opens his eyes it melts my heart
4) His little coos and noises
5) All his hair, he almost needs his first haircut!

Well, I think that's enough for now.  I think this takes the cake for my longest blog, whew!


  1. He is precious. We will be praying for you and for Parker. I can't even imagine sorting through all the information you've been given ... wow. So thankful that he is growing and is able to take a bottle!!!

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  3. So I'm looking at Google images for "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me", and up pops a photo of your special little guy. Definite connection there!

    I'm so sorry your wee boy is going through so much, and for his big sister and his mommy and daddy! But what a blessing Parker James must be to you!

    I'm partial to the name James. We named our eldest son James Gordon, after his grandfathers. We lost our son on Dec.12, 2009, in a highway accident. He was 25, a wonderful son, and best of friends with all of his brothers and sisters. Truly we can do ALL things through Christ, who strengthens us.

    Willena Flewelling