Thursday, January 31, 2008

Second Update for Thursday

We are pretty certain at this point that Graysen will not have surgery today. Monday is a possibility, but there are already some doubts about the availability of staff then.

Thursday's Update

The doctors told us this morning that Graysen will probably not go to surgery this afternoon. There is still a chance that he will if an operating room becomes available. We really won't know for sure until later in the day.

If he does not have surgery today, the next likely surgery date will be Monday. The doctors are very happy with his condition right now, so the later surgery date is not likely to be a problem. They tell us that it's always better to have a baby that is healthy enough to be bumped to later in the schedule than to have one that is sick enough to bump someone else. I tend to agree.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Update on Graysen

Lee and I visit Graysen every night at 8:30 PM to say good night. Here is a picture of Graysen from tonight's visit. He is doing well.

We are still unsure about surgery tomorrow. We met with the surgeon today. He is willing to do the surgery tomorrow, but he does not have OR time on Thursdays. He has set times on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Another CT surgeon has OR time on Tuesday and Thursday. He has asked to use the other surgeon's time for tomorrow. The other surgeon has a patient scheduled for tomorrow, but the patient is becoming unstable and may not be able to undergo surgery. If he is not stable in the morning, then Graysen gets his surgery. If the other patient is stable in the morning, Graysen will not be able to have his surgery. If Graysen does not have surgery tomorrow, the next earliest possible date would be Monday. Everything is day to day. We will know around 9 AM - 10 AM if Graysen's surgeon is able to obtain OR time.

The surgeon said that he will only do a partial fix at this time because the full surgery is too risky for a newborn of this size. The partial fix includes sewing on the pulmonary branch that goes to the left lung to the pulmonary artery and creating a shunt between the aorta and pulmonary artery to provide mixing of blood for oxygenation. He will undergo the full "fix" later on in the first year of life.

Wednesday's Update on Graysen

Lee and I are doing well. We are still hoping for surgery tomorrow. As far as we know, Graysen is still on the schedule for tomorrow morning. However, we have not spoken to the surgeon yet. He speaks to the parents the day before surgery. Nothing is confirmed until he speaks to us. Hopefully we will hear from him this afternoon.

Graysen is doing OK. He had five episodes in two hours where he stopped breathing yesterday. They put him on forced air which is helping. He will be put on a respirator if the episodes continue. I was glad to see that they did not have to put him on a respirator last night. They had warned us that they may have to do so. Babies that are not on respirators before surgery do better after surgery. They do not become as dependent on it and the doctors are able to remove life support earlier than babies who are on a respirator before surgery. I am hoping that he will make it through the night without one so that he can go into surgery strong.

So, we are still waiting. I am hoping that he can start his road to recovery tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tuesday's Update on Graysen

Graysen is doing well today. He is resting, as usual. The ultrasound on his hip was normal. The next step is to do x-rays on his knee and get an orthopedic consult. This is to make sure that the problem is not with his knee.

We are tentitively planning on the heart surgery occuring on Thursday. We should be able to meet with the surgeon tomorrow. He will finalize the date and which surgery he will perform. Most likely, he will only do the partial fix at this time because Graysen weighs under 3 kg. That means that they will perform a second surgery sometime between 6 months - 1 year to complete the fix of his heart.

Surgery is scheduled

We were told this morning by the attending MD that Graysen is scheduled for surgery on Thursday. We expect that the surgeon will talk with us tomorrow to give us more details.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Big Brother

Caleb met Graysen on Sunday. Because Caleb is so young, he was only allowed to visit for a few minutes. He does not understand what is happening, but he was nice to the baby. Caleb is on his way back to Florida with Grandma and Grandpa. He is scheduled to visit again on February 15th.

Monday's Update on Baby Graysen

Here are some pictures of Graysen at one day old. He is doing well. He is stable and rests a lot, but is active on occasion.

They have completed the diagnosis phase. The diagnosis is d-transposition of the great arteries with pulmonary stenosis and a large VSD. There is also an added complication that one of the pulmonary branches is not connected to the pulmonary artery. He is surviving because he is a on a drug called progestlandin. (I probably spelled the name of the drug wrong. That is how they have been pronouncing it.) The drug is doing three important things. It keeps the duct between the aorta and pulmonary open, the natural hole between the atria open, and the duct connecting the pulmonary branch to the pulmonary artery open. Usually these connections close at birth. They are forcing them open because it is the only way that Graysen can oxygenate his blood.

The next step is planning the surgery. The heart surgeon must finalize and approve all surgery plans and set the surgery schedule. He was out of town over the weekend and is in surgery all day today. The schedule is very busy right now. They had a lot of surgeries planned for this week and four newborns were admitted to the PCICU over the weekend, another of which has transposition also. Everyone is waiting for their date. The unit keeps all the babies stable and the surgery dates are set in order of priority. So, it is a waiting game. We are hoping for surgery by the end of the week. As of right now, we do not expect to hear from the surgeon today. Maybe we will hear something tomorrow.

The pediatric cardiologists are great and give us lots of information on his condition. They have an idea of what the surgeon will do, but ultimately it is up to him. Originally, they thought that he might approve a full fix of the heart at this stage. However, the cardiologist spoke to him early this morning and the surgeon is concerned about Graysen's birth weight. The cardiologist said that the surgeon may only do a partial fix at this stage, leaving the complete repair for later in the year. We will not know until the surgeon makes the decision. Ultimately, they will do what is in Graysen's best interest.

So, that is where we are at. There is some concern over his left leg, which may be an indication of a hip problem. He is going to have a hip ultrasound today and a physical therapist will look at his leg to determine what is wrong. We are hoping the diagnosis will just be physical therapy, but they have to rule out that something is not wrong with the hip joint. We should know the hip/leg diagnosis by tomorrow.

The funniest part of the day was when Lee and Mr. Slusher were visiting Graysen in the PCICU. They got to watch a doctor and medical student change Graysen's diaper. (Lee said that they felt obligated because they noticed a dirty diaper.) Well, neither had children and the diaper was put on backwards. Lee identified the backwards diaper, and stepped in. But, he was cautious because of all the lines in the belly. It was a good effort by all three, but ultimately the nurse ended up redoing the diaper. You will have to ask Lee for a more detailed story. It sounded pretty funny.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Graysen is here!

Graysen Meyer Slusher arrived at 8:46 a.m. this morning, weighing 6 pounds and 7 ounces (well below Laura's prediction of 11 pounds). We have only been able to spend a few minutes with him so far, but he seems to be very active, opening and closing his eyes and sucking on his pacifier. He checked out to be healthy, other than his heart issue, and is breathing well on his own. The pediatric cardiologists are going to be running tests on him for the next few hours to determine what treatments and/or surgeries will be necessary. We'll post more information as it becomes available.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Doctor Visit

Lee and I went to the doctor this morning. They did a NST and the baby looks responsive. They are going to wait until Monday to do the induction. They said that my cervix is ready and that I do not need to come in the night before for ripening. The baby is VERY low and they said that most likely I will not make it to Monday, but they wanted to keep the baby inside of me as long as possible. So, Lee is on high alert in case I go into labor early.

We took a tour of the Labor and Delivery Unit at MUSC. It was a good tour and helped prepare us for Monday. It is definitely not the Birthplace at GMH. However, they will do a good job to make sure that Graysen has the medical help that he needs. They went through the process for us. I will deliver in the OR because of the risk of the pregnancy. Graysen will immediately be handed to the Stabilization Team and then sent to the NICU. They said that he will not be put on my tummy nor be held, but they swing his box by me on his way up to the 8th floor. They will settle him into the NICU and we can start visiting him 1-2 hours after birth.

Well, Lee and I are onto our second adventure of the day--going to a laundry mat. I called to ask if they take VISA, but apparently they only take quarters. So, we will swing by BOA first to get $20 in quarters. This will be interesting...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Saying Goodbye to Caleb

This morning Lee and I said goodbye to Caleb as he began his journey to Florida. This is the last picture taken of our family before the arrival of Graysen. My parents and Caleb will come to Charleston next Sunday so that they can meet Graysen. Lee and I will miss Caleb a lot during this week. But, we know that he will have fun with Grandma and Grandpa.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Getting Ready to go to Charleston

I went to the doctor today. I am 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced. The doctor is concerned that I may go into labor before January 27th and thinks that it is important that Lee and I spend next week in Charleston. He said that the baby could come at any time and it needs to be born at MUSC. So, Lee and I are going to leave Saturday morning for Charleston. My parents will meet us there on Saturday to pick up Caleb and take him back to Florida. He will stay with them until Lee and I are back home in Spartanburg with Graysen. He will have a blast. Grandma and Grandpa have lots of train rides and activities planned for him. He will come up and visit Lee, Graysen, and I periodically.

So, I will spend tomorrow doing the final preparations and then we leave! The next blog will be from Charleston.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Caleb and Emily

Here are some pictures of Caleb and Emily. The first pictures are from a playdate. Emily taught Caleb how to wrestle. The other picture is from an outing to Chuck E. Cheese. They both love Chuck E. Cheese, but it is impossible to get both of them to look at the camera and smile at the same time.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Doctor Visit

My doctor visit went well today. I am 2.5 cm dilated and 80% effaced. The head has dropped and is at position zero. Graysen is ready to go. Our goal is to have Graysen stay inside of me as long as possible. The longer he stays, the easier it will be for him to survive surgery and the more developed his lungs will be. The good news is that the doctor does not think that I will go into labor within the next three days. I go back to the doctor on Thursday at which time they will reevaluate the situation. Hopefully, there wont be any changes and Graysen will wait until the 28th. As for right now, the plan is to take it three days at a time.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Caleb at the Taylor's House

Kim and Allen were very nice and watched Caleb last night so that Lee and I could go on a date. This is a picture that Kim sent to me from the evening. Caleb loves spending time there. He gets to play with all kinds of toys and also gets spoiled.

Lee and I enjoyed our date. It was nice to spend an evening together before Graysen is born. My next doctor's appointment is on Monday. We should receive more information on Monday regarding the timing and schedule of Graysen's birth. Will Graysen be patient and wait two more weeks???

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Monkey Joe's

Caleb and I went to Monkey Joe's today with Lisa and Emily. The kids had a blast, and Lisa and I learned that it is harder to walk on bouncy toys than we thought.

Caleb and I are enjoying our last few weeks of activities before Graysen arrives. My next doctor appointment is on Monday. So far, everything is going really well. I had one last week and there are no signs that I will go into labor before 37 weeks. That means that Graysen will make it full term which is important for him.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Cars and Trucks

Caleb spent the weekend doing his favorite activity: playing with cars and trucks. He is wearing his new car slippers from Target.