MaternalMusing

A Personal Adventure Into Parenthood

Since You Asked: Revisiting the Vaccine Debate March 30, 2015

Filed under: baby,compromised,debate,health,immune system,immunization,mmr,preemie,second,vaccine — maternalmusing @ 9:00 am

I do try to keep things fresh on this blog but after the recent measles outbreaks in Canada and the US I feel that this one is important enough to revisit now that I’m on my second time around as a parent. It’s pretty much ‘Second verse, same as the first…a little bit louder and a little bit worse!’ (Hello memories of summer camp…) I’ve also added several pictures of the various medical interventions my children have experienced in their short lives to help ‘illustrate’ my point.

Your free gift with every pediatric ambulance ride!

Your free gift with every pediatric ambulance ride!

As a fallout from the recent outbreaks, the vaccine debate has been thrust back into the spotlight, often capturing national media attention as they interview affected parents, doctors and anti-vaxxers alike. I’m sure everyone has seen various viral posts, and/or been party to a heated debate following a strongly worded status supporting one side or the other. It’s hard not to get drawn into the argument and I freely admit I’ve entered the fray more often than not to share my own (very strong) opinions.

As I re-read my previous post on vaccines I realize that, at the time, I was being very careful not to alienate friends or readers who have made the choice not to vaccinate their children. I’ll warn you now that this is no longer the case. If you are strongly anti-vaccine you may want to stop reading now. This post probably won’t make you very happy. I’m also smart enough to realize that no matter how many logical, scientifically proven facts I’m able to place in front of you, no matter how many doctors plead with you to do the right thing, you’ll actually be less likely to vaccinate when presented with reliable information on the benefits of vaccinating your kids. It’s true. There’s a recent study out there that shows that the more information you present to anti-vaxxers, the stronger they dig in their heels. So actually it might be best if you just give this post a pass and come back next week when I delve into other topics. And now I will commence with what I can only assume is preaching to the choir…

Let me start with why I’m involving myself in this debate to begin with. Anti-vaxxers always love to open with the line that since it’s not my child/children then I shouldn’t be upset or get involved with their decisions. If I want to vaccinate then I should but let them do as they will with their kids. It’s almost laughable how wrong this statement is.

As much as I vent, I’m actually pretty easy going on a lot of topics when it comes to child rearing, regardless of what I choose for my own boys. If you choose to circumcise, or not, pierce ears, formula feed, co-sleep, pre-chew your kids food…none of these affect me or my children in any way so honestly it isn’t any of my business what you do in your own home. However vaccinating or not vaccinating your children DOES affect my kids, my nieces and nephews, friends’ kids and really the population at large. By allowing your child to wander around at school, at sports lessons, and the mall without the valuable protection of a vaccine you are deliberately putting other people and other children at risk.

Hospital waits are never fun because honestly who waits at a hospital when things are going well??

Hospital waits are never fun because honestly who waits at a hospital when things are going well??

Let’s break this down a little farther with some examples shall we? My 6 month old isn’t actually old enough to receive his first dose of the MMR vaccine, so as much as I would love for him to have the protection that modern science offers him, I have to wait another 6 months and cross my fingers that no cases come to my home town. And what about the kid who has already spent a year or more in and out of the hospital fighting cancer or another illness that compromises or destroys their immune system? They are medically incapable of receiving the vaccine and I’m sure they or their parents won’t mind at all if you bring your potential carrier within spitting distance of their battered bodies.

Luckily pediatric hospital rooms get free internet and TV...

Luckily pediatric hospital rooms get free internet and TV…

Another big question that gets asked by anti-vaxxers (just look through any debate, I can guarantee you someone will throw this one down) is ‘Well if you’re sooooooo confident in your vaccine why are you so afraid of my kids getting the disease?’. Well since you’ve asked, let me enlighten you. These diseases have vaccines for a reason. Let’s assume your child picks up one of these nasty bugs (say during a holiday trip to Disney) and you take them to my doctors office on the same day I take baby A for a ‘well baby’ checkup. Measles hangs around on surfaces for a good long while after you’ve left and since he’s still too little for the vaccine he could very likely be blessed with your child’s potentially deadly germs. Now I realize that not all of these diseases will kill my child, although it is entirely possible, but let’s take our focus off death for a moment shall we? These vaccine-preventable diseases also come with a wide selection of life-altering, permanent side effects that could affect the quality of life of any of these children who are actually unable to receive the vaccine. Brain damage, blindness, loss of hearing just to name a few. To recap then (albeit a big dramatically): My perfect and perfectly healthy 6 month old child could potentially never hear the sound of my voice again because you feel like taking a misinformed stance against ‘big pharma’. Thanks…

Infants get isolettes, babies get metal cribs and older kids get hospital beds. None of these are fun...

Infants get isolettes, babies get metal cribs and older kids get hospital beds. None of these are fun…

Although I understand that no vaccine is 100% effective (let’s be honest, nothing in life is), I don’t really worry so much about my fully vaccinated 4 year old, even with his weaker ‘preemie’ immune system.  However the mind of a parent can wander in strange directions and so what I do worry about is this. Maybe he’ll head off to a day in JK and visit the library, where he picks out a book to bring home, that has just been returned by a child whose family doesn’t vaccinate. I realize it’s a long road of reasoning but what if this child doesn’t know they have measles, with their pesky 4 day incubation period, and this book, covered in their germs, makes its way into the hands (and mouth) of my youngest son who isn’t able to receive his vaccine yet? Unlikely yes, but given the current outbreaks, not impossible. As convoluted as it may seem, this path shouldn’t even cross my mind because honestly I believe every child should be vaccinated. However unlikely this particular scenario may be it is still sadly a possibility because some parents are too selfish (or stupid) to take all precautions offered to them.

This is V on a ventilator. He was my only child to need one and only for a few days. This is not a sight I'm willing to revisit.

This is V on a ventilator. He was my only child to need one and only for a few days. This is not a sight I’m willing to revisit.

There are a wide variety of (dumb) reasons that people choose not to vaccinate their children and I’m sure we’ve all heard them. Pharmaceutical companies are trying to make sheep out of us! Vaccines contain environmental poisons that will harm my children more than the illness itself! Getting sick helps them create strong immune systems! Autism! Vaccine ‘Injuries’! The sky is falling! *wraps head in tinfoil and hides in a corner*

Each and every one of these has been dis-proven by credible, current, scientific studies but let’s be honest, the people who believe any one of these aren’t going to take the time to research any point of view that doesn’t support their particular brand of crazy.

The one reason that gets to me the most, however, is the parents who have chosen not to vaccinate because their child gets upset when they have to have a needle. Are…you…kidding me???? What this parent is essentially saying is that my child might be affected by measles because their 4 year old cries for 5 minutes after receiving a potentially life-saving immunization. This sounds like a great opportunity to teach your child that sometimes the things that keep us well are uncomfortable but necessary. I have a 4 year old, do you think he likes getting shots? Heck no! Do I? Nope! But do we? Absolutely yes.

V waiting for his immunizations like the awesome kid he is. Did he cry? Yup! Did he get over it within 5 minutes and thank the nurses on the way out? Heck yeah!

V waiting for his immunizations like the awesome kid he is. Did he cry? Yup! Did he get over it within 5 minutes and thank the nurses on the way out? Heck yeah!

As for our personal experience with vaccines, I have two preemies, both of whom have spent time in the NICU. One of my boys had to be resuscitated and the other was born with pneumonia as well as immature lungs and struggled to draw breath for a solid week. I’ve had enough of watching my kids struggle medically and if I can do anything to help make them healthier, stronger and happier, then as a parent that is my job! V has had all of his vaccines as per our doctor’s (and Health Canada’s) schedule. He has had his flu shot every year he’s been able to as well. Both boys have been accepted into the RSV vaccine program for their first year because as preemies they are at risk for the virus that could land them back in the ICU. No thanks! V actually received the second dose of his MMR vaccine, and his chicken pox vaccine, on the earliest possible date, his 4th birthday. Why? Well August was born 3 days before and for V to even be let in the doors of the NICU to meet his younger brother we had to bring in his full immunization record. Not that we wouldn’t have done so anyways but we had even more motivation than most to get it done as soon as possible.

This is A on a CPAP machine that forced air in and out of his lungs when he wasn't able to do it efficiently himself. You can barely see his face and you aren't able to hold your child for extended periods while they wear it.

This is A on a CPAP machine that forced air in and out of his lungs when he wasn’t able to do it efficiently. You can barely see his face and you aren’t able to hold your child for extended periods while they wear it.

The NICU doesn’t cater to ‘philosophical’ exemptions and for very good reason. Would you like to know why they required that we prove, on paper, that our oldest was fully immunized, especially against chicken pox? A few years ago, one ‘thoughtful’, anti-vaxx parent brought their child to visit a new family member in the NICU. 2 days later their child presented with chicken pox and therefore every single resident of the NICU (micro-preemies and up) had to receive their chicken pox vaccine, even before it is typically recommended. I wouldn’t have been able to function if I’d had a child in at that time. Can you imagine looking at your 2 lbs, 27 week preemie wondering if they’d suddenly be subject to a terrifyingly high fever and itchy spots on top of the challenges they already face? That, to me at least, is unforgivable and yet another reason why anti-vaxx parents should revisit their questionable medical choice.

Where do they put IVs in when they can't access anymore veins in their arms or legs? Yup...their head...

Where do they put IVs in when they can’t access anymore veins in their arms or legs? Yup…their head… A still doesn’t have his hair back after that shave…

Having a second (early)  baby isn’t the only reason I’ve revisited my stance on vaccines, one other element that has also changed in our lives this year is that V goes to school! He’s in JK and one of the things we had to submit for his registration was his vaccination record. What shocked me is that there is an option for anti-vaxxers to submit a form stating their ‘philosophical’ exemptions. Because of this, in the height of the measles outbreak, I actually called my son’s school board to find out its policy if cases were to spread to our town. Thankfully they’re sensible people and, worst case scenario, during an outbreak, those children who can’t produce documentation proving that they are fully immunized would be sent home until the health unit declared an all clear. Since there is really no way to know which kids are vaccinated or not until an outbreak happens, it definitely helped me feel more at ease that this issue would be handled appropriately by both the school and health unit, in order to keep all of our children safe.

Do you know what's heartbreaking? When your child sobs at you to help them while really you're helping the nurses pin him in order to get the IV inserted for the second time.

Do you know what’s heartbreaking? When your child sobs at you to help them while really you’re helping the nurses pin him in order to get the IV inserted for the second time.

Now publicly run and monitored schools are one thing but, as a note to new parents who are considering daycare (especially unlicensed home daycares), make sure you inquire as to the provider’s policy on immunizations. I’d hope that an individual who professes to care so much about children that they have their own business minding them, would also care enough to insist that all children in their program also provide full vaccination records.

Bringing V home was one of the single greatest days of my life. I have no desire to see him back in any type of hospital bed...ever...for any reason...

Bringing V home was one of the single greatest days of my life. I have no desire to see him back in any type of hospital bed…ever…for any reason…

I’m sure that by the end of this particular post you, as the reader, were either nodding along, or experiencing cartoon-like smoke billowing from your ears, but this is an issue I feel incredibly strongly about and it’s very cathartic to have a platform in which to speak my piece. In my mind ‘civic duty’ doesn’t just apply to towing the legal line, it also extends to doing what we can to medically protect those around us. My entire family is fully vaccinated and will continue to be so in order to protect, not just ourselves, but friends, family, and acquaintances who rely on us to provide that barrier. To those of you who continue to eschew vaccinations, I realize that us mere mortals must look pretty small from your exalted perch on that high horse but for the good of everyone around you, get over yourself, get informed and for the love of God, get you and your family to your doctor for your updated vaccines!

We've been lucky with A so far but having his brother at school definitely leaves him less sheltered than his older sibling. Vaccines are an important part of the way we try to protect him!

We’ve been lucky with A so far but having his brother at school definitely leaves him less sheltered than his older sibling. Vaccines are an important part of the way we try to protect him!

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The ‘Million Dollar Family’: Or ‘When Are You Trying for the Girl?’ March 22, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — maternalmusing @ 6:46 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

As the mom of two young boys who rarely leaves the house for anything not grocery, work or child related I will readily admit my grasp of current terminology and slang is a bit behind. Not ‘Unbreakble: Kimmy Schmidt’ behind but pretty close. As a result, I actually had to look up a term I heard in a recent conversation, thank you Urban Dictionary, and the definition left me fuming. Let’s examine it shall we? The term was ‘The Million Dollar Family’.

For those of you not in the know let me catch you up; the ‘million dollar family’ is the ultimate realization of the 1950s primary school reader. A happily married Mommy and Daddy with two kids, specifically one boy and one girl. This is an actual term, used by actual real-live people. Apparently, unbenownst to me, this is the standard that all procreating women should strive towards, the baby-making ‘jackpot’ as it were. It implies that a family couldn’t possibly be happy with one child, or two children of a single gender, or more than two kids…either that or they should just accept that their family will just be ‘sub-standard’ when compared to ignorant social ‘ideals’.

V's Toronto Blue Jays Room

V’s Toronto Blue Jays Room

I realize that I use this blog, for the most part, to vent on issues that bother me as a mother, and as the newly minted mother of two children of a single gender this one sure takes the cake. For some reason there are a lot of people out there, mostly women, who can’t understand why I’m not utterly devastated that this time I didn’t get my ‘little princess’. To be fair I know there are women out there who have a strong preference for the gender of their child when they find out they’re expecting, but personally I am definitely not one of them.With all the issues we had staying pregnant with V, when A and I finally made the decision to try again we had absolutely zero preference on the gender of our new addition. Really, it’s true! If you’d asked us at the time our only two hopes for baby #2 would be ‘healthy’ and ‘ to term’ and luckily we came pretty darn close to both.

V not loving solids. Note the highchair...

V not loving solids. Note the highchair…

However, as soon as we started spreading the news of our newest arrival to friends and family, the number one response to our annoucement was ‘Oh this time you must be hoping for a girl!!’…

Then, prompted by the awkward silence caused by me staring at them open mouthed, many people continued putting their foot farther down their throats by listing off the various ‘benefits’ to having a little mini-me around the house: I can buy cute clothes, I can sign her up for dance or cheerleading, I can take her to get pedicures, I can play Barbies again!

Now all of these are incredibly awesome and cute, and should definitely be appreciated by those mommies of beautiful little girls, but seriously…that’s your gender preference deciding factor? Hairbows?? Have you seen how dapper V looks in his blazers and newboys hats? (Please diregard any pictures of him on Facebook/Instagram where he’s dressed himself….). V has already asked us to sign him up for dance class (He wants ballet pants, no tutus here) and I’ve learned to appreciate the intricasies of the Superhero action figure story-lines…same deal as Barbies honestly but often with less accessories and their heads (typically) don’t come off. Also, as the mom of two, it will likely be 5 years before I’m anywhere in the vicinity of a spa again and believe you me, as much as I love my kids, when I’m going for me time it’ll most definitely be for ME!

Check out the cuteness of boy clothing!! Admittedly a little short on frills and bows, but you have to admit is adorable!

Check out the cuteness of boy clothing!! Admittedly a little short on frills and bows, but you have to admit is adorable!

Now don’t get me wrong, when we found out we were pregnant I would have been equally ecstatic with a little miss but the purpose of us going for round #2 wasn’t to ‘try’ for the girl. What I can tell you though is that by the time I hit 20 weeks and had my gender ultrasound I was OVER THE MOON that we were having a second boy. My kidney issues had started, plus I was still sick to my stomach, getting larger by the second and had already been on short term leave for over 3 months, which meant my income was a fraction of what it typically was! When I saw ‘It’s a BOY!’ on that little notecard (A wasn’t able to be at that ultrasound so my OB wrote us a note) my first thought was ‘Thank GOD! Now I don’t have to shop!!’. I could just drag the totes of baby boy gear from the basement, wash it and we were good to go! Baby #2 was going to be cheap and easy! And honestly he is…this kid practically has nothing new for himself, beyond the thoughtful gifts we received from family and friends. He’s going to be a pro at hand-me downs…until he outgrows his brother…and then V will have to get used to it.

Baby A in the very same high chair! Yay for hand-me downs!!

Baby A, prepped for solids, in the very same high chair! Yay for hand-me downs!!

There are amazing benefits to having two kids of the same gender! We recycled pretty much everything from V with the exception of things he’d decimated, the cat had ruined or snap-up sleepers (don’t even get me started, those nightmare inducing things deserve a blog post of their own.) We also know exactly what to expect with diaper changes, boy growth curves and development, and other major decisions that relate specifically to boys, if you know what I mean… It also meant that my husband gets to satisfy both of his inner 9 year olds by creating one epic Blue Jays room and an equally epic Habs nursery (He maintains 1993 was the best year of his life). We are a boy centered household and couldn’t be more happy. I am the number one girl in 3 guys’ hearts and I never lack for snuggles, compliments or dance partners, how can you beat that?

V in his swing after sampling strawberries (in a very poorly chosen outfit for that type of snack I know)

V in his swing after sampling strawberries (in a very poorly chosen outfit for that type of snack I know)

Now, on a more serious note, ‘gender disappointment’ is a real thing and affects some pregnant mothers to varying degrees.These women have their hearts set on one gender, only to discover their child is quite the opposite. This is another one of the reasons I bring up the topic of the ‘ideal’ mix of kids, and terms like ‘million dollar families’. Sadly some people don’t think before they speak and as a result can be seen as well-meaning but insensitive. We’ve all seen it! Let’s think…what if you had a friend who was really hoping for a baby girl the second time around? Or even the first time around!?! It doesn’t mean they are ‘ungrateful’ for the beautiful new life they’re bringing into the world, or that they don’t love and adore their new baby. What it does mean is that they are essentially ‘mourning’ what they thought they had and you making comments about how ‘boys are still really cute’ isn’t going to help. For them this comment reads as ‘Boys are still really cute, although not quite as cute as baby girls’ and although you may not have meant that at all…it’s hard to argue with pregnancy hormones and disappointment.

A in the same swing, doing what he does best...chillin'

A in the same swing, doing what he does best…chillin’

There is also a significant amount of shame associated with gender disappointment. Most women obviously understand that you should be over the moon with either gender so long as your child is healthy, but it’s hard to quiet that inner voice that keeps insisting you dwell on what you ‘thought’ you had. Haven’t heard the term before? I’m not surprised because if any one of these women actually said, “Yes the baby is healthy but I’m a little upset it’s a boy/girl’ they’d be mocked and gossiped about. Everyone knows the only socially acceptable answer to the question ‘What gender are you hoping for?’ is ‘Either one, it doesn’t matter so long as it’s healthy!’, even if for some women this isn’t necessarily true. My advice is to stay away from gender comments or ‘predictions’ unless you’re asked. Certainly don’t add your two cents on someone’s Facebook announcement with comments about a preferred gender and for goodness sake don’t make an idiotic comment on a gender announcement itself! Stick to a sincere congratulations for a healthy and happy pregnancy because that is honestly the bottom line.

Go Habs Go!

Go Habs Go!

Another ‘touchy’ subject is the number of kids you choose to have You must know by now that everyone will have an opinion on everything you do as a parent, even if you choose never to have kids! It astonishes me that more people don’t realize that it is pretty much never appropriate to ask someone when they’re having kids, when they’re having more kids, etc. You have no idea what’s going in someone’s life and the answer might not be something they want to get into. Maybe they’re struggling with infertility. Maybe they’ve had a loss. Maybe they are dealing with a genetic counselor for possibly devastating anomalies. Maybe they just don’t want to! Unless you’re one of the two people involved in that decision (or an x-ray technician, ER nurse or paramedic) it’s none of your business. I have seen people’s anniversary announcements come up on Facebook and without fail, if it’s been two years of married bliss and no kids, someone is going to make a comment. Same with people who announce their third, fourth, fifth bundle of joy. Someone always has to be the joker to add ‘You know how this happens right??’. So long as you and your partner feel like you can emotionally, physically and financially handle more kids, feel free to do as you will!

A in his Habs Crib

A in his Habs Crib

As for personal experiences with this type of questioning, I actually had one Interventional Radiology tech (who had seen me struggle through my entire pregnancy including dry heaving in the procedure room while a doctor rammed surgical tubing into my kidney) ask me when we would be trying for the girl. After I pulled my jaw off the floor and replied ‘Never’ I was even more angry when she answered with ‘Oh, we’ve heard that one before’ before wandering away, giggling to herself. Lady, I appreciate that you think this is coming from a good place but when I say ‘never’ I really, truly mean it. Two children is what we’ve decided is best for us and our family. Pregnancy has alternately almost killed my child and then me. It, therefore, is not a risk I’m willing to take for myself, my husband or the beautiful children I’m already fortunate enough to have. I am lucky enough to have lots of friends with children on the horizon and a giant family who does their part to contribute to the worlds population. I’ll never be short of baby snuggles and toddler giggles, but I will be giving up sleepless nights, stretch marks and baby spit-up as August grows into the precious boy I can already see developing under those goobery cheeks. And I’m really honestly okay with that. So long, ‘million dollar family’…you just aren’t for us! Every family unit is perfect in their own way, who needs out-dated ‘slang’ to set up a completely unnecessary class system that only serves to alienate over half the families I know.

Have I mentioned we love baseball?

Have I mentioned we love baseball?

To wrap this one up, I just want to send a public service announcement out into the world at large and remind people that the purpose of having children isn’t to ‘collect’ the matching set, or fulfill socially acceptable census statistics, it’s to grow your family in love!

Nothing but love between these two!

Nothing but love between these two!

 

Documenting Pregnancy: ‘Bumpies’, Social Media and Why We Didn’t March 16, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — maternalmusing @ 9:00 am

Social media is a funny thing. It’s a double edged sword that allows you to keep in touch with family and friends who may live far away, but it also shares aspects of your private life with ‘aquaintances’ you may not have spoken to for a decade or more.

Before the advent of Facebook, Twitter, Vine etc the largest audience you were likely to reach was a group email and prior that it was three way calling or party lines! As fun as it is to share pics of your awesome new car or your ugly Christmas sweater with the audience at large there are certain elements in our lives that used to be, and in my opinion still should be, more private; pregnancy being one of them.

Closest I got to a Bump Pic with V. I think my Mum may have one with full-on bump but I know I definitely do not!

Closest I got to a Bump Pic with V. I think my Mum may have one with full-on bump but I know I definitely do not!

These days more effort goes into most Facebook pregnancy annoucements than the actual ‘getting pregnant’ part, and following that there are the weekly ‘Bumpies’ (see: selfie documenting the ever growing baby loitering inside some lucky mama’s lady parts), the ‘due date approaching’ complaint statuses and ‘play-by-play’ labour documentary. Seriously, try Googling ‘Pregnancy Announcement’ or ‘Gender Reveal’ and prepare to be swamped by tons of creative pink and blue images!

One of V's first FB pics. They were done as an exception due to an incredibly kind and thoughful gift from the 3M cast my husband was doing a show with at the time of V's early arrival.

One of V’s first FB pics. They were done as an exception due to an incredibly kind and thoughful gift from the 3M cast my husband was doing a show with at the time of V’s early arrival.

Now I’m a reasonable person and I can see how many people are excited to share such an important moment in their lives with their nearest and dearest, but the problem with social media is that isn’t who you’re sharing with…you’re sharing with everyone! Aquaintances, friends of friends and possibly even the internet at large if you’re like me and find the ‘privacy settings’ complicated and time consuming. I love to see all the growing families in my social circle and am certainly ‘guilty’ of flooding the news feeds of friends, family and acquaintances alike with pictures of my adorable boys but pregnancy was something different. Something we wanted to hold on to for us, and share with the people of our choosing when the time seemed right.

Baby A's FB annoucement. Posted almost a week after he arrived.

Baby A’s FB annoucement. Posted almost a week after he arrived.

With V we didn’t share on Facebook until we were over the viability marker and we didn’t post a single ‘bump’ picture. We actually didn’t post many pictures of V until he was about 6 months old. When it came to A we conciously chose not to reveal our pregnancy on any social media whatsoever and we didn’t announce his birth until a week after he was born.

Why you ask? Well pregnancy hasn’t been kind to us. We almost lost V and with all the complications we were anticipating, and later experiencing, with A, we just didn’t feel that everyone needed to know. It was a time to focus on us as a family and not worry about a zillion people asking how we were doing, what were we having, any signs of baby yet? Or ‘Dear God you’re huge’ comments. Do you really think I wanted pictures of my stretch marked giant belly and 205 lb sweaty, unshowered, nephrostomy tube sporting self on the internet? Not in this lifetime! When you post things on a public forum you open yourself up to possibly hurtful comments, generic platitudes and unsolicited advice that may do less for your self-esteem then the anticipated ‘likes’ and congratulations.

A later ultrasound for Mr. A. I do have lots of ultrasound pics (benefit of being high risk?) but can't post any for V since they contain a giant boarder of personal info.

A later ultrasound for Mr. A. I do have lots of ultrasound pics (benefit of being high risk?).

But as for us, it wasn’t limited to social media. We made a conscious decision and went a bit further. We have pretty much no belly pictures at all, for either boy. We didn’t document our weekly progress because we were already so focused on meeting milestones that I couldn’t find any pleasure in physically documenting them as well. Also, to be honest, I didn’t want to start taking pictures and then have the unthinkable happen. What if we didn’t have a healthy baby to bring home and my phone was full of ‘happy’ belly pics? We have no maternity shoot pictures, no pictures of me in labour, nada. I kept ultrasound pictures in a drawer in the bedroom, not on the fridge like ‘normal’ parents-to-be. Also to return to the Facebook point in this type of situation, it would be hard enough to tell the people close to us that we’d experienced a loss, would I really want well meaning but generic condolences by friends of friends etc? I just couldn’t imagine and am lucky that it never was an issue for us.

V's 13 week ultrasound pic! Almost looking 'baby-like'

V’s 13 week ultrasound pic! Almost looking ‘baby-like’

I am so proud of the PAL (pregnancy after loss) mamas on my Facebook list and my friends struggling with infertility. One of the things they mention, when asked, is how hard it is to look at and read the statuses of pregnant friends etc on social media. As happy as they are for their friends, it still brings focus back on what they are having trouble achieving themselves. I know hiding a post is always an option but for those friends I’d rather share my experiences as much or as little as they’re comfortable with in person, not innundate them from afar, especially not with complaints when they’d love nothing more than to be in that position themselves.

Now when I look back on my largely undocumented pregnancies do I regret it? Not really. I know a lot of people want to keep those pictures as a keepsake but honestly I don’t need it. I can see the results of my hard work every day when I look into the faces of my two miracle boys, and if I’m feeling really nostalgic I’ll grab a quick peak before my shower and marvel at my Freddy Krueger stomach. I think the only time I curse myself for not having more pics is when I’m planning a blog and don’t have any photos to add!

'Family' Pic from Florida 2014 with my tiny (almost unnoticeable) Baby A bump.

‘Family’ Pic from Florida 2014 with my tiny (almost unnoticeable) Baby A bump.

 

Nephrostomy Tubes: A Pregnant Lady’s Guide From a Mom Who’s Been There. March 9, 2015

NOTE: I am not a medical professional in any way, shape, or form and this entry is purely based on my experiences as a pregnant and post-natal nephrostomy tube patient. I am definitely willing to share my story but obviously the best person to address your burning questions to would be your OB, interventional radiologist or urologist.

Welcome to my personal experience related blog about nephrostomy tubes! When I first had mine inserted I tried googling the procedure for pregnant ladies and the experiences others might have had…and the pickings were mightly slim! I’m putting this out there to hopefully answer some questions or allay the fears of some other poor mommy to be who gets an unexpected accessory for their pregnancy!

What is a Nephrostomy Tube?

A nephrostomy tube is a long piece of plastic tubing that is inserted into your kidney through your back through a ‘conscious sedation’ procedure with an Interventional Radiologist. It’s purpose is to drain urine from said kidney due to a blockage of some type. The incision will probably be midway between your ribs and your hips on one (or both if you’re super lucky) side and is about 1-1.5 cm long. The tubing has a loop on the end to hold it into your kidney and will extend to about your knees when it hangs outside your body (stylish I know). On the outside end there will be a stop-cock for sterile flushing of the tube and a plastic bag that will catch your pee! There is a valve at the bottom of the bag that allows you to drain the bag. Where the tube exits your back you will either have A) some strong medical tape to pin it down and hold it inside/in place or B) a disk and stitches to secure it to your back and make sure that sucker stays put.

Personal note: I got the stitches every single time…while chasing an active 4 year old and with all my appointments etc I was taking no chances that thing was coming out…

What is a Stent?

A stent is another option that may or may not be available to you. It is another long plastic tube but it is completely internal, going from a loop in your kidney, down your ureter and ending in another loop near the top of your bladder. Again its purpose is to widen the ureter and help drain the kidney. This procedure is typically done by your urologist under general anesthetic.

Personal Note: I have actually had 4 stents in my lifetime but never one during pregnancy!

Why choose the Nephrostomy Tube?

I imagine you’re wondering why on earth anyone would choose to have the tube when you could have a discrete stent on the inside! Well there are a few notable reasons and I’ll use my own experience to help you understand why the ugly tube might be the best option for you.

A) The procedure itself

  • The tube is placed during a conscious sedation. Essentially they dope you up with a couple of drugs that will cause you to feel pretty darn awesome. Although I do remember the procedure where the tube was placed it seemed to happen really quickly and was pretty hilarious at times. The sedation wears off pretty quickly and is pretty safe during all stages of pregnancy.
  • The stent is placed during general anesthetic. This is the type where they put you out completely and where the problem lies for pregnant women. General anesthetic causes your body to become pretty darn relaxed…and this can cause pre-term labour. My issue arose 21 weeks into my pregnancy and since the viability marker (aka when the nicu will actually take on life-saving measures for baby) was still 3 weeks away we didn’t want anything to trigger that possibility. The stent is also harder to place when you have a giant belly going on so many urologists aren’t all gungho about giving it a shot.

B) Visible vs Invisible

  • The reason this conversation has even come up for you is likely that there is a blockage that prevents your kidney from draining. This can be due to kidney stones like myself or sometimes the baby just postions him/herself on top of your ureter, smooshing it down until nothing can get through. As ugly as the tube was, and as inconvenient it was having it hanging outside where it can be seen and get caught on stuff I really liked the fact that I could monitor if it was working and flush it if needed. I never had to wonder if my tube was blocked because I could measure my output and if I didn’t see anything, after drinking a few large beverages, I knew I needed to call my dr. The danger of a blocked tube or stent is obviously pain but also infection. I’ve had experience with a blocked stent in the past and the infection caused by the blocked output landed me in the ICU with a 105 degree fever which would be devastating to baby while you’re pregnant.

C) X-ray Exposure

  • The Nephrostomy tube is placed through x-rays and everyone who’s been to any clinic while pregnant has seen the signs that x-rays aren’t recommended for pregnant patients. Unfortunately sometimes it can’t be avoided and this worried me a lot! I spoke with my OB and my radiologist and was told that the big danger period for x-rays is during the first trimester and because my tube wasn’t inserted until 21 weeks gestation I was at a lower risk. Also to cause damage to the baby you’d have to have thousands of x-rays and although it felt like it at time I was only getting, on average, 2 a week. The Interventional Radiololgy team was amazing though and did their best to minimize my exposure including minimizing their x-rays and using multiple lead aprons around my belly.

My advice here to to ask a lot of questions of all of your medical teams (I saw 4 departments: Infectious diseases, Urology, OB, and Interventional Radiology). Compile the information and make the best decision for you. Given our situation I would choose the tube every single time, as hard as it was, because it was the best for me and the baby.

Initial Insertion

For the initial insertion you’ll be sedated which makes it very manageable. I remember the procedure but it seemed to fly by and although it was uncomfortable, they are cutting open your back and jamming a tube into your kidney after all, it wasn’t unmanageable.

You’ll be asked to sign off on the procedure and they’ll go over all of the risks. They are numerous but unlikely and in all my time with the tube I never had any truly serious issues. However my situation was pretty critical during the insertion and since I was on copious amounts of hydro-morphine my husband had to sign the forms for me. Make sure you have someone you trust there to help you and hold your hand the day of! It’s natural to be nervous, I bawled my way into the procedure room.

Once you’re in the room they’ll have you ‘hop’ up on the procedure table. Assuming your belly is of manageable size you will like on your front, or on your side if you’re the size of a whale like me, and they will ‘prep’ you. This involves them cleaning off the insertion site with choloro-hexadine, shaving if you’re part-yeti (jokes ladies!) and placing a drop cloth with a hole in it over the site. The hole is lined with adhesive to hold it tight to your skin and hopefully prevent you getting any blood/urine/general ickyness on yourself during the whole thing, not that you’ll care. Next they’ll start the IV meds and get you feeling cheerful.

They’ll take a few x-rays to confirm the hydro-nephrosis (aka swollen, blocked kidney) and then start freezing the area. I’m told it feels like bee-stings but since I avoid bees like the plague I can’t make the comparison. It definitely pinches/burns but just think of how much it would suck without the freezing…

They’ll them cut into your back to form the tract for the tube. This will hurt, I’m not going to lie to you, but if your kidney hasn’t drained in days I can promise you the relief you’ll feel after the kidney drains will make all of this worth it a million times over. Once the tract is open they’ll take some plastic tubing and for all intents and purposes, shove it into the new incision and into the kidney. They need to put some muscle behind it to get it in, so don’t freak out! Take a deep breath and bear it because the faster it’s in the better it is on everyone. Feel free to say a few bad words, I did and its nothing they haven’t heard before.

After the tube is in place they’ll inject some sterile dye to make sure it’s draining and then they’ll either tape or stitch it to your skin and attach the bag. Then they bandage you up and you’ll be sent whereever you’re supposed to go to sober up. After the inital insertion you need to remain lying down for about 4 hrs but since you’ll be high as a kite for a large portion of that it’ll fly by. They will give you some pain killers but I found that Tylenol 3 was adequate for managing it after. As I said, when the kidney is draining again you’ll mostly feel relief.

When can I go home?

Hospital stays suck so I can understand you’ll be anxious to go home and try to get used to your new accessory. Assuming baby is holding up okay, no infection and a tube that’s draining well you should be able to go home a day or so after it’s put in. I was in hospital for about 4 days after but after having a previous pre-term baby and pretty large stones they wanted to make sure all was going well before sending me off.

When they send you home they should arrange some type of home or community care for you because the bandages for the insertion site need to be changed once a week at the bare minimum. I changed mine every other day, and to cut down on our nurses appointments we had them order us supplies for home and my amazing husband learned how to flush, clean and bandage the area himself.

Bandaged Nephrostomy Tube! The blue is the start of the external tube although it becomes wider and clear after the stop-cock. The bump in the bandage is the disc that is stitched into the skin.

Bandaged Nephrostomy Tube! The blue is the start of the external tube although it becomes wider and clear after the stop-cock. The bump in the bandage is the disc that is stitched into the skin.

I’ll tell you now that you won’t be able to change the bandages yourself so if you’re a single mom or your partner is away from home (military, travel etc) you’ll need to enlist someone else to help you!

How long will my tube last?

My short answer? Who knows!

When I first had mine in the doctor told me that for non-pregnant patients the tube is changed, on average, every 6-8 weeks. Pregnant patients usually have it changed more frequently to the tune of every 3-4 weeks. This seemed manageable to me, but unfortunately with the type of stones I had my changes happened a bit more frequently.

The shortest I had a tube before it blocked was 4 days and the longest was 11 days, during and post-pregnancy. Interventional Radiology and I were tight.

How will I know if the tube blocks?

Remember how I said it was nice to be able to see it? Well it is! You’ll be able to tell almost right away if your tube is having issues. As a pregnant lady you’ll be drinking a ton and if you don’t see any drainage into the bag for about 2 hours you may be having some issues.

Another sign is pain…lots of pain. Sorry to break it to you but there it is. The first initial hydro-nephrosis won’t be your last, learn to deal!

Does a block automatically mean a tube change?

The good news here is not necessarily! A few times mine would be blocked because the elastic on my skirt or pants had closed the stop-cock and I had essentially closed off the valve, causing the kidney to back up. Always check your valve first and make sure it’s oriented properly. If it is wrong, just open it up and savour the immediate relief.

The other option is to flush your tube with 10mL of sterile saline.

But how do I flush my tube?

Your care nurse or your interventional radiology team should provide you with either pre-filled sterile saline syringes or sterile syringes and a bottle of saline solution. The following list is how my husband flushed my tube for me, obviously if your dr gives you different instructions do those…this is the internet after all and you don’t know me from Adam.

To flush your tube you will need:

An alcohol wipe

Pre-filled syringes or syringe/solution

This is much easier to have someone else do as well, since if the tube is partically blocked this will be painful.

  1. Take off the cap from the stop-cock and wipe the port with the alcohol wipe.
  2. Fill syringe with solution if needed. Push plunger up to get rid of any air bubbled in the syringe.
  3. Screw the tip of the syringe into the port and switch the valve to shut down the drainage to your external tube (This allows you to flush up into the kidney…starting to see why this is painful?)
  4. Push down on the plunger with force and push about 7 ml of the solution up into your kidney.
  5. Change the valve to block the kidney and flush the other 3mL down the line to flush your external tube.
  6. Open the valve to it’s normal state.

If the tube has been blocked for a little bit the flushed urine will be hot to the touch if you hold your tube and you might see larger pieces of sediment in the line/bag than you normally would. Also it’s incredibly hard to force yourself to do things that will cause you pain, this is why its easier to have someone else flush it for you. The force you use when flushing up into the kidney hurts but its for the best.

Personal Note: I flushed my tube twice at a time, 6 times a day to try and prevent blockages but as I said before I blocked very easily and very frequently. Some patients never need to flush their tubes….lucky women…

Okay what is a tube change like?

For most people the tube change is a breeze and will only take 5-10 minutes. It is pretty similar to the inital procedure but you typically will not recieve any sedation or painkillers. I didn’t know this until I went for my first change and I was not happy.

I recommend asking your dr for a prescription for some type of painkiller and take a dose about 45 mins before your scheduled procedure. This helped make the changes more manageable but I’ll be honest with you and tell you that they’ll never be painless or fun.

For the tube change you’ll hope up on the table and lie either on your side or front like the initial insertion. They’ll prep you the same way with the drop cloth etc. I’ll tell you here that you want to wear really ratty clothes for this. If your tube is blocked you will likely end up wearing blood, urine or both, because as soon as they pull the blocked tube out all that backup looks for the fastest way out. There is a splash zone for this stuff.

If you had stitches placed to hold the tube in place they won’t actually need to be re-done every time. I had 23 tube changes in my 6 months with the tube and my stitches were only done about 5 or 6 times. They will likely just remove the disk but leave the ones in your skin there.

For the procedure itself they will check the tube by injecting the same glow-in-the-dark dye. They will then thread a flexible wire down the tube into your kidney to hold the tract open while they change the tubing. Once the wire is in they’ll yank the first tube out and shove the new tube in. Wham bam, thank you ma’am! It is actually pretty quick assuming you have a partial or soft blockage. You’ll be rebandanged and walking yourself to your car in no time.

Note: If you’re far enough along your baby will probably be trying to express his or her distaste for the procedure by kicking up a storm and or experiencing some Braxton-Hicks contractions. It’s super awesomely fun when you’re not only having someone messing with your internal organs but you’re also having contractions at the same time.

But what if I have a knot? Or a hard blockage?

Then your appointment just got a little longer and a little more painful.

For a hard blockage if they can’t get the flexible wire down the tube they’ll try a stiff wire…and put some muscle behind it… Feel free to ask for a pillow to bite down on and don’t be ashamed if a few tears escape. There’s nothing more fun than having someone repeatedly trying to ram a wire through a hard blockage into your already swollen, blocked kidney. Try to remember how much better you’ll feel when it’s cleared up!

If the block is too solid and the wire just isn’t going to work they will use a higher gauge tube and slide it over the original tube to hold the tract open when they pull it out. This hurts a little more because the tract isn’t quite that wide so there is some stretching happening there while they try to thread it over.

The procedure to change a fully blocked tube takes a bit longer and you might be there for 20-30 minutes instead of 10-20.

Now as for a knot in the tube, inside the kidney, just yikes.This is incredibly rare but if it happens, like it did for me, you’re in for a bad time. To get the tube out they need to undo the knot, because they won’t be pulling that tube out as is because it could cause some serious damage. When they had to do this for me I was on the table for 1.5 hrs and it was miserable. When they are finally able to undo the knot you’ll probably find that the tube has blocked completely so see the previous paragraphs for what happens then. As I said though, this is rare. My dr said I was the first knot he’d seen in 5 years of doing the procedure.

How can I help prevent blockages to my tube?

Well to be honest there isn’t much you can do except accept that if your tube is going to block then it’s going to block. You can’t control how the baby lies or if small pieces of sediment or stone will block the tube.

Some pieces of advice I got which might have helped (who knows!) are:

  • Strong citrus beverages like pure lemonade or grapefruit juice
  • daily flushing of the line.
  • Making sure your valve is open, don’t sleep on/smush the line when you lie down, don’t wear tight clothing that could cut off the line.
  • Ask your Interventional Radiologist to use a larger guage of tubing for your nephrostomy tube. I started with an 8 and ended with a 12 which seemed to help.

How can I hide my tube? It’s ugly! I’m pregnant and already feel gross enough!

Yes nephrostomy tubes are ugly and when I first got home with mine I cried. I didn’t want to be stared at in public! Also it was mid June in southern Ontario and I didn’t want to abandon all of my summer clothing. I wore a lot of wide legged yoga pants and long maxi dresses/skirts to hide my tube.

Honestly though, about 1month in I stopped caring what people thought and usually had it hanging out. If it made them uncomfortable too bad for them, I wasn’t going to go out of my way to make other people feel better.

Do you have to pin up your nephrostomy tube?

When you get your tube you’ll be given a large kilt pin or elastic/velcro garters that will help pin it up or hold it to your leg. Lots of people love these but I did not. I found that they actually kinked my tube and it wouldn’t drain properly. Also the one and only time I pinned my tube I got it caught on a desk and snapped that sucker in two. My 4 year old definitely learnt some new words that day…none of which can be repeated in his kindergarten classroom.

Pin it or not, I say do whatever you’re more comfortable with. My tube was usually just hanging down my side, flapping in the wind.

How do I sleep/live with my nephrostomy tube?

Being pregnant you’re probably not sleeping on your stomach anyways so this will definitely limit your sleeping abilities a little more. My tube was on my right so I found I could sleep on my back (proped up for heartburn which had nothing to do with the tubes but sucked anyways) or on my left side. The tube would hang over the right side of the bed and I was careful to not catch it on the side of the matress when I got up to pee.

The bigger danger is actually car doors, I actually got mine slammed in it more than once and lost a bag during a drive once as well. Embarassing…

Also showering sucks because you can’t get the dressing wet. We had it organized so we’d tape a Ziplock bag over it with medical tape and then change the bandages right after. Needless to say I took less showers than normal because it just became too much work.

Are there any other potential issues for nephrostomy tubes in pregnancy?

Again, I’m not a doctor, but I’m sure there are a few. I had two of the bigger ones though and I can speak a bit to those

  • Pregnancy Induced Hypertension: Any issues with your kidneys can cause your blood pressure to rise, which mine did during pregnancy. It’s actually why my little man arrived 5 weeks early. I had to be induced when my bp reached 192/115. It’s also hard to test for pre-eclampsia with a nephrostomy tube cause 9 times out of 10 you’ll already have protien in your urine, the major marker for pre-e.
  • Kidney Infections/Pylopnephritis: Having a blocked kidney, with or without stones, increases your chance for infection. Add to that the fact that someone will be getting their hands on your kidneys for tube changes it’s probably something you’ll run into. I had a recurring infection that required a PICC line and portable IV pump which gave me an IV dose of antibiotics 3 times a day. But that’s another post. With all the hospital treatments you could be exposed to different antibiotic resistant infections as well which might involve more IV drugs but usually for a shorter course of treatment.
PICC line setup for IV antibiotics through an 'at home' pump.

PICC line setup for IV antibiotics through an ‘at home’ pump.

So this sounds terrible. Are there any upsides to have a nephrostomy tube while pregnant?

Well for one you won’t have to get up to pee as much as other pregnant ladies! Half (or all if you’re unlucky enough to have two tubes) of your urine drains to a bag which gives your bladder a break.

Also you’ll likely get lots more ultrasounds to make sure your baby is okay and getting to see that little thing wiggling around reminds you why you’re doing this to yourself and why it will all be worth it in the end.

You also get lots of monitoring! Bring entertainment.

You also get lots of monitoring! Bring entertainment.

The main benefit though is that you won’t be in excrutiating pain from a blocked kidney and if you’ve ever experienced this that is enough in and of itself. The tube isn’t forever, it just helps you get through until your problem can be fixed!

But it’s not fair! Other people have such amazing pregnacies and mine sucks!

I thought it, and I’m sure you will too but it will do you absolutely no good to get down on your situation. You can go home and cry about how unfair it all is but at the end of the day you’ll still have the blocked kidney, you’ll still have the tube and you’ll still need to have it changed. You can choose to be miserable about it or you can choose to ride it out with your eye on the prize.

Make some new friends at the hospital! Poke fun at your tube/youself! Decorate the bag with sharpies! Online shop for baby stuff! Prep a baby book letting the kid now they owe you for this for the rest of their life! The time will pass a lot quicker if you try to find a silver lining.

What about labour with the nephrostomy tube?

My biggest worry was that I wouldn’t be able to have an epidural when I was in labour. I don’t feel like I need to be a hero and from my experience with my first I knew I’d be a much nicer/happier person with the drugs. I did meet with the anesthesiologist around 30 weeks to make sure it was possible with the location of the tube and it wasn’t an issue at all.

I also worried that the tube would get caught or cramp my style when I was having to push etc. But to be honest I didn’t even think about the tube when I got to that point. Contractions have a funny way of taking your mind off anything else!

Okay so when can I get the nephrostomy tube out?

This really depends on why you had it in in the first place! If it was just the baby lying on the ureter then it should come out pretty quickly after delivery, probably before you leave the hospital but again I’m no doctor and I’m sure yours will let you know the game plan.

If, like me, yours is in place due to large kidney stones, these unfortunately don’t resolve themselves after delivery. I had my surgery to remove the stones scheduled for 2.5 months after delivery so I had time to recover, complete pre-surgery testing and set up a nursing routine and bond with my new baby boy. I thought I’d be in a bigger rush to get it out but it was nice to be able to setup our routine before having yet another procedure and hospital time.

What is the final removal like?

I really can’t speak to a regular removal but I can tell you about mine that followed my stone removal surgery.

After the surgery I had both a larger nephrostomy tube and a catheter. The larger tube was to help drain any pieces of stones left in the kidney and the catheter was to help get my body used to drainig the kidney through my bladder again as opposed to my back.

Aftermath of surgery! The blue clip on the lower left attached the tubes to my gown so I wouldn't trip on or pull them. The two bags attached to the pole were for the catheter and larger nephrostomy tube.

Aftermath of surgery! The blue clip on the lower left attached the tubes to my gown so I wouldn’t trip on or pull them. The two bags attached to the pole were for the catheter and larger nephrostomy tube.

Two days after my surgery I had an x-ray to confirm the blockage was gone and then a doctor showed up at my bedside to pull out the tube. He had me take a deep breath and basically yanked. He then secured a pressure bandage to the site. They didn’t stitch it closed at which kind of freaked me out after having the site open for 6 months but to be fair it was a small-ish incision. The whole thing was pretty painless and very anti-climactic.

After 4 hrs they checked the bandage and there was about 2 inches of discharge so they kept the catheter in. 8 hrs after the removal the bandage was dry so they pulled out the catheter and told me to empty my bladder every 30 mins for the next few hours. Your kidney will empty at the point of least resistance so it’ll help seal the hole if you keep it empty!

The next morning the hole was almost closed up and the bandage was clear and I got my discharge paperwork. 6 months and I finally got to leave the hospital without any tubes!

So now what?

When you have the tube removed you will literally just cover the site with a bandaid for a few days until it closes completely and then you’ll probably have some scaring around the site.

I’ve had my tube out now since the last week of Nov 2014 and my scar is still pretty red 3.5 months later. It’s on my back though and after two kids I’m not rocking many crop tops or bikinis so it doesn’t bother me all that much.

Nephrostomy tube scar approx 3.5 months after surgery

Nephrostomy tube scar approx 3.5 months after surgery. The large dark spot was the insertion side and the small, dotted scars around it are from the various locations stitches were put in to hold the tube in place.

So there you have it.

I’ve tried to cover all of the things I can think of but I definitely am open to suggestions or more questions that you might have! Having a nephrostomy tube while pregnant is no picnic but it could always be worse! You’ll get through it because you have to and you get the ultimate reward at the end. Take your time to feel a little sorry for yourself but don’t let it take up your whole life and try to enjoy and have as normal a pregnancy as you can! You don’t want to look back with any regrets.

 

Introducing August!

Filed under: Uncategorized — maternalmusing @ 2:54 pm
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I’m a little behind the blogging but for a very good reason! We did it again! Our second beautiful son arrived 5 weeks before his due date on Sept 12th 2014 and has been keeping us pretty busy.

Naively I thought that V’s pregnancy took the cake and that there was no way a second one could be any worse… God must have laughed hysterically at that one and proceeded to challenge us every step of the way as we fought to keep A on the inside long enough to have a fighting chance! They do say you can’t have a testimony without a test and we definitely had a few of those. It was all worth it in the end, especially when he gives me a big slobbery grin.

Baby A just moments after his arrival before he checked into his suite in the NICU.

Baby A just moments after his arrival before he checked into his suite in the NICU.

I’m going to sidetrack a bit at first to put up an informational blog about one of the biggest challeneges we had with baby A’s pregnancy but I will definitely fill you in on his exciting arrival in due time!