Monday, September 30, 2013

Made it to 28 weeks!

Tonight I got back from the hospital and Alisha seems to have improved. The rash on her arm is becoming much less itchy but it still gives her discomfort, so we're hoping that she'll be able to sleep well tonight. The baby is still doing well.

Tomorrow we will be celebrating a successful 28-week mark of Alisha's pregnancy. It's encouraging to reach this point, given that the doctor initially said the baby would "almost definitely" come out before 27 weeks.

Tuesday morning at ~9:30am will be the ultrasound where they'll measure the baby's GROWTH and blood flow in the umbilical cord. If our daughter hasn't grown enough over the past 2 weeks, then the doctors may use that to indicate that she should be taken out. Please pray for good GROWTH numbers and healthy blood flow. I'll try to post an update before noon on Tuesday to let everyone know the results.

Rough Times

Our daughter has mostly been doing well. Aside from the baby having a few scattered (but significant) drops in heart rate, the baby looks to be improving and maturing. Our doctor this morning said he was guessing 480g for the ultrasound tomorrrow. He said that now it's up to the baby when

Alisha has been going through rough times the past few days. It seems like each new day brings a new difficulty for her. A few nights ago contractions came back so they increased her medication and gave her a physical exam, which ended up causing some topical bleeding (and a scare). The PICC line that was put in over a week ago has started giving her a very bad rash, so bad that last night she couldn't sleep. They brought a doctor in last night at 11 to examine the rash because it was spreading. On top of that, each time the baby's heartbeat takes a significant dip it causes Alisha stress.

If you have a chance to come and visit her, please do so even if you can only stay a short while or if you don't sign up on the visitor list. She said that visitors have really helped the time pass more quickly. Alisha has plenty of projects to work on thanks to Rachelle, Sherre, Lana, and Sharon, so she won't need any more things to keep her hands busy. Right now she and the baby just need prayers for healing, relief, and GROWTH.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Baby Hiccups

On Friday, Alisha heard extra bumps on the monitor (no, not twins). She whipped out her phone and captured it from the bed where she was laying. The bumps you hear are not a heartbeat, they're the baby having hiccups! Turn up the sound, they are faint:

On Saturday morning at around 3am, the monitors detected Alisha having a contraction every 3 minutes (previously there was 1-2 per hour). The doctor did a quick ultrasound check to make sure the baby had enough fluid, then put Alisha onto a stronger contraction medication. The contractions reduced within an hour and were almost back to normal this morning.

The great news that came out of her losing sleep and being probed was that the doctors looked at the baby's heartbeat and said it had improved from "minimal" to "moderate". We are hoping this means that the baby is getting enough nutrients and is maturing, but we won't know until we get the growth measurements from the full ultrasound next Tuesday (10/1). Keep praying, God is listening!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sweet Laughter

Sarah Modgling visited Alisha (me too) on Wednesday and we discovered that Sarah can mimic contractions with her hilarity. On the picture from the monitor below, the large, jagged wave is Alisha laughing at something that Sarah said. We concluded that the contraction monitor could double as a joke-meter so that would-be comedians could gauge how funny they actually are: 

Sarah also treated Alisha (me too) to food from her favorite restaurant: Cheesecake Factory. Dinner was delicious. Luckily I snapped a picture of the chocolate cheesecake before we dug into dessert:

Unfortunately, this would be Alisha's last dessert for a while. On Friday Alisha had a glucose test done and they concluded that while she's pregnant she is "glucose intolerant", which basically excludes Alisha from eating sugar for the rest of her time in the hospital (but she can eat fruit). If you planned on bringing sugary sweets to fatten her (and the baby) up, she won't be able to eat them for a few months.

Movies & Games

Between meals, checkups, and visitors Alisha has lots of down time. She brought some light-hearted movies from home, and then last week Molly also brought her this box of movies to keep her busy. The movies help keep her mind distracted when nurses are messing with her IV.

She also has a drawer of games to play when people visit. She has Scrabble, Sequence, playing cards, Yahtzee (dice), and Bananagrams. Below is Alisha's winning bananagram crossword when we played with Chris and Kristen Mills on Monday night ("gay" means happy):

... and this is a larger one when just Alisha and I played until all the tiles were gone ...

If you visit her and like to play games, feel free to break one out. She likes anything that's not boisterous (sorry, Cranium fans).

Thursday, September 26, 2013

"A little more mature"

This morning two doctors were talking with Alisha and she heard one of them mention that the baby's heartbeat looked "a little more mature". That was encouraging to us because any improvement hopefully indicates that we'll see growth at the next ultrasound (10/1). Keep praying!

Pray for GROWTH next Tuesday

This blog post is about our baby's growth. For those who didn't see some of the initial emails, here's how the progress has gone so far:
      8/10: 20 weeks, 186g (6.5oz)
      8/23: 22 weeks: 230g (8.1oz)
      8/30: 23 weeks, 265g (9.3oz)
      9/10: 25 weeks: 377g (13.3oz)
      9/17: 26 weeks: 393g (13.9oz)
      10/1: 28 weeks: ???

Our baby is roughly 50-60% of the size of an average baby at the same point during the pregnancy. Our doctor said that the smallest breathing tube they have is for a 500g baby (1 lb 2oz), so we really need her to reach that level to have a chance of survival. She has two threats working against her:

  1. She might be born early
  2. She's smaller than most babies born that early

We ask everyone to please pray for GROWTH for our daughter. The next ultrasound measurement will occur on 10/1 (next Tuesday), so we are asking everyone to pray for lots of growth when that measurement is taken. If the growth is minimal, then the doctors may decide that it's time to take her out (which would be very dangerous). Please pray that she grows significantly and that her heartbeat stays healthy until she's born.

To get a visual idea of how small the baby may be when she's born, here's a picture of a baby born at 1 lb 2oz (see the article):

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


We've been trying to personalize Alisha's room to make it feel a little more like home. As you may have noticed in a previous post, we added a small disco ball. The picture below shows how it lights up the room with sparkles when the sun hits it just before sunset. We also added a banner that Alisha made last Valentine's day with felt cutouts in the shape of hearts (and no, I won't make a joke about it being "heart-felt"). Since the angled bar is metal, we used magnets to attach all the stuff to it. One nurse said she's never see anyone use magnets to attach stuff there before!

Alisha also got a drawing from Lucy Rowley that we hung up on her bathroom door where she can see it. It says "I love you" across the top, with Lucy, Baby, Shaun, and Alisha across the bottom. For some reason Lucy considers herself to be a square in a world full of round-shaped people. Perhaps that means she's destined for greatness. It also looks like she threw in a diaper just below the baby. What Alisha likes most about her drawing is how our arms come directly out of ourheads, because it is so fun and whimsical looking.

That's all for now. The baby had a stable day yesterday with no big problems or worries, so it was a little easier to handle than Monday. This morning the doctor told Alisha that we're trying for "more of the same" today, so keep praying and keep thanking God for how far he's brought us up until now.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Dip

Yesterday was a rough day.

If you ever wondered what a baby's heartbeat looks like when you stop praying for her, it looks like this:

Notice the large dip in her heartbeat halfway through the lower line with a blue background. Luckily a nurse was standing near Alisha talking to her about some small drops they'd seen recently, when this one happened. The nurse told the doctors and the doctors were concerned. They put Alisha on oxygen to get more to the baby and were much more strict about her monitoring through the rest of the day. Thankfully, no other large drops like this were seen. They suspected that this was a fluke where the baby pinched her own umbilical cord and cut off her blood/oxygen supply.

The doctor came and spoke to Alisha yesterday and said that they're going to push the baby as far as they can before delivering her. They plan to deliver her at the point when conditions inside the womb are worse than conditions outside the womb. Until that point, we want her to grow as much as possible (with God, all things are possible) to prepare her for entry into the world. Please keep praying for GROWTH and a steady heartbeat!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Visitors Wanted

Alisha is almost to the 1-week mark with her hospital stay (she arrived on 9/17 at ~7am). I am able to be with her at night and on weekends, but she would really appreciate other company during the day. I don't know if the visitor schedule is too overwhelming, but please just drop by if you have the time to visit with her.

She also is getting tired of hospital dinners, as there's only so much bland, microwaved chicken, pork, and turkey that a girl can take. If you'd like to bring her dinner and visit with her then she'd love that. If you plan to eat with her or bring her dinner, then write a note on the visitor schedule just to let others know. If the visitor schedule is too complicated, then just text/call Alisha to see which day works best.

Thank you for helping me take care of her in this important time! :)


On Saturday, the nurses put a PICC line into Alisha's arm. It is essentially a long-term IV that will prevent them from having to find a new vein to tap into every 4 days. The line runs a tube through a vein in Alisha's arm all the way to her heart. It allows them to draw blood and give her fluids (if needed). The sterilization solution they used agitated her arm for the past two days, so it gives her skin some discomfort, but that's the only problem she's had with it since they put it in.

They also gave her a breathing device to play with, to keep her lungs healthy. Since she is inactive, they said they want her to keep breathing deeply to prevent problems with her lungs. The indicator on the left measures the velocity of air she's breathing in, and the indicator on the right measures the total volume of air she's breathed in a single breath. They told her that she has to breathe in slowly enough to keep the indicator on the left at "BEST" (slow) while making sure that the indicator on the right measures at 1500 or higher:

I tried it too. It's a fun game!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Special Sunday

Today Alisha was stuck at the hospital while the rest of us were at church, so we used FaceTime on an iPad at my feet so that she could hear the songs and sermon even though she couldn't be with us. After church, Greg DeGough and Caroline Dimmen came to visit her. Alisha got a special treat that she got a 1-hour foot massage from Caroline and a starbucks drink from Greg!

She also got to open a gift bag (pink, above) from Caroline. Below she is opening a care package (blue tin) that Rachelle Gay put together for her:

She said that the lack of IV discomfort, healthy baby heartbeat, and visits from friends made this her best day yet in the hospital.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Monitoring the Baby

Here's a little more about how Alisha and the baby are being monitored. There are two sensors connected to Alisha's belly; one tracks the baby's heartbeat and the other tracks Alisha's contractions. The data is constantly printed by this monitoring machine:

The red number is the baby's heartbeat (163 beats/minute) and the blue number is Alisha's contraction level. The sensors are on her 24-hours a day. The only time the monitoring stops is when Alisha gets out of bed (restroom) or when the baby moves. If the baby moves off the monitoring for more than a minute or so, the nurse will come in to adjust the sensor until it detects her again. This screen shows the monitored data over time. The top is the baby's heartbeat, which they want to stay high and vary slightly in rate. The bottom is Alisha's contractions:

Here is a video where you can hear the baby's heartbeat getting tracked (turn up the sound) and see where the machines are in relation to Alisha:

Friday, September 20, 2013

View of the Nest

I thought I'd show some pictures of the nest (Alisha's room) so if you haven't been able to visit you'll have a mental picture of where she'll be for a while (hopefully). This is Alisha in bed this morning eating her breakfast:

The orange tubes connect to pressurized wraps on her calves, to keep them moving even though she's laying still. The bed is an air bed and controlled by the box at her feet with the screen on it. Whenever she moves, the bed will adjust air pressure in different compartments to reduce pressure points. During breakfast this morning, she decided to entertain herself with The Devil Wears Prada (her view):

Below is the view she has out the window next to her bed. She was blessed with a window that looks out on a courtyard, so that hopefully while she stays there she can watch the leaves change colors as fall arrives. It's a couch where visitors can sit and where I sleep when I stay there overnight:

Can you spot the little bit of decor that we brought from home?

Changed Contraction-Prevention Medication

Late yesterday the doctors switched Alisha's medication that prevents contractions from a short-term medication to a long-term medication. Alisha had gone over 24 hours without a contraction! The downside was that her blood pressure lowered over the course of the day from 118/75 to 105/65, so they took her off of all medication for the rest of the day. The contractions came back lightly, but they didn't keep her up and night, her back didn't hurt, and the doctors didn't see any indications that the contractions were stressing the baby.

This morning they put her back on the long-term medication (since 105/65 isn't a harmful blood pressure) to see if it would clear up the remaining contractions to make both of them more comfortable. Either way, they said the baby is doing fine and they are talking about her stay long-term. We are hoping she stays in for at least 1.5 months, which would get her to the 32-week maturity mark.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Visitor Schedule

Aubree Mackey was kind enough to put together this visitor schedule, for those who are local and who'd like to drop in and see Alisha. It's not a requirement that you sign up before coming by, but she thought this would be helpful in making sure people could reserve time with Alisha or make sure she was getting enough visitors:

   Click here:  VISITOR SCHEDULE

Alisha is at Kaiser Roseville (enter on Eureka). Go to building B and sign in at the security station. Alisha is in room #218.

For those out of the area, she can still receive text messages on a somewhat regular basis. She prefers texts over phone calls, since she may be sleeping or occupied when the phone call comes in. If you text her to ask if anything is needed and she doesn't respond, assume that means we've got everything covered. :)

Starting the blog

Alisha and I will post updates about our daughter's progress on this blog. We thought that this would be a more efficient way to get the information out than trying to send emails frequently to a specific list of people. This will let anyone who wants to stay up-to-date get the latest information. We'll try to put new information up daily, but the internet connectivity is unreliable at the hospital.