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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Baby Chip Goes to the Hospital

Baby Chip's bloodflow through his umbilical cord is good, practically normal, which according to the doctors is amazing since his bloodflow was absent at 24 weeks. If anyone wants the long-winded explanation of that, I can give it. Just comment below and I'll tell you what my IUGR specialist said. Baby Chip didn't grow hardly at all for the last two weeks though. Still 2lbs 11oz. His head still grew, but he lost belly fat.

He also looks anemic by sonogram (1.67 MoM, if that means anything to you.) The docs redid my antibodies against baby blood's score and it's still 2,000. It shouldn't be more than 4, which means my body is quite capable of killing Baby Chip's red blood cells and making him deathly anemic. His little spleen is also enlarged, which is a sign that it's working too hard because of anemia.

So tomorrow, Baby Chip and I go to the specialist hospital for the blood transfusion specialist doctors to make a final decision about whether he should get a blood transfusion. I feel like I've met every pregnancy specialist in Denver by now, though I know that's an exaggeration. :) The transfusion could cause an emergency c-section if baby goes into distress. There's also a small possibility of fetal death. If the docs don't do the transfusion, they'll have to yank Baby Chip out into the open air in less than 2 weeks since my doctors won't let babies go past 34 weeks with this kind of anemia going on and no transfusion.

All in all, life stays crazy. Special shout out to Joe-Joe who attended three doctor visits in the past eight days and been a trooper about them all (and he didn't even go to all our doctor appointments this week.) Appreciation for my husband who is entering the busiest two weeks of his work year starting this week and still trying to make doctor appointments. Thanks to my parents who have helped so much with doctor visits and Joe-Joe etc.

Apologies to all the people in my writing and counseling work life who are getting far from my undivided attention at present.

Meanwhile, listening to:

Friday, May 27, 2016

Criminal to Entrepreneurs: The Story of Australia

This post first appeared on the Writing Prompts Crew 

I read and write historical fiction because I want to be transported to a different era. Few eras are more fascinating than Australia from 1778 to 1868 when it served as a penal colony for the British empire. Magistrates shipped 162,000 men and women off to Australia during that time.

Now I can’t tell you exactly how much a ship voyage from England to Australia cost back in the day, but let’s just say it wasn’t a cheap ticket. The thirteen American colonies are closer to England than Australia and the poor would indenture themselves for up to seven years to earn ship passage to America.
Why spend all that money to ship a thief to Australia rather than just pay for a short jail stay? The British originally set up a penal colony because of their belief that convicts were genetically defective and no amount of consequences, help, or education could ever rehabilitate them. The British wanted those defective genes as far away from their lovely country as possible, so they sent the criminals 9,000 miles away to Australia.
The convict ships were far from luxury cruise lines. Harsh  conditions led to as many as one-third of the deported convicts dying on the journey to Australia. After arriving in Australia, some convicts were confined in jails or factories, but many others were hired out as unpaid laborers to the free settlers. This didn’t make their treatment any less harsh, however, and convicts often felt the abuse of lash and leg iron. The women, always a scarce commodity in a new land, were often more or less forcibly married off to the free settlers.
The irony in the British’s deportation scheme is that these despised convicts went on to set up successful farms and businesses and build the backbone of Australian industry. Women labeled as whores and shoved into the harsh conditions of female factories went on after their term of imprisonment to starts schools and hospitals.
Today, the nation built on the backbone of these “unredeemable” criminals has a flourishing free-market economy and is a popular tourist destination.
I bet the British magistrates who condemned criminals to Australia never would have guessed that.
Who today does our society unconsciously think incapable of redemption? How would these people’s lives improve if we recognized their potential?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Baby Chip: When the Doctors Call YOU

Aren't they handsome? :)

Ding-a-ling-ling. "Hello, this is your doctor."
Me: Since when do my doctors call me? Usually I'm on hold for hours trying to reach them. "Um, hi."
Doctor: "Have you had a blood transfusion recently?"
Me: Yeah, that's totally what I do when I'm seven months into a high-risk pregnancy, go out and get random blood transfusions and don't tell my doctor. "Um, no. Why?"
Doctor: "Are you by any chance hemorrhaging in the bathtub right now?"
Me: Would you like me to go check? Hmm, yeah, I don't see blood all over the floor. I'm fairly convinced I'm not hemorrhaging. "No. . . why?"
Doctor: "What about excruciating abdomen pain?"
Me: "No. None of that either." You know what, how about  a new plan. Next time I'm hemorrhaging in a bathtub or in excruciating pain, don't call me. I'll call you. "Why?"
Doctor: "Your Rh antibody count came back insanely high."

What's an Rh antibody count, you ask? My bloodtype is negative and my husband's is positive. Years ago, this situation caused many stillbirths because a Rh negative mom will start creating antibodies and attacking the blood of a Rh positive baby. Now, though, we have an awesome shot called rhogam, which prevents all that. My understanding is that rhogam is basically fake antibodies that stop your body from making real antibodies that will hurt baby. With the rhogam shot, your antibody level shouldn't be any higher than a 4. Mine came back a 2,000, which apparently means Baby Chip should be almost dead. But Baby Chip is still very much alive and kicking.

Today Baby Chip weighed 2 lbs 11 oz (14 oz increase, and up from below 1% to almost 4%!). Also his bloodflow, which used to be absent, and then restricted is now only restricted in one artery and perfectly normal in the second.

Doctor: "So I think perhaps that the lab made a mistake on your lab results. We will retest."
Me: Does the lab you patronize make a habit of sticking test tubes in mud? "Why would you think the results are wrong? I am Rh negative."
Doctor: "Would you like to be in a research study? Your case is so rare we will write academic research papers on it."
Me: "Um...don't other babies have IUGR or perhaps their mom has Rh disease?"
Doctor: "Yes, but your baby's acting way too healthy on the sonogram for what we're seeing on the test results. Baby's bloodflow usually doesn't get better. Baby's don't keep moving and kicking when you have a 2,000 antibody level trying to attack baby. None of the doctors in my practice can figure out why your baby is acting as healthy as he is."
Well, hey, I've been praying to a God who I believe works miracles.

So now we have to go another specialist, retest my antibodies, make sure Baby Chip actually does have a positive bloodtype, then see about an in-utero blood transfusion.

Apparently, the doctors can stick a needle through the umbilical cord and give him a blood transfusion to fix anemia issues should my blood be attacking his. Then I have to be hospitalized for a day while they monitor Baby Chip since there is a risk of him going into distress.

Oh and I need to decide if Baby Chip would like to be in a research study. Do you think Baby Chip looks like he'd enjoy a research study? Trying to evaluate his pensive face.
My baby boy

Appreciate all the prayers and that you've continued to read about all our baby drama. I'll keep you updated as the saga continues.

DISCLAIMER in case any of my doctors run across my blog. ;): I love my doctors. And even if I do think sarcastic things in my head sometimes about their questions, it's not their fault. Baby Chip's case is very unique. As my husband said, 'we sure do have a knack for making really sick babies.' Ask me about Joe-Joe's meningitis story someday.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Enter to WIN: A Historical Fiction Novella

        I've had the privilege of knowing Jodie Wolfe for some time now since she is with the same literary agent as I am. She's not only a skilled writer, but a neat person to get to know. Today you can learn about her latest historical fiction novella, Hearts Tightly Knit: available on Amazon at You can also enter to WIN a print copy by commenting below and telling me what your favorite type of book to read is.

Hearts Tightly Knit Blurb:

Orphaned at age ten, Ellie Stafford and her twin sister Mae made a vow—to stick together and never marry. Nothing will ever come between them. Now in their mid twenties, they are bucking convention in Calder Springs, Texas, as women with respectable occupations who can take care of themselves. Ellie works at the Good Fixin's Diner and spends her evenings knitting garments for The Children's Aid Society. When a handsome local rancher shows up searching for a cook, she's hardly even tempted.

Luke Rogers owns a spread just outside of Calder Springs. It was running as smooth as cattle going through a chute until his cook up and marries the local widow and high-tails it back east. With no cook and a bunkhouse full of ranch hands ready to revolt, he persuades Ellie to temporarily fill-in until he can hire someone else. He should have known better than to get tangled up with another woman.

Purchase Link:

Jodie Wolfe got bitten by the writing bug as a young girl after reading and watching Little House on the Prairie. She loves writing stories about feisty heroines and strong, godly heroes. The power of story to influence lives and change hearts is what motivates her to weave tales that tell of the Savior’s faithfulness and forgiveness. Her books provide history, hope, laughter and happily-ever-after. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband, reading, walking and being a Grammie.

Blogs I contribute to: Stitches Thru Time, Putting on the New and of course, Quid Pro Quills.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Baby Chip Is Growing--Slowly

We have now officially hit 28 weeks and 1lb 13oz, which is in the less than 1% range. But hey, it's growth.

The amniocentesis results came back 100% normal and they did a microarray as well, which tests for a ton of minute stuff. Praising God for that. The doctor who did the amino said she was shocked the amnio came back normal, especially given the clubfoot issue.
We're still praying for bloodflow and growth and that Baby Chip can stay inside of me for another nine weeks. The doctors will most likely take him at 37 weeks because with his lungs fully developed he'll be able to gain more weight on the outside after 37 weeks.

The doctor said exercise is good for bloodflow. So here's us hiking Estes Park.

 Right now we're just visiting the doctor every week and waiting for something to change that would necessitate an emergency c-section. Everything is stable at present, however, so the doctors are hopeful that Baby Chip will be able to stay inside for a good bit longer. In a little while, we'll start going to the doctor TWO times a week--joy. Not.

The doctor's goal at present is to get Baby Chip as close to 37 weeks and 3lbs as possible. All prayers for our little guy much appreciated.