Thanks to You!

Last week we had one of our dreams come true...I was able to visit Dr. Collins.

Dr. Collins is an OB who has studied and researched infant fatality due to cord accidents. He now focuses all his time and energy on educating the medical profession about things that can be done during pregnancy to identify potential cord problems before they become fatal. He also monitors pregnant women who have previously lost a baby by cord accident starting in their 28th week of subsequent pregnancies. I'm lucky enough to be one of those women.

Lucky...or should I say blessed? Because of the outpouring of love and support through generous donations that we received through the "Peace of Mind Fund" set up by a good friend we were able to afford the trip and visit with Dr. Collins.

Since learning about him and the service he offers, I have wanted so badly to take part in it. Something I thought I'd only dream about, until a lot of incredible people made that dream come true.

Last Thursday I flew to Baton Rouge Louisiana where Dr. Collins' office is located. I met up with him and his lovely wife Candace on Friday morning. He showed me around the office, read a lot of research to me, and showed off pictures of other girls and their healthy babies that he has monitored. Then he hooked me up to a heart monitor for a half an hour so he could get an idea of what Brooklyn's heart rate and pattern are like at this time. He said all of that looked great!

Next, he performed an extensive ultrasound focusing on the's position, what it looks like, if it was wrapped or twisted in any way...and as of right now it doesn't appear to be around Brooklyn, or compressed at all...which was great news!

However, he did notice something that could potentially cause a problem...something I'm so glad we are aware of (one of the main purposes of the visit). The cord has what's called a "Funic Presentation", which means that is is attached towards the outside of the placenta instead of the center, and it comes down around the bottom of Brooklyn and puddles right on top of the cervix. This could potentially cause problems, as Brooklyn is head down right now and her head is sitting right above all that cord. As she continues to grow and completely fill the whole uterus, a couple of things could happen...she could either get wrapped in the cord, or her head could start to put enough pressure on the cord to cause compression. Both of which, would not be good.

However, he said that in the next couple of weeks she could flip to a breach position as she would instinctively be able to tell that her head was causing the compression to take place, which would be ok considering I have to have C-section anyways. This would leave her feet near the cord which isn't as potentially dangerous. Or, she could cause the cord to move higher in the uterus as she moves. Both of these would be great outcomes.

If nothing changes with the position of the baby or the cord in the next couple of weeks, I will need to be closely monitored...perhaps even hospitalized until the baby is born. Dr. Collins suggested that I start having weekly ultrasounds and to make sure I am doing my nightly monitoring. If I'm doing those two things we should be able to catch any problems that should arise before they become fatal.

After the ultrasound was over we spent about two hours talking about fetal movement, contractions, and he taught me how to use the at home heart rate monitor. He taught me what to look for in the heart rate patterns, and at what point I would need to go directly to a hospital. I feel like I learned a lot of things that other doctors never take the time to explain.

Then me, Dr. Collins, his wife, and one of his daughters went to lunch at a beautiful restaurant right on the Mississippi river. They were so nice and genuinely interested in our family. I really enjoyed getting to know them. They were extremely personable and I left them feeling like I am in really good hands.

I returned home safely Saturday night. I started to do the at home monitoring that night and will continue each night until Brooklyn arrives safely. I strap the monitor on each night for about a half an hour, ideally between 10 and 10:30 because this is when I start to produce the sleep hormone that can cause the slowing of blood supply and oxygen to the baby. If there are any problems with the cord, this is the time that it would be most apparent.

For 30 minutes, it monitors Brooklyn's heartbeat and any contractions if I were to have any. Then I connect it to a modem and send it directly to Dr. Collins blackberry. It is also forwarded to my OB's email as well. It is then downloaded to a website where I can get on and look at the whole strip as well.

It is a little scary to know that there is a potential problem, however, I would rather find out about it on this end and be able to take preventative measures instead of finding out on the other end when it's too late to do anything about it. I find a lot of comfort in knowing that every day two Doctors who are professionally trained look at the readings from the night before. Part of the money that I paid to Dr. Collins allows me to have 24 hour access to him if I have any questions or concerns. He also calls about every other day to check up on me to see how I'm feeling and how the monitoring is going. He will also calls if he notices any patterns in the heart rate that raise any red flags. I feel very blessed to have this amazing opportunity.

Being able to strap the monitor anytime during the day or night to check on Brooklyn is truly priceless. I don't know that there is anything that could bring more peace of mind right now. Rob and I truly thank each and everyone of you who made this dream a have changed our lives and hopefully ensured that we get to keep Brooklyn here with us. There really are no words to express our gratitude and love for each one of you.

You can check the Peace of Mind blog where I will post updates on the monitoring.


Leslie in SC said...

So happy for you!

Brittany said...

I am really happy to hear that you got to go! I hope that everything goes well with Brooklyn and that she will make a healthy and safe start in this world. I think you are amazing for being so strong in the face of such a trail. I am also LDS and love the words you write on your other blog. I don't know you or the girl that started this blog but I donated because I don't believe that somebody could write about their heartache the way you do without it being true. Nobody could make that up. I don't believe you are trying to scam anyone and I hope more people will donate to this very worthy cause. God bless your family.

Ross Family said...

YEA!!! I'm soooo glad that you and Rob are able to get the specialized help needed. I know that if it wern't for some good doctors - my kids and potentially me wouldn't be around! We love you guys and grateful to call you family and friends!

Sara said...

I'm so gladl you were able to come see Dr. Collins! Hope all is going well for you and can't wait to hear updates!