Did you hear that…yes, that was me breathing a huge sigh of relief as life is slowing down for the Carroll family.
After an insanely intense soccer week our team sadly did not advance to state after a tough loss last night. Jake and I really truly wanted to take the girls to the state tournament this year to compete but are still insanely proud of them for being District champs and Regional runner ups.
But always looking at the silver lining I must point out that our schedule just opened up tremendously…and the timing could not be better! Look at that bump!
Malachi has had a great week and made it to school every single day. Monday was his big IEP meeting and went just fine. We are overall very happy with his classroom and love the teacher. She has put so much effort into learning Malachi and has accepted the challenge of learning his quirks and how to help him manage them. The classroom teacher and the nurse have both mastered spoon feeding Malachi and believe it or not can both successfully burp him, which is something we have been unsuccessful in teaching anyone else.
We also are implementing some inclusion for Malachi in the pre-school classroom every morning from 10-10:30. This means I have to get him there a bit earlier but we are figuring it all out. To get him to school by then requires me getting him up at 7:40. We have to have enough time to get him ready for the day and completely medicated and fed a big meal.
When I pick Malachi up each day he is usually giggling or will have a huge smile on his face and he absolutely looks forward to being there. They had an ice cream party this week and he got to eat a bowl of whipped cream, which was a pretty big deal.
As the days leading up to Levi’s arrival tick away I find myself in a panic mode as I remember all the things I won’t be able to easily do once we become a family of four. To-do lists are pasted on the walls like wallpaper as we scramble to get ready…new tires on the van, oil changes, haircuts, flu shots, grocery trips to stock the pantry, prescription refills on file, and so much more. We also put the final touches on the house this week and had it appraised for the final closing. We are hoping that process will be done before baby Levi!
Malachi loves being busy. He loves the excitement of zooming around town with momma, never quite sure of the next place we will stop. And he adores going to the soccer games where sometimes daddy and mommy yell out unexpectedly. But he did tire out this week and that led to some emotional meltdowns in the evening time when he was beyond the point of exhaustion.
My goodness I love this boy.
In fact, my heart is breaking bit by bit each day as I realize that I am going to have to go 6 weeks without picking him up. Malachi and I are snuggle buddies. We love to sit together and we love to cuddle. Not being able to handle him is going to be such a challenge and has actually made me emotional this week. One of our common phrases in our home is “You can do just about anything for a short period of time.” I hope I can remember that throughout the six weeks.
We tackled round two of school pictures. We did manage to get a decent one but it totally has my baby bump in the background as I had to hold him for the picture. Malachi won’t mind being photobombed by his baby brother. When they send me the proofs I will be sure to share them with you.
Malachi and mommy had a date night this week as I am also realizing that our time of just the two of us is about to change. Jake wento a game with the team that was about three hours away, a trip that we just couldn’t justify with Levi. So instead Malachi and I went out to dinner and shared a sweet potato together. And that little stinker ate more than his half!
Alright, time for some Baby Levi updates.
We met with high risk this week and my radar was flaring during the ultrasound. Being a special needs mom you learn to read body cues from nurses and doctors and I could tell that the ultrasound tech saw something that concerned her.
She went and got the doctor who also took some ultrasound measurements. She explained to me that it looks like Levi’s growth is slowing down. Here is a quick summary of what is going on…
A few weeks ago we found elevated levels of protein in my bloodwork, which usually indicates there is a problem with the placenta. They couldn’t pinpoint a placenta problem, but it was a bit too early to see some of the ones it could be.
This week we think we have figured out the problem. It is a growth restriction issue called IUGR (Intrauterine Growth Restriction). It means that the baby is not growing like it should and could be due to a number of reasons.
In our specific case, Levi’s head, arms, legs, and other organs measured where they should be (at 31 weeks this past Wednesday- right on target) but his abdomen was much smaller (measured at 29 weeks instead of his actual 31 weeks). The doctor explained to me that IUGR is first spotted in the abdomen and then usually progresses to the other extremities. She is feeling confident that we are dealing with IUGR and is progressing as if this is the route we are headed.
So what does that mean for Levi? It means we are now going to be at the doctor several times a week for measurement checks. We are also watching him closely for signs of distress or blood flow issues. If we spot those it will be time for Levi to come on out and he will have to do his growing outside of the womb. There is an increased risk of stillbirth which is why we are being monitored so closely. If his measurements continue to drop off we will do a steroid shot and plan for an even earlier delivery.
What does this mean in the long run? It looks like I will be delivering another small little boy. Right now he is measuring at 3 pounds and 5 ounces. Children with IUGR can have temperature regulation issues which may require some time in an isolette. They also can have trouble with coordinating suck/swallow/breathe so we are now expecting that he will need to spend some time in the NICU.
We will be spending most of the next few weeks at appointments checking on his growth and will keep a close eye on his stress level so we are just going to take it day by day. But mentally we are working on preparing ourselves for the stress of having a special needs son, a newborn possibly in the NICU, and a mom that is out of commission post op for a bit.
If you have been following the blog for any length of time you have probably figured out that Jake and I rely heavily on our faith in times like these. Obviously we have been praying for a healthy, as full term as we can get pregnancy. Now that we are realizing that things might not work out that way we are finding ourselves modifying our prayers a bit.
This week as I have been praying over baby Levi and his growth I caught myself praying that God would give us strength as a family to get through a potentially trying time. Then I stopped and caught myself. Why wasn’t I spending my prayer time asking God to cause little Levi to grow and for the next report to clearly show that this recent one was a fluke? Why wasn’t I praying for a miracle? Why wasn’t I focusing my prayers on asking God to miraculously fix what science cannot?
When you have a special needs child you spend time praying for these miracles. And you spend the rest of the day dealing with the reality that sometimes you don’t get what you pray for…in fact, sometimes you get the complete opposite. While Jake and I continue to, and always will, pray for miracles for Malachi we also have to expand our prayers into asking God to help us manage the things that God has put in the “not yet” category.
But I have been challenged this week with the reminder that nothing is impossible for God. And we are never annoying or burdening Him with our requests, no matter how big or small they may be. So in addition to praying for miracles for Malachi we are asking you to join us in praying for miracles for Levi. Pray with us that God allows his body to catch up and the measurements from this week show no continued signs of IUGR. Pray with us that he stays safe and content in mommy’s tummy for 4 more glorious weeks.
May God bless you all this week.
Jake, Leah, Malachi, and Levi