Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Life Can Change In An Instant

Starting at the beginning of this year my wife and I didn't exactly start trying to have a child but we stopped not trying.  It finally felt like the time to start working towards adding to our family.  Even though I expected for us to find out the good news the gravity of the change didn't really sink in until one day in May.  Around the middle of May my wife had an appointment scheduled and luckily things worked out with my work schedule that I was able to go with her to that appointment.  We got the news that we had been expecting and it was a huge emotional roller coaster.

Just finding out news that I'm now fully responsible for the care and well-being of another person is a bit overwhelming and changes your perspective on things.  Coupling the emotions of that news with the issues my grandfather was going through at the time made it kind of bittersweet.  For those that don't remember, my grandfather had fallen and broken his left hip and left shoulder.  That was a truly wild ride because my wife and I didn't feel that the time was right to share our good news with my family because the focus really needed to be on the well-being of my grandfather who was in bad shape.



The doctor even came in and essentially told the family that my grandfather most likely wouldn't make it through the weekend, let alone the surgery needed to repair the bones that were broken.  I mentioned before how my grandfather is my biggest inspiration and it's truly amazing how strong that man is.  He's had multiple heart surgeries starting about 40 years ago, as well as a back surgery or two and now he's having to deal with a broken hip at the ripe old age of 93.  After a lot of back and forth between the doctors and my family the decision was finally made to try and fix the bones as soon as he was stable enough to attempt the surgery, even though the odds of him surviving the surgery was probably in the 10% range due to his weak heart.  It amazes me to find out how medical technology has changed and how amazing the doctors and surgeons are.  The surgeon that performed the procedure recommended that we only fix the hip to limit the time that my grandfather was under anesthesia which made perfect sense given his age and risk.  He was able to insert a rod and screws through two inch long incisions and did all of this about 10 minutes when the surgery was projected to take about 20-30 minutes.  My grandfather is still recovering and I don't ever expect him to walk again but getting to still have him around is amazing.  Did I mention that he's strong?  Sometimes stubbornness is a good thing.

Anyways, back to my original story.  Finding out that my wife was indeed pregnant was amazing and scary all at the same time and sent all sorts of thoughts through my head.  Will I be a good father?  How do I raise our child?  Are we really ready financially and emotionally to go through a pregnancy and at least 18 years?

 My biggest fear with the pregnancy is that besides being there for conception pretty much everything else it out of my hands.  Sure I can help out a bit more around the house to help out my wife but she has to carry our child all by herself.  I can't lighten her load and take the baby off her hands...errr...stomach for a few hours.  It's essentially up to her and the miracle that is child birth.

Fast forward to almost 2 weeks ago when my wife went to the doctor to find out the gender of the baby.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to go to the appointment with her because I was actually heading back to work that same day.  The plan was to have the doctors find out and put the information in an envelope and we'd have a gender reveal party.  I got a call from my wife with her crying rather hysterically and I knew something had to be wrong.  She finally calmed down enough to explain to me what had happened.  Our child has a congenital diaphragmatic hernia or CDH.  Essentially what it is is that the diaphragm doesn't completely form which allows some of the abdominal organs, everything but the heart and lungs, up into the chest cavity.  The lungs not having space to fully develop is the biggest issue with CDH.  I immediately turned my car around and went back home to spend time with my wife and try to learn more about what it is that is affecting our child.

It's pretty rare with about 1 in 2,500 babies being effected with about a 50% survival rate after birth.  The worst part about it is that there's essentially no known cause for CDH.  Best case scenario is 2-3 days in the NICU followed by one surgery and then a few days in the NICU for recovery.  That was absolutely heartbreaking to learn that our child will be needing at least one surgery within the first few days of its' life when neither my wife or I have had a surgery in our 61 combined years.  But the great thing is that there's some absolutely amazing hospitals in Houston.  We know that we'll be delivering at Texas Children's Hospital which is one of the best children's hospitals in the country and deals with several cases of CDH each year.  We'll be meeting with a big team of doctors next week to have them run some more tests and get a game plan ready for how we'll proceed.  Obviously there's a lot that can change but it feels good to finally be moving forward instead of being stuck in limbo with nothing but the worst case scenarios running through our heads.

This past weekend we ended up having the gender reveal party and we found out that we're going have a BOY!!!!  And his name will be Lucas Dean.  We're both excited to be having Lucas Dean join us in late December, at least that's his projected due date.  But we're also both terrified of the unknown since most of the action and issues with CDH don't occur until after the pregnancy.  For now we're taking it a day at a time; some better than others but never without hope.

35 comments:

  1. What a roller coaster! My friend's brother had that... and he is a healthy 20-something now, but I have no idea what the odds are like.
    I wish you all the best for the pregnancy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anne,

      That's awesome news that your friend's brother is doing great. It was quite overwhelming at first but we're getting more used to the idea and now that we're at least moving forward with some plans we feel better. It's still serious but the shock value is gone.

      Thanks for the well wishes.

      Delete
  2. Wow..what a story! First of all - congratulations to you and your wife on the new addition to the family. Im sorry to hear about the medical problems that the baby has and wish all three of you the best with the birth & surgery.

    R2R

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. R2R,

      Thanks so much it truly is a blessing. Now that we've talked to some other doctors and are starting to get a plan in place things are looking better. All we can do now though is pray and wait.

      Thanks again!

      Delete
  3. Wow, best of luck with your new addition, and that the fight to endure carries from your grandfather to your son. Many thoughts and prayers for the health and well-being of your son!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. w2r,

      I hope the "fighting" gene carries through. Our son is named after my grandfather so hopefully that will help him out.

      Thanks for the prayers.

      Delete
  4. Congratulations on the baby! My wife and I are actually trying now also. Your grandfather reminds me of mine. I probably looked up to him more than anyone. He was really stubborn but tough and passed away a couple years ago at 83. He got through a quintuple bypass surgery and lived another 10 years. It's amazing what doctors are able to do now. I'm sure your son will be in good hands in Houston. Thanks for sharing something so personal, that's not easy to do. I wish you all the best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AAI,

      The human body and medical advancement is amazing. I know we have some of the best doctors in the country here so we're our spirits are much higher than the day we got the news.

      Thanks so much.

      Delete
  5. Thanks for sharing such a personal story -- and congratulations to you and your wife with the coming addition to your family! I wish you all the best and hope that everything goes well...

    Though it doesn't compare, one of my sons was born with a cleft lip and palate. The condition was a surprise at birth. He has had many surgeries, starting with one when he was barely a few months old. Today he is a healthy, attractive 23-year old.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ferdi,

      We're really excited to get Lucas here. Glad to hear that your son is doing great. I'm sure having your son go under surgery was pretty nerve wracking.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

      Delete
  6. Congrats to you and your wife. What a roller coaster so far! I can't even imagine the ups and downs...but best of luck and well wishes all around.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Headed Home,

      No one said having a child would easy! I can't wait to tell Lucas about everything that went on.

      Thanks for the well wishes.

      Delete
  7. Congrats to you and your wife with the coming addition to the family. Wishing you all the best.

    DGJ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DGJ,

      We're excited to get Lucas here.

      Thanks for the well wishes!

      Delete
  8. Congratulations buddy! I am genuinely excited and scared for you. You remember how our birth went...... We will be praying for you three and especially little Lucas. Email if you want to talk, I might be able to help.
    -Bryan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bryan,

      Yeah, even without the issues that we found out it was exciting and terrifying at the same time. Thanks so much for the prayers.

      Delete
  9. Prayers for you, your wife, and Lucas Dean. May LD grow up to be as amazing as his parents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. KeithX,

      Thanks for the prayers. It was surely a big shock to us but we're feeling better about the whole situation.

      Delete
  10. PIP,

    Congrats! Always exciting to have a family addition. Also glad to know your grandfather is still around to inspire you.

    My wife and I can understand how getting such news during a pregnancy can create an emotional roller coaster. With our 3rd child (1990) we experienced alarming news regarding our daughter. We had her companionship for 3 months. We also had two more beautiful children after despite high risks. What I can tell you is the experience of it all is one my wife and I will continue to cherish throughout our lives.

    Blessings! RTD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RTD,

      It's so exciting to get the news that we'll have a new addition. My grandfather still has a ways to go but he's improving every day.

      Sorry to hear about your loss. I know that had to be difficult and I'm glad you got to experience and love on your daughter for three months.

      Thanks for the blessings. I hope to be giving some good news in another 4-5 months.

      Delete
  11. Wow, congratulations PIP - very sorry to hear about the medical issues. Hoping and praying for the best for you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Warrior,

      Thanks for the prayers, they're much appreciated. It's been a big roller coaster ride the past few months but things are looking better now that the shock value is off and we're moving forward. I know Lucas will be in good hands.

      Delete
  12. JC,

    Congrats on the news! A little baby boy will be a wonderful addition to your family. Terribly sorry to hear of the health concern, but I'm confident the doctors there will take care of him just like they took care of your grandfather.

    Wishing the best for your whole family!

    Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DM,

      Thanks so much and we're excited to get Lucas here. It's truly amazing how many things go right to create a new life. I know he'll be in good hands.

      Thanks for the well wishes.

      Delete
  13. JC,
    Congratulations! Great to hear you have a little boy on the way. Pregnancy and birth is hard enough without the health concerns, so I wish you all the best through these next few months. My advice to all first time expecting parents... enjoy your free time!
    -RBD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RBD,

      It's great to have a child on the way and a little boy makes it that much better. We're trying our best to take advantage of what will surely be the last few months of quiet time for just my wife and I. It'll be a huge change once Lucas comes and even more so if we're looking at extended NICU time.

      Thanks for the well wishes.

      Delete
  14. Hi PIP,

    I am hopeful the doctors can make your baby boy healthy in no time. I wish you and your family all the best!

    DGI

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DGI,

      I know he'll be in good hands here in Houston. Thanks for the well wishes.

      Delete
  15. We love Texas Childrens! My wife had some late complications which resulted in an emergency C Section and a day in NICU for our little man. He's 15 months and healthy as a horse now so you are definitely in the best hands around! Who is your doc up there? We'll be back and forth for our second due in March.

    Congrats on the impending arrival!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. NickB,

      I'm sure you wish you had only heard about Texas Children's in passing but I know it's one of the best children's hospitals in the country. Sorry to hear about the scare with your boy but that's great news that he's strong and doing well. I wish him all the best. I hope it's just precautionary issues for y'all's second. Congrats on that by the way.

      I don't know if we know the doctor yet. Tuesday of next week will be our first trip there and it's going to be a full day. Ultrasound, MRI and a meeting with the pediatric surgeon. I'll let you know once we find out. I do know that our OB has changed to Dr. Hare. She's supposed to be one of the best peri-natalogists. If you don't mind shoot me an email passiveincomepursuit@gmail.com

      Delete
  16. Congrats on the soon-to-be addition to the family. As a recent dad I can tell you that your world is about to change.

    Sorry to hear about your son's condition and that he will require surgery. But it's good to discover such issue early on and have it corrected. The medical field is so advanced now I'm sure you will be in good hands.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm usually a lurker on this site, but thought I would pass on our (secondhand) experience with CDH.

    My niece was diagnosed with CDH during the third trimester. As you can imagine, our entire family was shaken by the news. She was in the NICU for a few weeks after birth and had two corrective surgeries. She required round-the -clock feeding for the the first 1.5 years and she still pretty much eats whenever she wants (to stay on course with nutrition targets). But she has been an absolute joy to watch. She is now a maniac who runs around the house like the tazmanian devil. We hardly remember that she had such a rough start to life. At her recent follow up visit, her doctors said everything looked great and that they didn't need to see her for another year.

    I don't know your specific situation, I hope your story plays out the same way. You may want to start planning out your work schedule- it sounds like your work involves a lot of travel. You'll have to work with your employer to figure out a way you can be around to help out. Your family will need you.

    All the best to you and your family!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Man. Hard reading that. I feel for u man. Its tough. Hope lil guy pulls through and u guys stay strong and work together. My buddy went thru something similar and I know how tough it is. Best of luck and dont be afraid to ask for help when u think u need a hand. I am sure most of us regulars will be willing to help however possible.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi PIP,

    I wish you and your family all the best! God bless.....

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi PIP,
    A new baby is great news! At least you and the doctors can work out a plan for treatment now that he's been diagnosed; it's amazing how far medicine has improved in the last 40 years.

    Best wishes for you and your family!
    -DL

    ReplyDelete