Medical Journey

August 9, 2018

(23 Weeks, 6 Days)

We felt Owen move this morning. Brian and I walked into our routine ultrasound appointment ready to see our boy and then go out to brunch. Unfortunately, no one is ever prepared for the silence that fills the room in leu of their child’s heartbeat. The sonographer stepped out and gave us the room as we sobbed and clung to one another. The reality and heaviness of Owen’s passing set in. The doctor came to give us our options. Our options were, waiting for labor to possibly begin naturally within the next few days, or be admitted for an induction which could ultimately result in a c-section. After some discussion, we chose to be admitted and attempt a VBAC, in hopes of a quicker physical recovery after Owen’s birth.

On August 11, 2018 at 6:41 a.m., after 40 hours of labor, multiple induction methods, all the pitocin, an epidural, a transverse baby, and 5 different OB’s, I gave birth to Owen Gregory Cooper, our little boy.

The silence of a stillbirth is heavy and heartbreaking. Birth that usually brings such joy and celebration, brought tears and heartache to our quiet room. We scooped Owen up, wrapped him in his ‘Grandma quilt’, and spent time together with our boy. Owen weighed 2lbs 2oz, had pudgy little hands and feet, his dad’s funny ears, and the sweetest little mouth. We know Owen is rejoicing in heaven with his Creator, no longer sick or swollen. Our sadness is not without Hope. We know that we will meet him one day, fully restored with Christ.

Thankfully the VBAC delivery was successful and uncomplicated. After the placenta was delivered my blood pressure began to normalize. Blood work was checked and found to be improving, so we were able to be discharged home late that afternoon.

Arriving to the hospital with a baby, but leaving without one is devastatingly painful. We know the Lord himself goes before us and WILL see us through (Deuteronomy 31:8), He is near to the broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18). Be near now, Lord as we begin our healing process.

August 6, 2018

(23 Weeks, 3 Days)

We went to our appointment this morning, and this time brought Easton along. We felt Owen move this morning, and knew our Owen is still fighting! We also wanted Easton to see his brother on sonogram, since we never know how much longer Owen will be with us. My swelling has gone down, but my blood pressure remains elevated. My platelet count has significantly decreased and uric acid is elevated. My blood pressure was taken three times, and the doctor threatened to admit us to the hospital for monitoring, if he couldn’t obtain a reasonable reading. After ALL of that, I asked him to sign a note saying that I could do light duty at work. He said, “Absolutely not! Did you hear what I just said!?” I laughed, because I know how stubborn I am; a trait that I believe I passed down to Owen (so thankfully). I know that I need rest and unplug, for my sake, and for Owen’s (something that I am not particularly gifted in). The doctor informed us that Owen’s heart appears to be slowing, but then after additional evaluation, it would appear within normal range. Owen has very little amniotic fluid, meaning his kidneys are not functioning as they should. Doctors are preparing us for the worst, that they fear is sooner than later. We continue to pray and petition our Lord for Owen’s miracle.

July 30, 2018

(22 Weeks, 3 Days)

The last few days have been tough. Mirror Syndrom is in full effect. My blood pressure continues to be elevated, reaching into the 140’s over 90’s consistently. There has been a dramatic increase in swelling throughout the week as well. Previously, we determined that I gained over 10 pounds in 10 days. A very annoying dry cough has set in over the last week, and flairs up every time I change positions (ex: laying, standing, sitting, etc…) which has made sleep very difficult. I feel heavy, worn, and just not myself. The doctors went ahead and put me on temporary bed rest, to try and let my body reset and ease the immense strain that I am feeling.

This morning, as soon as our doctor’s office opened, we called to be seen as soon as possible. I am obviously out of sorts, and concern grows for Owen’s wellbeing, who has not moved much in the past 2 days. Our anxiety builds before every sonogram and it feels like we hold our breath forever until we see that sweet flicker of his heart beating.

Knowing our God can, and is able, to move mountains and part waters, doesn’t always mean that He will. But we know no matter the outcome His love for us does not waiver. So, we continue to ask, and to pray, as we sat in silence in the waiting room. Both Brian and I were fearful that this was the end – but we weren’t ready and begged God: not yet.

And God heard us – that sweet heart flicker beating at 145bpm. Thank you, Lord, for more time with our boy. Every day is truly a gift.

Our doctor agreed that Mirror syndrome is happening, and it’s now a race against the clock to see who will need the medical attention first, Kelsey or Owen. We will be checked every Monday and Thursday from now on to make sure nothing is missed, despite Brian’s diligent nursing care.

July 26, 2018

(22 weeks, 0 days)

This morning we began our meetings with UT Southwestern, the third and final level of specialists.

Owen continues to be very sick and the fluid is continuing to build. The fluid is compressing his abdominal organs, making them very hard to see on sonogram, and determine if they are there and functioning as they should. Owens amniotic fluid levels are decreasing as a result of the internal organ compression.

The cause of the Hydrops has been preliminary diagnosed as something called Noonan Syndrome (PTPN11). This affects the heart, kidneys and lymphatic system which is most likely contributing to the fluid accumulation. Although it is nice to know the likely cause, it does not change our course of action, or the looming Hydrops. Neither parent carries this gene, so Owen is a unique baby with a random gene mutation.

If his swelling and organ compression weren’t enough, Owen’s lungs continue to be an issue for him. His heart is still strong and we give God the glory for that victory.  His lungs are completely collapsed and both of his lungs are filled with fluid, inhibiting their growth and formation. There is a slight possibility that they can drain the fluid within the lung cavity, but it too is both risky to myself and baby. So, we wait and pray for the medical team’s wisdom.

Unfortunately, with Owens diagnosis, also came mine. I am in the beginning stages of “mirror syndrome” meaning that I will continue to retain fluid, as well as Owen. This can affect blood pressures, respiratory, heart rate and so forth. Now we juggle the risk between maternal and fetal health. We will be watching very closely from here on out. Our doctors are supportive of our decision to carry Owen as long as possible, despite the lack of possible intervention.

It feels like we didn’t get much good news today, but we still have our Owen, and as long as he is with us, we will fight. We will continue to bathe him in prayer and continue to petition our Lord for miraculous intercession.

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”

Luke 18:1


July 16, 2018

(20 weeks, 3 days)

After meeting with our specialist again today and reviewing the results of extensive genetic, viral and physical reports, we still don’t know why Owen is sick. All reports returned normal, but the fluid continues to build around his body. We will send off for one final blood panel today just to cover every angle. We are choosing not to do an amniocentesis at this time, as the risk far outweighs the benefit at this time. Regardless of any lab result we know our plan is to continue to carry Owen for as long as the Lord continues to bless us with his life.

We are have already seen the Lord answer some of our prayers, first for his heart, and now in his latest sonogram, Owen’s brain. At a previous scan the medical team was concerned by the lack of structure, but today Owen’s brain seems to have grown and appears to be well within the normal range! We see God moving on our behalf and we pray others are seeing Him move as well. Our little boy is truly a fighter.

Unfortunately, we are being moved up in case severity and therefore, the next step is to meet yet another team of specialists, this time at UT Southwestern downtown. The doctors aren’t giving us any indication of how long to expect to have Owen with us, because they truly don’t know. Our current specialist has rarely seen a case of Owen’s severity, past the point where we are now. However, we know God is bigger than the odds and we are trusting the Lord for miraculous healing.

July 5, 2018

(18 Weeks, 6 Days)

After being told that we would have to wait 10-14 days to see a fetal cardiologist, they were able to squeeze us in at Medical City Children’s today. We are so thankful to not sit in anxious agony, wondering what is happening with our little boy. After reviewing the fetal echocardiogram, the cardiologist, even though Owen’s heart is still very small, found it to be strong. It feels like it has been a little while since we had some good news! The Lord knows just how much we can take.

Owen has a lot stacked against him, but his heart isn’t one of them. Praise God!! Everyone continues to be amazed at all Owen is overcoming and the word “fighter” has been used by more than one doctor! We feel the Lord has big plans for Owen and he will fight to make the Lord’s name great! May he be a witness to the Lord’s unending love and mercy and God’s miraculous ways. We are so thankful for the answered prayers to protect this boy’s heart!

June 27, 2018

(17 Weeks, 5 Days)

Lab work has been collected and sent for what seems like every test imaginable. Initial results are beginning to trickle in, but the doctors told us it could take several weeks to paint a complete picture. Two primary causes of  Fetal Hydrops that offer a chance of immediate intervention while in utero, are a viral infection (which I have been exposed to at work) or severe anemia. However, this morning the specialist called to conclude that although I am anemic, Owen is not. I am supplying the nourishment that Owen needs at this point. The blood work shows a history of exposure to the viruses causing hydrops, but nothing current that would have affected this pregnancy.

We believe this is good and bad news. Unfortunately, it offers no immediate intervention while in utero, but selfishly it also eliminates the guilt that I was feeling that it could be “my fault.” We are praying away these lies. Another sonogram revealed what could possibly be a heart defect (a fetal ECHO will be scheduled soon to assess) which is another probable cause of Fetal Hydrops.

We see the fluid still building around his body, but he seems comfortable and his heartbeat is strong (I like to think he’s stubborn like his mama)! The sweet sound of his strong heart brings tears to our eyes every time. Praying for a miracle only HE can provide. The Lord is sustaining us (Psalm 54:4) and we are strengthened by your prayers and encouragement. God is in control.

June 22, 2018

(17 Weeks)

Today, at an appointment that we thought was going to be routine, our worlds were shattered. The news that our 17-week-old, little boy has a condition called “fetal hydrops” brought us to our knees. Fetal Hydrops is a medical condition in which abnormal fluid builds in two or more compartments of the body, resulting in increasing pressure on the baby’s critical organs. There are thousands of causes, of which we do not know why, this has happened. Reasons why could include heart defects, skeletal anomalies, genetic defects, viral infection and so forth. We were immediately transferred from our general OB to a local specialist in maternal fetal medicine. Upon further investigation, our baby has a very pronounced subdermal ring of fluid surrounding his head and abdomen. We were told that this fluid would cause interference with proper growth and would ultimately put immense strain on his heart, leading to fetal demise. The specialist spent several hours with us, in his office, educating us on fetal hydrops and the tests that needed to be done to determine the cause, in order for us to seek any additional medical help. He gave us a very grim diagnosis and said that only 5% of fetal hydrops babies, diagnosed at this age make it to viability. Even less than that with this “impressive amount” of fluid at such an early stage. Over the next several weeks, countless amounts of bloodwork and testing will be done to try to find a cause as to why our baby has this condition.

We are seeking you Lord, for direction and guidance, fully relying on you. Our hearts are defeated. Give us strength for our son(s).

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