Thursday, February 28, 2008

February 28, 2008

Danielle and I want to pass on the news that our baby girl, Caroline Grace Malone, tried her best today, but did not survive. As Justin had reported earlier, Danielle's labor picked back up with intent this morning and we were quite sure that today was the day. We felt good about our chances to have a healthy baby, but it was not to be. Danielle's labor was short and she gave birth shortly after 2 pm. The doctors never were able to get Caroline's little heart pumping despite best efforts.

Regretfully, during our loss of Finley in April 07, we did not spend a lot of time with her. I think we were scared, shocked, and altogether confused, but we learned from that experience. Today, we were so blessed to spend nearly 4 hours with Caroline. Family members were able to share in some of our time with her. I now better understand the concept of instantly falling in love with your own child, and I even feel this experience has reconciled some of the guilt we felt from not spending much time with Finley.

Please know that we so greatly appreciate all the prayers, phone calls, texts, visits, etc. Danielle and I have already spoken of how amazing our family and friends are. Eventually, we will be able to talk to many of you to better explain our thoughts and express our appreciation. For now, we request continued prayers as we know the road ahead is very difficult.

Finally, we want to say that we take comfort in knowing that we serve a sovereign God. This is hard to say and even harder to understand on a day like today, but it's true. We cannot understand why these things happen and I never plan on understanding during my time here. It is a peaceful thought, however, to see both of our baby girls sitting in God's lap, feeling none of the pain and sorrow that are so much a part of this world.

Blake and Danielle

this afternoon's news

This is Justin again. We are sitting at the hospital and Danielle is in the OR. They have a set-up for Delivery or C section. We don't really know much other than that.

The doctors said they didn't want to risk anything stopping labor this time. They thought it might be better for the baby to be in the Nursery.

We'll update with more info as we get it.

Thursday update

This is Justin, Danielle's brother. I just talked to Blake. He said Danielle started having contractions this morning and the doctors think she may have the baby today. Please pray for safety and for God to give them clear minds as they make decisions going forward.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday Night Update (2/27/08)

Today has been a good day.

Danielle has continued to have some bleeding, but an ultrasound this evening has us feeling better. There was concern in the afternoon that her water may have broken to some degree, but the ultrasound showed plenty of fluid around the baby. This was a huge relief.

There was one substantial change in Danielle's care worth mentioning. Around noon, the doctors took her off the magnesium drip. This medication was the most potent preventor of contractions that she had been placed on. They put her on an oral medication in its place, yet this particular drug is known to be somewhat less effective at keeping labor down. This decision was a surprise to us and was worrisome because the past 12-16 hours had been so quiet. The doctors explained that prolonged use of the magnesium drip, while effective at keeping labor at bay, has been proven to increase birth defects and mortality. Thus, sort of a "catch 22". The very medication best at prolonging pregnancy also increases risks, yet earlier labor is also strongly correlated with risks.

Thus far, 10 hours after coming off the magnesium drip, contractions have not picked back up to any substantial degree. A definite positive of the medication change is that Danielle is much more comfortable . She has rested well today. Please know that we have been made aware of all the prayers and we know that God is listening and working in this situation.

We are excited about crossing off another day as midnight approaches. Continue to pray one day at a time for peace and quiet over Danielle.

Tuesday night update

Danielle was hospitalized Monday at 4 am for pre-term labor. She was 23 weeks, 6 days pregnant. Initially, the nurses and doctors were fairly well convinced that Danielle was going to be having the baby shortly after arrival. In fact, we were spoken to by a couple of different doctors regarding the impending probable loss of the baby and our need to start making decisions. Specifically, if the baby had been born Monday, this would have been 1 day shy of 24 weeks; 24 weeks is the recognized day of viability/survivability. Therefore, if Danielle had given birth yesterday (Monday), the doctors would not have attempted any resucitation or any other life-saving actions.

Thankfully, however, through the hospital's efforts, Danielle's will, and especially prayer, she is still pregnant at this time, almost 48 hours later. She is still having occasional, rare contractions, but she is no longer considered in labor. The doctors think that Danielle has had a small placental abruption (smaller version of what happened last April). The concerns right now are that she continues to have some bleeding, her cervix is dilated 3 cm or so, and some of the fetal membranes are prolapsed through her cervix. All of this puts her at risk for resumed full labor and/or for having her water break. The doctors, therefore, have her on treatment to prevent contractions and have her on bed rest. The treatment has her feeling poorly, but her spirits are good.

Our goals are very short-sighted at this time. The doctors have stressed how important each day of fetal development is in terms of survival of the baby and in terms of the probability of long-term handicap/disability. With each day that Danielle remains pregnant, there is a dramatic increase in prognosis. We hope to be here for several weeks/months to improve the baby's chance, but right now we are celebrating days. There are details that plenty of people on this email list know that I have not included, so I'm sure such information can be shared. The main reason for writing this is to request prayer. Specifically, please pray that:
  1. Danielle can maintain this pregnancy for as long as is required to allow for a healthy baby.
  2. The doctors and nurses.
  3. Clarity and guidance if the baby is born within the next few days (a period that doctors consider a "gray area" for intervention)
  4. Danielle's physical comfort