Sunday, November 8, 2009

A very belated update!

Whew! The last 5 months have been a roller coaster! I'm not sure that I have enough time to sit and type what has transpired before our sweet girl wakes up from her nap. I'll start by saying that she is doing well :) She had a sedated echo on Oct. 5th, and her left side looks great. Her left ventricle is "normal" sized, as well as the mitral valve. GOD IS GOOD!!!
To sum it all up, feeding & weight gain have became a BIG issue! All summer long, Ella had a hard time keeping her bottle down which led to double feeds for us (and one antsy big brother), screening for cystic fibrosis (because she produces LOTS of secretions which spurred the vomiting), a week long stay in the hospital that included numerous tests (which didn't provide any answers), and one long, hectic summer!!! The only thing that kept us going was her beautiful smile and wonderful personality!!
I have been back to work since mid-August, and Ella and Grady are together with Miss Barb. Miss Barb has been wonderful to our entire family, and we are SO BLESSED to have her in our lives. Ella is really enjoying watching the other kids run around and play. And, of course, Grady is so happy to have his favorite girl there, too!
I thought you might enjoy a few updated pics of our sweet kiddos. I will make a promise from this day forward to sit down on Sundays to let you know how we are doing. I hope you are all doing well and I thank you for checking in on our family.
Love to all,
The Morrison Family XOXO
Astronaut Grady and his space monkey, Ella

Taking a break after the 1st round of trick-or-treating

Practicing sitting up

Why Mommy and Daddy LOVE Saturday mornings!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ella just conquered another surgery!

When we visited the ENT last Thursday, we found out that Miss Ella had 2 cysts in her nose. (Which explains why she sounds like a little piggy when she drinks her bottle!) We thought that we were just going in for a follow-up to check on her vocal cord, and walked out of there with this new discovery and knew that surgery was needed as soon as possible. The ENT also felt that the eye doctor should put tubes in her blocked tear ducts at the same time while she was under. Both doctors just came out to see us in the waiting room and informed us that she did great!!
We thought that we would have to spend the night here for observation, but the ENT thought that she'd be fine going home. She's just amazing!!!
I'll let know how she does in the next couple of days...
Love to all,
The Morrison's

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A few new pics to share...

Mommy's little (or should I say BIG!!) bow head!!!!

Can't find Grady? He's probably with his sissy, giving her lots of love!

In her Sunday dress after church...
Taking an afternoon restie with big brother...Grady insisted on patting his sissy's back to help her fall asleep!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

AWESOME visit with cardiologist at Children's

We had a great visit with our cardiologist today at Children's. Miss Ella was her usual wonderful self as the sonographer performed the echo. The doctor wanted to sedate her, but we didn't know that we couldn't feed her for 6 hours prior to sedation, so we chanced it and she did awesome. We gave her a bottle of formula to make her tummy happy, and off to sleep she went! She was content for an hour while the lady explored her chest and abdomen with the transducers. She's such a good baby! I also need to add that she's up to 8 1/2 pounds now! She likes eating as much as I do!! (this is mommy talking, of course...have you seen daddy lately?)
The result of the echo...the cardiologist was very pleased with her heart. He said the left side looks promising! GOD IS GOOD!!! I asked him when he thought we would be "out of the woods", and his response was "You're in the edges of the woods!" I cannot explain to you how much of a relief that is for us! I was physically sick to my stomach all morning from nerves and anxiety over this appointment. He also said that he felt 90-95% confident that she was going to be okay (meaning that the left side will continue growing and will be able to function well) I could have kissed him!!! That was the best news I've heard in my entire life!! His thoughts on her future are that she'll need a catheterization to open up the aortic valve down the line, but the chances of additional open heart surgeries are very slim. I can't think of a better example of the power of prayer! We are SO blessed!!!
A lot of you have mentioned that you are having a difficult time posting comments on the blog, but please don't worry about it. We know that you are keeping up with her and we are SO thankful for your prayers and support, and that's all we need. We can feel the love without having to read it!
I'm going to work on her announcements in the next few days (do you think it's time?!?!). If I don't have your home address, please email it to me at I'll be sure to put one in the mail for you. I'll also try to post newer pics soon.
Again, we THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for your love, support and prayers during this journey. We are SOOO blessed to have you in our lives!!!
Love to all,
The Morrison Family XOXO

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

You've come a long way, baby!!

April 29th...that's just 3 weeks ago!!!
Hanging out this morning with one PROUD mommy!
It's hard to believe that Ella is 4 weeks old today. She has been through so much in her short lifetime, and she has taught us so many lessons. She has taught us how precious life really is... How leaning on our faith can get us through even the most challenging times in our lives...How thankful we are for our wonderful family and friends.. How grateful we are for our health and the health of others... How wonderful it is to be parents to two beautiful children... To appreciate one another everyday... And, of course, the most important lesson she has taught is to stay focused on the absolute most important things in life: our faith, our family and our friends.
Now that we are in somewhat of a routine, I've had a little bit of time to digest what has actually happened in the last 4 weeks. I know in my heart that we couldn't have remained strong without our faith, and with out you all. We are forever grateful to you for praying for our sweet girl. As Nana says, there is POWER in numbers, and Miss Ella has had hundreds (if not thousands) of people across the country praying for her. What a lucky girl to be SOOO loved!!! She is going to continue to make you all very proud of her!
Love to all,
The Morrison Family XOXO

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Update from home and Dr. appointment

We've all adjusted well to having a newborn at home. We are SO thankful that Ella is doing great! This little peanut LOVES to eat!!! I thought we'd have to set an alarm every 3 hours to feed her, but she wakes us up to let us know when it's time. The doctors lwould be happy with her consuming 55 ccs every 3 hours, but according to Ella, that's simply not enough! She prefers 65-75 ccs minimum. Her face is really filling out and her thighs are looking scrumptious!!!
Our doctor appointment last Thursday went really well. Her blood work and chest x-ray were fine, and we had some promising news from her new cardiologist. He has many years of experience and is highly respected at Children's. We chose him because he is the one who studied and wrote the report on Ella's echo cardiograms before and after the surgery. When he stopped in to check on her at the end of the appointment, he stated that he felt she has an 80% chance of being okay...meaning an 80% chance of her left side growing with her, and not needing the 3 staged surgeries! We were SO happy to hear that!! The tears immediately started falling!! This is just another example of how our prayers are being answered for our sweet baby girl! God is good!

We don't have much going on this week except for an appointment with the pediatrician. I'm amazed at how calm we are with Miss Ella. I honestly thought I'd be a nervous wreck at home, but she's giving me so much confidence and assurance that she's going to be okay. She's an angel!
Enjoy the pics and I'll continue to take more and post them.
We love you all!
The Morrison Family XOXO

Thursday, May 14, 2009

We LOVE being home with sissy!!

We are all doing great! Ella is a really good baby! She has her mommy's appetite, so she's rockin' & rollin' on the bottle...yeah!! When she is fussy, she prefers to be held by mommy and daddy, and we're not complaining. We are so IN LOVE with this precious baby!
I'm so sorry for the delay in posting, we have just spent the last couple of days trying to establish a routine that works for everyone in the house. Grady has adjusted pretty well. I'm not going to lie and say that the first two nights weren't a little chaotic, but tonight was much better! Big brother is just smitten with his little sissy! (Abe tells everyone that he's too crazy about her because we can't get him off her!!!) She loves his company, but we still have to be really careful with him kissing all over her. The cardiologist said that a little cold or virus would land us back in the hospital, so we're being extra cautious.
We pretty much have an appointment with a doctor every week. Our first appointment is tomorrow, at Children's, with the surgeon's nurse practitioner. She is wonderful and we're looking forward to seeing her. Next week is with our pediatrician, and the following week we're back to Children's to visit the cardiologist. In between our appointments, we'll just continue counting our blessings and loving on this precious miracle!
I'll try to post pictures of us at home as soon as I can. Thank you for checking in on us. Take comfort in knowing that we are doing great!!
We love you,
The Morrison Family XOXO

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ella had a BIG day!!

Look everybody, no tubes!
Grady held her for the first time today! He LOVES his sissy!!
Dr Morrison kept a close eye on his sister all day!
We are inching closer to going home. We were both relieved when they extended our stay until Monday. Neither one of us was comfortable with leaving any earlier!
Miss Ella hit another milestone today. She had her NG tube pulled out. She was not happy when the nurse pulled it, but she sure looked great afterwards! She's knocked out both feedings since then, so there is a good chance that we'll go home without the NG tube. If she doesn't take the feedings very well between now and Monday, then they'll have us put it back in. Let's keep our fingers crossed.
The only line connected to her now is a probe on her left foot that monitors her heart rate and oxyen sats. Holding her without the lines is SO awesome!!
So, if she continues to do well, then she'll sleep with us in our home for the first time Monday night. Yay!!
I hope you all enjoy the pictures of Grady and Ella. We are proud parents of two wonderful children! We feel SO blessed!!!
For all the mommies out there, we wish you a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! We hope you have a wonderful day with your precious miracles!!
We love you all,
The Morrison Family

Thursday, May 7, 2009

There's a rumor that we're headed home soon...

I couldn't believe it when the nurse practitioner said that we could be home as early as THIS Saturday!!! I wasn't ready for the news, but Miss Ella has been doing so well that they don't see the need to keep us here. We were only on this floor to give her time to tolerate her feedings and to get educated on how to take care of her at home. Well Miss Ella is a CHAMP when it comes to drinking her bottles! She took two complete feedings by bottle today, and polished off the majority of the other feedings. They are considering pulling out the NG tube tomorrow since she has taken the majority of her feedings by mouth. We are SO thrilled that she's doing so well, because we were fully prepared to be here a minimum of two weeks to work on this. The doctors and nurses are completely amazed by this little one!
She did have here echocardiogram today, and she was a good baby during the entire thing. She just has the sweetest disposition! She sat on the table for an hour while the tech worked on her, and she fussed very little. I was SO proud of her! The results were good from the echo. Dr Forbess' nurse practitioner came in afterward and let us know that they were happy with their findings. I was thrilled! Then, I spoke to the cardiologist and asked him to give me his interpretation of the results, and he stated what we've known all along. His concern is the left needs to grow with her, or else we'll have to come back for the Norwood procedure. He mentioned that recovery from the Norwood down the line would be pretty difficult for Ella. Then he had to step out for a phone call, and he said that he would be sure to catch up with me in the morning. I'm going to choose to think that she will not be back for the Norwood, and we are all going to pray for her little heart to grow.
I'll keep you posted on our departure. I'm insanely nervous about taking her home. Oh, did I mention that she's not on ANY heart medications?!?!? I was shocked when I found out that the cardiologist discontinued her very last heart med yesterday. He simply thought she didn't need it! That also contributes to my anxiety about going home!!!
Wish us luck the next few days and we'll let you know when we're discharged.
We love you,
The Morrison Family

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

She likes the bottle!

I just read Abe's post from last night, and I'm thinking that Daddy is in for it! This baby girl is going to have him wrapped around her little finger!!
Here's what happened today...
Ella tried her first bottle at 3 o'clock this afternoon, and she knocked it out of the park! She finished off her entire feeding!! We tried twice more this evening, and she did remarkably well. She just continues to amaze us!
She has an echocardiogram scheduled for tomorrow. She was taken off of another heart medication today (not sure how I feel about that, but they're the experts) so they can see how she does without it.
We met with the cardiologist yesterday afternoon. I stated my worries and concerns about the mildly hypoplastic left side and smaller aortic valve. She understood my concerns and felt they were justified. She also stated the positives that are in her favor, but mentioned that we're not "out of the woods" just yet. She said that they will keep a close eye on Ella over the next few months, and we should have a really good idea of how well her heart will function by the time she is around 2 to 3 months old. So now we need to pray that her left side will grow with her and continue functioning well.
I will let you all know how the echo goes. Thank you for checking in on our sweet girl. She is so lucky to be loved by you all!
We love you,
The Morrison Family

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The second day on the Cardiac Floor

Ella is setting into her new dig's. Today was a fairly uneventful day. I received a Rainforest Aquarium from by brother today to keep myself busy inbetween all the feedings, medicines, labs, and x-rays that I have to endure every several hours. I'm also now getting my fortified breast milk straight into my stomach via my NG tube, and boy if this stuff is running through me. Mom and Dad are really getting a work out changing all my pee-pee and poopie diapers. But the best thing is that I'm progressing and making Mom, Daddie, and my brother very proud. I'm really looking forward to getting out of the hospital and being in my own room. I have been told it is really swank for my expensive taste that I will be acquiring and having everyone jump hoops for me.

From Dad, Ella deserves nothing but the best...

Love the Morrison Family.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Enjoying our new suite

This morning started with the nurse practitioner removing 2 IV lines, pacer lines, and the right arterial line. As soon as they were taken out, we were headed to the 8th floor! So, we are now settled in our new suite. We thoroughly miss the nurses in ICU, but this is the necessary step to take before we go home.
Miss Ella has already had several of the sweetest nurses visit her from ICU today. They are all so proud of her! It feels so wonderful to witness how much they care for Miss Ella. They're amazing people with a special gift!
We are expecting a visit from the Speech Pathologist tomorrow to work on feeding. Ella loves her pacifier, which has been great practice, so now we need to see how well she can suck and swallow. This might be somewhat of a battle because she suffered temporary paralysis of her left vocal cord during surgery, and feeding issues are usually a result.
Our goal now is to get Ella to drink from a bottle, put on weight every day, and stay on the road that she's on. Her oxygen sats, blood pressure and respiratory rates are all good. If she's anything like her mommy, feeding won't be an issue, and we'll be home in no time!
Thank you so much for your continued prayers, love and support.
We love you all,
The Morrison Family

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Our last night in CVICU

Although Daddy and Ella have thoroughly enjoyed keeping you all up to date over the last couple of days, Mommy is back and I can't wait to brag about my sweet baby. I'm so excited to say that Miss Ella is going to upstairs to the 8th floor tomorrow!!! She continues to amaze us, and she is obviously doing SO well that she's moving up to the cardiac floor. This is the last step before going home! The thought of the four of us under one roof just warms my heart!!
We'll work closely with the staff on the cardiac floor in order to prepare us for taking care of Miss Ella when we get home. It's hard to believe that we're already at this point on our journey. It's been so incredibly smooth that time has just flown complaints here!
As a matter of fact, I have nothing but great things to say about our entire experience at Children's. The staff is absolutely WONDERFUL!!! They all have a special gift of taking care of these precious children. The ladies at Baylor were terrific, also. We have met some of the most incredible people since we've had Ella--beginning with our labor & delivery nurse through this last evening in CVICU. We have been so blessed!
It's after midnight now, so I'm going to catch a little rest before my party animal wakes up. She's in the pattern of sleeping all day, and being up for several hours in the middle of the night...we'll have to work on that!
Wish us luck tomorrow and please pray that her recovery continues to amaze us!
We love you,
The Morrison Family

My Elation

I'm one step closer to being held in the arms of my mom and dad. I'm resting peacefully tonight and getting fed continously via my NG tube. My plan is to show the doctors that I'm capable of holding my feedings. If I can do this, then I will be moving out of the CVICU and to the 8th floor. I will be attended by the grasps regularly by Mom, Dad, my brother and numerous family members. I have come a long way in such a short time, but I'm ready. I'm a strong and determined child and I have a purpose on this earth. I don't know exactly what that is at this time, but God will be with me to carry on my purpose.


Ella Mae Morrison

Friday, May 1, 2009

My Triumphant Progress

I have been enjoying my mom's milk for the last 8 hrs and I'm able to tolerate it. Granted I'm only getting about 6 cc every four hours through my NG tube, I'm working on 16 cc to make the doctors feel comfortable about having me moved to the 8th floor where my mom and dad will be working with me more to get me home. I got to see my brother earlier tonight and he brightened my mood. My daddy gave me a sponge bath/wipe down tonight and I enjoyed it. I even got Johnson's baby lotion rubbed on me. Ooohhh that felt good!!!
I just want each and everyone of you to know that I'm a true miracle and fighter and have a lot of gratitude for you all that have had me in your thoughts and prayers. I want you all to know that without you and my entire family I couldn't have been as strong as I am. Your prayers have been answered and I know that God will always be with me throughout my entire precious life. He is my maker and creator and I will walk hand in hand with him.

Love to all,

Ella Mae Morrison

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Recovery in CVICU

I sincerely hope that this picture doesn't bother you. I wanted to post it because I thought it would give you an idea of what these little heart babies go through and just how strong they are!
Ella is doing GREAT in ICU...she just continues to amaze us!! She has already been weaned off of some post-op meds, and she's had a couple of lines taken out. If she does not show any reason for keeping the respirator in tomorrow, then the doctors will have it taken out.
I'm not sure if I did a very good job explaining how HUGE it is that she was able to keep her left ventricle and left atrium working for her. She has a working four chamber heart! Because her left side is slightly smaller than the right, her diagnosis is still Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, but just a "mild" form. Our hopes and prayers are now for recovery, and for the left side to continue to be able to do it's job. If it is not able to work properly in the future, then we will have to come back to surgery and go the single ventricle route. And, if that is her fate, then the sooner the better. Based on the numbers in the left atrium that we are seeing right now, her left side should be fine for a long time. =) I remember hearing "miracles happen at Children's every day". A miracle did happen today, and Ella was the blessed recipient!
You all have been so wonderful to our family and you have lifted our precious baby in prayer. We are so grateful to you, and we cannot wait for Ella to thank you personally.
Love to all,
The Morrison Family

She's out of surgery!

We visited with Dr. Forbess and he was very pleased with our sweet baby's heart. He was comfortable with her pressures in the atrium and reassured us that he tested them several times to be sure. He closed her chest and doesn't anticipate any problems.
Please pray that the left side of her heart continues to function and do it's job. Needless to say, we are elated with the news of her surgery! We thank you all for praying for our sweet little angel!
We love you!
The Morrison Family

Update #3

We received the news that the pressure in Ella's left atrium is GREAT!!! The doctor wanted her to be between an 8 and 10, and she was a 10!!! So far, the left atrium is cooperating and it looks like the left side of her heart is going to be able to do it's job! This is WONDERFUL news...our prayers have been answered!! I almost hesitated to post this because we haven't visited with the surgeon, but we're so elated that we had to share! Please pray that her condition will remain the way it is. I will update as soon as we hear from the surgeon...

Update #2

Ella was put on bypass at 10:22 and it went smoothly. The surgeon is now officially working his magic! More to follow...

Surgery update #1

We had until 7:53 this morning with sweet Ella. She was so peaceful in my arms when the doctors and nurses came to get her. Abe and I both walked her down the hallway to the OR, and gave her a kiss goodbye.
We received our first update from the nurse in the OR at 9:30. She said that Ella went to sleep very easily and that Dr. Forbess was about to start working on her heart. We will receive updates hourly from this point on. We'll keep you posted...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The big surgery is almost here...

We're just 8 hours away from surgery, and Abe and I are enjoying the evening with our sweet baby girl. She looks so perfect to us that it's really hard to believe that her little heart is so sick. We are both nervous, but very confident that the team of doctors will take great care of her, and that she'll pull through. It is ultimately in Gods hands and the doctors will be working through him. Ella and our entire family cannot THANK YOU enough for all of your spiritual and emotional support, and consant prayer. God will answer all of our prayers and see Ella through this test of faith, so one day she can share her own testimonial with you all and thank you personally.

Love to all,
The Morrison's

Monday, April 27, 2009

Surgery has been delayed...

I'm sorry for the late posting, but I just returned from the hospital and it's almost midnight. (Meemaw kicked me out for the evening so that I could get some rest before her big day!) We learned this evening that the surgery will start at 7:30 Wednesday morning. The doctors have decided to attempt the 2 ventricle procedure first, wait to see how her heart responds, and either leave it the way it is, or go to plan B-the Norwood procedure. The fact that they feel like she could keep her 2 ventricles working for her is great news! I'm off to sleep and shower, so I'll try to explain how they'll do this in more detail tomorrow.
Please continue to pray for our sweet Ella...our prayers are being answered!!!
Love to all,
The Morrison Family

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weekend update

Is Miss Ella trying to tell us something? Yes, Mommy is a talker!!
Comfy in Daddy's arms!
Miss Ella is resting up from a busy weekend! She has had so many loved ones stop by to see her and wish her well. She promises to be strong and to make everyone very proud of her!
The doctors and nurses have reassured us that her current condition is a good indicator for how her recovery should go following surgery. It is a good sign that she has remained stable and hasn't needed assistance with breathing, or any other heart medications while she waits.
The cardiologist will be in tomorrow to perform another echocardiogram on her heart. What they are looking for is noted growth on her left side--the left ventricle and mitral valve. They will compare measurements from tomorrow's study with those of last week to see if her left side has grown at all. If there is a noticeable change, then they will strongly consider reconstrucing the aorta (widening the aortic arch), repairing the aortic valve, and they would keep her left side working for her so that she would have a two ventricle heart. It is very common for the aorta arch and aortic valve to need additional repair in the future, so additional surgeries are to be expected. If they do not notice any change in the size of her left ventricle, then they would go forward with the Norwood procedure and make her heart function with the single ventricle.
Needless to say, we are anxiously awaiting the verdict tomorrow. We are 100% confident that the team of doctors will recommend what is absolutely best for Ella. We will let you know as soon as possible so that you know how to pray for her.
We love you all and thank you for your love, encouragement and prayers.
The Morrison Family

Friday, April 24, 2009

We had an exciting day!!

I got to hold Ella for the first time since she left was wonderful!!!

Grady LOVES his baby sister!!!
Ella continues to do well in ICU. Her condition is stable and she is being very cooperative and patient while the doctors decide what's best for her. The cardiologists came in to do another echocardiogram this evening. They were using a 3D machine and it was quite impressive to watch. Dr. Forbess (surgeon) stopped by shortly after and let me know that they are going to study the results and see if there is any change or any information that would help them to lean one way or the other. He also stated that he is leaning towards the Norwood procedure, but he wanted more time to think about it and to discuss it with his colleagues. The team of surgeons and cardiologists will meet this Monday, and her first surgery will probably be on Tuesday.
Please continue to pray that her condition remains stable, and pray for the team of doctors as they make a very difficult decision that will determine Ella's fate.
We love you all!
The Morrison Family

Meet Miss Ella Mae!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mommy and Miss Ella have reunited!

I was released from the hospital this morning, and I'm enjoying every minute gazing at my beautiful baby girl! She is just a precious gift from God!
She's doing great in the CVICU. Her nurses are very pleased with how well she is doing. We are all very proud of her!
We talked to Ella's cardiologist this afternoon and learned that there will be a discussion about the route to take with her upcoming surgery. As mentioned before, she has a "variant" of HLHS. The doctors performed an echocardiogram on Ella soon after she arrived at Children's last night. The echo confirmed what was diagnosed in-utero, and provided additional information. Evidently, her left ventricle is not severely underdeveloped, nor is the mitral valve. However, she has coarctation of the aorta (a narrowed aorta) and her aortic valve is too small. So now the team has to determine whether to go the single ventricle route (treat her as a HLHS patient, which means 3-staged surgeries) or they will take another approach that would reconstruct the aorta and expect the left ventricle to fully function and they would hope that it can do the job of supporting her. If they chose the second route, which would allow her to have a four chamber heart, there are definite risks and complications involved . I remember the cardiologist from Cook Children's telling me that a "two ventricle heart is not neccessarily better than a single ventricle heart". Needless to say, this is a decision that will take a team of doctors a good amount of time to discuss and determine the what will provide the best possible outcome for Ella.
Please pray that she continues to do well in the CVICU. As soon as a decision is made regarding the surgery, I will let you know.
Love to all,
The Morrison Family

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

She's here and she's beautiful!!!

Our sweet Ella has made her grand entrance! She arrived at 3:40 this afternoon weighing in at 6 lbs 11 oz. (after only 20 minutes of pushing!!) She has the sweetest face and disposition! We are thrilled to say that she scored an 8 and a 9 on her Apgars. She looked so good that they allowed her to stay in the room with us for 30 minutes. She was very alert and had her eyes open the majority of the time that we held her. She's now in the NICU where they will start the prostaglandin to stabilize her before her transport to Children's. Letting her go was very difficult, but I know that's what is best for her, and that I will be with her very soon.
We want to thank everyone for your prayers, love and support. We made it to this point because of you all! Pictures are coming very soon...
The Morrison Family

We're in labor!

I'm dilated between a 4-5 and we have started the pitocin drip. We should meet our sweet baby Ella in the next several hours!!! I'm just about to request the edipural and attempt to get a little nap in before game time!
Please pray for a smooth delivery. I'll let you know when she arrives...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Three days to go...

We're all doing well. Evidently, Ella is still comfy and content inside her mommy! We cannot wait to meet her this Wednesday!!! We're curious to see who she looks like and we can't wait to hold and kiss on this precious angel that we've all prayed for! Grady is so, so excited to meet his baby sister, too! He says that he has so many things that he's ready to teach her!
Please pray that the delivery goes smoothly. We'll let you know if she decides to come before the scheduled induction...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Update on April 13th

We had a great Easter with our sweet Grady! The first thing he asked about on Easter morning was whether or not the Easter Bunny had come. He was SO excited about his basket and goodies! The church service was very moving and fitting for this time in our lives. We left there feeling as if the sermon was written for US, to help guide us on this journey.
In my last posting, I mentioned that I would talk to our delivering ob/gyn to see how she felt about the exam with Dr. Read on Wednesday. She assured me that I could carry this baby for 2 more weeks in my current condition. I was SO relieved to hear this because I was not prepared to leave work just yet.
Speaking of...everyone was completely shocked to see me at school today! I told them that Miss Ella must be comfy and cozy and she'll come when she's ready. Given her situation, I'm not in any rush to deliver. I can tolerate the frequent trips to the restroom and limited sleep because I know that she is thriving and growing stronger every day!
I'm off to wash her clothes and blankies. I've still got to get her things packed--shame on me!
I'll let you know if anything changes....

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Visit with doctor on April 8th

I had my last visit with Dr Read this afternoon. The bio-physical profile produced good results. Miss Ella looks great and is now estimated to weigh 7 lbs 2 oz...she's almost a full pound heavier than our ultrasound 2 weeks ago! I was thrilled!!! My exam with Dr Read caught me by surprise. He let me know that I am 2cm dilated and 50% effaced. I asked him if he thought I would make it two more weeks, and he wasn't so sure that I would. In order to attempt to slow down labor, I have orders to stay off of my feet (as much as possible) and to drink lots of water. Evidently, Ella has her own plans for her arrival and she's already at work!
My plan now is to call Dr Crochet tomorrow morning and ask her what she wants me to do. I'm thinking that she'll want to see me in the next couple of days, also. I'm off to pack my bags for the hospital! I'll let you know what Dr Crochet has to say....

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Ella is fine...Mommy & Daddy are disappointed!

It's taken me a few days to digest what happened at our appointment with the perinatologist last Wednesday. I should begin with the most important news...Ella looks great and is growing and thriving. For that, we are incredibly thankful!
The disappointing piece of the visit was when our doctor-who had previously agreed to deliver our sweet baby-let us know that he would not be able to deliver her if I did not agree to an elective c-section. Let me reassure you that a c-section is NOT medically necessary with her condition. So why would I have a c-section if I don't have to?!? We were absolutely shocked! From the start of the visit, he stated his disagreement with the cardiologist about a natural delivery. He felt that it was more important to have a set time & date so that everyone involved with her care after delivery knows exactly when she will arrive. We understand why he would feel that way, but we also believe that a scheduled induction can pass on that information as well--give or take a few hours. When we set the date for our induction, the NICU will be informed, as well as the staff at Children's MC. The thing that bothers us the most is that he agreed to deliver Ella for us, and when he agreed, he never once said that he would ONLY deliver our baby if we agreed to a c-section. It's so hard for me to wrap my head around this. Considering our baby's unique situation, I can't believe that he would blind-side us with this less than 3 weeks from delivery! Maybe this is a blessing in disguise...
On a more positive note, I put a call in to Children's MC and spoke to the pediatric cardiologist. She reassured me that having a natural delivery was in no way going to harm Ella, nor would it compromise her care following delivery. I am so thankful to her for putting my mind at ease!
So, here's the new plan for delivery. We have a new Ob/Gyn at Baylor, Dr. Crochet. We met her briefly after our other appointment on Wednesday,and we both really liked her. During our visit with her, we set the induction date for April 22. Abe was thrilled with having her on the 22nd...if you don't know, that is his all-time favorite number. (he came back from a trip to Vegas with a tattoo of the # 22 on his ankle...crazy Daddy!)
Luckily, we get to go back to Dr. Read this Wednesday for our check-up. His ultrasound tech will do a bio-physical profile, so I will be able to share an estimated weight following our visit.
Please pray for Ella to continue to grow bigger and stronger, and for Mommy and Daddy to have the strength to get through the next few months.
Love to all,
The Morrison's

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A little story about HLHS babies...

I came across this story a few days ago, and just had to share it with you all. It's just so precious...

It’s a beautiful day up in heaven. Jesus is gathering his baby angels to send to earth and be born. One of the sweetest angels says to Jesus, “I don’t want to leave. I love it here and I will miss you.” He reassures the scared little angel that everything will be fine and that this is just a visit.
The tiny angel is still not swayed on this idea so Jesus kneels down and says, “How about if you leave half of your heart here with me and take the other half with you. Will that be okay?” The angel smiles and says, “I guess that will work.” But the little angel is still a little scared. She asks,”Will I be okay with only half of my heart?” Jesus replies, “Of course you will. I have other angels there that will help, and will love you so much.”
Then Jesus gives the tiny angel more details about His plan. He says, “When you are born, your mommy will be scared so you have to be strong, and when you feel weak just remember that I have the other half of your heart. Enjoy your time with your family, play and laugh everyday. When its time to come back to heaven, I will make your heart whole again. Always remember that you are not broken, just torn between two loves.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Visit with doctor on March 25th

We had our weekly check-up this afternoon. This time with Dr. Read in Fort Worth...much better commute and Grady loves Dr. Read as much as we do!! We have to have what's called a Bio-physical Profile every week to check for activity, growth and fluid level. The nurse described a BPP to be something like an in-utero apgar score. And, of course, our sweet Ella looked great! She was very active (surprise, surprise!), practicing breathing, and she has even put on more weight. She is now estimated to weigh 6 lbs. 4 oz. (up from 5 lbs. 8 oz. just 6 days ago!) Dr. Read said that baby's typically gain 1/3 to 1/2 a pound a week in the last month, so we're pretty confident that she'll weigh at least 7 lbs...which is great!
Some of you might not know our plans for delivery, so I thought I'd fill you in. We're looking at induction on April 21st or 22nd at Baylor Hospital in Dallas. We're having her there in order to be closer in proximity to Children's Medical Center. Ella will be stabilized in the NICU at Baylor immediately following delivery, and transported to Children's by ambulance within the first few hours. Abe, Nana & Grandpa John will follow Ella over to Children's and remain with her until I can join them--which I'm hoping will be the following day. The nurses at Baylor have orchestrated a way to set up a web cam for me to be able to see Ella at Children's while I am recovering at Baylor. I'm so incredibly grateful for this!
Please pray that Ella will continue to grow bigger and stronger in the next 4 weeks. It's crazy to think that she could be her in only 27 days!!!
Love to all,
The Morrison's

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Follow-up echo and visit with Perinatalogist

We had our follow-up fetal echocardigram at Children's in Dallas last Thursday, March 19th. The cardiologist said that although the aortic and mitral valves have grown since our last visit (these 2 valves pump blood into and out of the left ventricle), they are still not large enough to support the left side of the heart. As I mentioned in my earlier post, she has a been diagnosed with having a "variance" of HLHS, and her heart is just slightly underdeveloped. Which means nothing other than the fact that she will need one of two things: 1) God to perform a miracle that will allow the valves to grow and to support the left chambers OR 2) the three open heart surgeries that will allow the right ventricle to sustain her life until she eventually needs a transplant. It is just heart wrenching to hear the cardiologist say that her heart is just "slightly underdeveloped, and if the valves had grown just a little bit more, then she would be fine!" I asked, again, HOW this happens and she said there is no known cause, it's just a fluke...UNbelieveable! She also mentioned that she would prefer that I deliver naturally vs. having an elective c-section. Evidently, the natural way is more beneficial to the baby because it squeezes the fluid out of the lungs during the process of coming down the birth canal. I asked about the trauma or stress that babies endure during delivery and if it would be risky with her heart, but she assured me that she will be just fine and the benefits outweigh the risks. So, I'm thinking the natural way is the way to go. Of course another perk is that the recovery is so much quicker, which means that I will get released from Baylor and can be with Ella at Children's much, much sooner.
We then went to the perinatalogist to have our routine visit and asked her what she thought about the cardiologist's recommendation. She said that it is totally up to us, and that we have time to make our decision. She then measured Ella and her estimated weight was 5lbs 8oz (which put her in the 51 percentile) and everything else looked great, as always. We were so happy to hear that!
So now, the countdown is on. It's hard to wrap my head around the fact that this precious baby girl will be here is just a little more than 4 weeks from now....if she doesn't decide to come sooner, that is!
Please pray that she continues to grow and get bigger and stronger during the next 4 weeks....and it wouldn't hurt praying for a miracle, either. How wonderful would it be if they looked at her heart after she was born and found that the left side was the perfect size and functioning the way it should?!? Miracles happen every day, right? If this is not her fate, we know that she'll be okay and that she will be a fighter!!!
The Morrison's

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Just wanted to give you a brief update on our appointments at Children's Medical Center in Dallas.We met with the pediatric cardiologist first and she performed a fetal echocardiogram. She confirmed the diagnosis of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. After reading the fetal echo, and studying the three hypoplastic (underdeveloped) areas of her heart, she felt that the baby's chances of surviving the three staged open heart surgeries were very good! HLHS is a "syndrome", so there are varying degrees of hypoplasia and we are very fortunate that her heart is not as severely underdeveloped or defected as it could be.We then met with the cardio thoracic surgeon, Dr. Forbess. I honestly cannot put into words how absolutely impressed we were with him. He sat down with us for well over an hour to discuss the three operations and answer our questions. After reading the results of the fetal echo, he also felt that she had a very good chance of surviving the surgeries. We were SO thankful to hear it from him, too!Dr. Forbess has amazing credentials and we both left there with this incredibly comfortable feeling that we totally and completely trust him with our daughter's life. We feel so blessed to have found him!!Thank you so much for your love, support and prayers. Please continue to pray that her condition does not change from now until delivery.
Love to all,
The Morrison's