We wanted to take a moment and answer a slew of questions we’ve had and/or been asked over these past few months regarding all things baby, pregnancy and the omphalocele. Most of the answers are pretty much exactly what we’ve already given to those that have asked, but thought we’d keep the lines of communication open to anyone that’s had the same question(s).
Q: So, how is the whole gestational diabetes thing going?
A: Pretty good, thanks! I can always tell when my sugar is going to be high based on when I eat. It’s usually in the mornings if I ate my dinner the night before at a non-dinner time, or if I skipped my proper evening snack. But it’s never crazy out of control. I still eat carbs and sweets, but cookies for dinner or ice cream for breakfast are no-no’s until this wee one is born!
Q: Ok, but then what are the ‘normal’ ranges for you? Do you have to take your blood all the time?
A: Before I eat, it should be 5.3 or below, and 1 hour after should be 7.8 or below. I alternate when I take my blood. One day it’s before breakfast and then 1 hour after. The next day it’s 1 hour after lunch and 1 hour after dinner. Which is good, that way I’m not flying through the blood strips.
Q: Do you have to take insulin? Is this thing going to be forever?
A: Nope, no insulin is needed and it’s only temporary. Like I had said in the previous GD update, this is all only for while I’m pregnant
Q: Are you sure you are as far along as you say you are? When is your baby actually due? I mean, why isn’t your face all puffy? In fact, your whole body should be super puffy by now!
A: Ummm, thank you? Well new co-worker, she’s due Monday 07-March, but because of the omphalocele she will need to be delivered via c-section on Monday 29-February. Maybe I’m not as puffy as you would expect me to be because of all the turmoil we’ve gone through? Don’t get me wrong, I’m still swollen in my feet and legs, but who knows, maybe someone is looking out for me and cutting me a bit of a break.
Q: No! No, no, no!! NOOOOO! You just CAN’T have your baby on 29-Feb! THAT’S SO MEAN! Your baby will NEVER have a regular birthday! (*scoff*)
A: That’s what you think mean is?! Oh no, honey, that’s not mean! Is it because you think she won’t get a birthday? Sorry, but you are beyond wrong my friend. See, I’m a ‘between Christmas and New Years baby’, so I know what it’s like not to have proper birthday parties and celebrations. Our girl is going to get a regular birthday every year, but a special birthday every 4th Leap Year. Only 1/1,500 babies are actually born on a Leap Year. Our baby’s condition occurs in 1/4,000 babies. We think it’s fitting that this Impossible Girl is lucky to get this Impossible birthday!
Look, if it helps you come to term with things, she needs to be delivered before her 40th week (07-March) and anytime after her 39th (29-Feb). Monday’s are the best day to have your c-section booked as everyone is there. It’s like all the stars are aligning for us and our girl to have this amazing day just for her! One of my dear friends said to me recently “It’s a really fun fact for your kid to tell people at ice breakers for the rest of their lives….retreats, camp, college orientation, first day at a new job it’s “I was born on a leap year” … DAMN IT SHE’S MORE INTERESTING THAN ME AND SHE’S NOT EVEN BORN YET!”
But let us leave you with this: if you still aren’t convinced 29-February is as good enough day for our baby, that’s completely fine. When all is said and done, we aren’t doing this for you, so it’s all good!
Q: Some of us haven’t seen you in ages! Do you have a photo you can share so we can see your baby bump?!
A: Of course! Here’s a photo of me at 29 wks, just before Christmas:
Q: So, who’s going to be in charge and performing the c-section?
A: Though we’ve been dealing with Dr. Oppenheimer this whole time as our primary doctor, it will most likely be Dr. Walker for the procedure – or as we know him, Mark. That’s actually how he introduced himself to us the first time we met him back at week 18: “Hi there, I’m Mark”. All the doctors and nurses there have this amazing ability to make you feel completely at ease, and Dr. Walker was no exception during my amnio. Additionally, he also has the entire alphabet after his name (MD, FRCS(C), MSc(epi), MScHCM) plus, he’s the Professor and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the General.
Fun fact: He’s also the doctor that talked to us at great lengths about Star Wars: The Force Awakens when we were there before Christmas. I joked he would now be known as Mark “Skywalker” to us. And you guys, he’s SUPER young for someone in his position!
Q: The omphalocele – isn’t it just a hernia? I mean, it doesn’t sound that bad now that you have been given the clear for other genetic issues.
A: Sort of, but not really. Like I mentioned previously, the omphalocele isn’t so much the super big issue, but is an issue just the same. This is still 100% a high-risk pregnancy and the biggest issue still continues to be how her lungs and heart are growing inside her while the liver is in the sac on the outside of her body. Yes, we have to deal with the omphalocele once she’s born, and the team at CHEO will determine the best course of action, but we won’t know till she’s here on the extent of things.
Q: Is there a chance that the omphalocele will move back in on it’s own?
A: Unfortunately, no. There is no chance it’s going to just pop back inside on it’s own. But wouldn’t that be amazing if it did?! See, all her insides are growing as they should, as much as they can given the omphalocele. So, it may be a case where the doctors will need to either push it back in or see if it can be put back in at a later date, depending on how all other things have grown. It will all be determined at assessment once she’s made her debut.
Q: So, what does that mean exactly? How long is she going to be in hospital for?
A: We have no way of knowing at this point. I’ve been in touch with two other mum’s here in Canada that have both had their babies in hospital for approx 3.5 wks, and we already anticipated after talking to them and our medical and surgical teams that it could range from 2 wks to 2 mths (or more!). So, we are planning on it being close to 4 wks at this point.
Q: Is surgery a definite then? When will she have it?
A: Again, we have no way of knowing. We won’t know much of our course of action until her teams have all assessed things. She could get things literally pushed back in & then closure surgery. She could have things left as is until there is enough room and skin skin to grow, then for things to be put back in properly like that of a hernia. She could have to wait for several months with her skin covered sac like so many other amazing o-babies. We just have no way of knowing anything yet, but once we know we will update all y’all!
Q: Can we come visit her at CHEO?!
A: Ohhh, that’d be lovely, but no. Not right away, if at all. Directly after her birth via c-section – and I do mean directly after – she will be assessed at The General and then moved right over to CHEO’s NICU department. Visiting at CHEO’s NICU is extremely restricted; largely due to the possibility of infections for our girl and the other children sharing the NICU. Additionally, we would like to have time to get to know her and bond before we can properly introduce her to family and friends. Visiting is restricted to 2 people only and one must be a parent, and if we are completely honest – we really just want to be selfish with her until we know what’s what. As such, we are asking for family and friends to abstain from visiting her at CHEO until we’ve sorted out details with the doctors and her teams and know more.
Q: Ok, but once she’s home, can we see her?!
A: I adore your excitement – trust me! If you are this excited can you imagine how stoked we are?! Unfortunately we ask that you hold on visiting, just for a bit, once she’s home. We will need some ‘just us’ time to become comfortable with her away from the machines, tubes, nurses and doctors. Really, we just to get used to some sort of routine. We promise that a sip-n-see shower will be coordinated when she’s home so that everyone can meet her, and will definitely have some of you over before then, but please be patient with us during this time!
Q: Weeeee! A sip-n-see shower! Wait …. ummm, what exactly is that and when will it be taking place?
A: It’s really just a baby shower where the baby is actually there: guests can can sip on some drinks and see the baby all at once! I got the idea from some pretty amazing friends that are now parents themselves. Additionally, two of my very oldest girlfriends have offered to coordinate things for us, so once we have a clear timeline on things, they will send out details for the that will be here in Ottawa.
Q: Where are you registered? We want to get you something now!
A: Awww, thank you! We have started a universal registry online, and will send out details once we have things finalized, but have to wait to see what we need based on when she’s actually coming home. We asked friends and family previously to hold on purchasing and sending anything at this time only because at the time we didn’t know what was going to happen when things were still in their early stages. At this point, we are feeling good about it all, but we still have no idea how big she will be or if there will be clothing restrictions because of her omphalocele or anything like that.
Q: What’s her room look like?! I bet it’s a theme of elephants or a Doctor Who!
A: Nope and nope. We decided on a very simple yet lovely grey/purple/white/neutral colour theme to start for her until she decides on what she likes. We actually have her crib picked out and have purchased a glider, curtains and a lovely painting from local artist Alison Fowler. The first thing we actually purchased was a nearly new Bugaboo stroller combo from a fabulous friend who was looking to sell hers in order to upgrade to a double stroller for her new little babe, so we have a bunch of the basics already in place.
Q: Well don’t forget about a car seat!
A: Don’t worry – we may be first time parents but we know we need one in order to even leave the hospital. It wasn’t listed above as it’s literally the last thing we can buy before she comes home because of the omphalocele. See, we have no way of knowing what’s what or what the doctors recommend because of the potential of the O still being there. There are options, but we need to talk to the doctors and make sure that she’s good to go in any car seat before we even think of buying one.
Q: So, what’s her name going to be?!? TELL US!!
A: We have no idea. We know her last name is going to be McDonnell, as well as a possible middle name, and have a nickname we already call her, but that’s about it. Sure, yes, we have discussed some possible names, but can’t really commit or agree on a name just yet. We are most likely going to wait until she’s here and we see her face. Then, she will tell us what her name is.
Q: Well, you better pick one soon – Ha ha ha!
A: Thank you stranger who is in line at the Costco pharmacy check-out (true story). You’ve inspired us to name her here right here and now:
Q: Ok, but you must have some names picked out?
A: Yes, we definitely do, but will not be sharing any picks at this time because of the judgement that people pass when parents name their kids. Even with the faux-name’s Beulah (more on that below) and Tallulah we got judged. Tallulah came from a spin-off of Beulah as another joke. Anyway, Jody mentioned to some people that he was going to register her name as Tallulah while I was in the hospital recovering. They didn’t know the story behind the name but the horror in both their faces and voice was a little insulting. What if it was a name we grew partial to between then and now? No, it’s not – but what if it was?!
Q: You mentioned a nickname, can you tell us?!
A: Sure – it’s Boolie.
Q: Ummmm …. Boolie?!
A: Yes, Boolie. Even now you might be judging a simple nickname. Here is the story though, to give you a bit of context on things:
Before we knew we were having a girl, Jody would call our baby ‘Baby Beulah’. I had joked that if the baby was a boy, he’d have a severe complex. After a while, it just kind of stuck and so we would call our baby ‘Baby Beulah’ with each other, but keep it to ourselves until we found out she was a girl. It just flows off the tongue too – Baby Beulah. Once her gender was confirmed, we’d jokingly call her ‘Baby Beulah’ to friends and family but for some reason folk thought this was her real name and even then, judged us. Anyway, I had told my mum this name one day and she said “I used to have an aunt named Beulah, except nobody called her that, they all just called her ‘Boolie'”. At first, I thought ‘Pffft, no way I’m temporarily calling this kid Boolie – Beulah is where it’s at!”, but it wasn’t until we were at the point when our baby was the size of a banana that my mum called her ‘Banana Boolie’, and it just kind of stuck. Now that she’s no longer the size of a banana, she’s just ‘The Boolie’ or ‘Baby Boolie’.
Q: Can I touch and rub your belly?!
A: Thank you so much for asking – unlike some that just assume that they can grab my belly and rub it like a damn genie lamp that’s going to give them 3 wishes!Look, it’s a two way street with this one. You can touch mine if I can touch yours. And only after you touch Jody’s belly first.