This wasn't part of the plan...

I guess there’s really no easy way to break this news, and I know this is kind of an impersonal medium for this particular message, but we want everyone to know what’s going on, and just don’t have the time or emotional energy for dozens of phone calls. Getting to the point, Anna has been in the hospital since Tuesday morning. Her water broke while she was at work, and she began to go into pre-term labor. After a couple of panicked hours at Seton Northwest hospital, her mild contractions stopped, she and Frankie stabilized, and they were transferred to Seton Medical Center in central Austin (the only place in town with a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit [NICU]). The good news is that both she and Frankie are fine, and though we’re not entirely out of the woods yet, the prognosis is better than we’d expected.

For those of you keeping score at home, this is a little over two months early (she was right at 29 weeks, to be exact), so the situation is fairly serious. They’ve had Anna on magnesium sulfate, a central nervous system inhibitor and smooth muscle relaxer (the side effect of which has been described as “the worst flu you’ve ever had”), hoping to keep her from going into labor. She’s also had two doses of steroids, which will help Frankie’s lungs develop (the doctors’ primary concern at this point, as far as his health goes). The goal at this point is to keep him inside of her for as long as possible. They’ve told us that every day he spends in her womb translates into three days he doesn’t have to spend in the NICU. The best-case scenario would be for Anna to lie in this hospital bed until mid-August, although that seems highly unlikely. They’ll take her off the magnesium this morning, and it will be out of her system by this time tomorrow. Her body may decide to go into labor shortly thereafter, or she could lie in this bed for days, weeks, or even a couple of months. However, when labor begins, they won’t try to stop it again, so they’ll let her deliver.

In spite of the good news that she and Frankie are basically in pretty good shape, there are some downsides here. Frankie is breeched, and without any fluid in her womb, he can’t position himself for a vaginal delivery. That means Anna will definitely be having a C-section, which has been one of her biggest fears all along. Not only that, but his position and timing mean that she can’t even get the cool “bikini cut” C-section; she’ll have to have the traditional “vertical cut,” which takes longer to heal and leaves a larger scar. I think that’s bothering her less than the prospects of Frankie staying in the NICU for up to two months. They’ve warned us that he might have to stay in the hospital up until his actual due date (September 9). We’re both more than a little freaked out by that, but we’re trying hard not to let on to one another how much that scares us. Stiff upper lip, and whatnot. And of course, we’re trying hard not to think about all the developmental problems associated with premature babies, and the exorbitant cost of long-term neonatal intensive care, and the risks of surgical birth, and all the things left up in the air because this caught us totally by surprise.

In spite of all this, we’re actually doing well. Anna is awake and alert, she’s not in much pain, and she’s actually gotten kind of used to lying in bed. That said, neither of us is looking forward to weeks or even days of bed rest, but we’ve agreed that it’s better than the alternative. We’re willing to go through pretty much anything to keep from leaving Frankie alone in this hospital any longer than is absolutely necessary.

If anyone wants to send anything to Anna, she’s in Seton Medical Center (they may call it Seton Main), 38th & Medical Parkway, Room 248. For those of you who’ve called to say we’re in your thoughts and prayers, we appreciate it, and we’ll keep you posted as things develop. In the meantime, know that we’re well taken care of, and that we’re doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances. Anna’s not really up for many visitors at the moment, but she’s taking phone calls and appreciates hearing from everyone. If you want to stop by, give me a call on my cell (or hers), and I’ll let you know if she’s up to it.


Blogger MommaS said...

We love you guys, and we're praying for you. Lots of love, and let us know.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Lalee said...

I heard from Sarah today and was shocked at the news. I will be sending you all the best energy I can muster for you all. You're in my thoughts; please let me know if there's anything at all that you need.

2:55 PM  
Blogger dirtyweekender said...

Anna is, hands down, the best looking patient at Seton. Even out of sorts she looks healthy and stong. How does she do it?

My Mom asked about you (Anna)in my good morning email today. (: We're all keeping good thoughts for y'all.

And don't forget - cat sitting/mail pickup/plant watering/taxi services from me are free to friends. xox Leslie

3:29 PM  
Blogger swamp4me said...

I am a total stranger - just came across your post while I was blog surfing...

Just wanted you to know that I'm now one of those people pulling for your family. Hopefully Frankie will stay put inside his mom for a while longer. Best wishes to you all.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Brownie said...

another blogger wishing all 3 of you WELL.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Auntie Krissy said...

This is from my friend, Jules, she's married to Robert Gabriel, remember him Dave. They both send their postive energy and warm support! ~K

As a staunch advocate and provider of Early Intervention Services, I am willing to offer your family any help they may need by way of advocating/ securing services (ECI or otherwise) for your nephew. I have many resources at the University and with local programs that may be of use to your family. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help (even if it's answering questions about child development or intervention methods). You guys are in my prayers.

Many Blessings and Positive Energy-

10:30 AM  
Blogger Auntie Krissy said...

This one is from my massage therapist and dear friend, Tito's Godmother, Molly:
Hi Sweetie. I know it is a panic. My sister had a similar situation... she ended up on bed rest for 6 weeks waiting for the baby's lung to mature. The baby came earlier than wanted, but they were prepared for anything. My niece was born at less than 4 lbs. A minibaby. I arrived in Oregon immediately to help. I finger fed Emmy because she was too tiny for the nipple. She is now 5 years old, sassy and smart.

Try to trust the hospital staff. The people who choose that particular field of medicine and healthcare really love it, AND, they know ALOT about it.

I will be thinking of all of you.

xoxoxoxo MollyO

10:36 AM  
Blogger Auntie Krissy said...

This is from my friend, Roni, who is a lbor and delivery nurse. So I trust her input.

seton is a great facility, so they're in good hands.
who is her doc?
my friends had their twins a couple of months early, I
can't remember the exact gestion. but, they went home
after a couple of months & are doing well.

hope all goes well for your family.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Auntie Krissy said...

Dave, remember Cheraina...
Think positive. I will pray for you guys. On a personal note, my
sister gave birth (emergency c-section) to her twins at 30 weeks, they
stayed in the NICU unit for 9 weeks. They were 2lbs 6 oz and 3 lbs
when they were born. The NICU and doctors were great and made my sister
and her husband very comfortable through out the entire stay.

Cheraina Dunn

10:50 AM  
Blogger Auntie Krissy said...

Fabulous response from my friends to You three...
-----Original Message-----
From: kristin breshears

Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2005 2:01 PM

Subject: A shout out for positive energy

Hope you all are well. This feels weird, but I
thought I'd send out a
little message because something big has happened
in my family life and I feel like I need the understanding and support of my friends, you don't have to do any thing directly, just send your positive energy this way....my brother
Dave's wife, Anna, went into premature labor on Tuesday. Little Frankie is only at 29 weeks gestation (typical is 34-42 weeks), he's about 2lbs. 10oz.
She's at Seton Central (fortunately, right by my house),they've stopped the
labor, pumped in steroids for his lungs to grow and antibiotics to control
for infection, and Mom and Baby are stable and
well! We hope he will chill
out and relax in the womb for another week or two,
as it's a much better
place than the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care
Unit). I'll keep you all
posted on the delivery and please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
My folks and Anna's Mom are all here as well.
Thanks for the support,

PS. We are taking any and all positive stories of
premies and advice if
you have any. You can check out their baby blog at meetthebreeders.blogspot.com if you like, I think
Dave will write something
soon and you can give your thoughts there.

Hey! Actually, I have cousins who had twins SERIOUSLY premature. I can't remember the numbers, but it was something like 3 months early. They were 1 lb. and 1 1/2 lb. at birth--they looked like tiny little old man wormy things! I saw them in the NICU right after they
were born and, honestly, I didn't think they would
make it. I didn't see how they could. But I wouldn't
be writing this unless it was a happy story! The
babies did in fact survive. Actually, I just spent a week with them in Boston and they are now regulation size kids, even a little big for their age. They are a case study for their doctors at Brigham & Women's on
thriving--they show no developmental difficulties
(mental, verbal, or physical), and are completely happy, healthy, silly, hyper, and lovey children. I also have some friends with a very similar
story--twins, WAY early--and their kids are now
behemoths. Tell Dave & Anna not to sweat it but to
get used to the NICU. Bring the nurses cookies. They like that, and they deserve it.


Dear Kristin and Breshears Family -

My boss Mary was a premie. I don't have her stats.
She is a Catholic, born in a Catholic hospital. The nuns there prayed to the
Virgin Mary that she would live. Her parents were
going to name her Renee, but decided to call her Mary as a gift, because she lived, and they believe the Virgin Mary answered their prayers.

Irrespective of any religious belief, I tell you
this tale because Mary (my boss) grew up to be healthy and strong.
She is good at sports and is highly intelligent. She is a no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners partner in a law firm, and is also a mother herself.

Our thoughts and prayers are with your family and
Little Frankie!

Jenny & Mike Barry

My little brother was a 2.5 pound baby with
under-developed lungs. One
month in the unit, and he still came home the size
of a Chihuahua.
Today, he's head honcho with the ladies. Here's
the proof.
Good luck to them really, and it will work out just


my brother was also quite premature. not certain just how much, but i know he had to spend a few weeks in a little plexiglass box... and, after all that, the only thing wrong with him was that his brain turned out to be much too large.

take care,

9:25 AM  

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