On the 13th of January 2014, 08:14, via a Cesarean Section performed by the awesome Dr. Jane La Grange at Mediclinic Vergelegen in Somerset West, little Lotter #2, weighing in at a healthy 3.53 kg, was brought kicking and screaming into this world – say hello to miss Emily Jane Lotter.
Things didn’t quite go according to plan though mind you, Emily did have some fluid on the lungs as a result of the procedure, and as such over-nighted in the NICU (Still that’s a lot better than what poor Jessica had to undergo when she arrived a fair bit ahead of schedule, so I have to say, we’re getting better!).
She also struggled a little with weight loss for the first few days, but other than all that, we’ve been blessed with a very healthy baby girl, with a gorgeous full head of dark hair and a very wise little face.
In other words, awesome.
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So the end of the road is finally in sight – this coming Monday, 13 January 2014, Chantelle and I will be welcoming into this world our little Emily, in all likelihood the last addition to our little branch of the Lotter Clan.
It’s been a long nine months and Chantelle has certainly struggled this last month and a half, thanks to the general uncomfortableness associated with pregnancy, and of course the soaring heatwave that Cape Town experienced for much of the December holiday period.
Pleasingly, unlike the previous pregnancy with Jess, and despite the little scare with Chantelle’s earlier car crash, there were absolutely no complications this time around – meaning that Chantelle has carried Emily all the way through to full term, and in the process affording her the full experience of being pregnant.
Mind you, she’s ready for Emily to come out now – it’s been a little too tiring and uncomfortable these last few weeks!
Needless to say, we’re a little bit apprehensive for the upcoming c-section operation on Monday morning (08:00!) – unlike last time when it was a medical emergency and there was no time to really given anything much thought, this time around we’ve got a very nervy Sunday evening to ponder on the big event lying in wait for us. Doubt much sleep will be had by the either of us in other words!
On another note, I must say that I’m pleased that we’re in Vergelegen this time around – they really are one of the better baby-friendly hospitals around, and we’re looking forward to the experience based on what they showed us during the earlier facilities tour (thankfully they’ve now fully restored functionality following the flooding that hit the area early December last year).
All in all, it’s really an exciting time again, and despite the long hours and loads of work coming our way, I CAN’T wait to see my new baby girl and hold her in my arms already! :)
(Looks like January is certainly going to be the month of birthdays in the family. In addition to little Emily, my sister Claire and her husband Riley just welcomed their second son, Grayson into the world a week ago on the 2nd of Jan this year, and then of course my brother Ryan celebrates his birthday towards the tail of January. Presents, presents, presents!)
A week or two ago Chantelle and I headed off after our weekly Weigh-less weigh-in session to see our selected obstetrics and gynaecology specialist Dr J. La Grange at her consulting rooms near the Mediclinic Vergelegen hospital in Somerset West for the big 13 week NT scan – basically the very big and very scary scan to check for any fetal abnormalities.
This was my first time meeting Dr. La Grange (who is probably just a little older than Chantelle and myself) and I have to say, I was mightily impressed with her, both in terms of her personality and professionalism. Definitely a good choice that Chantelle has made, and even more pleasingly, someone who Chantelle immediately felt at ease with from the very first moment that she met her!
Unlike the first time when we went through this big scan with little Jessica and Dr. Sonja Mulder, this scan went perfectly smoothly, the machine doing its job without any hiccups and our little baby playing perfectly along, showing off all of the little limbs, fingers and toes. We heard the furious little heart beat and marveled at the cute little pointed nose staring back at us, and even got the photographic evidence to prove it! :)
All in all, it went very well, the doctor is happy with Chantelle and the progress of the prenancy (the due date has again been confirmed 23 January 2013), and even more pleasingly, a couple of days later we got the phone call to tell us that everything is fine, and there is only a very, very low percentage chance of the baby having Down Syndrome, meaning we can all pretty much breathe a big sigh of relief.
I found it kind of cute how the doctor referred to Chantelle as being a BMI patient (euphemisms are always amusing aren’t they?), and based on that alone we have been referred to Kingsbury hospital in Constantia for the next big scan, the 23 week scan, because of their superior ultrasound equipment – basically because thanks to the nasty pregnancy experience last time around, my favourite high risk pregnancy patient needs to be handled with kid gloves through and through! :)
Funnily enough, Kingsbury also happens to be my sister’s hospital of choice – she’s also due late January next year, a week before us I believe! (Shame, January is going to be a busy month of riding up and down for Mom and Pops!).
Anyway, so all is well with baby Lotter No. 2, Chantelle is still doing well (thus far she’s only had a single day or so of Morning Sickness to deal with), and we’re happily plodding along towards the next milestone on our pregnancy roadmap.
Good stuff! :)
(Also, just worth mentioning, but it was seriously good timing that SARS gave us back some money as quickly as what they did. The specialist consultation as well as the immediate blood work handled by PathCare – seriously, I don’t know how Chantelle didn’t faint with all those vials of blood extracted from her! – came with a bill totalling just under R2,400 – certainly not pocket change in other words! Ouchie, I’ve clearly forgotten just how expensive having a baby can be!)
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention. Although we can’t be 100% sure just yet, it looks like Jessica will be getting a little sister come January next year…
Chantelle and I just got back home from Doctor Wade’s offices, returning from our very first sonar inspection of Baby Lotter #2, and of course, armed with such good news I couldn’t exactly wait to share it: jellybean-shaped Baby Lotter #2 is sitting quite snuggly, his/her heart happily beating at quite a furious pace!
From the measurements Doctor Wades estimates Baby Lotter #2 as being around 7 weeks and 2 days old, which means that the estimated full term birth date would be 27 January 2014.
(Funnily enough, Jess’s original full term birth date was also late January as it turns out.)
So that’s it then. Baby Lotter #2 is now conclusively a reality and we’re now officially on our pregnancy way!
So the good news is that we’ve already received our first big miracle. We learned yesterday from doctor Edson that the initial x-ray of Jessica’s chest was not good at all. The x-ray showed up her chest as being completely white, in other words rock hard and incapable of working. However, according to him, you would never have been able to correlate the x-ray with its real life counterpart because our little daughter has been breathing just fine from the start, completely on her own and only with the slightest assistance via some increased oxygen flow via a CPAP machine. Currently she hovers between oxygen levels of between 21% and 25%, and if you know anything about us humans then you’ll know that we breathe in about a 21% oxygen mix, meaning that she’s breathing as pretty close to normal as possible!
The other exciting news to come out of yesterday is that they took the initial necessary scans to look for blood on the brain, and those all turned up negative, so it looks that Jessica has so far managed to dodge that bullet as well.
The final tests that will have to be conducted will of course look at her heart, more specifically its valves, but from current indications it would seem that she should pass those as well.
In other words, my beautiful, extremely tiny, little 1.4kg daughter is doing just fine, in the capable hands of Kuilsriver’s fantastic NICU staff as well as the loving embrace of her very own little heated miracle bed.
Oh, and just for the record, she has a fantastic hand grip, which can be attested to by mommy’s finger, and more importantly, she most definitely responds to our voices and touch, which is absolutely brilliant to behold!
And did I mention that she is the most beautiful baby in the world yet?
Another little discovery made yesterday is the confirmation that my daughter did indeed come out with a head of hair, dirty blonde by the look of it to me. Seriously. My little long-legged swimsuit model wannabe is already well on her way to stealing the hearts of everyone around her! :)
Now on to Mommy. Shame, Chantelle is in absolute agony, her wound really eating away at her at the moment. Because of her high blood pressure and extremely swollen limbs, the doctor has to keep her on a relatively low dose of medication to help with the pain, meaning that for now she pretty much has to grit her teeth and just grind it out. She’s being encouraged to walk as much as possible, but the strain of getting in and out of that bed is certainly taking it out of her – never mind the constant manoeuvring to get up and go to the toilet every 15 minutes (which is thanks to the increased fluid in her body left over from all that swelling!).
Though at least now she can start eating solid food again!
But despite all this, believe it or not, my wife is in excellent spirits and that for one cheers me up to no end. Now that she’s able to shuffle over to see Jessica as many times as she wants, the maternal instinct is now kicking in, and the fact that she now also has try and get her breasts to produce some of that life-giving milk that little Jessica so badly needs ASAP (which is an amusing process to behold mind you) means her value to our daughter has shot right up – in other words it is all fun and games for mom and dad at the moment, basically because everything that can go right is currently going exactly as what we could have hoped for.
And for that we are thankful. God’s hand, Jessica’s fighting spirit and everyone’s support WILL make this work.
As for me, I’m still beaming ear to ear with pride and still insist on telling every single person I meet, whether they want to hear it or not, that my precious baby girl has just been born – it’s an overwhelming feeling of elation and joy that I simply can’t seem to shake off at the moment.
I’ve been spending each and every day with Chantelle in the hospital so far, helping her with whatever I can (and yes, in the beginning that even meant bathroom duties), arranging her belonging every five minutes, dozing off with her at the side of her bed (much to everyone’s amusement) and of course reading these blog posts out aloud to her which she seems to thoroughly enjoy for some or other reason – in other words I’m thrilled to be a part of her recovery process, no matter how small or inconsequential my part might currently be.
The flowers and presents have started rolling in now, as have the visitors, and despite the draconian two at a time, only during official visiting hours rules, we’ve already entertained ma and pa, mom and dad, Dean and Zania, Claire and Riley, and look forward to a couple more faces as Chantelle stays over for what should hopefully be her last night tonight. These visits mean the world to us (and they’re awesome because they make the time go by faster), so thank you to everyone who showed their faces!
So in summary, everything is going well – Mommy and Daddy are in high spirits, little Jessica looks as cute as a button despite all the tubes and sensors and whatnot surrounding her, the hospital remains a most excellent host and so far everything looks like it is going 100%. (Heck and even the medical aid now appears to be in order)
Of course, we know we still have a long way to go before we can relax, but for now we’ve allowed ourselves the joy of the moment and that is the most important part I think. Its going to be a tough five weeks looking ahead, but with everyone’s continued support and well wishes, the three of us should pull through this with flying colours! :)
Thoughts and prayers please people, thoughts and prayers!
On the 14th of November 2010, a full 8 weeks to early, our precious little dribble monster entered this world, kicking and screaming, and most important of all – alive. Small, but alive. Both mommy and daughter are doing well. And daddy? Daddy is of course over the moon at the moment, unable to contain this overflowing feeling of joy!
World, say hello to Jessica Madison Lotter.
Needless to say, everything has happened rather quickly, rather unexpectedly and naturally thrown all of our carefully laid plans on their heads. If you followed the saga, you will know that on Saturday Chantelle was rushed into hospital and taken up with a confirmed case of pre-eclampsia. What we were told was that baby will have to be removed, but they’ll try to keep her in mommy’s tummy for as long as possible. Chantelle over-nighted at Louis Leipoldt and in the morning, I got a phone call at home from her to let me know that the blood test results had just come back and that Jessica needed to be removed on Wednesday already.
A few minutes later, this changed to today.
So I grabbed everything I thought we would need (remember, we hadn’t even begun to think of packing Chantelle’s hospital bag yet), jumped into the Getz and raced down the N2 to reach Louis Leipoldt, discharge Chantelle and then transport her all the way through to Netcare Kuilsriver where they had a bed available for her and most important of all – place in their neonatal ICU.
As the wonderful sisters fussed over, poked and prodded Chantelle, I got to work on the admin of signing her in, and was soon back next to her side as the various machines were put to work and blood samples taken. She had already met the gynaecologist who would be taking part in the operation, Dr. Albertyn and it was now simply a matter of playing the waiting game as we patiently sat and waited for what was scheduled to be a 17:00 Caesar.
Monty and Cheryl swung by the hospital as well, back from the mission that Chantelle had assigned them, namely the purchase of all the things Chantelle wasn’t comfortable in asking me to organise in case I got them wrong. However, the hospital enforces extremely strict visiting rules and stick to their guns about the allowed time slots and number of visitors per patient (two), meaning that they first needed to wait for 30 minutes outside in the cafeteria, where I joined them for a quick cup of coffee to fill them in on everything that was going on.
Needless to say, the very parched Chantelle (who was obviously not allowed to eat or drink anything) would have killed for that cup of coffee.
But the clock did strike 3 and mom, dad and brother got to visit, though in the end we didn’t have much time to play happy family because Chantelle’s operation was suddenly bumped all the way up and around 15:20 they were already getting her all prepped and ready to go.
I got to follow the bed as they wheeled Chantelle down the hospital’s narrow corridors towards the theatre, before being asked to take a quick left and enter the changing room where I stripped out of my clothes and donned some doctor’s garments. (And when I say doctor’s garments I mean literally a doctor’s garments. His were the only ones my fat frame would fit in!).
I joined Chantelle in the waiting area once more, as the final preparations were administered, before I was asked to go and sit in a little room while they took her in, gave her the spinal anaesthetic (or whatever that is called) and basically started opening her up.
It wasn’t long though before I got the go ahead to enter and I was led through the operating theatre to a little stool next to Chantelle’s head, where I sat touching her face and holding her hand as the doctor’s feverishly worked on opening her up and bringing our little premature daughter into this world.
I sat there for what must have been literally the shortest of time, before I gasped in excitement as I saw a little blue hand poke up into my vision. Then, without any hassle at all, my ice blue baby was lifted clean out of Chantelle and handed to the paediatrician who immediately set to work stabilising Jessica while the other attending surgeons returned to the important work of sewing up my wife again.
That moment when my daughter came out and let out a scream must rank as one of the most joyous and overwhelming moments every in my life.
Quickly color flooded into her body, and the doctor held up our most prized asset to the world, before wrapping her up and holding her so that mommy could see.
Then she was returned to her little cart full of tubes and whatnot, and I was asked to follow as she was whisked down the passage and straight to the NICU incubator, where the paediatrician and sisters immediately got to work on hooking her up and inserting all the necessary tubes and sensors into our little miracle.
It felt like forever that I stood there, sending smses by the 100 and waiting for that all important moment when I would be allowed in, see my child and touch her for the very first time.
The joy that I felt, or rather still feel, is just to much to describe – it is simply sheer, unadulterated happiness that washes over you as the pride takes hold and you want to scream out to the heavens and introduce the world to your child.
My baby, my daughter, my Jessica, lying there in her little heated bed, obscured by all the life giving equipment but alive – alive and breathing and fighting to grow.
Her skin is incredibly soft and she is just absolutely gorgeous – the most beautiful baby girl in the world. I laugh as I write this because to me babies always look a little alien and grotesque – and everyone always told me wait until I had one of my own. They were right. My daughter is the most beautiful little person I have ever seen.
As for mommy, well Chantelle was eventually wheeled back in, wound closed up, but unfortunately in a lot of pain and on a lot of medication. Unfortunately the severity of the cuts, a horizontal cut on along the pubic line and a vertical one down from the navel in order to facilitate Jessica falling out rather than being pulled out, meant that she wasn’t able to see Jessica any more than those initial few seconds on the operating table, but it didn’t matter. Baby was alive, she was alive and I was there to act as the hands, feet and eyes from mommy dearest.
Talking about hands and feet, one thing that did throw me a bit was when I was asked to bring in the nappies and supplies for the baby – something we had absolutely no clue that we were meant to have provided on the big day! So I had to quickly make a mental note, jump into the car and race down to the local Kuilsriver pharmacy to pick up the necessary supplies – much to my bemusement and Chantelle’s annoyance of course!
Still, other than that slight hiccup which arose out of a simple lack of communication and more importantly as a result of the suddenness of the whole situation, the Netcare Hospital in Kuilsriver is a fantastic place for mommy and baby to recuperate in. The staff are all absolute angels, fantastic in their work and care for us all, in other words a home I am happy to leave my wife to spend the next three or four nights in any my daughter the next five weeks!
So far things are looking good. As the doctor said, Jessica is obviously a premature baby and thus has all the risks that come associated with that. However, she weighed in at a good 1.4 kg, her development was good, all her bits and pieces are in place, she is able to breath on her own, her heart is beating correctly and for now she has avoided all the nasty things like blood on the brain, malfunctioning heart bits and the like.
But she will remain in intensive care in the NICU for at least five weeks and strict visiting restrictions will be in place to avoid any chance of infection occurring. That means that mommy and daddy can see her any time they want (after washing hands on entering the unit of course!), but granny and grandpa can only see her once and once only in the next five week period.
As for everyone else, you will have to rely on my photos and commentary I’m afraid.
But in summary, my little long-legged daughter is alive, and happily fighting for her life. Her chances of making it are good, but we are of course far from being out of the woods just yet. So keep us in your prayers and thoughts, and hopefully in five weeks time we’ll properly introduce little Jessica Madison Lotter to the world – without all the drama this time around! ;)
P.S. And thank you to each and every one of you for all the love and support we received. It was a fantastic feeling to know how many people we can love and rely on in this world.
That all changed yesterday.
Chantelle spent Friday night at the guest house, pampering herself with a nice bath and the soft embrace of that luxurious bed they have. Saturday morning however she awoke to the strange sensation of not being able to close her hands due to an unusual swelling. Louise also picked up on the fact that Chantelle wasn’t looking well and indeed, was appearing rather swollen.
And for once Chantelle listened to her advice and went to her GP.
Her blood pressure was sky high, but worse than that – her urine test showed positive for containing proteins.
I was in the middle of Somerset Mall’s Pick ‘n Pay with my shopping when I received Louise’s call to come and pick Chantelle up because something wasn’t right. Quickly exiting the mall, I raced through to the guest house where I came across a Chantelle who wasn’t feeling great but certainly wasn’t showing any signs of distress and appeared to be okay.
Still, knowing that one doesn’t mess around with these things (thanks to Irene Bourquin’s antenatal classes!), we attempted to contact our gynaecologist, Dr. Adele Le Roux at Louis Leipoldt hospital in Bellville. Unfortunately, she wasn’t on duty and we were referred to the gynaecologist standing in for her, Dr. Du Toit.
Needless to say, Dr. Du Toit immediately advised us to pack Chantelle’s bags and bring her in to hospital for observation.
It is not a great feeling knowing that there is definitely something wrong here, and so we drove through to the hospital in mostly silence. On arrival, Chantelle was shown to a bed in the maternity ward where they immediately hooked her up to some machines to check on the baby’s condition as well as hers – and of course take the obligatory readings and blood for further blood tests.
I took care of signing my wife in, and with the help of a wonderful woman running the desk, sat back as she took care of all the details of organising everything with Chantelle’s medical aid, which for once was actually extremely helpful and we got the necessary authorisation codes without too much hassle.
The fantastic Dr. Du Toit eventually arrived and after a brief look through the measurements, instructed that Chantelle be wheeled through to her office for a full check-up. Baby was put up on the monitor and all the necessary measurements were taken again. The good news is that Baby looks fine, about a week under-developed though, but weighing in at just over 1.5 kg.
The bad news is that Chantelle has Pre-eclampsia.
The wikipedia link above will tell you everything you might want to know, but for those of you not familiar with pre-eclampsia, here’s the executive summary: Basically Chantelle’s placenta is in the process of poisoning her. It is pumping out toxins into her system and overwhelming her kidney system. No one knows exactly, outside of a few theories, what causes pre-eclampsia but what we do know is that it is INCURABLE, affects up to 10% of pregnancies, strikes normally around the 32 week mark and is prevalent in first-time pregnancies. It is highly dangerous to mothers and can affect the baby as well. Two of the most common symptoms is rocketing blood pressure levels as well as proteins in the urine.
And now for the worst part. The only way to deal with this incurable affliction is to REMOVE the placenta.
Which of course means that the baby has to come out with it.
If you’re doing your sums, this means that little Jessica will have to be prematurely removed a full 8 weeks before her due date, and will have to be placed in an incubator. My little daughter will now HAVE to become a fighter to make it through.
The good news is that her chance of survival is pretty high, though of course the cost at which her survival might come is anyone’s guess. Because of her weight and development, we’ve been assured that she should be able to pull through, and as we’ve heard before, girl’s do tend to pull through premature birth better than boys – but remember – she’s coming out a full two months to early!
Thanks to the medical aid situation of Chantelle still languishing on her Discovery KeyCare Plus plan, she will have to be shifted to Kuilsriver for the neonatal ward there, but for now she is being held over at Louis Leipoldt for observation, before the big decision gets made on Monday as to when the caesarean will have to take place.
In case you’re interested (and the more visitors to cheer her up, the better), visiting hours are 15:00-16:00 and 19:00-20:00 and she’s in the maternity ward, room 2. She will no doubt spend tonight there as well.
So in summary, if you could just keep us in your thoughts, pray for us and send positive energy our way, it would really, really be appreciated.
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preeclampsia
On recommendation of Andy, we got in contact with one Irene Bourquin, the so-called Dragon of Drommedaris Road, a registered midwife, author and renowned international pregnancy/baby expert that has been servicing the greater Helderberg area for more years than anyone can remember now.
Her antenatal classes are well known around Strand, Somerset West and Gordon’s Bay and it was fantastic news when she happily accepted the two of us to join her class of people expecting late December early January! (If you are wondering, the class groups are specifically staggered so that people attending are all more or less in the same stage of pregnancy and thus all hear exactly the info that they need to when they need to).
Classes are held in Irene’s house in Drommedaris Road, Somerset West, and the first class saw both prospective moms and dads come in two by two where we got to meet Irene, a middle-aged lady of Scottish descent who is as straightforward as they come, takes absolutely no nonsense, contains acres of useful and up to date information to impart upon us and most importantly, has an absolutely hilarious dry sense of humour that is guaranteed to have you guffawing out loud as she teaches you the ins and outs of how your life is going to change, what you need to expect, and most important of all, how to actually physically tackle it.
Although one thinks they know what to do when it comes to baby care, going on what you have picked up over the years, you’ll quickly learn that most of what you thought is completely outdated and it is an absolute eye opener as to what the new ways of doing things are and more importantly, the things that might have been missed out on in the past but which need to be done today.
Irene is an absolute fountain of practical knowledge with the experience to back it up. She makes a wonderful teacher and we truly are blessed to have been pointed in her direction. I’ve been to one class so far, Olifant Pootjies to two (women only class the second time around due to space concerns – stretching and the like), and already I’ve learned how to bath my child, what tools I need in the baby room and how to save tons of money on ear buds and cotton wool, the first because you don’t need them at all and the second because of cotton wool’s ability to bake and expand in the oven! :)
Classes are set to run deep into December, and at R70 a shot, they are more than worth it considering all the info, training and physical products we receive. Her book for newborn parents is already at my bedside table, and we’ve even purchased two books as gifts, specifically targeted at grandparents to ensure that both sets of our moms and dads renew their baby raising knowledge before we let them even close to little Jessica! :P
Now who would have ever thought you would find me in one of those! ;)
As you may have noticed, I haven’t exactly been hanging around these pages for the last month so, purely because of all the current work around the new house that is going on in my life. Which of course means I haven’t exactly been keeping you up to date with the progress of little unborn Jessica, who has slowly but happily been growing and developing whilst nestled safely in her mommy’s womb.
I felt her kick for the first time a little while ago, and boy is my little girl a fighter! I honestly have no idea how Chantelle’s insides can withstands those constant, powerful little blows (because believe me, she kicks like a mule already – and a lot at that!). It must be her particularly long legs that generate all the power (something picked up on by the doctor and something that befuddles us slightly as neither Chantelle nor I are particularly blessed in the long legs department!).
Happily everything is progressing as planned and according to all the tests, little Jessica is as healthy as can be and steaming ahead towards the estimated due date of 10 January 2011, though the doctor is eager to induce her a little earlier, just for safety sake when you take Chantelle’s high blood pressure into account. Obviously we’ll push to make sure Jessica only arrives in January and not December (for eventual school-going purposes), but I guess when it comes to these things one really can’t do all that much planning. We’ll just have to wait and see what the Lord has in mind for us.
As for calling her my little fighter, I’m really not exaggerating! I’ve already mentioned her long legs and awesome kicking ability, not to mention her penchant for putting up both fists in front of her face like a blocking boxer and then there is of course the fact that she lashes out whenever the doctor tries to prod in to close with her big ultrasound wand!
Little Jessica Lotter.
I really can’t wait to meet her! :)