Monday, February 26, 2007

Orion is in Surgery

Orion went into surgery today at 1:40 pm, a little more than an hour ago. Five months of anticipation has led to this moment. We were lucky to find out at 18 weeks. The shock to go through so much( Labor, Neonatal ICU, ventilators, respirators, tubes and wires coming out of our baby, and open-heart surgery) in such little time is unimaginable. We are lucky to be here at this hospital, with the best specialized care, from the nurses to the administration. We are lucky to have the surgeon that we have: the best in the world. But, as most people in medicine know, it takes good doctors, a fighting patient, and a little luck to get through situations like these. Thats what we are hoping for, a little luck.

His heart problems are worse than prenatal anticipation. He has some metabolic problems, and other complications due to both his heart condition and the meds saving him. Originally, the diagnosis before birth was that his right ventricle was to small and it should be just bypassed. The work of pumping blood though orions lungs and body was going to be left to the left ventricle. At birth his left ventricle, although pumping fine, was abnormal. It was not in a condition to handle supporting his whole bodyand lungs as previously planned. The muscles in the LV were "non compacted" and formed abnormally. So now the plan changed: they are almost forced to save the right ventricle, open up the missing valve area, and hope it will grow to a useable size so it can at least do some of the pumping work. That way, if the left heart does get weaker after time because of its abnormality, it will not be the only one carrying the load. But this also gives us hope, because Orion will now have a chance at a 4 chamber heart.

Despite all this, we are in high spirits. Orion has received so much love. Not just from his immediate family, but from everyone who has heard his story and ours. Their love and support will carry us through this, it will carry Orion through this.

Right about now, Dr. Reddy's team should be starting the first incision of the chest cavity, and I will start to pray for nothing to go wrong with the procedure and that things will be set in motion for a healthier heart. We love you all, as this is the moment we have all been anticipating. Please pray for our baby boy.

Orion going into the O.R.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

orion is here!

orion is 4 days old today. this is going to be a short, quick blog to give everyone the update. we will get into labor details and other things later.

he will be going into surgery tomorrow, monday feb 26 around noon. everyone please pray for him. after the catheterization done on friday, they found new things with his heart they did not see during the fetal echos that were performed while in utero. they still saw the problem with his right ventricle (pulmonary atresia), but now they see a couple of things with his left ventricle. the doctors have changed their surgery plan and will now try to get all four chambers of the heart working so he won't be dependent on just his left ventricle. this is just a quick explanation, bo will write more in detail.

we thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers. this is really a tough time for us. bo is the strong one of the two of us. actually, orion is the strongest of the three of us - he keeps us in check :) and i probably worry too much and can't help but feel this is a sad time for me because our little one has to endure so much in such a short period of time. i know he is at the best hospital under the best care, but i can't help but wish i could be there every time he cries.

----Update---- 2/26/07

You can read the story of orion's birth on our gallery picture descriptions: it almost takes you hour by hour though her short 11 hour labor (5 in the hospital). Make sure you click on the big pictures, that's where the story is.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Orion is growing!

Orion weighs in at 5 pounds 12 ounces. There is not much growth from now until delivery. Hopefully he will break 6 pounds??? Since my last appointment two weeks ago, I gained 4 pounds, totaling exactly 30 pounds since my pre-pregnancy weight. We scheduled our induction date on March 7 @ 730am. Doctors say they give it about 24 hours for labor, so hopefully Orion will be born on March 8, the day we have chosen as his birthday.

The non-stress test was another meek one. Orion was asleep most of the time, like he was last week. Last time, they had to wake him up with a buzzer - it causes a vibration and also has a buzzing sound. He immediately kicked at the touch of it. This time around, we did not want to use that buzzing tool, so the doctor tried to jiggle the belly and clap her hands, but no such luck. We waited it out for a few minutes, and I decided to jiggle my belly myself. He was up in no time! Heart rates flying to 160, which is exactly what they look for. Poor guy, I know he will not remember getting his sleep disturbed.

The ultrasound was uncomfortable. Orion was turned in a direction where they could not see him clearly, and he was buried way down in there. Doctors seem to think the harder they push the instrument down into your belly, the better view you'll get. I don't believe in this theory, but maybe it's true? All I can say is it's very, very uncomfortable. Anyway, after all that, they were still able to see his heart and note his right ventricle is still small. As for the picture they always send us home with, all they could get was a foot. Pictures to be posted later, they still need to be scanned in.

We went to Target yesterday to get the baby essentials we needed - baby wash, baby lotion, freezer bags (for pumping), diaper rash ointment, and baby clothes. Since walking is such a feat for me, Bo suggested I take the little electronic wheelchair thingy for a spin. That thing actually moves faster than you'd think! Bo liked it because he could walk at a regular pace now instead of really slow so my walking could keep up with him. We liked this :)

Now that pregnancy is almost over, it's time to prepare for the first years. Since I will be home, I want to make the best of my time and provide the best I can for our family. Though it is months away, I plan to make homemade baby food - healthier and saves money! We scored a brand-new Cuisinart SmartPower Duet Blender/Food Processor on Craigslist for cheap! Now I can start puree-ing away!

This weekend is Tet so we are heading to the city this afternoon to spend it with my family. Will update when we get back!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

bo is actually getting sick (i am finally getting over my cold), so he is sleeping right now. we did manage to have some good Valentine's food throughout the day, you can read more about it on my new blog Tawny's Kitchen. check regularly for recipes and anything food-related. i love to cook, what i love more is to find new recipes, experiment, and have bo taste-test them. baking is what i like best, but i still love all the other elements of cooking. i welcome all of your input and ideas if you'd like to share.

on to baby stuff, tomorrow (thursday) marks three weeks left. we have three appointments scheduled: regular doctor visit, NST, and an ultrasound (yay!). orion should be weighing about six pounds now, so we'll see how he's measuring tomorrow. he also feels like he's breech. not necessarily right-side up, but he seems diagonal. his legs are to the right side of me, and his head is to the left side of me. he's been this way for quite a long time, and if he stays this way, the doctor will try to move him into the right position or a c-section will be necessary. we're really hoping he'll move into the right position soon!

the apartment: everything's unpacked and almost ready. his crib has turned into a coat rack, so i'm trying really hard to change this habit. we finally installed the car seat bases in our cars so they are not sitting in our living room anymore. we went to the sunnyvale police station to get them properly installed. bo's office area is still incomplete, he has more things he'd like to do to get it set up. our ginormous printer is sitting on the floor, we haven't figured out a place for that yet. i still have more baby clothes to wash and get organized in the dresser before orion comes home. we still want to decorate the walls more, but we've been so busy trying to figure out financial stuff. that nasty stench is still around, we think it's from the rain gutters that are right beside our front door. the crap smell is strongest right after rain. our cabinet under the kitchen sink smells the same, it must be rotten food from the last tenant since there is no garbage disposal. our bathroom ceiling is leaking again. the landlord patched it up before we moved in, but we guess they patched up the wrong area. i'd like to have the leak and smell gone by the time orion gets here.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The start of 2007

I don't know even where to begin.


Its been a week and a half since the event and I still think about it at least once a day. It brings a smile to my face and a warm feeling in my heart, knowing there are so many people that care. After I smile I usually say a quick prayer in my head to thank everyone that came, were involved and those that couldn't make it but sent their love and prayers (sounds cheesy but its true). I don't think anyone heard one negative thing about it.

To My Friends:

This past year has been a tough one for many of my friends. 2006 had to be the most... Emotional year of my life, and for many of our lives. A loss of two friends (Jerry and Jo), friends loosing friends and relatives, cancer running amuck, and me escaping death because of a Dr.'s hunch that I had a blood clot in my lungs (PE, probably the most physically painful experience of my life.) made 2006 seem inevitably the worst year ever. But then there was our engagement and marriage. I am now married to the girl of my dreams thanks to 2006, and also have a baby on the way to put the "cherry on top." John Pham (not related to former Tawny Pham) made a good point in that, it was the first time in all this chaos, Orion's heart was the first thing we could do something about.

We decided HEARTISTY marked the official start of 2007... with so much hope, love, and celebration of friends and family.

A special thanks to Ali, Kenny, Jenn, John, Anh, Kim, and Dominic for making HEARTISTY possible.

This is the story I will tell Orion.

You should thank you aunties and uncles for all that they have done for you. They made it so we could see the best Dr.'s and get you the best care to make your heart work right...

I remember calling Uncle Kenny up one day about 2-3 months before you were born and saying, "Hey lets do something to raise some money for Orion's surgeries. Maybe like a poker game or something to raise a couple hundred dollars. Anything little bit will help."

So I don't hear from him for a while, but apparently U Ali, U Kenny, and U John (U=uncle in burmese pronounced "UUU") started talking to set up a game—at some location—that can hold enough people to raise a worthwhile amount of money. Auntie Jenn said we can use her Aunt's Art Gallery for place to hold this game. Then U kenny and U Ali decided its not worth it to go through the trouble to make such little money. Someone suggested (I think maybe U Ali)—that we throw a benefit concert with the proceeds going to your heart surgeries. U Ali said to U Kenny, "You take care of the event and I will take care of the entertainment."

So 5 weeks before the event, we had no idea what it would turn out like. We had no idea what it would look like, what we would do there. U Kenny, U John, Auntie Anh, U Don and his girl, and also Papa (what I want to be called) and Mommy all met at BJs in Brea, to shoot some ideas. We thought of making T-Shirts, selling bracelets, showing art there, just a whole bunch of ideas.

Originally the date was for Feb 10, but the next meeting where U Kenny and Papa and Mommy and Auntie Kim and U Dominic met at Coffee Bean, it got changed because we needed to be near your hospital by then. We were afraid you would arrive early and we wouldn't be near the hospital.

So anyways, for the next 4 weeks your Aunties and Uncles met once a week planning and discussing what the show was going to be like. In between the meetings they would sell tickets and send out invitations and collect donations. You Mommy and I were too busy taking care of moving and hospital stuff to spend much time on your fundraiser. Auntie Anh even had to plan your baby shower for us. The last week was when everything came together. And it came together soo smoothly allot due to U Kenny's meticulous planning, his right hand man U John's Leg work. Monday, U John and Baba(relative older than your dad) Zarni picked up the stage they rented. We asked for a two foot stage thinking it would be hard for performers to get up and down the stage but U John opted for a 3 foot stage. We gave his sooo much trouble about the 3 ft stage, but in the end it made a big difference, because the performance room was packed, and the extra foot allowed people in the back to see what was happening on stage. Friday Baba Anson brought this gigantic huge banner for the backdrop of the stage. It was worth well over $1400, but one of his clients was nice enough to donate it. That night a bunch of of went there to clean up, move stuff around, and put up the stage and banner. The next morning mommy wasn't feeling too good, so daddy stayed home with her. Meanwhile all your Aunties and Uncles went to work, some as early as 6-am. Setting up tables, decorations, sound equipment, and refreshment tables.

When mommy and I arrived that night, the place was unrecognizable. There were candles and lights everywhere. People were all dressed up. It was amazing. Over 350 people showed up to support you and your heart surgery, and each and everyone of them had a good time. We met soo many nice people there that were very concerned about you. They wanted to help because they know you were bound for great things and that you were truly a blessing to us. You should be very thankful of your Aunties and Uncles who have done so much for you, even before you were born.