Our little Baby Chip is five months old, and at his four month doctor check up last month, he got a clean bill of health.
He's still tiny, but catching up. Went from about 1% overall on the preemie chart to now 20% on the preemie chart. No health issues at all except for the crookedness in both feet that we are doing stretches for. We see an orthopedic surgeon for that next week, but it's a fairly simple issue so shouldn't be a big deal.
We are praising God for how healthy our little guy is!
Here's a re-cap of how far Baby Chip has come.
20 weeks (March): Abnormal ultrasound found Baby Chip with short arms and legs, less than 1% bodygrowth, and a clubbed foot.
21 weeks: Specialists' level II ultrasounds confirmed that diagnosis, but found two clubbed feet. Since clubbed feet and small growth are very related to genetic issues, the doctors immediately thought about potentially lethal genetic issues as well as spinal dysplasia.
24 weeks: Specialist found absent bloodflow. Without blood, babies die. The specialists expected to have to deliver a one pound preemie in the very near future.
25-27 weeks: Doctors do a DNA blood test and amnio, preparing me meanwhile that genetic abnormalities, potentially lethal ones WILL be found. Doctors are shocked to find that Baby Chip's DNA blood test and amnio come back with no abnormalities. Bloodflow to Baby Chip is improving, not deteriorating, which puzzles the doctors, but makes us all very happy. The doctors still tell me to be prepared to deliver any time.
29 weeks: A routine bloodtest shows that my blood is attacking Baby Chip's blood big time. From then on out every week (up to 3x a week) the doctors consider giving him a blood transfusion in-utero. Several times we are sent or almost sent to Children's Hospital because the test results show that Baby Chip is very anemic. Every time he improves enough that we can avoid the transfusion.
30-36 weeks: On top of blood issues, Baby Chip is still less than 1%. With doctor appointments up to 3x a week, the doctors are continually talking about when to deliver, and how long they can keep Baby Chip inside. Because of the clubfeet, doctors say that Baby Chip still has a 4% chance of having genetic abnormalities that the amnio failed to detect.
36 weeks 3 days: Doctors induce Baby Chip. He's born at 4lbs, breathing well, but with obvious signs of my blood attacking his. The first physical therapist thinks he has clubfeet.
Baby Chip spends 12 days in NICU for blood issues. The specialists confirm he does not have clubfeet and, after a thorough examination, that he doesn't seem to have any genetic issues either.
Baby Chip ends up on oxygen, no one's quite sure why, but probably from the combination of high altitude, prematurity, and blood issues.
Through the next three months, he visits the pediatrician at least once a week for blood-draws and gets six or seven blood transfusions and is on oxygen. All that time he is slowly catching up with growth and moves up to the 10% on the preemie chart.
4 months: Clean bill of health, 20% on preemie chart. We stretch his crooked little feet daily, but they aren't clubbed.
The doctors' most recent theory is that there was a massive bleed in the placenta, which caused the blood issues and the tiny growth. That massive bleed somehow improved and that's why Baby Chip was able to stay in until 36 weeks.
Thank you for all your prayers and support on our journey! I don't know if you believe in God or answered prayers, and I can't actually prove that our baby didn't beat all those odds stacked up against him at 20 and 24 weeks by chance.
I can't actually prove that our first son didn't survive his at-birth meningitis with no damage by chance either, though all of Baby Chip's maternal fetal medicine doctors that I told about Joe-Joe were surprised.
Still, when one has two healthy little boys in the house who the doctors believed should be dead or greatly delayed, it takes a lot of faith to believe that all happened by chance. I, for one, think the theory that my God intervened in my boys' life makes a lot more sense.