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Baby Katherine - Week 1

Our Third Arrow

We have another blessed addition to our family. This has been a very interesting, yet rewarding, experience for us. First, many know that we have struggled with infertility ever since our first born. After seven years since Brenna was born, God has blessed us yet again. Second, over the last couple of years, our family has been going through a transformation in our health philosophy. One of the outworkings of this transformation is the decision to have a homebirth. However, due to Ronette's high blood pressure, we had to go to the emergency room which led to Ronette giving birth via cesarean section. Furthermore, our daughter was born with a congenital heart defect. While this situation is still unfolding, we are already seen God working in so many ways. Quite often we don't see this until some time later. Our hope is that everyone who visits this page will see the providence of God in all things and glorify Him accordingly.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

While Katherine is at UCI, Don stays the night with Ronette while she begins her recovery. At 7:30am he receives a call from Dr. Ahmad, the physician who led Katherine's transition team. During this phone call we are first informed that Katherine's respiratory problems are the result of a problem with her heart. She was born with a defect that is not allowing oxygenated blood to be pumped into the lungs. Dr. Ahmad suggests that they come to meet with Dr. Mohammed, the supervisor of the NICU, to discuss the situation.

Since Ronette is still recovering from her surgery, Don goes home to contact family and friends and then make plans to visit Katherine and Dr. Mohammed. Two close friends from church, Mark Esposito and Carl Nagel, offer to be with Don during his visit. Don gratefully accepts their offer. At 1:00pm, Don, Mark, and Carl are taken to see Katherine. Compared to the other babies in the NICU, who are mostly premies, she looks very good. Naturally, the question that is most asked is if there is a family history of diabetes.

Dr. Mohammed introduces himself and they meet to discuss Katherine's condition. She has been diagnosed with Ebstein's Anomaly. This is a congenital heart problem where the right ventrical is so malformed that the blood intended for the lungs is pushed back up to the right atrium. Consequently, this regurgitation is causing her heart to grow larger while depriving her lungs of needed oxygen. Surgery is most likely going to be necessary. Unfortunately, the only surgeons who are named capable of performing this operation are either in Los Angeles, San Diego, or San Francisco. We are now praying that somehow Katherine will be able to be transferred to Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), which is only about 10 minutes away from our home. Otherwise, Los Angeles would be the next closest city but will require around an hour drive each way to visit her. This would be very difficult on the entire family, especially since Ronette is still recovering from her surgery.

The doctor who made the diagnosis is Dr. Nafiz Kiciman, UCI's pediatric cardiologist. Since he was there all night working with Katherine, Don is told that he would probably want to meet tomorrow to go over this information in greater detail. Don returns to see Ronette and update her on what he has learned. Don's parents come to the hospital to see Ronette and bring the kids. We begin to detect worry in Jordan over Ronette and worry in Brenna over Katherine. We agree that it would be in the best interest of the whole family if the kids go home to be with Don. This has been an emotional day for the whole family.

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Resting at UCI. Those red marks on her cheeks are from the tape used to keep tubes in place. Her skin is very senstive. A proud daddy gives his daughter her first of many, many kisses. Another shot of Katherine resting.

Friday, September 17, 2004

For the last few days we have been struggling whether or not to consult with a doctor, knowing in advance that a doctor would immediately request that we go to the hospital and have a cesarean section. Ronette sees Lori at 12:30pm for her second appointment this week. In addition to the baby still presenting anterior, Ronette's blood pressure is alarmingly high. Unless we can get this to go down, we will have no choice but to check into the hospital

Ronette's attempts to relax and lower her blood pressure do not appear to be successful. Through prayer and the counsel of others, we agree that the best course of action is to go to the emergency room at Placentia-Linda Hospital (which had already been selected as our backup hospital). Don's parents come to the house to watch the kids and Lori agrees to go with us to the hospital. Ronette checks in at 8:00pm.

After being examined in the ER, Ronette is taken to the maternity ward. The doctor on call, Dr. Neil Jouvenat, sees her quickly and at 9:57pm, Katherine Makenna Bakke is brought into the world. She weighs 11 pounds 4 ounces and is 21.5 inches long. One thing is for sure, Ronette certainly grows consistantly large babies (Jordan was 10 pounds at term and Brenna was 9 pounds 8 ounces a week before her due date. Therefore, Katherine would have been right around 10 pounds at term.)

Although Katherine looked good coming out of the womb, she began having trouble breathing. Cesarean babies typically have fluid in their lunges that would normally be pushed out within the birth canal. However, after working for over an hour with Katherine, the pediatrician decided it was best to transfer her to a neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU). UCI Medical Center is the first place that could respond. At midnight, the UCI team arrives. They bring Katherine in so Ronette can see her for a few minutes (the first and only time she gets to see her new daughter today) and explain what will happen to Katherine in their care.

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Katherine is quickly being cared for. Yep, she's a big baby! Where did that dark hair come from?! Ronette's first moments with Katherine. They make immediate eye contact.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Ronette is now two weeks past her estimated due date. Due to her size and lack of any regular labor, her midwife requests that she take a biophysical profile. This ultrasound exam will provide information such as estimated size of the baby, general health of the placenta, and the baby's position in the womb. We are told that Katherine is estimated to be over 12 pounds and that the amount of amniotic fluid is borderline low. However, the worst news we received was that Katherine is now posterior (i.e. facing forward). If we are going to expect any success in our homebirth, we would need to get Katherine to turn over.

Later in the afternoon, Ronette visits her midwife Lori Luyten for her originally scheduled appointment. Although Lori continues to offer encouragement, she is obligated to provide us several new consent forms due of the lateness of Ronette's pregnancy and the size of her baby. These forms detail the risks of having late terms births as well as the complications of giving birth to a large baby. Additionally, they advise us to consult with a doctor. Lori asks Ronette to start seeing her twice a week.

After coming home, we began wondering if our homebirth was in jeopardy.

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Katherine's ultrasound at 42 weeks. Say cheese....

Leading Up to the Due Date...

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Ronette at 36 weeks. Almost there.... Ronette and Brenna show off the wonderful cake that was provided at the baby shower. Ronette at 40 weeks. Can you see a difference?