I have had this blog for over a year now and I have not yet opened it up for questions. So seeing that I have had some questions asked in the comments section over the past few weeks, I thought it might be a good time for a Q&A type post. Just leave your questions in the comments section and I'll answer them on Monday.
I should note here that I have changed my settings so that anonymous is available and you can leave a comment even if you don't have a google account. And if you leave a rude comment, I will just delete it. I do have that power. I will be expecting more comments now (uh hum, you know you who are) that it is very easy to do.
Thank you, Feris, for your comment on last night's post. For those of you who do not read the comments, Feris asked what Anna's medical issues are. Let me try to explain without using too many medical words and terms and confusing everyone.
Anna was born with spina bifida. There are many forms of spina bifida and Anna ended up with the most severe. The lower portion of her spine did not close properly while she was developing (probably before I even knew I was pregnant) and was contained in a sack protruding from her body when she was born. Anna underwent surgery within hours of her birth to close her spine and prevent infection.
Although Anna has the most severe form of spina bifida, it only affected the lowest portion of her spine, which is why she has the ability to walk on her own. When we received her diagnosis of spina bifida while she was in utero, the doctors thought that she would be able to walk with the assistance of leg braces or a walker. They weren't quite sure that she'd be able to walk on her. She doesn't pick her feet up as much as she should when walking and she tires easily but she does run around just like her sisters.
Because her spine isn't quite right, fluid in her brain that is supposed to drain down the spinal column backs up in her head. This was also diagnosed while she was in utero. A few days after she was born, she underwent another surgery to add a shunt to her brain. The shunt drains the excess fluid from her head to her abdominal cavity. Now that she has hair, you can't see the bump from the shunt at all.
We've been extremely lucky to date that she has not had any issues with her shunt. They are known to malfuction or produce infections. Her neurosurgeon actually said that they are quite "rudimentary." This is always a bit of a scary thing for us as any sign of shunt malfunction means emergency brain surgery. We are constantly on alert for any signs that something may be wrong.
Bladder issues go along with spina bifida and Anna's bladder was not spared. The tissue is not as soft as it should be so her bladder does not stretch as it should. Anna was also diagnosed with reflux in one of her kidneys. This means that the opening between the kidney and the bladder is not quite right and can allow urine to back up into her kidney, potentially causing an infection.
Anna has frequent urology appointments along with ultrasounds and other testing to ensure that her bladder and kidneys are functioning properly and infection free. She currently takes medications to prevent infections and to stretch the bladder tissue, allowing her bladder to hold more urine. We catheterize her several times through out the day to ensure that her bladder is empty.
In December, she underwent surgery to repair double inguinal hernias. It was very scary experience for us but she recovered within a few days and was back to her crazy self.
After all is said and done, Anna is a very happy little girl. She has not had any developmental issues or set backs and has no problem keeping up with her sisters. She is learning her ABC's and how to count - it is actually quite frightening to see how much she can remember.