Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Open for questions and Anna's medical stuff

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.

13 comments:

Wendy said...

I don't have questions, but I wanted to say I am so happy that Anna does so well. She is an amazing little girl, as are her sisters. Love and hugs to all of you!

Feris said...

Thankyou so much Sarah for answering my question! I´m very glad Anna is doing so well, and that she is such a happy little girl! I will be praying for all her medical issues to dissapear. Thankyou again, you have such wonderful little ladies!

Just another question lol, how do you came up with your girls names? I think they are great!

His Mom said...

What were your feelings like after all 3 were born, screaming, at such a great gestational age? I know what I felt like with one (it was a bit surreal), I cannot imagine 3, plus with the worries over Anna as well as the worries over a triplet pregnancy.

What does it feel like to see your daughter's interacting with each other? When they call for each other or obviously miss each other or worry for the other?

Sorry, these are probably really broad, emotion filled questions. I am in that kind of place tonight ;)

Jen said...

Yes, I ADORE your girls' names.

Thank you for explaining about Anna's medical issues! I know very little about spina bifida so this was enlightening. I too am overjoyed that she keeps up with her sisters and has been doing well.

Meredith said...

I am "one of those" that has been reading (aka: lurking) your blog for quite some time but, never posts comments/questions/etc...

I just want to say that I love reading your entries and your photos are fantastic! I think your girls will be so grateful for the memories some day.

Mommy, Esq. said...

I'm a relatively new reader so I appreciate learning more about Anna. I'd love to know how the girls interact with one another - we have lots of toy stealing and grabbing and pushing in my house. My mom claims my triplet sisters and I were pretty nice to eachother. Maybe an all girls thing? Are your girls all fraternal?

Anonymous said...

Sarah, I am not sure how I found your blog but I so enjoy your writing, you are talented. I have identical girls (just 2 though!) and anytime I feel I am being waylaid by all the attention we get when we are out, I think about how it must be for you . . .
It is wonderful to hear that Anna is doing so well. Your girls are beautiful and it's obvious in your photos how happy, healthy and loved they are.
Best,
Jan

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the education! I've been reading for a few weeks and have been curious, but you explained it all very well. =) Love the pictures of the girls. Keep writing!

SandiH said...

Sarah,
I'm another lurker that enjoys reading your blog. I love that you share both the highs and lows of your parenting journey. I also love that your girls are so happy and loving. It's obvious that they live with love every day.

Now for my weird question (as the mother of full term singletons, I'm clueless here): do your daughters still see the same doctor as when they were born? Did they start with a neonatologist, then change to a "regular" pediatrician? Maybe you've answered this in earlier blog entries, but I haven't read all the way back to the beginning.

I hope to keep reading more of your adventures!

Elise Hollinhead said...

Hi! I am also delurking, but have been reading for quite some time. I have a couple of questions for you. Did/do your girls ever have a "secret" language? I know a lot of multiples have created their own language to talk to each other that is definitely not English. My other question involves Anna: I am 3 months away from becoming an occupational therapist and am interested if she received early intervention or goes to OT/PT?
I thoroughly enjoy your blog!!

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if anyone ever gives you grief for dressing the girls the same?
I have 2 year old identical boys, and people, strangers even, are ALWAYS making remarks about how they should be dressed differently because they're individuals. I usually just grin and bear it, but it drives me crazy.

Mandy said...

Hi, I've been reading yourblog fir a while. I'm a friend of pam's at pyjammy.com. I have a 20 month old girl and a newborn boy. Your posts are always inspiring to me bc I've found that my girl is just a few months behind yours but has had the same kind of sleeping issues. Reading your blog helps me know that these are normal things for babies and toddlers. I also just like your style of writing and your outlook on life. No questions - just a thank you for sharing all that you've shared (good and bad) because it's helped me. Your girls are so lucky to have you and your husband for parents.

Lani said...

I'm so glad Anna's doing so well! Having a great family to take care of her is all she needs:)
Hmm.. I'll have to think of a question for you:)