Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Austin in his crib

Austin continues to do well. He's had a good day today. This picture was taken tonight, he looks so cute in his crib!

Austin is almost home...

Austin's nurse told us today, that they're hoping to be able to send Austin home at the end of this week. We're so excited! Join us in praying that Austin will continue to improve. Pray that he'll be able to go home sometime at the end of this week.

He's officially in a crib in NICU, instead of the incubator, and he is doing well. He's taking his bottle just like he should, and he is doing very well! We're so encouraged by his progress.

Note, even after Austin goes home, this website will continue to be updated on his growth and journey. His journey isn't ending by him going home, it's only beginning. He has two more surgeries ahead of him, and a long road ahead. Keep praying.

Stay tuned for more Austin updates this week!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Paralysis in Austin's face...

Andy & Heather have asked that I share this news with you, so that you can join us in praying that Austin's facial paralysis will heal...

A few days ago, we started to become concerned about what appeared to be paralysis in Austin's face. The left side of his face looks normal most of the time, it only looks different when he is crying or drinking his bottle. We asked Dr. Carlo, and he checked it out, he was also concerned. Our fears were right, Austin has partial paralysis on the left side of his face. It is only in his face, and is caused by some nerve damage, but they're unsure how it happened. It could have been caused by one of the IVs in his head, or some swelling prior to surgery. Austin is scheduled to have a MRI later this week, the MRI should show us where the nerve damage is, and how serious it is. The doctors say usually this type of paralysis is temporary and will go away as the nerve heals.

Pray that Austin's nerve damage isn't permanent, and pray that the nerve will heal sooner and not later. We know God can heal Austin of this... join us in praying!

Austin had an up & down weekend, but is doing well!

Austin is doing well today. He had an up and down weekend, but is doing better today. Over the course of the weekend his feeding tube had to be put back in, and he went back to a warmer bed (which was a step back down from the isolette bed). He also now has an infection on his left arm that caused some concern yesterday. Doctors were afraid that it had spread to his heart, but after some tests, the results came back that his heart was okay. Everything appeared to be working the way they want it to be in his heart, and they're now treating the infection in his arm with antibiotics. He also had a very fussy afternoon yesterday, and finally fell asleep on Heather, while she was holding him. And he slept on her for several hours. It was so sweet! And was great bonding time for Heather and Austin, this was the longest ammount of time she has ever held him, she loved it!

Today Austin's feeding tube came out, and they've also stopped all of his IV fluids. He's getting enough milk and eating well enough that they decided he can do without the IV! Yay!!! He is also doing well maintaining his own body temperature, so they're talking about moving him to a "crib."

Pray that they'll be able to move him to a crib and that he'll continue to maintain his own body temperature. Pray that he'll continue to eat well. And especially pray that the infection in his arm won't spread any where else in his body, especially not his heart.

Hopefully I can get some new pictures tonight, keep checking! Smile.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Austin had a good day! Yay!

Austin has had a good day today. His feeding tube is out, and he is officially taking a bottle! We're so proud of him! His heart rate has remained stable today, but he is also still on the medicine from last night.

Pray that he'll continue to do well and continue to improve. The next thing we're working towards is Austin maintaining/keeping his body temperature at a good temp. Once he can maintain his own body temp then they'll move him to a regular newborn "crib" in the NICU. This would be a huge step for Austin. Pray that over the next week he'll be able to do that. Also, pray for Austin's heart rate to remain stable, and hopefully he can come off the heart rate medication soon.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Heart rate went up again...

Tonight Austin's heart rate went above 200 again, and as of right now, we're unsure what caused it. This time its a little different than last week when it happened before surgery. The last time it happened, it went above 200 and we couldn't get it under 200, finally after several hours and medication it dropped below 200 and back to a normal rate. Then tonight it kept going above 200 but only for about 30 seconds, then would drop back to his normal 140s/150s, then about a minute or two later, it would go back up above 200. The doctors did several test to try and find the answer, and they're unsure at the moment, but are treating him with some medication. The medicine seems to be working...

Pray that Austin's heart rate would stay at a stable rate, and pray that the doctors can find what caused his high heart rate tonight, so that it doesn't happen again.

Also, remember to continue to pray for Andy & Heather. Pray that God would give them patience with this constant "roller coaster." Pray that they'll remain strong and encouraged for Austin's sake.

Good Night... I'll update once we know more about his heart rate, etc...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Infection??? Negative!!!

We got the spinal tap results back today... and NO INFECTION!!! Yay! Austin is doing really well!

Austin had a big day today, four HUGE things happend for Austin today...

1. His spinal tap test came back negative. Keep praying that he'll stay strong and not get an infection!

2. He was moved from his current bed to a different bed. There are different types of incubators for different needs. Austin was able to be moved from one bed to the other. This shows that he is improving.

3. He isn't depending on the oxygen to help him breathe. He is breathing completely on his own with no assistance! Pray that he'll be able to maintain his own oxygen levels without any help.

4. And he even took a bottle today! Go Austin!!! As I've mentioned before, this is usually very hard for babies like Austin. When a baby has a heart defect, this usually prevents them from being able to suck and swallow from a bottle... but guess what... Austin did it today! Pray that he'll continue to gain strength and continue to be able to eat from a bottle instead of the feeding tube. Pray that his sucking and swallowing of the bottle won't affect his heart rate, and he'll keep doing it!

Keep praying! You have no idea how much your love, support, encouragement, and especially your prayers have meant to Austin and his family. Thank you!

Stay tuned for more updates!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Austin is Chillin!

Austin looks like a big kid! Austin is definitely very relaxed while listening to his music. Hope you enjoy this picture as much as we do.

We still haven't heard any results from the spinal tap. They're still treating him with antibiotics, just to make sure he's protected. I'll update as soon as we know something about the infection.

Possible Infection...

Austin had some routine bloodwork done today, and one of the tests came back showing a possible infection... the doctor did a spinal tap this evening and we're awaiting the results. It is possible that there isn't an infection, and even if there is, its possible that its not serious.

Let's be praying that there is no infection. I'll keep you updated once we have the tests results.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

We're back in NICU!!!

Austin made the trip today, from CICU back to the NICU at UAB. He's officially on the road to recovery. We're so proud of him! He looks great! He is only hooked up to one IV, a heart monitor, and some oxygen. This is a big difference from a few days ago when he was hooked up to many IVs, several monitors, and a ventilator. He looks GREAT! We walked into NICU this afternoon to see him and he had his hair in a mohawk, and was propped up listening to his CD player through headphones. He was SO cute! The doctors suggest that heart babies listen to music via headphones, it helps them relax and keep a stable heart rate. Austin loves it, and looks cute doing it.

We also got some good news today about some tests Austin had done right before surgery. All heart babies are tested for a syndrome called "DiGeorges Syndrome." This syndrome is related to their immune system and their bodies not being able to fight against common colds, etc... many heart babies have this syndrome. We got the results today, and Austin is negative for DiGeorges Syndrome!!! PTL! This was a huge relief for Andy & Heather!

Keep praying! We all see evidence of your continued prayers. Thank you!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Austin only has 1 IV in his arm!!!

Today they took most of Austin's IVs out! This is a huge step! They took some out over the weekend, then today took one out of his arm, and one out of his neck. He currently only has one left in his arm! Yay!

Andy & Heather were able to hold Austin some yesterday and again today. This morning Heather went in to see him and he was fussy, once the nurse put him in her arms, he stopped fussing. He knows his Mommy! This was very encouraging for Heather!

We're hoping and praying that he can be moved out of CICU and back to the NICU tomorrow. Dr. Knott-Craig also thinks we can start trying to give him a bottle tomorrow for the first time. Pray that he'll be strong enough to figure out how sucking and swallowing works. So far he's only had breast milk through his feeding tube, tomorrow may be the day he can have breast milk in a bottle. Pray that this will happen, once he is eating more, then he can gain his strength back quicker. Keep praying! Your prayers are being answered! Thank you!

New pictures!

They finally uploaded! Now you can see how well Austin is doing, and see how PRECIOUS he is! We're so in love with him!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Pictures are coming...

I'm trying to upload some new recent pictures of Austin, but the website seems to be having some trouble... hopefully it'll work soon. I'll keep trying, so be sure and keep checking the website for new pictures, they're coming soon.

We just got back from seeing Austin this afternoon. He's doing very well! The nurse had him relaxing in a bouncy seat. It was ADORABLE!!! He's doing very well with his breathing and heart rate! His blood circulation is also doing well. We're so proud of him! And he is finally getting some breast milk through a feeding tube, his stomach is digesting it, and he is having normal poopy diapers! This is very good. Go Austin!

Keep praying for him! We're hoping that they'll move him back to the other ICU tomorrow. Stay tuned for new pictures and more updates!

Austin is FANTASTIC!

Austin is doing very well! We went in to see him last night and he was wide awake! He looked around at Andy & Heather and even made cooing sounds at them. He's so cute! The nurse only had to give him a little medicine to help with pain and help him sleep last night. And he did well! Yay Austin! We're so proud of you!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The ventilator is OUT!!!

The ventilator is OUT!!! Go Austin! He's alert and was able to move around some and interact with Andy & Heather this evening! We're so excited! Pray that there won't be any more setbacks, and everything from here on out will show improvement. Pray that he'll be able to be transfered back to NICU soon, and out of CICU. CICU offers great care for Austin, but makes it very hard for Andy & Heather to visit. As long as he is in CICU, they can only visit 4 times a day for 20 miniutes each, this is hard. Once he is back in NICU they can pretty much visit as often as they want. Stay tuned for more updates.

Chest tubes are out and milk is in!

Yay! Today, Dr. Knott-Craig removed Austin's chest tubes. This means that the bleeding and drainage in his chest is minimal, and he is no longer depending on the tubes to drain for him. The doctor also believes he can come off the ventilator before the day is over. Let's pray hard that this will happen!

The other exciting part of Austin's recovery is that he can now have breast milk through a feeding tube. As a baby with a heart defect it has been very hard for his body to digest food (milk). So, he hasn't really had any food since he was born, due to a small appetite and heart defect. They gave him "sugar water" yesterday to see how his stomach would digest it, he did well, and they're now giving him breast milk through a feeding tube. This will help him gain his strength. Pray that he'll continue to be able to digest it well. The next big step will be for him to suck and swallow from a bottle. This is usually very hard for heart babies to do. Pray that this will not be a barrier for Austin.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Still on the ventilator, but doing well...

Austin is doing well. Everyone is please with his progress. When I saw him today, he looks as precious as ever! Such a fighter, he's hanging on! I'm so proud of him! He is still on the ventilator, but doing well, hopefully he can come off the ventilator sometime in the next day or so. Keep praying. Once he comes off the ventilator he'll need oxygen to help him breathe for a little while, but at least he won't be on the ventilator. He still has drainage tubes in his chest, but hopefully they'll come out sometime tomorrow. His vitals look good, and he is doing so well!

Keep praying that he'll remain strong and continue to improve. Pray for Andy & Heather, pray that God will give them the strength they need to support Austin and take care of themselves.

As I've said before, we can all sense this great community of support. Thank you! We couldn't do this alone, thank you!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Austin's chest is closed!

Today, around 12 noon, Dr. Knott-Craig was able to go in and close up Austin's chest. This shows the doctor was confident enough that Austin is doing well. He's a strong little boy. Keep praying that Austin will remain strong.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Surgery Update 3

Last night Andy & Heather got to spend some great quality time with Austin. He even opened his eyes for us some. It was precious! Then this morning they were back at the hospital at 6 a.m. and able to spend some time with him before he headed to surgery.

Andy, Heather, and 2 nurses escorted Austin to the Cardiac operating room area. Andy & Heather said their goodbyes and got ready for the long day ahead.

That day has come to an end. It's had its ups and downs, but as I type this, Austin is stable. They were able to successfully remove the blood clot behind his heart, and he has been stable since. He is on a ventilator and hooked up to several IVs and tubes. Some are very similar to the same ones he has been hooked up to for over a week now, and some of them are new. As he continues to improve he'll be able to come off the ventilator, etc.

Right now, we need you praying for Austin. He needs to remain strong through the night tonight. It's a very critical night for him. As long as he is stable tonight then Dr. Knott-Craig can close up his chest and Austin will be one more step closer to healing. His chest is currently still "open" to reduce the stress on his heart, and to provide easy access if they have to go back into his chest and check his heart. But as long as he is stable overnight, they'll close up his chest tomorrow. Pray pray pray tonight for Austin! Also, Pray for Andy & Heather, they're exhausted! It's been a long day, an emotional day. Pray they'll rest well tonight trusting and knowing that God is taking care of Austin tonight.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We all felt your prayers today. Thank you!

Surgery Update 2

Surgery is over and all was well. Dr. Knott-Craig came and talked to us around 1:45. He was very pleased with the surgery and said all was well. Andy & Heather got to see Austin for about 3 minutes then had to leave him for nurses to take care of him and let him rest. We went downstairs for lunch and when we came back up, a doctor informed us that Austin has a blood clot behind his heart. They are currently going back into his chest to remove the blood clot and make sure nothing else is wrong. We're waiting now to hear how things are going. I'll update later this afternoon.

Surgery Update 1

It is 12:20 p.m. and we just received an update. They began cutting into Austin at 8:45 a.m., and the word we just received was that surgery is going well! He is off the heart bypass machine and responding well. This tell us a lot! He's a strong little guy! Keep praying. I'll update later as I can.

Surgery is set!

Seven hours from now, Austin will be going to surgery. Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 7:30 Austin will be in surgery. The surgery will last at least 6 hours. Continue praying!!! I'll try to update as soon as I can tomorrow.

Pray for the doctors in the operating room, especially Dr. Knott-Craig.
Pray for baby Austin. Pray that he'll remain strong and make it through surgery. The statistics we were given today say 20% of babies/1 out of every 5 don't survive this surgery. But we know our God is an 100% God, and His will be done!
Pray for Andy & Heather, they're scared. Pray God would calm their fears and give them a peace that only He can give!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Interesting Links

Please note that I have added several links on this webpage. They take you to several very good internet sites that have lots of information on HLHS. Feel free to check them out and educate yourself on HLHS.

Austin continues to be stable today. Which is very good. The meeting with Dr. Knott-Craig did not happen today, but we will meet with him tomorrow. Keep praying!

A Rough Night

We had a pretty rough night last night, rough and long. Around 6 p.m. Austin's heart went into a state called STV. This means his heart rate shot up above 200 beats per minute, which is very dangerous for a baby with his condition. They used an ice pack to smother his face and cause his heart rate to come back down to a normal 150-160. The ice pack startled him and it worked and we thought everything was okay. Then around 8:30 his heart rate shot back up above 250. They tried the ice pack 6 times and it didn't help. Then they tried 4 doses of a medication they use to bring heart rates back down. And 4 doses didn't help, they became very concerned and tried a second type of medication. It took almost 4 hours and his heart rate was only down to 204. Finally around 1 this morning they tried 2 more doses of medication and it came down to 170. Whew. This was a very scary time for all of us. Because when Austin's heart beats that fast then he doesn't get enough oxygen to his body and lungs. And if they didn't get his heart rate down soon enough, his body could have started shutting down. But thankfully his heart rate came down and he is currently stable.

Continue praying that we won't have anymore set backs like we had last night. Pray that Austin will stay stable and the meeting with Dr. Knott-Craig will go well today.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Still Stable...

Austin continues to do well. We're so proud of him! Hopefully we'll get to meet with the heart surgeon sometime tomorrow or Monday. After we meet with him we'll know exactly what time his surgery is. Stay tuned...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Ronald McDonald House

Andy & Heather moved into the Ronald McDonald House today. This was such an answer to prayer! They no longer have to commute from Montevallo. Now they are only a few blocks away from UAB and can visit Austin as often as they like. Praise God for this answer to prayer! He is so good!

We can hold him!

We can hold him! Andy & Heather got to hold baby Austin yesterday for the first time since Sunday night. It was such a great moment! Even baby Austin was more calm in his Mommy's arms than laying in the incubator. He continues to be very stable and calm. We're still counting on surgery for Wednesday. Keep praying that he'll remain stable and strong enough for surgery. So far, he's doing fantastic! We're so proud of him!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Off the ventilator!

Austin came off the ventilator around 9:30 this morning, and is doing well so far. Keep praying!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Let me Introduce you to Austin!

Austin Carter Anderson, born January 7, 2007 at 7:44 a.m. to Andy & Heather Anderson. Weighing in at 7 lbs. 13 oz. and 20 inches long. A handsome baby with a grand welcome!
Andy & Heather are dear friends of mine and baby Austin has won my heart! I am starting this blog with the intentions of it being a place where you can stay updated on his journey and better pray for Andy, Heather, and especially for Austin.
Heather and Andy enjoyed several hours with their precious newborn in their room on Sunday evening before allowing him to go to the nursery for a good nights rest. Monday morning he was in NICU and our lives changed forever. By 12 noon on Monday, Austin had been diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and is facing an extensive series of surgeries.
You ask, what does all of this mean?
Austin's heart did not fully develop inutero and the left side of his heart is "small" and does not function. He has a heart defect known as Hypoplastic Left Heart. Austin is currently in the Regional NICU at the University of Alabama Birmingham's hospital. He is on a ventilator which is helping him breathe, and on medication allowing his heart to function properly for the time being. He is awaiting sugery. The first of a series of three surgeries is scheduled for Wednesday, January 17th. This surgery is called the "Norwood Procedure." It is a very complex surgery that will rearrange the dynamics of his heart allowing the right side of his heart to function as both the right and left side should. The success of this surgery marks the road ahead for recovery and the two surgeries to follow. After surgery Austin is facing an appx. month stay in the hospital as he recovers. Once well enough, he will be able to go home for a few months before facing surgery #2. The second surgery is known as the "Glenn Procedure." This surgery will be done once Austin reaches 4 to 6 months of age. With the third, the "Fontan Procedure" being completed between 2-3 years of age.
How can we be praying right now?
1. Pray for Austin to be able to come off the ventilator at some point over the next several days. Coming off the ventilator will allow him to be more alert.
2. Pray for Austin to remian in stable condition. As long as he is stable, surgery will be performed a week from today.
3. Pray for Austin as he faces surgery, that he'll be strong, and especially pray for his doctors and nurses. Pray that Dr. Knott-Craig will remain confident and encouraging. Pray that he'll allow God to guide his every move as he touches Austin's heart.
4. Pray for Andy & Heather, pray as Heather is still recovering from childbirth, and pray for her as she is pumping her milk to provide the best nourishment possible for Austin. Pray for Andy as he supports his wife, and cares for himself. Andy & Heather need to stay well for baby Austin.
Remember to check this website frequently as it will be updated. Alson, feel free to post words of prayer and encouragement for Andy, Heather, and baby Austin. Thank you!