Fox’s Journey

So if you haven’t seen any of my recent social media posts, we have a new baby here. And boy, was it a long, exhausting past week.

As most know, I was 29 weeks pregnant last week. I went in for my NST (Non-stress test) on Friday, January 24 and they noticed I was having contractions. As I lifted my feet up on the chair, my ankles were swollen like crazy. They looked like marshmallows. I have very small skinny ankles, so that was a new discovery that seemed to have happened just overnight. I also have been dealing with terrible migraines for the past month and had had one at that time too. And, I threw up that morning. The doctor looked at my vitals, and noticed my blood pressure was skyrocketing. 138/94 and then they retook it and it was 149/95. It seemed to only get worse. So he sent me up to the labor and delivery triage. Which is like the OB ER. So, I went up, only for the blood pressure to worsen, and they ended up giving me a blood pressure medicine. But my headache persisted. I also was spilling a ton of protein in my urine. They figured these were all signs and symptoms of preeclampsia with severe features.

Preeclampsia: Is when a pregnant woman has high blood pressure, protein in her urine, and swelling in her legs, feet, and hands. It can range from mild to severe. It usually happens late in pregnancy, though it can come earlier or just after delivery. Preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia, a serious condition that can have health risks for mom and baby and, in rare cases, cause death. Women with preeclampsia who have seizures have eclampsia. The only cure for preeclampsia is to give birth. Even after delivery, symptoms of preeclampsia can last 1 to 6 weeks or more.

This is a really serious condition, and causes a lot of issues for not just baby, but mom. And with Fox having all his health issues, along with him not getting enough nutrients from me, this was concerning. They wound up admitting me, and informing me, I would be there until delivery, and that they most likely wouldn’t deliver me until I was 34 weeks. That would be a whole month in the hospital, just waiting and getting monitored. But, throughout the duration of the weekend, my symptoms only got even worse. They had even given me percocet to help with my contractions, and headache pain, and it did absolutely nothing. I was in so much pain, and by Sunday night, my blood pressure was sky high, once more. Now, this whole experience has been one major blur for me. I had so much testing done, and so many meds pumped into me, that I really can’t remember the majority of my duration there. I had been transferred to so many different rooms, from Special Care, to Labor and Delivery, to wherever else. I had scans done on my head to see if maybe it was a different reason I had these headaches, but all signs pointed to preeclampsia with severe features. All I remember is being woken up around 2 a.m, being told that things were getting worse with my vitals, and the best thing they could do, for my bodys sake, is to deliver me, via emergency c-section. I didn’t take this too well, as I cried, saying this was my fault that baby had to be taken out, because he could have gone a few more weeks in me if it weren’t for my failing body. But, they assured, this would be the best and safest thing to do. I wasn’t able to get the spinal epidural, and I cannot remember the reason why, but because of that, for my c-section I had to be put completely to sleep. Usually with c-sections, the mother is awake, with the father in the room and they just are completely numbed. Well, I had to be completely under, and due to that, waking up is a lot more painful because I wasn’t numbed.

I called Chris, who showed up immediately, and as they rolled me back to the OR room, I cried to one of the nurses, exclaiming how I did not want to die. The last thing I remember is laying in that cold white room, with the shakes, staring up at the nurse and the anesthesiologist, with an oxygen mask over me, and drifting to sleep. What felt like seconds later, I woke ion recovery to my grandma and husband coming in, but the pain was brutal. They had me on morphine, but as we have talked about before, morphine doesn’t work on me. Chris told me how I kept telling them that I needed dilaudid, and that morphine wouldn’t work, and I was crying in agony and pain. after about 30 minutes of me sobbing from the pain of my split open abdomen, they hooked me up to dilaudid and it calmed me down. I was then able to see baby in his incubator for a total of 15 seconds, and they rolled him away from me. I then had to go two days without getting to visit or see him, because of course, my preeclampsia persisted and I had to be hooked up to monitors 24/7. Once I was able to feel somewhat better, they let me go up to NICU where I was able to see my 29 week old, premature baby.

Fox Lyman Podbielniak. Born January 27, 2020 at 29 weeks pregnant. Weighing only 2 pounds and 4 ounces.

Now, the good news is, we found out he doesn’t have any chromosomal issues that were tested for! So that knocks off some concern and worry. He has the hydrocephalus, so his head is enlarged, and the belly issues like the double bubble, so currently he has a tube down his throat which pulls out all his poop and gunk. He has the small heart defects, which we knew, but it seems he has no new issues than what was already told to us, which is great news. He wont be able to get the shunt or belly surgery for a while yet, as he’s just so small and fragile. We aren’t able to hold him because the blood could rush to his head and cause brain bleeding, but we get to hold him up in his incubator thing when they take his weight, which is the best feeling in the world. He has a long way to go, and will be in NICU for quite some time, they said could be 6 weeks, could be 10 weeks, we just never know. So for now, we just go up there everyday, and spend the night on weekends with him. We get to touch him, which helps a lot. He sometimes forgets how to breath, especially when he has his binky in his mouth, but they said that it’s normal for 29 weeks for that to happen, so it’s no major concern. He also has his adducted thumbs which we are now able to see more clearly. The left one is completely inward toward his palm and he can’t move it very well, so as he gets older he will be seeing a physical therapist to work on it, and one already came up to see him which is good.

It’s been hard for me, because the only reason he had to come out now, rather than later, is because of my body. Because I was so sick and it progressed within hours and days. And it just was unhealthy for me. It hurts knowing he could still be in my belly right now. I miss his little kicks and movements. My heart hurts and I can’t help but blame myself for him having to deal with this struggle. I miss him so much and just love him so much. He has really shown me so much about life in just a matter of days. Postpartum is a difficult thing to experience, and I will make a post about that in itself, because it seems we tend to brush off mothers emotions after having a birth. It can be hard to be happy, especially in difficult circumstances like mine. I still can’t fully process the fact that I had him already. That I was only 7 months pregnant and that his due date was April 8, and I had him January 27. It’s just difficult seeing him alone in a little incubator thing in NICU. But I wouldn’t trade him for the world. I wouldn’t trade him for a different healthy baby. He is perfect in every way.

Surgery was terrible. And medical PTSD is really a thing. I experience it because of all my surgeries, and waking up from that C-section was absolutely horrifying. The following days were seriously brutal. It definitely was the most painful aftermath of a surgery, and I needed a wheelchair for a bit. I was constantly in pain. It hurt so much, honestly. I’m still experiencing some pain but I am finally able to walk better and at a faster pace. I never knew how painful c-sections really were, especially without the numbing epidural.

Fox really has a long journey. But I will be updating all of you along the way. He is so strong, and I just know everything will work out. I’m not worried about the preemie situation, but worried about his other major health issues we have yet to overcome, but those will be discussed within time. Right now, it’s about getting him grown and healthy and able to finally come home.

I’ve had 3 greatest days of my life. the first being November 15, 2017, when my first son Caspian was born. He came into this world, being exactly what I had needed at the time. Causing me to grow as a person and showing me that loving someone is possible. He has continued to amaze me and make me astonished for I created something so beautiful and even with our challenges with life, he never ceases to cause me to smile. Being two now, hearing him say “mommy” makes my heart absolutely melt, as it is the best title anyone could have. The second day, was marrying a man on December 27, 2019, who I never thought would be possible to find. A man who has not only accepted and embraced my flaws, but loved them entirely. I not only know that i am lucky to have him, but special. He puts me in front of him always, even when he shouldn’t. And even when all I want to do is fight, because I can get that way, he still just lets me get angry and calm down, and then tells me he loves me. I never deserved him, but I’m glad that I get to have him. And I’m taking advantage of that. He has accepted my son as his own, and loves him endlessly, buying him things randomly and taking care of him whenever I’m not feeling good enough to do so. He has created a bond with a child that is not his by blood, but definitely by soul. Ive never felt so much love for someone, as I never knew it was possible. Marrying this man was the best decision I have ever made, and while we have had our downs, our ups will always overlook them. Family is our main priority, and he is my best friend. Ive never held such a connection with someone before and if soulmates are real, then you definitely are mine. The third day would be the day that our little miracle, baby Fox, was born, January 27, 2020. He has shown me how to become the woman i am becoming. He has given me purpose, when I’ve felt so lost most of my life. This is the hardest most difficult experience of my life, but I know will be rewarding in the end. I am prepared for the downs and ups, as I know they will come. These challenges will be stressful to overcome, but with the support i have from friends and family, I know we can do it. This baby, has really taught me so much about myself, and even though i wont be able to take him home for another 6 to 10 weeks, or longer, i know he is in good hands and will be here every single day, just counting the minutes until you are with us. I miss you in my belly. I’m sad to see how small I’ve already gotten because that was an incredible bond we shared. I miss your long legs pushing off of me early in the morning and feeling your little tint hiccups. I miss the kicks you’d give when id sing loudly to you in the car and i miss watching you grow. Only 29 weeks, we made it. I should have you in me another 10 at least. Until April, but here we are. I can now see how perfect you are, as you look exactly like your daddy with his curly black hair and long limbs. I wouldn’t have it any other way. You are so special and have created this light in my world that I never saw before. We love you so much and i just feel even with all your health issues down the road, everything will be perfect. I have no regrets, and will work with you every step of the way. We love you Fox. We love you Caspian. And I love you, Chris.


(Like X-Men, but better)

As many of you know, I found out that the son I am pregnant with (28 weeks now), has hydrocephalus, along with an abdominal issue and heart defect. Recently, I found out a few more little answers to our questions.

For starters, we found out that baby has X-Linked Hydrocephalus. Which basically, the disease is passed down through the mother only but only males get this (well, 99% of children who get this are male). It is a rarer disease, as it only occurs in only about 1 in 30,000 babies. It’s passed from the mother to the baby. It is basically impossible for this gene to be passed from the father, but is only shown in males born. And it’s just genetics. So from what I understand, I somehow inherited this from my father, making me a carrier, and it was inevitable to happen. I was asked about my two year old son if he had any learning issues. The only thing he has, is he doesn’t know a lot of words. He still uses a lot of baby talk. Most two year olds should know 50 words, he only knows about 10, but he’s good at showing us what he wants. It’s his speech that only close family would understand. I mean the kid can almost say dinosaur. But it could be a learning disorder, passed down from me. Or he just chooses to not talk to us. Baby Fox, seemed to get all the bad aspects of this disease. This type of hydrocephalus is called L1 Syndrome.

So according to a hydro site, I read this quote: “During reproduction, an individual acquires two sex chromosomes, one from each parent. Females have two X chromosomes (XX) while males have an X from their mother and a Y from their father (XY). Females with one affected X chromosomes are called ‘carriers’ and have less than a 5% chance of showing clinical symptoms. This is because females have a second, intact copy of the L1CAM gene which is inherited from their father. A female carrier has a 50% chance of transmitting the affected gene to each child. Read more from this site about L1:

L1 Syndrome: As I read online more in depth into what exactly L1 is, I see the words “mental retardation“; “adducted thumbs“; “shuffling gait” and “aphasia“. All of which are not the best things to find out your child could potentially have. We all know what mental retardation is, so I wont go into that. I explain adducted thumbs below. Shuffling gait is when one walks with dragging their feet and sort of slouched over. When researching this syndrome, I noticed almost all the children I saw, were in a wheelchair of some sort. Aphasia happens to be, as wiki puts it, “loss of ability to understand or express speech, caused by brain damage.” He also has a possibility of X-linked spastic paraplegia and ACC. SPG1 is when the legs stiffen. We really wont know which of these he will have, or the severity of it all, until he is born. I also learned from my high risk doctor, that there’s a high chance he will experience seizures throughout his life. It’s a lot to process, and we don’t have very definite answers. But knowing he has L1 at all, has been beneficial to our knowledge.

We noticed in his ultrasound photos, his thumb on his left hand (he was hiding his right hand) naturally goes introverted- or toward his palm instead of outward like ours do. Also referred to as an adducted thumb. He will still be able to move it around, it just naturally will rest inward toward his palm. This is the indication that he has X-Linked Hydrocephalus. L1 Syndrome.

We also met with a fetal cardiologist, who did about an hour long ultrasound and noticed that the heart defects he has are nothing too major. Which is a huge relief. He has five tiny holes in his heart, but she informed that these will not require any sort of surgery and could possibly even get smaller. He will, however, have a murmur. Which is no big deal, compared to worse situations. He also seemed to have a second vena cava. So in the diagram, the big tube in our heart, we only have one, well he happens to have two, one on his left side and one on the right. Which is also no big deal, because she informed that this will have no effect on him at all. It’s just an odd thing to have! I have an appointment to check his heart every four weeks until he is born.

He will 100% have a permanent shunt placed in his brain after birth, that we already know. Which as I’ve stated in my previous post, a shunt is a metal rod going from brain to abdomen which will slowly drain the fluid out from his head. Because yes, chances are, this baby’s head will be pretty big after he’s born from all the fluid he has built up in it. But eventually it will shrink over time from the shunt, and he will look fine. Nothing wrong with a big head, hydro babies are adorable. But before that, he will be having abdominal surgery to fix the double bubble which will highly result in, you guessed it, a temporary ileostomy bag. Like mother like son, I guess. Now the two of us can have matching belly scars.
I’ll be meeting with NICU, a neurosurgeon for his brain, and a pediatric surgeon for his tummy. I have already met with the fetal cardiologist, as I stated up above. Lots more appointments to come, and a lot of questions to be asked, but I never know what questions to ask. It’s always like an overload of different things being thrown at me, and I never fully understand any of it. I also have a genetics counselor and a lady who schedules my appointments and helps discuss things with me and answers any questions that I have. Along with my regular OB. All of these people I will see every four weeks until delivery (Besides NICU). It’s really amazing having such a good team of doctors who I trust and have faith in. I know it’s hard to establish care and trust in with doctors at times, but I am very confident with this team of people. I will be updating more along the way, but chances are my next post wont be until he is born (or if we find out something more). But being 28 weeks pregnant, I don’t have too long until he is here.

Stay tuned.