2-week check-up

Kristen's visit with the pediatrician this morning went well. At 2 weeks of age, she's now back up to 1 ounce over her birth weight. (Emily was coaching her last night about "bulking up" for the big weigh-in this morning!) Dr. Edmonds checked her over and said she's "perfect."

Dr. said we could get Kristen out and about in another couple of weeks. It's hard not taking her out with us everywhere, but we know it's for the best. For now, Will and I will continue to take turns staying home with her on Sunday mornings and opt out of any large gatherings. Home visits are fine as long as visitors are healthy!

Children's Mercy visit

It's late, but Kristen is sleeping soundly, and I wanted to leave an update about today's visit to Children's Mercy. (I'm afraid if I leave it until tomorrow, it might not get done!)

We met with Dr. Shawn St. Peter at CMH at 10:00 a.m. If Kristen requires surgery, he will be the one to do it. He walked us through the process (which would be thorascopic -- minimally invasive) and told us that he was 100% sure that the CCAM was still there.

After a quick bite of lunch in the cafeteria, we headed to Radiology for an ultrasound. They couldn't see it! We spoke with the head of Radiology who said that a CT scan was the only thing that could tell the entire story about whether or not the CCAM is still there. Kristen is too small right now to go through a CT scan. They have us scheduled for on one July 15th. The doctor said that if the CT scan is clear, then he'll just call it a misdiagnosis and we'll all be happy. We say he apparently doesn't know WHO we're dealing with!

We continue to believe that Kristen is perfectly healthy, thanks to God's healing touch. We can't medically prove it now, but 2 of the 3 tests they use to see them after birth have shown nothing of the CCAM. She's not had any shortness of breath or any kind of breathing issues at all. Praise God!

She was an absolute angel today at Children's Mercy. She slept the entire time we were there (and on the trip to and from), with the exception of a little crying during the ultrasound. She did well on the trip home to Great Bend as well. She fussed a little about an hour from home, but got over it quickly. That made the long trip a much easier one, for certain! Emily and Grace entertained themselves in the back of the van, and I was able to sleep a little, though I ended up reflecting a lot on the events of the past 9 days. They've certainly been eventful days!

We have so much to be grateful for...God has blessed us beyond what we could imagine. The people that He placed in our path every step of the way have been example after example of His care and His mercy. And the power of prayer is amazing. Not only is Kristen doing well, but I've not had much pain at all (once Kristen was here, anyway!). Now, I haven't had much sleep either, but that's to be expected!

Thanks to all those who have prayed and continue to pray for us. We'll be praying that the CT scan in July will prove the doctor wrong and be a testimony to the power of our amazing God. In the meantime, we'll be enjoying our sweet baby girl!

The Eckels 5


Kristen and I were discharged from the hospital this afternoon and are so glad to be at our "home away from home" in Lenexa! She's doing great and looks perfect to us! We will meet with a doctor at Children's Mercy on Tuesday. They're planning to do an ultrasound (and possibly at CT scan) at noon Tuesday to check things out. The chest x-ray they did right after birth showed nothing. They did another one on Friday morning and thought they saw a shadow, but are going to leave any further testing to Children's. We are believing that the mass is gone...that God has intervened in this sweet baby's life!

Will posted the big details in the last entry. I'll go into more now...so if you want to know more, keep reading!

My water broke Thursday morning at 4:30. We grabbed our stuff (still packed from the earlier false alarm) and headed out in the rain to the hospital. We got into one of the birthing rooms at 5:30, and just as the anesthesiologist was getting ready to scrub for the epidural, the nurse checked and said I was moving too fast...no epidural! They then prepared to move me into the delivery room (more equipment there than in the birthing room). About 3 pushes and Kristen arrived at 6:25. Thankfully, it was quick!

Kristen did great. Everything they checked was wonderful. The neonatologist called her "Super Girl" and said she looked perfect. The doctors and nurses at St. Luke's were amazing. So many of them rejoiced with us at the birth of our miracle and offered their prayers that things continue to go well. Our story seemed to go quickly through the hospital. We heard of connections to Great Bend more than once!

She spent her first 30 hours in the NICU, just as a precaution. They let her stay in the room with me after that. Thanks to coordination between Grama Eckels and our dear friend, Tammy, Emily and Grace were able to come up to meet their little sister Thursday evening. They were so excited! Since Kristen was still in the NICU, the girls had to scrub in before they could see her. I think they would have taken an entire bath in iodine if need be to get to see that baby! Thankfully, they only had to scrub up to their elbows for 3 minutes.

We'll stay in KC through Tuesday, then head back to Great Bend after the appointment at Children's Mercy. Thanks to all of you for your continued prayers and support. As I said earlier, we are believing we have received a miracle and pray that it is confirmed on Tuesday!

Much love,
Kim & family (which is now just a bit bigger!)

It's a girl!

Baby Kristen arrived this morning (05/07/09) at 6:25 am. She weighed 6 pounds and 14 ounces and is 19.5 inches long. She is doing GREAT!! The doctor said that the mass in her chest that was 5cm x 4cm x 4cm on Monday morning is totally gone today!! What a miracle from God. Many, many people have been praying for this little girl and God has answered their prayers! There were many happy tears shed today by those who heard the story. We are truly blessed.


False Alarm

We thought we were going to have a baby early this morning, but she's apparently not quite ready! I started having contractions about 9:00 last night. They continued about 10 minutes apart until 1:30 a.m., then got to 5 minutes apart. We headed for the hospital and got there about 2:30 a.m. They monitored contractions from 3:00-5:00 a.m., and though the contractions got fairly strong and as close as 3 minutes apart, they said I was in latent labor, not active labor, and sent us home. (Basically, latent labor has contractions, but no progress on dilation.) In those 2 hours, I was still only dilated to 1 (same as Monday).

It didn't make for a restful night's sleep, and it wasn't the outcome we were hoping for, but we're still hanging in there. Thankfully, Will was able to stay up here for the rest of the week. Even though last night was a false alarm, I am so glad that he was here.

The snow in the snow globe is settling

Wow, what a day we've had! We arrived at St. Luke's this morning for a sonogram, then met with Dr. Wickstrom and several others. According to their measurements, the mass is larger (4 cm), but so is Kristen (over 7 pounds!). This doesn't necessarily mean the mass is growing...it's probably just that it's been measured by yet another person on yet another machine. Because they have to peer in between her ribs to find the mass, it isn't exactly easy. Everything else looks great.

Dr. Wickstrom (who was wonderful) gave us some options. We could go home and deliver in Great Bend, knowing that we would have to fly Kristen to KC should she have problems at birth; wait in KC and let the baby come when she's ready; induce on the 11th, but only if an amnio showed that her lungs were mature; or wait and induce on the 18th with no worries about lung maturity. None of us liked the first option. An amnio at this stage of the game does have risks and really wouldn't buy us that much time, so we set an induction date of May 18th, believing that, based on my history, I'll go into labor on my own before that (likely within the week).

Thanks to the graciousness of the Castiles, I will stay in KC until Kristen is born, then deliver at St. Luke's. Will is planning to return to Great Bend on Tuesday, then head back this way when I go into labor.

The doctors really can't tell any more about the CCAM than they already know until Kristen is born. Once she arrives, they will assess her lung function, then do an x-ray and possibly a CT scan to see what the mass really looks like. If she's having trouble breathing on her own, they'll stabilize her and transfer her to Children's Mercy (which is not far from St. Luke's). They may need to do surgery right away, or they may be able to wait a couple of weeks or a couple of months. It all depends on how well she's breathing.

Dr. Wickstrom's office was able to set up a consultation for us at Children's Mercy this afternoon. We met with a neonatologist and a surgeon, plus a couple of other people for over an hour. They reviewed my records and explained the process of what would happen if Kristen was transferred there from St. Luke's. We also toured the NICU. I pray we don't ever need to go back to Children's Mercy, but if we do, we are at least familiar with the facility. They were truly amazing! The doctors were great about explaining things to us, didn't rush us out, and answered all of our questions as best they could.

As much as this has shaken our world (we feel a bit like we're inside a snow globe), things are starting to settle a bit. We have a plan we're at peace with, one that will ensure the best care for Kristen, should she need it. No, it's not convenient, yes, I miss Emily and Grace so much, and yes, I'll miss my husband immensely when he leaves, but we do have so many positives. Friends that we were so sad to see leave Great Bend last summer are here now and have so graciously opened their home to us. The same friends have friends who work at St. Luke's. (Laura came over last night to meet us. She gave us great directions, set our minds at ease about the doctors, and prayed with us before she left.) We have so many friends back home who have been praying for us and offering to help with the girls. Some have even offered to bring them to KC! Our church family has rallied around us and shown us the love of Christ time and time again. We can see God's hand in every step along this bumpy path and are so excited to see what He has in store for our little Kristen.

We thank each of you for your support, your concern, your prayers and your love. We look forward to having our family back in one house very soon!

Much love,
Will & Kim

Heading to KC

Just a quick update today. We will be leaving for KC Sunday afternoon. Our appointment with the specialist is Monday morning. I'm prepared to stay, if necessary, until I deliver. We'll just have to see what the doctor says. We're grateful to the Castiles for offering a place for us to stay!

Will's parents are picking the girls up on their way through town today and will keep them for us (another blessing!). We know they'll be well taken care of, but this mom's having a tough time with the thought of not knowing when she'll see her sweet girls again.

I did find out that Dr. Marshall's sudden change of heart about delivering here was based on the fact that Dr. O'Hara is not sure about what type of CCAM Kristen has (there are 3 or 4). Some types are much more difficult for babies to deal with at birth. At least in KC, we'll have doctors who know what they're doing and facilities that can handle whatever Kristen needs.

Thanks for the continued prayers. I'll have my laptop with me and will make updates to this site as we find out more.