October 31, 2013

do the noodle dance!

Noodle!  Use your noodle!!  Do the noodle dance!

ok, I'm done.

This post is about Ruthe's noodle.  Her noggin.  Her cranial region.  Her head.  And a little about her brains.

While I was still pregnant, and we got to have ultrasounds every month to monitor Ruthe's heart, one of the measurements they check is the width of the ventricles in the baby's brain.  There are two, a right ventricle and a left ventricle.  There are also right and left ventricles in the heart.  So sometimes we would hear the doctors and nurses mentioning that a ventricle was a little larger then normal.  We just assumed they meant in her heart, since that's where all the problems were, anyway.  

When we sat down to meet with Ruthe's surgeon for the first time (still pregnant) he read a line out loud that said there was a "cranial abnormality".  My mom and John and I all just looked at each other, a little bit confused.  The surgeon said it was only mentioned in the report, and since there weren't any other comments about it, that it was probably nothing, they were just keeping an eye on it in case it started to get worse.  Kind of like how they were watching her kidneys for the same reason.  Ok, cool.  My baby has a broken heart and a funky head.  NBD.

That really was the last we heard anything about her head/brain/cranial abnormality, aside from the questions we asked each of the other doctors.  And we kind of just let it be.  The doctors were always much more concerned with her heart, and assured us that the larger ventricles in her head were a fairly common issue and would probably never even be brought up again once she was born.

Until her fontanelle was bulging, her white blood cell count was elevated, and her cultures all came back negative for any infection.

(I like to say "her fontanelle was bulging" because it sounds way cooler than her soft-spot was a little raised.  But that's really all it means.)  

One of Ruthe's nurses was pretty concerned about it, in case it was a symptom of meningitis.  I guess one of the other patients in the PICU had meningitis, too, and she just wanted to be extra cautious.  Which is fine.  Except then the doctors wanted to do a spinal tap.  I really hate subjecting my baby to unnecessary tests, and the blood and urine cultures hadn't come back yet, so I wanted to wait and see what those results were before we did anything else invasive.  So, I nstead, we had them do a head ultrasound to check for any swelling or pressure on her brain.  That came back normal.  Her ventricles are still a bit large, but no one ever said anything about it.  Not even the neurosurgeon.  

By the time Ruthe's cultures came back, her white blood cell count was already significantly lower, meaning that the antibiotics were doing their job.  We still don't know what job they were doing, exactly, but I'm perfectly ok with that!

And today, Ruthe got an IV in her head.  It was Halloween, after all.  We needed something a little scary!!  But it's really perfectly normal.  Ruthe has very small, and very deep, and very tricky veins in her arms and hands.  It takes a LOT of pokes before they can ever get a good one.  Until today.  The veins in her head are kind of perfect!

Have you had just about enough with all this boring nonsense about my baby's perfectly abnormal heard??!  Here are a few pictures as a reward for making it through all that:




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