Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Latest with Sally-Pink

Today we went in to Aberdeen Maternity Hospital to see Dr. Fairly an obstetrician for another ultrasound and the results from our MRI in August.
First, the MRI confirmed to us what the ultrasounds have said all along. Our baby, whom we fondly refer to as "Sally-Pink" because those are the chosen names for her by her big sisters, has Dandy-Walker Syndrome (DWS).
In Sally-Pink's case this means she has a complete separation of her two cerebellar hemispheres and there is no connective tissue (vermis) between the spheres. The cerebellum is the back portion of your brain that is responsible for coordination and motor skills among other things.
With DWS there is a huge spectrum of severity and there is no way for us to know until after birth and possibly months later the degree of her handicap.

In the scan today Dr. Fairly confirmed there is no change to Sally-Pink's condition, but also that the rest of her brain looks completely normal and both her head and body are right on track as far as growth is concerned. This is good news for us as most of the time with DWS being caused by a chromosomal abnormality there is another malformation present in the body.
This is tentatively hopeful as 2 out of the 3 chromosomal problems most likely to cause DWS are "lethal" meaning she may not survive long after birth. We still are not and will not be 100% certain of this until the she is born, so please keep praying specifically about this.

We also saw a neonatologist today who talked about postnatal concerns and possible problems with us. Like I mentioned before there is no way the Dr's can pinpoint or even give us a range of Sally-Pink's handicap, we will just have to wait as she matures.
The greatest threat is hydrocephalus, or water on the brain. Because Sally-Pink still has a cyst present near her cerebellum this can block the cushion of fluid surrounding the brain leading to swelling and pressure on the brain. While this is a dangerous condition it is easily detected (by measurements of the head and ultrasound) and treated by a shunt.
The neonatologist also essentially said the science of the brain is inexact. Meaning that when God created this amazing, super-duper-duper-duper-duper (in Nessie's phrasing) computer of an organ He made it so that it can and often does compensate for loss or problems. The brain is incredible and can overcome great odds--to us: God still works miracles in what He's created!

What we did find out today is that we are going to meet Sally-Pink a little sooner than we originally thought. There is an increased risk for stillbirth with babies who have problems who are allowed to go full-term or beyond. Therefore Dr. Fairly is going to do one more scan in a fortnight (that's 2 weeks for all our American friends) and we will then schedule an induction for the next week. I will be at or around 38 weeks pregnant. Because I've had 3 natural births previously I will deliver with a midwife (obstetricians are not commonly used for antenatal care or deliveries in the UK) in Aberdeen with a neonatologist present. As with my past pregnancies I have gestational thrombocytopenia which means I have a low platelet count. It's never been an issue except a C-section isn't ideal when there's a risk of bleeding. Natural is the best for me and should be fine for Sally-Pink. We are excited about this and meeting our precious daughter so soon even in our uncertainty of the future.

Please continue to lift us up in prayer, specifically that this is not a chromosomal abnormality and that the cyst doesn't cause any problems.
In our household we are praying for a miracle--those who watch our story unfold can't help but see that we serve the One True God and He is mighty to save.

Most of all throughout all this, however God choses to write this story, that our family and this precious baby girl will glorify Him.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Our New Car!

The Anderson family is now the happy owners of a new car! 
We went to Elgin yesterday to pick it up while Caedmon was in school.

And while it may look like a minivan it's actually classified as a "people carrier." Ha!
Ours seats 7 and is a 6 speed, diesel and gets around 45 MPG.
We're feeling blessed by this and it's here none too soon with baby Anderson around 5 weeks from making her appearance.

The Anderson girls waiting for our new car to be delivered, we're excited!

Our car!

Tray tables, my favourite feature!

Mark likes the gear shift because it "feels like a truck."

Plenty of space in the boot for our double pram!
(translation: Plenty of space in the rear for our double stroller!)

All the seats swivel. Caedmon's favourite feature!

Plenty of space for our growing family--a blessing!

She's loving it!

Another cool thing--the dash opens for storage, on both passenger and driver sides.

The luggage racks on top can be adjusted--right now I think of them as in "spoiler mode."

Ok, so it looks like a minivan. 
But it's what we need and we're grateful for it!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Let's Get Some Messages!

"Messages" are groceries, FYI. I don't use the term without thinking about it first but my friends here do!

Whilst shopping today I thought I'd give y'all insight into what I get to see and shop for one morning a week. I took along a camera and tried to ignore the curious looks as I focused on meat, produce and dry goods!


First off, it's SO apparent we live in Scotland as you can find SO many Scottish products, and quite honestly it's pretty cool they market their own products so heavily.

Scottish Pork
Yum--Mark can do a mean pork chop on the grill...

Scottish Beef
It's a REALLY big deal here. I'm sad to say I don't purchase this as Scottish beef is grass-fed and I think has a bit of a gamey taste. Give those poor cows some corn!

The bakery section:
Open air, you can smell the stuff you want to buy!

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
I treat myself to one of these gems each time I'm at Lidl's (Lidl's, a German store like Aldi)

Mackie's Ice Cream
Scottish ice cream tastes very, VERY buttery!

A "Breakfast Pack"
Top left going clockwise:
Scottish breakfast link sausage; black pudding (blood sausage); Scottish recipe Lorne (beef sausage with a little seasoning) and hash browns!

A Haggis!
This is EVERYWHERE, although to get a really "good" one the local butcher may be your best bet. Haggis is a sheep's stomach stuffed with oatmeal and ground sheep's heart, liver and lung.
I'm. Not. Kidding. And my husband and children LOVE this.

Scottish Salmon
A salmon lovers dream!

Walkers is THE brand of crisps (chips) here. 
These are the classic flavours:
Cheese & Onion, Ready Salted, Salt & Vinegar, Prawn Cocktail and Worcestershire Sauce

Hard Gums?
Maybe gum drops? I didn't realise they were so American. But I don't like gum drops there so I probably won't like them here!

This is a BIG thing here. My dear friend loves it on her toast. I can't reconcile the creamy, smooth texture of liver with a meat product...

Black Eye
Another Pudding (pudding here is "sausage" or "dessert"!) This is beef sausage with black pudding. Notice the brand: "We Hae Meat" (We Have Meat)!

Haggis Pizza
Pizza with haggis on it (not in the stomach sack, of course, it has a ground sausage texture). Caedmon wanted this for supper tonight.

Goose Fat
Well then...

From Scotland, see the cool jugs they come in? It's to better fit in the tiny refrigerators here.
YUM, we go through nearly 4 gallons a week (blame the pregnant lady).

Channel Island Milk
This is 100% Jersey and Guernsey cow milk. It has a cream top and is nearly yellow because of the creaminess. It's also Mark's favourite milk in the whole world (Even more so than Promised Land Dairy products in the states). 
I should've taken a picture of the nutritional information as that would give my reasons for hardly ever purchasing this!

Check out the flavours:
Blackcurrant, Rhubarb and Gooseberry!

The Yogurt Section
One of my favourites. You have never tasted better stuff than this--and the variety is AMAZING!

UK grocery stores always have an outstanding cheese selection, no matter how small they are!

They CAN be found here! And we ALWAYS have these in our quesadilla-loving house!

Cheesey & Ham Macaroni
Proudly advertising that it's Scottish!

The Fabulous 3
Indian food to the UK is like Mexican food to the US. It's a BIG deal here. 
Korma, Tikka Masala and Jalfrezi are the biggies. 

Frozen Peas
There are more peas than any other frozen veggie, with the exception of...

Potatoes cut into big fries are a staple.

Yorshire Pudding
They're a for reals thing-- a pastry.

This one is self explanatory. 

We eat this here at the Anderson household!

The cereals are by and large healthier, less sugary, less flavoured and have less colouring than American equivalents. 
A lot of them also have chocolate in them.

Sandwich Baguettes
Another Anderson staple. These 4 packs for £1 rock my world. 
They also smell fabulous.

Chocolate Chips
Teeny bag, big price! We love bags of Nestle choc. chips from the states.

Chicory & Coffee Essence
This is a first for me to see, but it was by the vanilla extract and has a kilted man on the label...

Cake Mixes and Canned Frosting
Those of you enjoying the $1 Betty Crocker mixes, don't take them for granted. These babies come out to $3.50!
Another family-import from the US we cherish!

Chocolate Spread
They have some peanut butter here, but this is WAY more popular.

Cadbury Chocolate Spread
My sister, Jillian, and her husband are addicted to this.

Meringue Nests
I've often wished for these when I was in the US. They are little 'nests' made from meringue and you can put all kinds of loveliness into them!

Maple Syrup
The ONLY options--the real deal (the stuff on the left is full of carob syrup and is not the same) cost $9.47. (thanks mom and dad for sending us over Mrs. Butterworths!)

Baxters Soup
Made just down the road from us in Fochabers. It's all yummy stuff.

The official pop of Scotland. It tastes like Big Red, but not really.

It's juice, but needs to be diluted with water. (ask me how I know, or rather, ask my kids)

Scottish Specialty Crisps (chips)
Flamegrilled Aberdeen Angus, Haggis & Cracked Black Pepper and Scotch Bonnet Chili Pepper 

Caithness Biscuits Home Made Wee Oatcakes
Yay! Love seeing that girl's name on things! 

Baxters Sliced Beetroot
Another must have over here. 
(I'm not a beet fan, so it's not in our kitchen.)

Scottish Jam
Scottish strawberry (the Scottish strawberries really are tiny and sweet over here!) and orange marmalade
(because "jelly" is Jell-O over here...no wonder Caedmon's peanut butter & jelly sandwich gets some looks at school lunch time!)

Whew! Ok, that was our jaunt through the store. Getting messages took me a bit longer today, but I thought y'all would enjoy the trip with me!