The Zarb Homestead

Living natural and healthy on a simple budget

Baby Bump: 9 Months (Plus Heart Update) October 23, 2013

2013-10-19 at 18-12-13 2013-10-19 at 18-04-53 20131023_130300 20131023_130245 20131023_130306

Baby Facts

  • Length: We should be 20 inches long
  • Weight: 6 lbs 8 oz
  • What’s is new: Lots of changes this month. We got the news that our little mans heart didn’t grow as much as it had last month. We were sent to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for another echo. They agreed with the pediatric cardiologist in Knoxville and said it would be safer to deliver in Nashville. I am going to be induced in a few weeks and the plan is to watch him once he is born and see if his heart can keep up with his little body. If not, then they are going to do a procedure to open his forman ovale in his heart to help out the left side. If this doesn’t work then we are looking at heading down with the first of the 3 open heart surgeries, Norwood Surgery. On a sweeter note: I am busy moving about and I spend most of my time “breathing” and “sucking.” I have lots of hair and some fat rolls.
  • Movement: He isn’t doing flips and turns anymore but he is kicking and punching all day long, plus many sleepless nights. He takes up most of my abdomen and is curled up in a ball ready to make his appearance.
  • Growth: We had a large growth spurt last month. This month we leveled back out and are back on track for his age. Still showing about 1 week ahead of normal but that is no big deal. The doctors say ultrasounds can be up to 2 weeks off and plus or minus a pound.

2013-10-19 at 18-05-17  2013-10-19 at 18-02-152013-10-19 at 18-14-33

Mommy Facts

  • Weight Gain: 32 lbs. No weight gain this month.
  • Stretch Marks: I must have good genes because I still don’t have any stretch marks yet. We still have a couple weeks to go, figures crossed.
  • Craving: Coffee and Cokes, not really sure why. I am not giving in too much.
  • Symptoms: Back Pain still is the worse. My ribs hurt and my legs hurt and I get heartburn if I eat, bend over, or take tums. I’m not too comfortable these days.
  • Looking Forward:  The next few weeks. I am nervous what it may bring, the good and the bad. Looking forward to my second baby shower on the 2nd. Lots of planning ahead of me.



Baby Z Heart Update October 18, 2013

Filed under: Baby Z — Sheena @ 4:30 am
Tags: , , , , ,


With little less than a month to go in this pregnancy Baby Z is getting ready to make his debut. I am 35 weeks with 5 more to go. Hopefully he will stay in there 42 weeks. If you have ever been pregnant before that last statement may have knocked you off your feet. Yes, I want to stay pregnant as long as I can.

Here is why; Baby Z had his monthly pediatric cardiologist appointment on Wednesday. We got great news the last time we were there but this time not so great. His little heart did not continue to grow as it had in the past months. His issue is the left side of his heart is small but is developed. The problem this time is that his mitral valve is at 6mm it needs to be at 8mm at time full term and it didn’t grow at all in 4 weeks. If  it does not grow to 8mm then we are going to have a long road ahead of us. The Dr is now saying he has a 50/50 chance of having Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome 😦 This means he will have to have three open heart surgeries to make his heart work property. In the end he will only live his life with a half heart. We are scheduled for an appointment at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital on Tuesday for a second opinion. I will keep you updated on his progress.


Baby Bump: Month 8 October 5, 2013

Filed under: Baby Z — Sheena @ 2:03 pm
Tags: , , ,


Baby Facts

  • Length: 18 inches He is short like me.
  • Weight: 5 lbs 10 oz
  • What’s is new: We got GREAT news from the pediatric cardiologist this month. Finally, our little man got in a good position for his echo ultrasound. The doctor was happy to say he no longer thinks he has COA or IAA! He still does a normal to small aortic valve that we will need to watch once he is born. He is not down to have surgery at this time just to be monitored at the hospital. They even said he may go home when I do. I do not want to get my hopes up but it is sounding better! In 2 weeks is our next appointment then every week after that.
  • Movement: I have heard that the bigger they get the less they move due to there not being a lot of room. This is not the case for my little man. He moves all the time and you can see it on the outside. It is very alien like to me but people love watching him kick around.
  • Growth:  He is a big boy this month! Baby Z is a chubby baby about 3 weeks bigger than normal. He is measuring at 36 weeks at 33 weeks. The ultrasound below shows his fat rolls 🙂 Oh, and he has patchy hair too. He could come earlier than excepted but I want him to bake as long as possible.

20131005_131215 20131005_131134


Mommy Facts

  • Weight Gain: 32 lbs. I am not too happy about that number.
  • Stretch Marks: Still none
  • Craving: Pancakes and fries
  • Symptoms: Back pain! My back hurts when I sit, stand, or lay down. It is hard to get any relief. Heartburn, I live on tums but now they aren’t really working that well. Third trimester isn’t for the weak at heart.
  • Looking Forward: Birthing classes; we start our 4 week long classes on Monday! Setting up the nursery! It is about time to paint and order the furniture. Plus we are having fun trying out all the new baby things with help of our yorkie, Mr. Mal.

20131005_131041 IMG_128120130923_172124


Baby Bump: 7 Months August 26, 2013

Filed under: Baby Z — Sheena @ 8:12 pm
Tags: , , ,


Baby Facts

  • Length: 15 inches
  • Weight: 2 pounds 5 oz.
  • What’s is new: In the last week, I have been able to feel when he has hiccups. This usually happens about once a day
  • Movement: He wakes up every night at 9:30 pm and does his little dance. I do sleep all night without having to get up to use the bathroom. I am sure this will change soon but I am loving it now.
  • Growth: Baby’s lungs and immune system are maturing this week as baby prepares for his grand entrance. If he were born today he would have an 85 percent chance of surviving as his lungs are capable of breathing air. His testes will have completely descended at this point.


Mommy Facts

  • Weight Gain: 25 lbs.
  • Stretch Marks: Not yet but I think some spider veins are starting to show their ugly faces. I have been putting on the cocoa butter in hopes it will help.
  • Craving: Ice-cream and cake. I still do not have much of an appite.
  • Symptoms: I am starting to get uncomfortable, mostly at night. My restless leg syndrome has returned, and normaly can not fall asleep until 1:00 AM. My feet has some swelling after working 8 hours. Shaving is starting to get interesting. Loving my new clear skin! Still feeling pretty good all-in-all
  • Looking Forward: Baby showers in a few weeks! I have my glucose screening test in the morning, I hope I pass!

This is how I feel in my third trimester 🙂



Baby Z Update August 22, 2013

We are at week 27, or 6.75 months for those who think better in months, with just 13 more weeks to go. This pregnancy has flown by. It seems like yesterday that I took the big test and passed. We still have so much to do in the next 3 months.

Baby Z is doing great. We went to the doctor’s appointments this month and all where good. The cardiologist said his little heart is growing and he still does not think that it will turn into hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The valve he is measuring to make this diagnoses is now 5 cm in length and it was just 3 cm last month. It should be at least 8 cm by the time of birth and he thinks this will happen. That is good news; we needed some good news for a change! Plus, he said it did not look like he had the interrupted aortic arch as he discussed at our last visit. This was the problem that had the chromosome disorder liked to it (digeorge syndrome), so more good news. We are still looking at the COA (coarctation of aorta) and surgery does seem to be a 70% possibility at this time.

We also go to UT High Risk to get a level II ultrasound to check his growth once a month. Baby Z is now 2 lbs and 5 oz and is head down. He was moving and shaking the whole time and of course he would not sit still once it came time to look at his heart. He is doing great and is right on track for his age. We did get some cute pictures of our little guy. Look at that sweet baby face!







Baby Bump: 6 Months August 7, 2013

Filed under: Baby Z — Sheena @ 3:40 pm
Tags: , , ,





Baby facts: 25 Weeks

  • Length: 13 1/2 inches long
  • Weight: 1 1/2 pounds. He is growing like a weed!
  • Sex: Boy!
  • Movement: I think I am growing a karate kid. He kicks all the time, mostly at night. I can see his movement from the outside now.
  • Growth: Baby is growing more fat and more hair too! He is enjoying his new sense of equilibrium and now knows which way is up and which is down.

DSC_0059 DSC_0060

Mommy Facts

  • Weight Gain: 20 lbs. I am trying to keep it under 30 but with 3 months left I may break my weight gain goal 😦
  • Stretch Marks: Nope not yet
  • Craving: Spicy Foods and dairy
  • Symptoms: Heartburn! Must go along with all that spicy food. Starting to get back pain if I sit too long or stand too long. I get some crazy painful leg cramps at night.
  • Looking Forward: Finishing the nursery and picking our furniture.

Baby Z On The Way! July 29, 2013

As many of you may already know we are expecting our first child in November. We couldn’t be happier to finally welcome a baby into our small fur family. I have had a great pregnancy so far. No morning sickness, aches/pains, or swelling. For the most part I feel completely normal like before I was pregnant. I am sure this will change once I start to get larger. I am currently 6 months and feel like the next three months are going to be long ones for us.


Our birthing plan has sadly changed. We were going with an all natural child birth at the Lisa Ross Birthing Center. This meant no drugs or doctors just a large birthing tub and midwives to assist. This has always been my plan until the big ultrasound day when all our plans went out the window. This was the gender day; the day we got to find out if the Baby Z was a boy or girl, I already knew it was a boy 😉 We were so happy to finally see our little guy on the screen wiggling about. We haven’t got to see him since he was only 8 weeks old. He had gotten much bigger in 2.5 months.

8 weeks

This is him at 8 weeks


18 weeks

Almost 19 weeks

Then the tech said looks like at little boy! It was a very sweet moment for us.  Then once the scan was over she said she was going to send us to UT for a level 2 ultrasound. My world came crashing down in a moment. What? Why? She had noticed that one side of Baby Z’s heart was a bit smaller than the other and we should get it checked out at UT High Risk department.

I spent the next 24 hours on Google researching what could have caused this and what it could be. Then I came across Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. My heart sank as I read every detail about this syndrome. This was not good at all but all I could do is hope this was not my babies case. The next day was the visit at UT High Risk. That was the longest 24 hours of our lives. They start the level 2 ultrasound and of course my little guy is not in a good position to see his heart. He was flipped upside down and his spine was shadowing his heart. They got a good idea what was going on but it was hard to be sure. The doctor there did tell me it did not look like Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. This was a HUGE relief off me! They did say if it was anything that his aortic valve maybe narrowed. They set us up an appointment with a pediatric cardiologist in 2 weeks hoping he would be able to view his heart better and he would be a bit larger.

20 Weeks

Flipped on his belly

2 weeks is a long time to sit a wait and worry. Finally, the day came and we meet Dr. Liske the cardiologist. He goes to do the ultrasound and of course my stubborn little man is flipped upside-down and not letting him get a good view. After an hour or at least it seemed like an hour to me, he came up with his diagnoses of Coarctation of the Aorta or COA. In COA, there’s a narrowing of the aorta, the main artery that delivers oxygen-rich (red) blood to the body. The narrowing in the aorta restricts the amount of oxygen-rich blood that can travel to the lower part of the body; the left ventricle must pump under higher than normal pressure in order to get oxygen-rich (red) blood through the narrowed opening and out to the body. The left ventricle becomes thick (hypertrophied). If the muscle becomes too thick and is no longer able to function efficiently and handle its workload, it will eventually fail (congestive heart failure). All this meant to me at the time was my newborn was going to have surgery the first week of his life. This is sadly the only fix for COA because a surgeon has to cut out the narrowed segment and sews the two healthy ends of the aorta back together, reconstructing the arch and establishing normal blood flow through the vessel.

The doctor went on to say that he may also have an interrupted Aortic Arch. Interrupted aortic arch (IAA) is the absence or discontinuation of a portion of the aortic arch. Due to the view he could not rule it out but he said it was also slight possibility. This would also need open heart surgery to be repaired. IAA is a very rare heart defect (3 in million) and If he did have this then it could be related to a chromosome issue called DiGeorge syndrome. He did not recommend me to get an amniocentesis done due to the risk (1 in 200 chance of something going wrong) and it was just a slight possibility of him having this issue. We have to go monthly for checkup and we are hoping that on our next visit he can get a better view of Baby Z’s heart!

We have once a month appointments with UT High Risk to check his growth, he is growing like a weed and my doctor there informed me that babies with chromosome issues do not grow well and did not think we needed the amniocentesis either. We have once a month centering appointments at Lisa Ross Birthing Center and the once a month visits with the pediatric cardiologist. Baby Z is getting lots of attention!

I am very thankful that this was caught early and it is fixable.  It is very stressful knowing something is wrong with your baby but knowing he will lead a normal healthy life makes all that stress melt away. I will keep everyone updated on his progress.