Thursday, December 22, 2016

Our Journey Through Fetal Medicine: Ureter Cell/Ureterocele, Tomato/Tomato

Tuesday we went back to Odessa expecting a quick visit (or as quick as they get around there). Luckily we got to see our original specialist this time. He might come into the room in bright yellow "scrubs" head to toe with chest hair beaming at the top, but that man is the greatest doctor ever. I love him. And for Christmas I may get him a Tommy Bahama gift card.

He went into more detail with what was seen on the MRI. A combination of my native Arkansas tongue and not knowing any medical jargon soon played out. He began to describe that on the MRI an ureterocele was confirmed. In the past I thought they were saying ureter cell and then I thought ureteral seal. Those things are made up; they do not exist. But an ureterocele is very real and may have been the nasty little culprit all along.

Let me see if I can get this straight...

An ureterocele is a birth defect that happens when the intricately designed ureter (connects kidney to bladder) and the intricately designed bladder do not fuse together perfectly. The ureterocele fills with fluid. In diagrams it almost looks like a blister. The biggest cause for concern with these little guys is kidney damage.

What they believe happened was this ureterocele formed and when it filled with fluid got stuck in the urethra (Connects the bladder to outside world). That cause the bladder obstruction that we first thought was LUTO. As AnnLouise grew the ureterocele was pulled by the ureter (as it is still connected to it) and ultimately popped the ureterocele out of the urethra. This allowed her bladder to drain and have normal amniotic fluid levels but had left lots of questions of how that happened.

Now. We have this situation where she has an ureterocele that is no longer in the urethra but could still be dangerous for the kidney. When she is born they will run tests to confirm all of this. Her surgery to remove this ureterocele may be basic in the big scheme of things. They will most likely use a laser scope to go through the urethra and remove the ureterocele. From what I gather this is about a 30 minute procedure.

We will have to talk to Houston and of course be patient as they continue to monitor her during and after pregnancy. They may decide to wait on the surgery as it seems she has at least 1 good kidney, a functioning bladder, good heart & lungs. But they may decide to do it immediately. Either way we will be in Houston. Doc told us Tuesday if this is all that is going on then we could be looking at a week in Houston after delivery!

I shouldn't get my hopes up like this, but I can just barely contain myself. The thought of all we've been through and now we may be looking at a 30 minute surgery and 1 week in the hospital. Sign me up.

My friend DeeAnn gave me a sign several years ago that says "Faith is not belieiving God can but knowing God will." Through this process faith has taken a deeper meaning for me. Yes, I had faith in God. I had faith He had us lifted high. But now I'm intimately learning faith...that through the blood of Christ we can approach the throne of God with prayer and worship and know without fear that He who promised is faithful (see Hebrew 10:19-23).

You all have encouraged us every step of this journey. Today I hope I can encourage you. As the prophet Habakkuk once wrote and the writer of Hebrews recalled, "For, yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." (Hebrews 10:37-38)

BUT! We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (Hebrews 10:39)

I'm speaking on this topic on New Year's Day at the sweet church I grew up in. If you're in the area, it would be great to see you at Calvary Baptist! Until then...let us be those people who have faith and perservere.



  1. Ave- I'm so humbled and in awe of your beautiful faith and spirit through all this. My mom has told me a bit of what has been going on. And I'm just so thankful for your heart and what God is using your story to do... for things you may never even know about.You're truly a light and an amazing strong woman of God! So proud to know you and will continue to keep you in our prayers. ❤️You - Mal

    1. Duck!! Thank you so much! I've thought about you during this journey and how you have displayed your faith through your own medical journey. Miss you, girl! Thanks so much for your sweet words!

  2. Ann Louise is already a blessing to so many. I can't wait til she is hear and we can see her sweet face! Prayers for you my friend!!

  3. Avery,
    I wish I had read this sooner! I would have loved to see you and hear you speak! I have been following your journey since maybe November and keeping up through Jennifer at school. I have been pouring out prayers for you, Cash, Henry, and AnnLouise! I love catching up and seeing what God has done each time I check in to read your posts. Brooklyn has been checking in as well!

    1. Samantha, thank you for the prayers and for the sweet words! We have been so blessed. Tell sweet Brooklyn hello for me. I miss her!

  4. Avery and Cash - Thank you for sharing your journey with us. It has been a blessing to see faith and miracles in action. I believe that the healing your sweet baby girl has seen so far has been a true miracle. Prayers for a safe delivery for Mommy and AnnLouise! I can't wait to see pictures of your sweet baby.