Let's Start at the Very Beginning...

On September 15th, Katy and Andy found out that Baby Jacob has a life-threatening condition called Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH). CDH is a very serious condition in which a hole in the diaphragm allows abdominal organs to move into the chest restricting lung development. In Jacob's case, his liver is also squishing his heart and displacing other organs. CDH occurs in about 1 out of every 3,000 pregnancies and has a mortality rate of 50%. To make matters more complicated, Jacob has Right-Sided CDH which only occurs in about 10% of CDH cases and is typically more severe. They are so blessed to have found this out when they did, or Baby Jacob would have surely died at birth.

They will be delivering at UW Hospital in Seattle and later transferred to Seattle Children’s. Thank you to everyone who has already begun praying, and everyone who will now. Baby Jacob is blessed to have all of you thinking and praying for him.

Welcome To Holland-Sept 18, 2011

On September 15th Katy and Andy found out that Baby Jacob has a life-threatening condition called Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH). CDH is a condition in which a hole in the diaphragm, or in Jacob's case an undeveloped diaphragm, allows abdominal organs to move into the chest and restrict lung development. It is also squishing his heart and the aorta. We are so blessed to have found this out now or Baby Jacob would have died at birth.

They are going to be getting further diagnosis at UW, possibly a fetal MRI, and later delivering @ UW Hospital in Seattle. Shortly after birth, if needed, Jacob will be put on a ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) device, a temporary bypass technique used to oxygenate the blood and allow the lungs to rest and develop. Luckily, Seattle is one of a few places that has the device.

They aren't sure what to expect in the future days/weeks, but their perinatologist says they are in the best of hands. Both UW Hospital & Seattle Children's are renowned for their pediatric care. Thank you to everyone who has already begun praying, and everyone who will now. Baby Jacob is blessed to have all of you thinking and praying for him.

Here is a very informative site describing Jacob's problems, prognosis, and what to expect in the upcoming weeks/months:


A Facebook Posting From Debbie, Katy's mom:

About 10 days ago we suspected there may be something wrong with Baby Jacob.  Katy was scared and asked what we were going to do if it was something really bad.  I sent her the email printed below but I really believed that the baby would only need a small surgery and all would be fine.  Tests have revealed that Jacob can't live without immediate and extreme measures.  As it seems, we are going to "Holland" unless God, in His infinite mercy will reroute us to "Italy".  As you can imagine, we drift between denial and terrifying reality.

It is clear that financial resources far exceeding all our family's and extended family's will be needed to care for Baby Jacob.  I hope I will be able to open a fund at Bank of America for people to donate.  I will post the information as soon as possible.

Below is the email "Welcome to Holland" I sent to Katy on September 8th and her response:

From: djcountry77@hotmail.com
To: krondeau88@hotmail.com
Subject: Welcome to Holland
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2011 04:37:18 -0700

Welcome to Holland
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising
a child with a disability--to try to help people who
have not shared that unique experience to understand
it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this...

When you are going to have a baby, it's like planning
a fabulous vacation trip--to Italy. You buy a bunch
of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The
Coliseum, the Michelangelo David, the gondolas in
Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian.
It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally
arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several
hours later, the plane lands, the stewardess comes in
and says "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!" you say. "What do you mean, Holland? I
signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy.
All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've
landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to
a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of
pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different

So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you
must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a
whole new group of people you would have never met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than
Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been
there for a while and you catch your breath, you look
around, and you begin to notice that Holland has
windmills, Holland has tulips, Holland even has

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from
Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful
time they had there. And for the rest of your life,
you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go.
That's what I had planned."

The pain of that will never, ever, ever go away,
because the loss of that dream is a very significant

But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you
didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy
the very special, the very lovely things about

-Written by Emily Perl Kingsley

I have remembered this story from many, many years ago.  It made an impression on me.  I wanted to share it with you.

Katy, I don't think you're going to Holland but you asked what we would do if you did.  We would go with you, stick together, find our way together and discover many beautiful things about Holland.  God would never let you arrive there if you couldn't navigate through it.  He would walk with you all the years of your life.

Katy's response on September 8th: "Thanks, Mom. It's wonderful to have such a supportive family. I'm thankful to have visited Italy, and I just hope Holland isn't on God's itinerary for me."

So Many Questions...

Sept 20, 2011 -I wanted to update everyone and thank you for your continued prayers. Tomorrow, Andy and Katy will be meeting with a team of doctors at UW to get a better idea of Baby Jacob's condition. They will also learn more about the treatment at delivery and after birth among many other things. We will update everyone tomorrow. 

Psalm 139:13-16
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Getting Acquainted

Update from Andy....
Sept 22, 2011 -Yesterday we spent 5 hours with the team of doctors at UW. Katy had another ultrasound confirming that Jacob's CDH is on the right side. This only occurs in about 10% of CDH cases and can be more critical than left-sided CDH. It was a little nerve wracking when a team of 3 radiologists were brought in to look more closely. One piece of good news-We were able to see the left lung elongated today, but the right one was virtually nonexistent because it was being squished by the liver. It appears that Jacob's organs are able to shift in and out of his chest cavity which is a good thing if it has allowed his lungs to elongate to grow and mature at times. This is our hope. 
We had a lot of our questions answered and mapped out the first stages of a birth plan. If all goes well and Katy can remain pregnant, Jacob will be delivered around October 28th or so. Jacob's prognosis really won't be able to be determined until he is born since every case of CDH is different and every baby's body manages the related effects differently. We just have to hope and continue to pray for the best.
Thank you, everyone, for your continued prayers and support!

Blessings All Around

Update from Katy...

Sept 25, 2011 -On Friday we saw the cardiologist and Jacob had and echocardiogram. It is VERY common for CDH babies to have heart defects, some that are fatal. Jacob's heart looks completely normal! At this stage of development it can be very difficult to see the heart since the rib bones have already started to calcify, but the doctor said she was able to get really good pictures of Jacob's heart. This makes it easier for her to make a determination on the function and health of the heart. She was very confident that his heart is fine and normal! : ) He will get another echo within a couple of days after birth just to make sure 
nothing was missed since his heart is squished and not so easily seen.

Also, someone anonymously paid Landon's Pre-K tuition!  What a sweet blessing that is for our family during this crisis. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Blog 101

Sept 26, 2011 -Hey Everyone! So I just wanted to share a couple things about the blog and how you can stay updated and interact. Under each post you can comment just like Facebook. Below I have taken a screen shot of the last post and in the red box you will see where it says 0 comments. Just click on that and a box will pop up for you make a comment.

There are two ways to stay updated on the blog. You can have email updates sent to you when a new post has been created. Just enter your email into the "follow by email" box.

The other way is to become a follower. Click on "Join this site" and it will have you create an account or sign in if you already have a Google Account, Yahoo, Twitter, etc.

If you don't have any of these accounts you can create one.

Naming Him Jacob

Sept 27, 2011 -Many people have asked Katy why she wanted to name Jacob, Jacob. Here is her story in her own words.
I had this pressing feeling on my heart like that was what his name should be. I didn't pick it. It came to me. Since about the middle of my pregnancy, I have felt that God wanted me to name him Jacob. We were driving over Snoqualmie Pass when the urge was so strong, I just asked Andy if we could name the baby that. I can't even explain where the name came from except the way my spirit was moved, it had to have been from the Holy Spirit.   
God has always had an extra strong presence during this pregnancy. We were at Mass one day in August, and I had a strong feeling that something was wrong-maybe wrong isn't the right word. I had a feeling that God's hand was on Jacob. That He was ever present in Baby Jacob's unborn life but I didn't know why. I hadn't told anyone that I had been feeling this for quite a while. The choir was singing a song and the words were "I have a maker. He formed my heart. And before even time began, my life was in his hands. He knows my name. He knows my every thought. He sees each tear that falls and hears me when I call." I started crying almost uncontrollably. It was an amazingly overwhelming feeling that my baby was in God's hands and He had some special plan for him. (At that point, we had no reason to think anything was abnormal about this pregnancy.) Although we like to pick uncommon names for our kids, I knew it had to be Jacob.

Seattle Children's Hospital

Update from Andy!
Oct 4, 2011 -On Thursday we meet with one of the Pediatric Surgeons and a case counselor from Seattle Children's Hospital. They gave us more details into what events we can expect to take place on Jacob's birth day. They answered more of our questions, even if some of them weren't quite black and white. Especially how much contact they will allow us to have with Jacob.  
The counselor took us on a tour of the NICU wing of the hospital. Katy and I felt prepared to enter the NICU, but upon entering it was difficult to hold in the emotions. It really put us in the "this is going to be where Jacob is for the first weeks/months of his life." mindset. It was wonderful to tour the hospital, but quite an emotional roller coaster for us. It's hard to believe such a large facility is dedicated to sick children. 
So what's next? We continue to be in the waiting stage to see what Jacob presents doctors with. The Peds Surgeon seems confident in the success of the surgery, and states that Pulmonary Hypertension is more of the underlying complication with CDH babies, which we already knew. Being that Jacob's outcome is still uncertian, we were told to expect to be at Childrens for at least 6 weeks to 4 months! Yet another eyeopener today. We expected we were in for the long haul (2 months), but weren't prepared for the possibility of 4 months...120+ days! Next Wednesday we go back to UW for more appointments with more doctors.

A Change of Plans

Update from Andy & Katy

Oct 6, 2011 -Today we met again with UW medical staff to discuss Jacob's birth plan. It continues to be a "when Jacob is born we'll know what we're up against" plan. However, the neonatologist informed us of the spectrum of possible expectations. He believes Jacob will fall somewhere in the middle of best/worst case scenarios. He was wonderful at answering our many questions and further educating us on the medical history and care of CDH babies and the most recent developments in neonate care.

Following the neonatologist appointment, we met with Katy's OB/GYN. She is concerned that Katy won't make it to our original plan of delivering on the 28th. Katy is already dilated @ 3 cm. If Katy continues to dilate to 4-5 cm by next Wednesday's appointment, she will be admitted to UW Hospital.

Katy's current status, history of quick dilation and delivery, on top of her excess of amniotic fluid and contractions, led to a change in plans. Our current plan is delivery on the 21st. On that day, an aminocentesis will be done first to ensure Jacob's lung tissue is mature enough for ventilation. Katy will be 38 weeks along at that time.

Thank you to everyone for you love, support, and most especially your prayers. Please continue to pray for Katy and Baby Jacob. Pray for Katy to remain pregnant as long as possible to ensure the best possible outcomes for Jacob.

The Waiting Game

Oct 9, 2011 -Katy awoke to strong contractions in the early morning hours today that were about four minutes apart. After some observation she was admitted to University of Washington Medical Center this morning. She will stay there until Baby Jacob is delivered. Right now we're just in the waiting game. She is not progressing at the moment which is good since it would be best if he could stay in there a bit longer. As soon as we know more I will update you all.

In the Home Stretch

Oct 17, 2011 -The University of Washington Medical Center, has been Katy's, Andy's, and Jacob's home for the past week. Still no Jacob, which although we all can't wait to see his adorable little face, we are thankful there hasn't been any more labor episodes.

Katy's contractions have been fluctuating in strength and intervals since their arrival last Sunday. Jacob is now at 37 weeks, which means if Katy goes into labor the doctors aren't as concerned. The question still remains as to whether Jacob's lung tissue has developed enough to allow him to breath independently and be able to endure further procedures. Ideally, doctors are hoping to make it to Friday. Katy will be induced and Jacob's birth should be soon after.

Katy and Andy have now successfully exhausted all their TV shows that they were behind on, eaten every food item on the not-so-wonderful hospital menu and in the cafeteria, and toured the entire hospital numerous times on their wheelchair outings. They have much appreciated the many guests who have assisted in passing the time.

As the anticipation of Jacob's birth gets closer. Katy and Andy are excited, yet they still wish Jacob could stay safe in the womb from the procedures yet to come.

Thank you everyone for your continued prayers, thoughts, support, and generosity for the Rondeau family.


Update from the Rondeau's
Oct 19, 2011 -It was confirmed with doctors last night that on Thursday evening Katy will undergo an amniocentesis, a procedure that samples her amniotic fluid for indicators of Jacob's lungs maturity. If they appear mature enough to sustain the medical procedures necessary upon birth, they will continue with the processes of induction. If not, then we will wait until Jacob is ready; which by the looks of it will be soon anyways as Katy's contractions are more intensified and regular. If Jacob's labor/delivery is anything like Landon's (6.5 hours) and Hazel's (1.75 hours), he may be born Thursday night. After birth, we have no definitive say on further procedures or outcomes. Please continue to pray for Jacob's lung development and for the medical team who will be in charge of his care.

Showing your Love and Support

Oct 19, 2011

Many have asked how they can help or what specifically they should be praying for. Andy's and Katy's friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) sums it up nicely.
An excerpt from the above tab "Words from a Mommy of a CDH Survivor":
I guess what I want to end with, is to tell those people who will love, support, and pray for the Rondeaus as the go on this journey, that it is a ROLLERCOASTER. There are SO many highs and lows with CDH.  They will need to have you celebrate the little successes (like diaper changes or weaning the ventilator settings “just a little”) and they will need tremendous support during their lows (and unfortunately, there will be those lows). They will need prayers, loving thoughts, offers of help, and listening ears. It is horrible feeling to see your child hooked up to SO many things and not being able to do anything to help them.  You lose a sense of time and place, just having to wait and see how they do, each hour of each day and not knowing when there is an end in sight.

Sitting by a NICU bedside hour after hour is exhausting- watching those monitors will become their life, so give them all you have. Love on them, tell them you care, comment on their blog with your wishes of quick healing for Jacob.  Pray for no ECMO, stable days and nights, a repair surgery soon after he is born, lots of lung tissue under all those organs, and peace for Katy and Andy to help make decisions with the team of medical professionals that will be caring for Jacob.