Sunday, February 27, 2011

Good Riddance February!

As hard has January was for me, February was harder.
I kept thinking it would get better.
People kept telling me it would get better.

But it didn't. It just kept getting worse. And worse.
It was a great month for the billable hour, but other than that it was all around bad. Probably because it was a great month for billables.

It was a dark, dark month for me personally, and I hated almost every minute of it. I woke up each day (internally) kicking and screaming. Food lost its flavor. Sleep lost its restfulness.

But it wasn't all bad.

Tate's resiliency prevailed, and he came through his surgery with flying colors. (He's still hungry and on his liquid diet-- but less than one week of that left!) On the rare days I make it home before he's in bed, I get to enjoy his squealing delight to see me.

Casey's middle-of-the-night bathroom breaks became mother-son time, and he'd happily chatter about his day as he sat next to me, before I walked him to bed.

And Marcie. Marcie's a tough cookie to crack sometimes. But she still likes to sneak into our bedroom early in the morning, crawl into our bed and snuggle up with me.

I'm ever hopeful that March will champion in some warm, happy spring days . . .

A girl can dream, can't she?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Surgery Recovery and Recap

I’ve mostly blogged about Tate’s surgery day, but here are the photos to show you what it was like.  My apologies if these are repeats—

First, here are our our “before” photos—

Tate at home, in his stroller during our admissions, running all over the waiting area (he didn’t last long in the stroller).  They called us back to pre-op shortly thereafter, which was unfortunate because then we had to be contained in a small area with pretty much no toys, and one “wall” was a curtain that Tate kept sneaking under.  Fortunately, our surgeons were ready early, so they took Tate back to surgery early.

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  These are our “after” photos:  The first two are in our hospital room around 6:00 p.m. (a couple hours after surgery).  You can see that Tate’s cheeks are a bit puffy, and his mouth is oozy with blood.  It wasn’t pleasant to look at, but it wasn’t unexpected either.  They had “no nos” on him, which are soft bands that prevent him from bending his elbows and sticking things (like his fingers) in his mouth.


He did drink from a cup before he went down for the night.  We could not really get him to drink from a bottle.  I think his mouth was too sore, and he didn’t want the bottle in it.  We started out with Tylenol, and when he woke up a couple hours later, we went to ibuprofen, and then finally settled on some Tylenol with codeine.  That was around 4:00 a.m.  This picture is of Tate closer to 5:00 a.m.—his first post-surgery smile.  The Tylenol with codeine kick-started him being up, and then he wanted to walk all over the place.  We spent an hour or two just wandering the halls, he and I.  He’s pretty cute—and he sure wasn’t talking or making noise, so the nurses didn’t seem to mind.


I began texting Jason around 4:00 a.m.  Our plan had been for him to return to the hospital at 9:00 a.m.  But after a sleepless night, I wanted him to come earlier.  So my texts got increasingly desperate sounding.  Until, finally, at 6:00 a.m. or 7:00 a.m., Tate and I both fell fast asleep.  When Jason did arrive around 9:00 a.m., Tate was ready for his next dose of Tylenol with codeine.  We drove all over the halls in this car they had, which Tate loved.  And when the activity room opened at 10:00 a.m., Tate wandered in there—he loved it.  They had a ball popper and lots of instruments, which he loved playing with.  This purple gown was his second because of all the drooling—and he did get a third gown at one point in time—you can see how wet it got.

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Tate did crash again for a bit, thankfully allowing us some rest.  IMG_3889

Tate woke up just in time for Dr. Holmes to check on us and discharge us a day early.  So here’s Tate ready to go (and you can see our room in the background), and then in the car. 

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Marcie and Casey were playing with my mom, but so excited to see Tate.  Casey immediately shared Ali the Alligator, his class pet, which Casey got to bring home over the holiday break because Casey will be star student next week at school.  Tate wasn’t interested in Ali (or anything else, except me) all weekend.


Tate was mostly angry, angry, angry about not getting solids for the first couple days.  We were able to manage his pain pretty well, but not his hunger.  He’s on a full liquid diet for another two weeks, and they told us we’d have to feed him every couple hours—but we didn’t really anticipate that happening all night long.  Though it did.  All week long.  On Wednesday night, he lasted one three-hour stretch.  Our plastic surgeon was surprised by this—he thought Tate should be sleeping longer at night (he also said Tate’s mouth looks great!).  On Thursday night, it was every 3 hours.  And last night, he went a whole long stretch—like five hours!  So far tonight, he’s been down for four hours so far.  Fingers crossed he’ll sleep all night. . .

The first few times we were able to get a bottle into his mouth, he still crooked his finger, even with the no-nos on, like he was going to stick it in his mouth.  And a couple time she tried to “pretend” to hold his bottle, and then he’d try to stick his finger in his mouth while holding the bottle.  But he seems to have stopped doing that now.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Getting Discharged Early!

Tate is a super star!
I wasn't feeling that happy about it at 4:00 this morning, when he was traipsing up and down the halls of Children's hospital. Or at 6:00 this morning, when he was still traipsing up and down the halls. Because I like sleep.

But I knew it was a good sign that the Tylenol with codeine alleviated his pain and helped him behave more like his normal self. They removed his IV in the early morning hours. They removed his pulse oxygen monitor around the same time. And then, a couple hours after the Tylenol with codeine, he crashed. Blessedly. Because it meant I got to crash for a couple hours with him.

When he woke around 9:00am, I could tell he was in pain, and they gave him another dose of the medicine close to 10:00am, at which point he led me and Jason to this toy car he'd seen in the hallway, and he insisted we push him all over the place. He eventually landed in the activity room, where he played and played and played until around noon, when he became fussy again.

Lucky for us, his surgeon was around and he came by to check Tate out-- he commented about how fantastic Tate was doing, told us that some patients really do need the Tylenol with codeine every three hours instead of four, and then said we could go home this afternoon!

Tate finally calmed down and is sleeping. Jason is trying to nap, too. When Tate wakes, he'll get another dose of the Tylenol with codeine, and hopefully he'll be nice and calm for our drive home.

Keep the good thoughts and prayers going-- for a speedy and painless-as-possible recovery, and for the grace to handle whatever comes our way. . .

I do have lots of photos- but they are on my camera, so check back later and I'll update this post with some photos from our stay.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Surgery Day! (With Updates! and Pictures!)

Today is the day.

We leave for the hospital around 12:30pm for Tate's surgery. I missed the pre-surgery appointment, but luckily my mom was in town to accompany Tate and Jason.

I've told Tate what's going to happen today.

He's already been cut off of solids-- though we don't anticipate he'll be truly cranky about that until around noon. I'm planning (hoping) to blog later, after the surgery. We'll see how things go in the hospital, though.

Tate-- before the hunger hits. . .

On the way to the hospital. . .

Even though Tate hadn't had anything to eat since 6:30pm last night, he was in pretty good spirits-- bouncing and singing on the way to the hospital. Running all over the waiting room. Following bigger kids around.

When we were taken to the pre-op area, Tate continued to run a bit wild. He kept sneaking under the curtain to see what was going on in the rest of the pre-op area.

About an hour earlier than expected, Dr. Holmes appeared. His bilateral cleft palate surgery-- the one before Tate's-- had gone well and he was ready to get started. So we finished up the paperwork and off Tate went. That was really hard. It was the first time Tate has been handed off to a stranger of any kind in a strange place since we met him. And the squawking and the expression on his face as they were carrying him away-- it was terrible.

Ten minutes after we said our good-byes, our ENT was back in the waiting room-- ear tubes all in. All is good.

We grabbed some quick food, then returned to the waiting area. (There was a family there that was clearly very upset, and the one thing I did not want was to sit across from them-- because I was already feeling so emotional about Tate going under anesthesia.) We started up a movie, promptly fell asleep, and the next thing I knew, a nurse was calling our name.

We went back to the consult area, where we learned that everything was, as hoped, "routine," that the repair went well, and that we'd follow up with the doctor in a week. Back to the waiting room for what we were initially told would be another hour for Tate to come out of the anesthesia, we were surprised when, less than 20 minutes later, I was called back to the post-op area. This was because they couldn't calm poor little Tate down.

I admit, his appearance was pretty shocking-- bloodied, swollen, and clearly angry. I did my best, but I couldn't calm him either. So that told them it was pain and not concern causing the crying, and they gave him some Demerol. He fell back asleep until it was time to transfer to our room.

So here we are, in our room. It's a beautiful room. The nurses have been super accommodating. At one point, when Tate's vitals were being checked, he woke up really cranky. He really wanted my gatorade bottle-- so we got a bottle from the nurse, filled it with pedialyte and apple juice, and he gobbled it down. Then he had some gatorade, too. He was still unsettled, so we opted for some regular Tylenol (no codeine-- we'll see how it goes), and he fell back asleep. That he is eating so soon after surgery is a huge surprise-- and terrific news. He is still fussy and oozy -- and I know the hardest part is ahead of us.

Here's Jason squeezing the apple juice into Tate's mouth. And you can see the crook of Tate's hand-- it's like he's wanting to stick that finger into his mouth, as has been his habit, but he knows he can't get his hands in his mouth with the no-no on his arm.

Please keep sending up prayers or good thoughts or whatever your thing is for us, for a relatively painless and quick recovery, and for the grace to handle whatever comes our way. . .

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Baptism and First Reconciliation

This week has been a doozy.

First, the good. Here are a couple photos of Tate's baptism:

Jason ended up in urgent care then to the 24 hour urgent care/hospital for more tests while I was at the First Reconciliation with the kids. (I hadn't planned to take them all, but didn't have a choice.) Tate thought it was his job to: (1) squawk throughout the service. Very loudly; (2) run all over the place; (3) play "you can't catch me." (This is new for him.)

Tate completed his confession with "Father Casey," which he thought was hilarious.

Of course, between balancing the kids I didn't get very many photos. And by "very many" I mean I got one. Of course I can't figure out how to sync off my iphone at the moment, so you'll have to trust me that he looked great. . .

Monday, February 07, 2011


This weekend was Tate's baptism. It was sort of a last minute thing because of his surgery this coming Friday, and Deacon Ron was so kind to fit us in.

We dressed Tate in his white Chinese outfit, with dragons on the front. It fit perfectly.
He also wore his brand-new big boy shoes.

The ceremony was brief and distracting because we kind of had to chase Tate all over the place.

He laughed when the water was poured over his head. Then stuck his hands in. After that, we couldn't keep his hands off the fountain at all.

After the baptism, the kids enjoyed beautiful dove cookies my sister sent.
Tate opened presents from his grandparents and a lovely card from his Godmother (who so wanted to be here but is not healthy enough to travel at the moment-- and it's not like we gave her any real notice).

Casey wrote about the experience in his journal at school today. He wrote how his grandma from North Carolina came to town. How they took a "short cut" to the church. And how Tate got "bath-tized." We kind of chuckled at that. But it's a perfectly legitimate understanding of the event.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Hello February

I feel like I work at a pretty family-friendly place. For a law firm.
  • They are generous with parent leave for adoption.
  • They are generous with paid paternity leave.
  • They provide "back-up care" for employees so that we can have a nanny come to the house so we can work.
  • They encourage telecommuting and offer good technology support.
But this month was a real doozy for me.
Pretty much the only day I did not do any work was the day I had the food poisoning/stomach flu thing going on.
There were days I didn't see the kids at all. And not because I was traveling.

But after months like this, I feel just terribly guilty. Especially when the kids are calling me at work and asking me if I can at least come home by 7:59 pm to kiss them good night and then go back to work. Or when I call to check in and hear Tate screaming in the background.

Glad that's over.

Hello February.