Thursday, September 20, 2007

Her Old Self

Wynn had her follow-up appointment with the surgeon on Tuesday, and all is well. She has healed very well and got to jump straight into a "no dietary restrictions" lifestyle. We had anticipated that she'd need to be on mushy-but-not-quite-solid foods for awhile, but the doctor said she can have it all.

After I fed her a graham cracker or two Tuesday evening, she got this look on her face that said Hey! You're feeding me FOOD again! Then the begging started. She pointed for more graham crackers. She pointed for goldfish. She got progressively happier as each snack she asked for was given. Within an hour, she'd turned back into her old self. She was rolling on the floor, giggling, and kicking her feet in the air. Suddenly, she understood the concept of "giving five" and handed out five with great generosity to Scott and I. (She gave Ranger five too - but on the nose, which he wasn't too happy about.)

While we managed to maintain her weight through the hard times of the liquid diet, our girl still wants to grow. She's packing away the food - after what I'd describe as a lumberjack's breakfast yesterday, she pretty much passed out in her bed for over three hours. With a full tummy, she could finally sleep soundly.

We feel like we have our daughter back again - cheerful and funny (with moments of toddler stubbornness thrown in to keep us from getting too complacent).


Saturday, September 15, 2007

New Skills

Hiking at the Nature Center with Baba

Lookin' Cute in Footie Pajamas

Flipping Through Curious George, Of Course

Wynn's recovery has been going smoothly ... for the most part. We had a couple crabby days at first; she hated that she wasn't allowed to feed herself, figured out how to ditch the no-no sleeves in her sleep, and had an upset stomach from the antibiotics. It was during these trying times that Scott and I discovered why footie pajamas were invented: They make your child look so darn cute, you can almost forget the stress of taking care of them.

There were times those first few days home when Wynn was only happy when she was either a) asleep or b) being held. She'd insist that she was hungry but not allow me to set her down for even a second to make her some food. She's settled down about that now, but I'd say she's still more clingy than she was before surgery.

We're already noticing that she's making new sounds. :-) She suddenly came out with a "Gamma" when my mom arrived one morning, and this morning she tried to say Ranger's name for the first time. (It came out "Rahrah", but at least she's trying.) Sometimes she'll sit in her carseat or the stroller and seem to be practicing making new sounds. She'll repeat vocalizations over and over again; it's as if she's trying out her new mouth to see how it works.

She has also figured out that she can drink from a cup, which comes in handy with her being on a liquid diet for two weeks. Liquids used to come out her nose when she tried to drink, but now she's got the moves down and LOVES it. Yoplait makes drinkable yogurt for kids, and she grabs one of those little bottles every now and then and gulps it down. Today she drank an entire carton of chocolate milk at IKEA. Yes, drinking from a cup is such a simple thing, but it really does make us beam with joy to see her do something she couldn't do before.

I've gotten quite good at making liquid meals for her. Some of the stuff she'll drink turns my stomach (chicken, peas, and macaroni pureed with chicken broth - served cold. Ugh.) Here's the recipe for her absolute favorite, which is tasty enough for us to drink too...

Mix the follwing ingredients in the blender:
a dollop of canned pumpkin
about 2 T. of pasteurized egg stuff
a splash of milk
one graham cracker
cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves
It's especially good if you warm it up in the microwave and put a little whipped cream on top. Yummy!


Saturday, September 8, 2007

Home Again :-)

The pictures show Wynn the day of surgery - not at all happy - and right before they took out the IV and sent her on her way - tired, but so much more content.

Wynn was discharged from the hospital around 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon. She'd made a big leap in her recovery in the afternoon - eventually, she was parading around the nurses' station in her diaper, pulling a toy stroller and baby doll behind her. The nurses coming on duty for the afternoon all said, "Well, she seems to be feeling a lot better." We had to carry her back to her room when she started insisting on going into the rooms of neighboring patients.

She slept pretty well last night - mostly just flopping around like a penguin because of her no-no sleeves. She slept most of the night on the air mattress, using one or both of us as pillows the majority of the time.

She put up quite the struggle about not being able to feed herself her cereal this morning, but after she watched Scott make a show of feeding me my bowl of Cheerios (not our normal procedure, by the way), she decided that it was okay for him to feed her too.

I made a trip to the grocery store to find easily mushable food; for the next few weeks her diet will consist of nothing thicker than mashed potatoes. We worked so hard to get her to gain all that "good" weight since we got home from China; we really don't want her losing any of it now that she's on this liquid diet. (Fortunately, milkshakes are not only allowed but encouraged by her doctor.)

The pain seems to have subsided substantially; she had plain old infant Tylenol at 7 o'clock this morning and hasn't shown any indication of pain since.

We're all so happy that she's bouncing back so quickly ... and that we're not eating hospital cafeteria food anymore.


Friday, September 7, 2007

Breaking News!

Just got off the phone with Ann ... Wynn did eat a serving of sherbet for lunch and it has stayed down -- she is playful and laughing -- the nurses have gotten Tylenol into her without using the IV line and not orally (trying to keep a clean blog here) -- and papers are being written up with the assumption that she will be coming home later tonight!

The lounge chair that transforms into a single bed was actually OK for sleeping on (kudos to Gillette), but I'd just as soon get the inflatable mattress out and set it up next to Wynn's bed here at home. Looks like that's what will happen. :)


A long night, indeed

I stayed in the hospital room with Wynn overnight, and yes, both of us are completely wiped out. Our little pumpkin just could not stay asleep - while I could tell she was getting better about the pain in her mouth and throat as the night went on, that only meant more blood and saliva was getting into her tummy and giving her discomfort there. And, as Ann mentioned, many soggy diapers. So I would say we were up every 45 minutes or so. (A hospital is a strange place at 4 AM...)

It wasn't until about 6:30 this morning that she really achieved a deep sleep state. I went down and got some breakfast - looking like heck, but they're used to it.

She was up by 7:30. We played a little bit of "Where's Wynn?", watched some Chinese animation I'd brought along (she actually paid attention for about 15 minutes), and had a bit of Jello they'd brought up for her and some yogurt from my breakfast. She was initially uncertain about eating (shake of the head "no") but once she had a bite of gelatin, she really got pleasure from eating again. Seeing her *want* to eat more brought a few tears to my eyes, of exhaustion and joy.

She fell asleep until about 9:00. The duty nurse and I got her up and disconnected her sensors and IV line, and took off her no-no sleeves, so that I could take her for a little stroll around the floor. We also tried to give her an oral dose of Tylenol -- getting her on semi-solid foods and being able to take oral pain meds are our necessary goals to reach before she can be discharged -- but then she barfed up everything she'd swallowed that morning, all over me.

While that was disappointing, it wasn't entirely unexpected -- there was a lot of blood and saliva in her stomach, and toddlers seem to have a tough time handling that. The silver linings to the incident are: 1) she is not having much trouble with swallowing anymore, and 2) getting the accumulated gunk out of her tummy may actually help her keep food down the next time we try giving her something. (And I'd packed extra clothes. Bonus -- it all washed out!)

I've come home to get a real shower, catch a few winks, and update all of you. Mama has the fort covered down at Gillette. We have not heard anything yet about if or when Wynn will be discharged; obviously we will have to take that as it comes.

As promised, here are a couple of pictures. --Scott

Wynn in her surgical gown before the operation, looking very much like a little yellow duck...

Being comforted by her mama yesterday afternoon. The no-no sleeves are just Velcroed around the arm, but are rigid enough to keep the elbow from flexing. She of course figured out how to get out of them at about midnight last night.

The Night

She can sleep for about 45 minutes at a time and then wakes up crying.

They've written orders so she can have morphene every two hours now to help control the pain.

She was up vomiting during the night - bloody drainage that she's been swallowing. She hasn't had any food or drink yet. It seems to hurt a LOT when she swallows.

She's on an IV, so she's going through diapers like crazy.

The plan was to take her home today, but that's up in the air at this point.

Wish us luck.


Thursday, September 6, 2007

A Brief Update

We left for the hospital at 6 this morning and just got home. I'm a little tired right now, but I wanted to get an update everyone on the surgery.

Her surgery went well. There were no complications, and she ended up sleeping in our laps pretty much the entire day. She's having some problems with the pain; her palate repair was bigger than what they usually see, so the tissue really had to be stretched - ouch! Before I left tonight, the surgeon gave our nurse the okay to continue giving Wynn morphine through the night to help ease the pain. Hopefully, she'll get some good sleep tonight and will be more herself tomorrow.

During the times when she was awake today she was strong - sitting up by herself, kicking her feet to complain about having her diaper changed, showing some interest in watching Curious George on TV. She HATES the no-no sleeves, which we expected going in. The staff in the recovery room told us, "Wow! She woke up mad. We gave her morphene thinking it was just pain, but she's plain old MAD at those sleeves." Yep. Totally saw that one coming.

I made it through the day without actually crying, but I did well up when:

• I was holding her and started to wonder whether her foster mom had been there to hold her after her lip repair surgery in China.

• We walked into the recovery room, heard her crying and immediately realized that her "voice" had changed. It makes sense that changing the size and shape of her mouth would change her voice, but we hadn't thought of it until we heard her.

• When I got home tonight and didn't have her with me.

We're hopeful that she'll be able to come home tomorrow, but we'll just have to wait and see. We'll post more details and an update (and pictures of her in the much loathed no-no sleeves) later tomorrow.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Back to Work

It's been a very busy couple of weeks, which explains why we've been remiss in updating the blog. I'm back at work now, so Wynn's spending her days with Grandma; we're so pleased that my mom and Wynn are getting to spend this time together. :-)

We're also happy that Wynn is adjusting so well to having me gone during the day. She waves bye-bye when I leave in the morning and gives me a big hug when I get home. It has been a little tougher on me. We had Open House at school one day last week, so I had to be gone from 7 AM until 8 PM. I didn't fully realize how much I'd missed Wynn until I got home that night as she was getting ready for bed. I went in and held her and thought, "I haven't hugged you all day", and it really made me feel ... I don't know - Sad? Guilty? I don't know if I can put a name to the exact emotion; I just know it was a strong one.

Tomorrow Wynn goes in for surgery, and we're feeling some pretty strong emotions about that too. I'm the one who frets when the dog's at the vet getting his teeth cleaned, so the notion of having her in an operating room is, needless to say, daunting. We have enough history of medical procedures between us to know that she's going to feel discomfort, confusion, frustration, and boredom. Now we just have to figure out how to comfort her through all those things. We are fortunate in that she seems to understand SO MUCH of what we tell her; here's hoping that she can decipher enough of what's going to happen in the next few days for her to understand that this is all being done for her benefit and with love.

We'll update the blog in the next few days to let you now how she's doing. Thanks to all our friends and family for their kind words of support this week. It means a lot to know so many people are out their rooting for Wynn's speedy recovery.

Meanwhile, here are some recent pictures to show what we've been up to. The monkey backpack is fantastic! Its tail is a leash that we hold, so she gets the freedom of walking a bit while we feel safe knowing she's never more than four feet away.

I love the picture on the dock because it's such a "Minnesota kid" picture - late summer lighting, a boat, a lake, a smile.

Her expression and body language in the stroller picture just make us laugh; it looks like she's going to run for office on a "Are you sick of those clowns in Washington?" platform.