Thursday, August 15, 2013

We've Moved

That's right! After I broke my blog header I decided it was time to transition to Wordpress so this will be my last blog post via Blogger. If you're interested in following me, hop on over to

Here's a sneak peek of the new look! Hope to see you there.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Boggling Bravery

Ella went into surgery around 7:45 a.m. this morning and as I sit here patiently (ha!) waiting for the next few hours, I cannot get over how brave that little girl is. It's honestly mind boggling.

For those of you who have ever experienced surgery, especially for little kids, it's typical for one parent to accompany them into the OR as they are put under. We have always chose to not go in because we felt it would be easier for both the kiddo's and quite honestly, easier on us. Regardless of that decision, it's normal for you to walk with the team down to the OR and then pass off your precious bundles to the medical staff.

Even though we've let Ella go in alone in the past, I thought today might be different since she's older now and more aware of the situation. When the children's coordinator (which is genius might I add) came in, I asked if she would like either Joe or myself to go with her into surgery. She quickly replied that she wanted to go alone. I wasn't surprised but I thought she might change her mind. As it became time to make the trek to the OR we all prepared to walk together and she promptly said she wanted to go alone. I explained that she could go into surgery by herself but we'd like to walk with her. She caved and let us all go with.

As we walked down she was pretty quiet so I thought she might be starting to second guess her decisions. When we got to the dreaded double doors she met her nurses and it was time for us to part ways. As I went to give her a hug I could have sworn she was going to freak out at the last minute and instead she pushed me away mid-hug and was ready to go!

While I'm so proud of her and impressed by her courage, I just can't believe there wasn't a second in her mind that she might have wanted some support from her parents. Joe says it's because she doesn't fully know what's going on, but I completely disagree. We have talked about this surgery for the last 6 months. She knows in depth everything that's going to happen, right down to the scalpel. Even IF she didn't realize the extent of what was happening, she doesn't know a single person in that terrifying room. As someone who's never personally experienced surgery, the OR is intimidating space for me and I'm an adult.

I started this blog to document our lives and I hope when Ella is big enough to read this she will look back a this post and know that she is my hero. She is by far the bravest, most courageous little person I have ever met. She is going to do great things and conquer the world!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Surgery Sucks

Sorry for the pessimistic title, but it  really does. Surgery is the worst! While we successfully made it through Will's surgery last week, it hasn't changed my outlook on surgery as a whole.

Ella's surgery is Thursday morning.  Due to her cleft lip & palate, she'll have lip & nose revision, palate fistula repair, dental work and ear tubes. Her surgeon estimates she'll be under anesthesia for around 5 hours and recovery could take up to 2 weeks! We'll get the call tomorrow night to inform us of what time we need to report to the hospital and when she needs to stop eating/drinking. It's been such a long time since she's undergone a major surgery, that I'm out of practice.

The bigger issue is that she's now big enough to be aware of what's going on, which means she asks a ton of questions. We are extremely open and honest with her so when she asks things like, "will they cut my face?" the answers become very challenging. I'm happy she's talking about it and I think Will's surgery has helped her to be better prepared, but it breaks my heart to know she's so little and has to face surgeries like this for a large portion of her life.

When we went through her lip repair at 4 months we worried, but at that time she hadn't had the opportunity to fully showcase her enormous personality and we were lucky that she bounced back quickly. By the time she was 10 months and undergoing her palate repair, we really worried that the surgery might change her personality. We worried that it might change who she was, it might dim her light. For a week after the surgery, she didn't smile, she didn't giggle and she was a defeated little girl.

I do not want to go through that ever again. That was the worst feeling in the world. Luckily her bright, shining star returned, but the thought of losing a piece of the child we love so much is terrifying. The risk of surgery is a very dangerous thing, but as a mother, watching your little one in pain during recovery is the most helpless feeling. If only we could trade places!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Time Stand Still

Yesterday my baby turned 1. While it's an amazing thing to watch your children grow - it was a tough day for me. I wish I could find a way to make time stand still. I love this age.

Will learns something new every day. He smiles, laughs and squeals all the time - just to get a bit of attention. He's on the move, crawling everywhere - even up the steps (all the time)!

He still eats like a beast, but now it includes solids too! He loves pretty much everything, especially blueberries. He thinks it's hilarious to throw his food on the floor whenever he feels like it. The dogs don't seem to mind, but I'm not a huge fan of the ants he's attracting as well.

I'm currently his favorite person on Earth. I wish that would last forever. He loves to play with me, tackle me, snuggle with me - really just anything that involves me. I'm sure I'll want to pay great amounts of money for that attention in 12 years.

While his birthday was a bit sad, we had a great time at the zoo. The weather was beautiful and the animals were at their finest. We were able to see the chimps playing up close and personal, the sea lions preparing to be fed and the tiger bathing himself. While checking out the giraffes the zookeeper randomly chose us to go back to feed them. It was the coolest experience and both kiddo's loved it. I knew they had long black tongues, but I did not know they were that soft. I was expecting something much more coarse!

After we finished the zoo, we returned home for some cake. I thought Will loved blueberries, but it stands no chance in comparison to cake. He ate every last bite and was so full of sugar that he was up til 10 p.m.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Will Update

Will's surgery was a success! 

We were dreading the morning of because he wasn't able to eat after midnight, but I woke him to feed at 11:30 p.m. and he went right back to sleep. He slept all the way through the night and the morning went surprisingly smooth. We took Ella with us to the hospital and even she cooperated! We arrived at the Children's Hospital (Tuesday, July 23) at 6:15 a.m. We were able to play with all the new toys and before we knew it, it was 7:45 a.m. and they were coming to take him in. 

I chose to not go back to put him under. I felt it would be too hard on both of us; him wanting me to hold him and me not being able to see him cry. As the anesthesiologist walked down the hall, his big blue eyes looked back to see Ella & I peeking around the corner. It was heartbreaking. I hate those double doors! As they opened up, I was fighting back tears so that Ella didn't see me cry. 

We used this experience as an opportunity to prep her for her next surgery too. While I'm not happy that Will had to go through surgery, it does help for her to see that she's not the only one to endure it. 

We were told the surgery would take 2 + hours and that there were a few different scenarios that could play out. As I mentioned in my previous post - we were prepped for 3 different outcomes. Around 9:25 a.m. the anesthesiologist came to let us know that the surgery was over, ensured us that he did great and the surgeon would be in to debrief us. 

The surgeon then came out and informed us that much to his surprise, the testicle was there. It was very high and half the size of the other, but it was still there. They were able to remove it and place it in it's rightful place. He indicated that it could move up & out again and if that happened we'd remove it entirely. He also stated that there was a hernia associated with the issue as well, and they removed it. We now wait to see if it grows and functions as he grows older and goes through puberty. 

We were told that someone from recovery would come and get us once he woke up. We waited for about a half hour and no one came for us. Finally a nurse came to say he was still sleeping, but she could take us back. When we got back there his nurse indicated she was worried about his airway because he was pretty full of mucus. We tried over and over again to get him to wake up and cough it out and he just wouldn't do it. 

As time went on you could see the concern grow in the nurses faces. We had been in recovery for over an hour and could not get him to wake up, no matter how much we tickled his feet, pinched his cheeks or rubbed his head. The anesthesiologist was coming back and forth and decided it was time to give him some anesthesia reversal meds to try to get him out of it. After three separate doses, nothing was working. I was getting very worried because it was almost two hours and we could not get him to respond to us and he couldn't go without the oxygen mask without his levels dropping.

We had two options left - 1)stick a tube down his nose into his throat to get him to cough up the congestion or 2) get a cold wet washcloth and rub it all over him. Obviously, we opted for the latter and after two long hours we were finally able to get him to open his eyes. After he was able to breath without oxygen for 15 minutes, we were released to our room.

Will remained pretty sleepy and not very hungry for the majority of the time, but was able to eat right before it was time for us to pack up and go home. They estimated his recovery time to take one full week and that he could move around based on his comfort level.

We assumed he would be immobile for a few days and when we got home he was a bit whiney and definitely slow moving, but shortly there after returned to his old, crazy self. He began to eat like normal (a lot), nap like normal (2+hours) and move like normal (all over the place).

Even though his bandages are bloody & he's bruised and swollen, he acts like it doesn't bother him. He even slept through the night!

I continue to be amazed by the strength of my children. They are by far the toughest, most amazing little humans I know. They're also sweet. Don't believe me, check out the picture Ella made for Will the day of his surgery!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Out of Practice

Almost 4.5 years ago, I reluctantly put my first baby in the hands of a surgeon that I had only met a few times. At the time Ella was only 4 months old and too tiny to know what was going on. As first time parents, things happened so quickly in her first year of life (two major surgeries & a ton of doctor appointments) that we barely had the time to think of the danger she was undergoing.

Tomorrow I will have to watch my second baby be rolled down the long hallway. Will was born with an undescended testicle and tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. will go under the knife to see exactly what that means. Back in May we had an ultrasound that indicated that the testicle was there, but it had not dropped on it's own. Since then we met the surgeon who will perform the procedure, who indicated that ultrasounds can't be trusted. That means that we are facing three scenarios; 1) the testicle is not there at all, 2) the testicle is there, but not "good" or 3) the testicle is there and good, which means that it most likely didn't descend due to a lack of blood flow. While I'd like Will to have two testicles, especially through his teen years, option #3 involves re-routing of veins/arteries, so I'm not quite on board with that scenario yet.

I am the person who is frequently heard saying, "Don't worry. Everything is going to be fantastic! There's no sense of worrying, it doesn't change the outcome." Typically I can handle these types of situations. This time feels different though. 

I don't know if it's simply the fact that I'm out of practice (4.5 years is a long time) or if it's because I'm older & wiser, but I have been feeling very anxious with the thoughts of these upcoming surgeries. 

I know that everything will work out fine and he is in fantastic hands, but that doesn't remove the risk of anesthetics. It also doesn't address his recovery time and trying to keep him immobile, all while he's on the move 24/7, learning to walk. It doesn't factor in how hard it is to see your baby hurting and crying out in pain. 

On the bright side, Will's surgery can get me back in the game and prepped for Ella's next surgery in August. It also helps Ella see that she's not the only one who has to endures these unfortunate circumstances. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Turning the Page

Tomorrow's the big day. That's right, we close on both houses bright and early in the morning. I'm not sure where the time has gone and I don't just mean the months leading up to the closing. This was our first home. It was a huge milestone to be able to buy a house at all and an amazing feeling to move in with our already 10 month old baby. That was 4 years ago!

Ella was just learning to scoot (she didn't crawl) and no where near the sassy little girl she is today. This is where she learned to ride her bike (including wrecking in the driveway), terrorized her first neighbors and camped in her first lawn. We watched her move out of her crib and into her first big girl bed, sing and dance the nights away and chase her pets through the hallways. It's hard for me to even write this without tearing up. We've gone through so many things in this house that it's hard to leave!

We planned a wedding, experienced a pregnancy (in the middle of summer with no AC) and brought home our new baby boy here. I've rocked him to sleep, wiped his tears (and butt) and had bath time fun all in this house. 

We've poured blood, sweat and tears into this place to make it our own. We spent countless hours pulling weeds, setting posts and breaking our backs to create an outdoor space we could enjoy. We've been through more paint samples and frog tape than most contractors, just so we could give our kids childhood bedrooms worth remembering! 

We've tackled almost every DIY project in the book (fence, deck, finished basement, added bathroom) and just when things were perfect, made the decision to move on. While I'm sad to leave and feel nostalgic looking back at the things we've accomplished here, I'm excited for the next chapter of our lives. 

One thing I can always be sure of - with the turning of each page is another story, another memory made and another new adventures waiting to happen!