Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Right after I wrote the last post, they called us back to Recovery to see Caitlin. As soon as we went through the doors I could hear screaming and I thought "I bet that's Caitlin." Sure enough, it was. She was sitting in the bed SCREAMING at the nurses. They immediately asked me if I wanted to hold her. I said "Of course!," and as soon as they handed her to me she immediately calmed down; within a minute or 2 she was asleep.

We stayed in recovery for awhile (I'm not sure how long) while we waited for a room. The nurses were laughing at how as long as they stayed away from Caitlin, she was OK; but as soon as they even moved toward her she'd immediately wake up and start crying again!

Once our room was ready we came upstairs. They let me carry Caitlin instead of rolling her in the bed, which was wise! We have a semi-private room, but the room has its own bathroom with a shower. And both sides have a couch and a recliner-type chair; the nurse brought me blankets and a pillow to make a bed on the couch. It's not too bad, actually- although I'd definitely rather be home! Caitlin's monitors beep loudly all the time (her roommate's do not), but they don't seem to be worried about it. They say her numbers are all good. I wanted to ask if they couldn't mute the monitors, if they are apparently beeping for no reason, but I've decided to keep my mouth shut.

Caitlin slept in my arms for a long time, but then she started having these major fits/tantrums. The first one happened right after the nurse had given her some Morphine. She'd been sound asleep, then all of a sudden she woke up very agitated.
Then she had another. I'm talking FITS- she was insane! I couldn't stand up and hold her because she was squirming and thrashing with such force (that kid is STRONG!) that I was afraid I might drop her. But it wasn't much easier sitting down, either. The second fit was so bad that she started disconnecting all the monitors, she wiggled out of her nightgown, and even got her arm restraints- and even her diaper- off. I had to call the nurses to come help me. They decided she might be in too much pain so they gave her another dose of Morphine. No sooner had they left when she had another fit. I think the agitation is a reaction to the Morphine, so I've asked them not to give her any more.

We finally have her sleeping in her bed, and she seems more comfortable. But she is definitely not cooperating so it's not looking good that we will be able to go home early. They have not even tried to get her to drink anything yet, with as un-cooperative as she's been, and she can't go home until she can drink a certain amount. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day!

She is drooling blood, and during a couple of her fits she even had blood coming out her nose. But the nurse says that's normal. I was prepared- I'd brought my "spaghetti shirt" (a red shirt I wear when cooking tomato sauce). Good thing- it's pretty stained right now! And when her diaper fell off she wet my pants (the only jeans I'd brought). Luckily I brought some jogging pants. They say they have washing machines here, but I only have the one pair of jeans to wash so that's not really a load. We'll see how desperate I get!

We just spoke with Caitlin's plastic surgeon. He said the surgery went great and she is doing well. Now we wait until they call us to go see her!

I just went and asked the receptionist to call someone, and the surgery is complete. They just hadn't updated the screen. She's not in recovery yet, and we still haven't heard from the doctors...

12:00- Still nothing. (Except "Surgery Started")...

It's 11:30 and still no word. The screen still just says "Surgery Started"...

Caitlin's Surgery- Day 1

We are sitting now in the waiting room, waiting for Caitlin to get out of surgery. Everything has gone pretty smoothly so far. We got up here about 6:30 last night, had a nice dinner, then checked into the hotel. Unfortunately it took Caitlin a long time to go to sleep, so she got a lot less than her normal 10 hours. We even brought her Pack-n-Play from home so she'd have a familiar bed, but the room, noises, temperature, etc. were all different so she had a hard time sleeping.

This morning we got up at 5:30 to be here by 7. We got checked in, then they took us back to get Caitlin's weight, height, and vitals. Caitlin got upset, even when they were doing things that she hadn't had a problem with the last time we were here (like taking her blood pressure), but she was tired and hungry so I wasn't too surprised! Then they gave me the cutest little baby scrubs to put her in. Too cute!

We talked to several doctors and nurses, then they took us back to another big room with lots of beds. They gave Caitlin some medicine (orally) that was supposed to relax her. She almost immediately put her head down on my chest and started sucking her thumb and we thought the drugs had worked awfully fast, but the anesthesiologists kept saying that they would wait for the drugs to take affect before they took Caitlin away from me (they wouldn't let me take her back to the O.R. myself). I wondered how much more relaxed she'd get...

All of a sudden she looked up at me and laughed (for no reason), then she went completely limp like a wet noodle! Her head flopped back and I'm glad I caught her in time! It was like she was completely drunk. Whatever those drugs were, I'd like some! She was looking around and laughing at nothing (like the wall- she found it highly amusing!), then her eyes would roll back, then she'd start laughing again. It was kind of funny, although we felt really bad laughing at her (or I guess we were really laughing with her)! At one point she looked back up at me, then slowly brought her hand up to my face and kept patting it and just laughing. I'm not sure what was so amusing, but she sure was having fun!

Finally about 8:40 the anesthesiologists came back to take Caitlin back to the O.R., but the one decided to carry her instead of rolling her on the bed. Caitlin was just so cute she couldn't resist holding her! But they still needed the bed so she had the other doctor take the bed. The other anesthesiologist said "Yea, sure- you take the cute kid and I get to roll an empty bed!" Caitlin didn't cry when they took her from me; she was so out of it she didn't have a clue what was going on. That was best; it made it easier for both of us.

Anyway, now we wait (it's almost 10:30 now). We went to get some breakfast, although all I wanted was my Dr. Pepper. I did decide to eat an ice cream sandwich, just to put something in my stomach. It's not the best breakfast, but it's honestly the only thing I could find that I wanted. Then we returned to the waiting room. There is a big TV screen here where we can watch the status of what's going on, but all it's said is "Surgery Started." They said it should take about 3 hours, so I'm not expecting to hear anything before 11:30 or so. We have a pager, and they have my cell phone number so we can walk around the hospital if we want. Eventually the doctors (both the plastic surgeon and the ENT) will come back here to talk to us about how everything went once they are finished. Once Caitlin is in recovery they will call us back to be with her.

The hospital does offer free Wi-fi, so hopefully I'll be able to keep updating as I get the chance. Thank you for all of your prayers and well-wishes. I'll be very, very glad when this is all behind us- not only the surgery, but the 3-week recovery!

Monday, November 29, 2010

We are leaving in a couple of hours for Caitlin's surgery. We're spending the night near the hospital so that we can be there bright and early tomorrow morning. We still haven't gotten our time yet (when we need to be there); they said they'd call this evening to let us know.

I'll be spending the night at the hospital for as long as Caitlin will be there. They said usually it's only an overnight stay, but since Caitlin is so much older than the babies that usually have this surgery (they usually prefer to repair palates before children are a year old), she may have more trouble. Younger babies aren't too set in their ways yet, so they adapt more easily. Caitlin has already learned how to eat- and even talk- with her mouth the way it is, so she will have to re-learn everything. And she can't suck her thumb (she will have to wear arm braces for 3 weeks to prevent her from doing so), which will most likely only make her more angry.

We'll see how this goes! I'm hoping and praying that she will bounce right back and not let it stop her; she's very smart and determined so that is completely possible. But she is also very stubborn and likes things her way... we'll see!

I'll do my best to update the blog from the hospital, but I'm not sure what the internet capabilities will be. But I promise to update as soon as I can!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Caitlin's Surgery

We met with Caitlin's plastic surgeon today, and we found out that her surgery to repair her palate will be on the 30th (as in 3 weeks from now). I had assumed it would be after the holidays, so I'm in a bit of shock! When they found out that we were moving to San Diego in March, they made us a priority and got everything moving. We go back on Wednesday for her pre-op appointment and to meet her ENT (she will also get tubes in her ears while she is under anesthesia).

The great news is that they plan to repair both her hard and soft palate at the same time. This is excellent because usually they do this in 2 separate surgeries. This will not be easy on Caitlin, but at least it will be over with in one shot.

While I'm very worried about the procedure and ready to have it behind us, I know that it is necessary. The sooner Caitlin's palate is repaired the less of a chance she'll have of speech and other difficulties.

As always, I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

One Month A Family!

We've been a family for one month! Four weeks ago today Caitlin came into our lives.

When we first met Caitlin one month ago, she was scared and confused. She cried a lot, and had tantrums every day- sometimes several times a day. She would start crying for seemingly no reason at all, and it would quickly turn into a tantrum. And she whined all the time, any time things were not going her way.

Today she hardly cries, and tantrums have become rare. She can still be quite moody (what toddler isn't?), especially when she is not feeling well, but overall she smiles all the time! Almost everyone she meets comments on what a happy child she is, and her smile could melt even the coldest of hearts!

One month ago Caitlin HATED baths; she would scream bloody murder. Now she gets so excited at bath time! She splashes and plays with her toys and has a blast.
She hated our hotel rooms and would tense up when she even sensed that we were heading to the room. Now that we are home she is all smiles when we walk in the door. She is relaxed and at ease... and she's always excited to see Libby!

Speaking of Libby, Caitlin enjoys helping me take care of her! She will hand Libby her food and treats, and when I let Libby out Caitlin will stand at the door and watch her. When Libby comes back in, Caitlin will shut the door behind her.
Libby is getting attached to Caitlin as well; the other day Caitlin was waking up from her nap and Libby heard her stirring. She took me to the door and demanded that I go in to check on her! I love watching their relationship grow!

Caitlin still wakes up occasionally during the night. Sometimes she wakes up screaming; I don't know if she's having nightmares or night terrors, but she is easily calmed just by rubbing her back and is usually back to sleep within 5 or 10 minutes. Other than that, she is a great sleeper!

Eating has never been a problem with Caitlin; she is quite adventurous and will try almost anything. We have been trying more and more solid foods, and Caitlin has done great!

She has a very short attention span and has not shown a lot of interest in most of her toys. She has a select few that are favorites, but her all-time favorite toy of all is a bag of clothespins that I keep in the laundry room. As soon as she sees the laundry room door open, she waddles right in and heads straight for the clothespins- and she will sit and play with them forever.
Who would have thought that, out of all the wonderful toys she has up in her room, her favorite toy would be clothespins?

Caitlin's first (and only) English word so far has been "WOW!"

Caitlin saying "Wow" while opening presents:

Other than that, she has definite sounds for things, like dogs are "Ooooooo," and "Uh" means "more, please!" I'm starting to try to teach her some sign language, but so far all that she will do on her own is "all gone." She also loves to wave and blow kisses at people!

Caitlin is smart and funny and sweet and charming; she is the light of our lives and has fit into our lives perfectly! We love her so much and it is wonderful to finally have her home!

On another note, I have been contemplating a dilemma for some time now. We have 2 blogs: this blog as well as our family blog. Now that Caitlin is home and we are a family, I no longer need 2 blogs. However, I am not ready to let this blog go, either! So, after much debate, I have decided to keep this blog going with monthly or milestone updates. I'd also like to chronicle Caitlin's palate surgery here, because I have learned so much from others who have done the same on their blogs, and I want to help those who may also be facing such a surgery. But I will be posting everyday news on our family blog.

Thank you to all who have followed along on our journey to Caitlin. I have come to know many of you like friends- the blogging community is really amazing! Your comments, help and encouragement have gotten me through many hard days and I appreciate it all more than you know! I do not want to lose contact with you; if you don't have the link to our family blog but would like to continue following our story, please either e-mail me or leave me a comment along with your e-mail address or your blog address and I will send you the link. Our family blog is not private, but I do try to keep it more protected...