Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On our way home!

I am typing this from the car; we are on our way home! Caitlin is still pretty out of it, but she is aware and talking some and doing great! She is such a brave trooper (everyone said that- even the doctors and nurses; everyone is in love with her!). I am so proud of her.

Here's hoping that tonight goes well and she can sleep peacefully...

Should be going home soon...

We're in recovery; Caitlin is doing great! She's totally out of it, but she's much more mellow than last time. No fighting or screaming at least! She refused juice or popsicles at first, but did finally drink some juice so she should be released sometime soon!

She's out of surgery

Just talked to the surgeon and she said everything went great. I'm hoping to get to go back soon to see her...

We're at the hospital

Caitlin is in surgery now. So far everything has gone smoothly. Caitlin loves the hospital and her doctors so much she didn't get at all upset until just before she went under. They let me go back to the OR with her this time, which really helped. I told her she was just going to take a nap, and I would see her when she woke up. We made it a fun game, and she was laughing and playing with the doctors, nurses and me until it was time to put the mask on. Then they let me hold her, and I told her the mask was just like her "cough medicine" (the inhaler she had to use for her bronchitis over Christmas had a mask just like that one), so she let them put it on her and she took a few big breaths, just like she did with the inhaler. When she started to get woozy she cried a little, but then she was out. It was hard to lay her on the OR table and have to walk out, but I was brave!

They say they will call me back to recovery as soon as they can so that I can be with her when she wakes up. Usually they want the kids to be awake before parents are allowed in, but after all the problems she had last time coming out of the anesthesia, they said they would make an exception.

I have a few pictures of Caitlin and me in our cute hospital garb, but I can't post them from the iPad so I'll have to share them later!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Surgery Day

We are heading up to the Children's Hospital tomorrow morning for Caitlin's 3rd surgery. This time they will be re-doing her lip repair which was done in China. For whatever the reason (we can only speculate) her scar did not heal properly the first time it was repaired, so it is too thick. This surgery is not only for cosmetic reasons, but also because her lip is attached too tightly to her gum, making it difficult to flip her lip up to get to her top front teeth. This could even be painful for her (I have heard from others that it is), although she is such a trooper she has never complained.

Many cleft kids undergo a "lip revision" before they enter kindergarten in order to clean up their scar. The doctors usually try to work on the nose at the same time if it is still partially collapsed (as Caitlin's is). Unfortunately Caitlin's scar is too thick for a revision; they will have to basically cut out her old scar and completely re-do the repair. She will have a splint-type bandage over her nose until her post-op appointment next week, and she will have a stent in her nose for a couple of weeks. She will be on a soft-foods diet and have many other restrictions for a couple of weeks as well.

Our plastic surgeon back at Stanford was adamant that we should do this surgery now, before her peers are old enough to notice differences. I have already had a few children ask me about Caitlin's lip. They were only asking in innocence; there was no malice and their comments did not offend, but they helped me to realize how difficult it would be for Caitlin to constantly have to answer such questions herself. With any luck this surgery will be successful, and she will not need another revision in a couple of years when she starts elementary school.

Our only concern is her nose. The doctors prefer to wait until the children are a little older before they try to work on the nose, but our new plastic surgeon and her resident are going to do the best they can. Although they have warned me that another nose revision is likely on down the road, hopefully Caitlin will be able to wait until she is older.

The surgery is scheduled for 12:30 tomorrow afternoon; we have to be there by 10:30 to check in. Hopefully she will not have to spend the night, but that all depends on her. I am praying that she will cooperate this time so we can get home as soon as possible!

As with her palate surgery last year, I will do my best to update the blog with news as often as possible (assuming the hospital offers wi-fi).

Please wish us luck, and any prayers would be greatly appreciated! Although this surgery is not supposed to be as bad as the palate surgery last year, any surgery or voyage into the unknown is a scary leap of faith and I will be very glad when it is over!