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Monday, January 31, 2011

Twelve Hours Later...

Now the plan was to hopefully get "released" to the outside world today... and that 'kinda' happened...:)

We had a discussion with the doctors this morning when they were doing their rounds and they had some concerns about the length of drive home, weather, precautionary kinda stuff... They were not convinced that Mary needed to stay any longer there (This was good...) but they were overly concerned about the 4-5 hour tour that we were going to undertake starting in the afternoon after all of the discharge paperwork was completed (This was not so good).... A compromise was reached, in that 'one' of would drive home (Can you figure out who got saddled with that AGAIN??) and two of us would get another ride on a private plane to faciliate a 'safe' trip :)... They had a transport team heading this way via Trail in the afternoon that had room for the girls... So, we are all back in K-Town :):):)

Now let me caveat that by the fact that Mary and I are in the Peds ward at KGH for the night still, but we are back home...ish... :) I left the girls to wait for the transport team at about 12:30 and got underway in the truck, and they got out of Children's to the airport about the time I was in Chiliwack... A few delays in waiting for someone to meet them in Trail to transport their passenger or some such thing - They landed in Trail about the same time I got to Merrit. While they technically arrived in Kelowna before me, we did manage to get to the hospital ahead of them and met in the peds ward... The flight paramedic was slightly surprised to see me there, but that is what happens when you have to make some stops along the way :):) NO LAWS WERE BROKEN... (At least none that will be recognized as being 'caught' doing... How's that...) That was the official story anyway... :)

So, after a bit of a wait to see a plastic surgeon, Mary was examined and officially admitted and we should be discharged from here in the morning. Joyanne is currently over at my Aunt and Uncle's cuddling up with daughter #1 and trying to get some sleep... I will pick them up in the morning after we are discharged and homeward bound we will be... (fingers crossed)... So... we are 'kinda' home :) Mary traveled so well in the plane and was content to watch some cartoons and patiently wait for her IV's to be removed. I think that was the highlight of her night - and I can't blame her - she put on a few miles with them in. She is snoring in the bed beside me, and I think I will take that cue and try and get some shuteye myself. Tune in tomorrow when hopefully this ride will finally end...

...I have a rollercoaster for sale - CHEAP! :)

C & J & S & M

Sunday Night and Monday Morning Update...

Mary had a good night sleeping in the PICU at Children's Hospital. We were not allowed to stay the night with her in the PICU, and the couches in the waiting rooms were already reserved for other families. The social worker at the hospital arranged for us to stay the night at the Easter Seal House, which is located two blocks away. Although it was hard to leave Mary, she has been sleeping/napping for most of her stay here. We also knew that in the PICU she had one-to-one nursing care, which made it a bit easier.

Mary was drinking some juice and milk last nigh from her feeder bottle and was able to keep it down. She is only on Tylenol for pain relief and is doing well with that as well.

It is Monday morning and we are now waiting for the doctors to complete their rounds. We *might* get discharged directly from the PICU and drive home TODAY!!!! Since we do not have all our supplies here (that happens when you are not prepared to fly to a different city) the nurses are getting some diapers, wipes and syringes (to feed Mary soft foods) ready for us for our drive.

When Mary wakes up from her morning siesta we are going to try to feed her some yogurt. Please keep your fingers crossed that we will get to go home today. I miss Sylvie terribly, our kitties, our house and our own daily routine.  

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Update from BC Children's Hospital

We arrived last night around 3:00 am. The medical staff at the PICU here is very knowledgeable and kind. They are taking good care of Mary. She is still sedated with the breathing tube in. They plan to remove the tube in the PICU around noon today. They will then monitor her in the PICU for several hours to make sure there is no swelling.

Mary will either be in the PICU tonight, or possibly in a different PEDS ward room. If she goes to the PEDS ward we would be able to stay with her overnight in the room. There is no where to sleep in the PICU, I spent the night from 4:00 - 7:00 on a couch. I don't know what would happen tonight if she is still in the PICU, as I don't want her to be without me.

Cory is driving up this afternoon after getting Sylvie set up to stay at Grandpa and Grandma Giles. I really need his support now, and am very grateful that Sylvie will be in good hands.

The last update from Saturday (well, Sunday now...)

Well, for those of you not keeping score on Joyanne's Facebook updates, I will try and summize the tail end of today in a nutshell... Mary and Joyanne are currently en route to Vancouver Children's Hospital via LifeFlight. They should be at YVR in about 40 minutes and then another 20 or so to Children's from there. Count on at least another 45 minutes to an hour to transfer Mary over to Children's care should put Mom and Mary there by 03:00.... I have never been so exhausted that I can recall... At any rate, I have no quams about saying that this is the best care we could have asked for... Everything that came out of this afternoon and tonight put simply was for Mary's best interests.

We did get to spend some time with her in ICU after she was finally brought up from surgery... She was still intubated, so she was not conscious, but the fantastic nursing staff got us right up to speed with what they knew and what they were doing... My hats off to that entire ward for your support... :) After the decision was made to have the correct kind of support available when Mary was extubated (ie: the pediatric teams at BC Children's) they wasted no time getting the LifeFlight in the air and up to Kelowna and a transport team delivered them to KGH. That is where time began to stand still... Now I have ZERO complaints about any of the care that was given to Mary, but stabilizing her for transport and all of the saftey precautions and plans took a great deal of time... And that is what we had to reference... Time... So wait we did with our little munchkin and wait some more. I watched them load Mary into the back of the ambulance after all was said and done, gave my love to Joyanne and off they went...

So, I find myself in front of the computer at my aunt and uncle's (who I KNOW have spoiled Sylvie rotton... That is another story for later though...) trying to rationalize this very, very long day in a blog post, which if I let it would consume me with all of the details that I am trying to recollect of the past 16 hours... To everyone who have texted, BBM'd, called, stopped, prayed, commented, visited, offered, thought of..... All of it... and any of it... Thank you for all you have brought to this experience... We could not and cannot do it without you... :) We will try and keep everyone up to date when we know more!

Now if I had my camera, I would have a fantastic picture of Sylvie and Gramma Marjie sleeping in the solarium... I'll see what I can drum up.... :)

Stay tuned for the next installment...

C & J & S & M

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Surgery #2 update #2...and it just keeps getting worse....

Still no answers...Mary *might* be transported to Vancouver tonight as the medical staff here is not agreeing on a plan. Apparently we are 75% going sometime tonight. If we go, it will be so someone can take out her breathing tube tomorrow morning as no one here wants to. We have not seen Mary yet. 

Update after surgery #2

Just to update... Mary went into surgery this afternoon. The surgeon found some "dead tissue" and decided to redo her lip - instead if just closing the hole. She is apparently quite swollen, so they are going to keep her overnight on the ventilator just to be safe, in case there were breathing complications they do not want to try to put a breathing tube in her mouth if she is so swollen.

Back in the hospital...

We woke up this morning and saw that Mary's lip suture was opening. We quickly packed up a bag and headed to the hospital. We dropped Sylvie off at Grandpa Roy and Grandma Marjorie's where we know she will be loved and spoiled.

After quickly seeing the ER doctor, they paged the plastic surgeon on call. We were happy to hear the plastic surgeon on call was the one who preformed Mary's surgery. We knew there was a risk for this happening as her cleft was quite wide, but are still disappointed. We feel so bad for Mary, she was just making it around the corner and now this...

We are now in the Pediatric Ward and Mary is having a much needed nap. We don't know when she will be going into surgery today,but hope it is soon as she hasn't had any food since last night, or pain meds since this morning.... We will definitely be here over night and will have to see after that.

We will keep you posted.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day Two - What Can You Hope For?

Well... I have no pictures (again) and have not a lot of story for this quick update, but let me say it very simply...






I cannot state that simple fact more simply than that... All of my girls are right now asleep in their beds... :) We are juggling pain medications and sleep patterns and whatever else they can throw at us, but WE ARE AT HOME :):):) In our own beds, with our own pillows and toys and whatever else...

I don't know that I can say to hammer that simple point home, but if the nurse asks you... "The doctor is on the phone and he says that if you REALLY want to go home he will come up and sign off..."

You Say "Get his a$$ up here!!!"...

That is the shortest form of the story that I can give you tonight, but there will definitely be more tomorrow. Thanks for all the well-wishes and thoughts and prayers for us... Nothing has gone unnoticed :)

Tune in tomorrow when Dr. Bob says...

Love from us all!

C & J & S & M

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day Two: Update #1 The Morning After..

Well, we have arrived at day number two of our hospital stay and we will see how long things are meant to last. There was apparently quite an influx of children last night, so our bunking troop had to get moved to a different room - With roommates no less! What fun! (Can you detect just the hint of sarcasm there? Good for you :) ...) So, needless to say, Mary had probably the best sleep out of all of us yesterday. Joyanne was constantly awakened by the monitor alarms going off (and wee baby roommate crying) and while I did make it to our bed at home I really didn't get any good sleep either.

We had a couple of visitors stop by yesterday and
today with some presents (Thank you Tara, Candice & Kim)...

Mary's night was pretty good all things considered. She ran a bit of a fever until about 2:00am, but the wonders of Tylenol took care of that... That too it seems is not that uncommon for post surgery so the nice folks tell us.

She had "breakfast" with us this morning - Yogurt is still her friend and so is apple sauce. She was a little reluctant to open wide for the spoon however, so we opted for the syringe-feeding style to accommodate... Good success with that :)

Daddy feeding Mary some breakfast... 

She finished a yogurt and an apple sauce in about an hour, which was marked progress from yesterday's clear fluid extravaganza. She is still drinking juice but can now accompany that with milk too so things are moving along nicely.. Talked to one of the doctors this morning who checked in on her and he was not as gung-ho on our one-day-in-one-day-out plan, but Mary's progress will dictate the length of our stay.

Big sister Sylvie stopped by to say "Hi" and check out Mary's new toys.

Mary is quite a bit "puffier" today (somewhat due to the I.V. fluids), and she looks like a prize fighter (she will probably have a couple black eyes). She now had her morphine drip stopped (12:20 pm) and her last dose of a anti-inflammatory med (1:00pm). She will still be on Tylenol, with the option of using some codeine if required. When she wakes up from her nap they are hoping to remove her I.V., which should make her a much happier camper and help with the puffiness.   

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The (Hopefully) End of Day 1

Well, I have no pictures for this quiet update, but the girls are at the hospital and hopefully getting a little shut-eye. Mary has faired MUCH better than I had expected for surgery day... (Aside from a little Linda Blair-esq tendancies in recovery, but who can blame her really??...)

After all is said and done, Mary had calmed down (mostly) and was drinking apple juice from a little squeeze bottle a few times this afternoon/evening ... We put on some Elmo's World and some In The Night Garden and she seemed to keep some interest in the shows. No solids for our little machine for a while... Clear fluids are the mandate for today... We will see where Jello and such "semi-solids" fit into the healing regime tomorrow and the next day... :)

So, I will turn in this eve until tomorrow when I try to hurtle back to the hospital to relieve Joyanne (If Mary will allow it...) Until the morning... Thank you, Thank you very much... for all your well-wishes and support for our little Elvis. Tune in for the morning show :) ...

C & J & S & M everyone who has helped along the way :)

Day One: Update #3

Well...that was not fun. They brought Mary to the Pediatric ward at 11:40am. She was apparently quite upset in Recovery and they called ahead to let us know. UNDERSTATMENT OF THE YEAR. We could hear her coming down the hall before we could see her. We went out into the hall to meet her and I went up to hold her hand (the nurse carrying her kind of backed away, didn't realize I was her Mama). They carried her into the room and placed her on my lap in the rocking chair.

The next hour was not fun for poor little Mary or her parents. Mary was quite confused and agitated, she wanted to get down and away from everyone (can't say we blame her) and it took both Cory and I to hold her and continue to reposition her into our lap. She continued to cry, kick her legs and bat us away for the next hour, I don't think she was very happy that her arms are in restraints either. Although this only lasted an hour, this was one of the longest hours of my life - it was heartbreaking to see how upset she was.

Finally the morphine drip arrived and within the next ten minutes she was beginning to calm down and even started getting droopy eyes. We laid her down in the crib but she was not going to go with that plan. We sat her back up and propped her up with some pillows and she then drifted off into a nap.

Mary's lip is now stitched together, there is quite a bit of blood around the incisions and she is still bleeding a little bit. Her nose is squished quite flat, and we are told that this will stretch out - but that she will be having a nose revision sometime in the next 6-9-12 months. They were able to pull her premaxilla back in but there is a small hole/fistula. This may get smaller with time, or likely they will close this up when she has her nose revision. Already there is such a difference in her appearance. 

Day One: Update #2

Mary is out of surgery and in recovery, she will be there for probably an hour before being transferred to Pediatrics. We are told surgery went well.

We are now waiting in the Pediatric room Mary has been assigned. They will bring her here after she is done in the Recovery room.

Passing some time in the early morning
hours in the Surgery Waiting room...
 Meeting with the anesthesiologist...
 In the Pediatric room, Daddy is getting all our techie
needs organzied while waiting for Mary to arrive...
The crib Mary is assigned. Anyone remember her experiences
with cribs? Let's hope we get the room all to ourselves and we can
use the single bed beside us, otherwise it will be a long, LOUD night!

Day One: Update #1

Mary went into the operating room at 8:10am. Mama was able to go back with Mary until they put her under. I sang her "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" until she went to sleep. There was some confusion this morning and her numbing cream was not applied to her hand when we arrived. So when they came to get us it was time to go in and get the IV. Mary however didn't even flinch when they put the needle in, confirming our suspicions that she has either a high pain tolerance.

They expect surgery to take 2.5. - 3 hours, and then about an hour in recovery. We are hoping to see her around noon. We are lucky to have such great friends working at the hospital. Our friend Sue bought our coffee and breakfast this morning, and our neighbor Brent came to visit with us and keep our minds occupied.

We'll let you know how Mary did later on today...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Off to the hospital in the morning...

Our bags are packed...we're ready to go...
 Mary, cute as a bug the day before surgery...

On Wednesday morning we will be getting up bright and early to take Mary to the hospital to have her cleft lip repair. We have been told Mary will need to be in the hospital overnight Wednesday, and maybe Thursday depending on how she is doing with eating, drinking and pain management. Mama will be staying with Mary overnight, and Daddy will be going back and forth between the hospital and home taking care of all the little details. 

We are very grateful to my brother Aaron and Lesly for coming to stay at our house to look after Sylvie for the next couple of days. I feel better knowing Sylvie will be in her own home and sleeping in her own bed at night. She will also be very happy to be spending time with her cousin Jacob. I hear Uncle Aaron and Aunty Lesly have lots of fun activities planned like swimming and going to an indoor play place to help the kids burn off all their energy. Although I am very sad, and nervous to be away from Sylvie for a couple of days (and overnight too...eck!) I know she will be in good hands, and Daddy will be there on and off to help with any questions. 

Depending on how things go in the hospital, I'm hoping Sylvie can come for a visit. I'm not sure how the girls will do being separated from each other, they have really become quite close this last month.
I think Mary is channeling her inner Elvis here... 

When Sylvie comes home with Daddy from preschool on the two days a week she attends, you should hear how excited Mary gets seeing her sister walk through the door. Although they fight like sisters, they are very concerned about one another. Sylvie always reminds us to "give Mary hugs and kisses at bedtime too" as we are tucking them in at night. Whenever Sylvie bonks her head or gets an owie, Mary gets quite upset and worried about her Jie Jie and will rub her back as I'm kissing the boo boo better. 
Giggling girls...

Mary has only been with us for 11 weeks...we hope we will be able to help her understand we are there for her and love her. We are also keeping our fingers crossed that we have an anesthesiologist who will allow one of us to go with Mary into the operating room until she is asleep. We made sure at our pre-surgical screening appointment to briefly explain the attachment process and Mary's history of abandonment, and our concerns about maintaining the trust she has placed in us (ie. concern about us handing her over to complete strangers, in a strange place, and then walking away). I'm not totally sure they understood, but we have to hope they did. I also worry about when she comes out of the surgery and is in recovery. We are told they will not let us be in the recovery room, but will bring us in as soon as possible. 

So I will be explaining again, tomorrow morning, our concerns about attachment, and Mary's limited understanding of English so they have a understanding that this is not a typical two year old, and to respect her unique past and experiences.   

Yes...I know she has socks on her hands, but she likes it!

Cory and I will be keeping everyone updated through the blog and FB during the day and evening as time permits, as it will be easier than calling and emailing all our concerned family members and friends. Please send us your positive thougts, vibes and prayers tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Trip to the dentist...

Since Mary's surgery is only a week away now, we have been very busy trying to fit in all her appointments before her lip is repaired. We wanted to have some assessments completed before her lip is corrected so we have a bese line to compare any new developments. These last two weeks alone we have seen the SLP (speech language pathologist), Pediatric Dentist, Pediatrician, Occupational Therapist, and our Infant Development Consultant (developmental assessment). So far everyone has been very impressed with Mary and how far she has come in the ten short weeks we have been together.

Today was the pediatric dentist. We are a little worried about Mary's two front teeth. Due to her cleft, they are exposed to the air constantly and the enamel is eroding. At some time in the future we will probably be determining if she will need to have these two teeth capped.

Waiting for the dentist.

Playing with my little friends while waiting for the dentist...
 Ok, getting a little bored, might take a nap now!

Mary was phenomenal at the dentist. She cooperated and was calm throughout. The staff was amazed and keep complimenting her on her behavior and demeanor. They were able to take x-rays today and we were pleased to learn that although she is missing missing baby teeth due to her cleft, it appears that there are adult teeth forming in their spot. We will have to see where they eventually come in and likely orthodontic work may be required to help guide them into their proper place.

Here's a short video of our little girl patiently waiting for the dentist.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Good Friends...

Good Friends...are worth their weight in gold.

Today after music class my two friends and I, along with our respective children, decided to go out for lunch at a local Indian Fusion restaurant downtown. The lunch buffet option makes a logical choice for little ones dining out (no waiting for food to be prepared, lots of choice in food options). 

While we were munching away on our naan bread and butter chicken, a gentleman came over to ask if we were out "on a field trip with the daycare". Luckily my friend "Nicky" is way more polite and gracious, and explained something along the lines about lunching with our children. My first reaction most likely would have been to say 'no' and give him the death glare. I guess I have lessons in graciousness to be learned still...sigh it's been a challenging couple of months dealing with inappropriate and thoughtless comments/questions, so I'm a little quick to jump the gun. 

We then convinced the gentleman to take our group picture before he left to go resume his lunch with his wife and older daughter. We could hear him remark to his wife that there were five children under 5, eating quietly and behaving wonderfully in the restaurant. It was nice to hear the kudos being given for our children's behavior. I was driving home today after lunch I was reflecting on how lucky I am to be supported by so many great friends. So to all my friends...thank you!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Two Months together...

Two months ago on November 8, we were sitting on a couch in the capital city of Shanxi, Taiyuan waiting for our soon-to-be daughter to be brought to meet us. It was one of the most surreal moments of my life, time seemed to go in slow motion as we watched our daughter enter the room with her nanny. I remember leaving the government office with Mary Dan Dan in my arms, and riding the elevator up to our room. Cory looked over to me and asked how I was doing, and with my eyes brimming with tears I remember answering him "I'm scared I'm going to screw this up".

Sigh...yes...and now fast forward to two months later and luckily it seems I have managed to avoid (for most intents and purposes) not to mess up Mary too badly ;) Although I realize there are many years to come before she hits her teen years with a stride, so I guess there is always time.

As Cory and I sat back tonight after the kiddos had gone to bed we can't believe the changes we have been privileged to witness in little Mary over these past 8 weeks.

Mary now has about 15 words she says independently, of course due to her cleft her speech articulation is affected, but we are able to hear and understand what she is saying. Here are a list of the words she is saying now:

1.       Mama
2.       Daddy
3.       Ally (our cat, and calls the other two cats this name as well)
4.       Hi
5.       Bye Bye
6.       Go
7.       All Done (as well as the sign)
8.       Thank you (as well as the sign)
9.       Help (as well as the sign)
10.   More (as well as the sign)
11.   Ball
12.   Cheese (said when holding a camera, long emphasis on EEEEE sound)
13.   Good Girl (she says after using the potty, because this is what we have said to her in the beginning)
14.   Yey! (when she claps)
15.   Signs for “Potty”

  ...and just these last two days Mary has been practicing the word "No!" with Sylvie, usually when toys are involved. I don't think it will take her to long to fully understand the meaning of that word - do you?

Mary is babbling constantly and repeating what we and her older sister is saying. I think that in the next couple of months the words she says independently will continue to grow by leaps and bounds.

Mary has finally learned how to climb up onto the couch. She was not bending her knees at all to try to climb up, and was content to try to just swing her leg up straight (this is also the same thing she does when going up and down stairs. So we have been showing her how to bend her knees and use them as leverage to climb up, I'm sure it won't be much longer until she is climbing up into her sister's bed (where all the 'good' toys are placed safely out of the way).

We also went for x-rays in December on Mary's legs. Her pediatrician wanted to make sure that her bowed legs weren't the result of rickets, but instead of a vitamin deficiency. So in the meantime we are giving Mary Vitamin D drops and ensuring she has a balanced diet, which is pretty easy to do when she will eat ANYTHING put in front of her. are a few pictures of some of the fun we've had these past couple of weeks. We've been busy going to gymnastics, swimming, Strong Start and music class - something for everyday of the week! I must admit we haven't had our camera out a whole bunch, I guess it is true what they say about the second child.

 Our budding musician...
 Grandpa Roy lets me jump on the furniture - don't tell Mama!
 Arts and Crafts at Strong Start (a free program for early learners 
through the School District funded by the Ministry of Education
 What is this sticky stuff?
Hangin' out with Daddy and Jie Jie (big sister) in the foam pit 
at the gymnastics club. I refuse to go in after getting stuck last time.