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Monday, June 27, 2011

Minor set back in lip healing...

It seems our little Mary is unable to catch a break. Last Tuesday I noticed a slight swelling on her upper lip and what looked like a little pimple/blister. It was very small, but Mary would point to it and say "Owww". We had a routine follow up appointment at the plastic surgeons the next week, but something didn't feel right to me. Cory called the surgeon's office and they fit us in that afternoon. Cory wasn't certain anything was amiss, but I insisted that I wanted it checked out in order to catch something before it happened, rather than playing catch up once it already occurred (or as Cory would say, trying to control things I have no control over!).

Anyhow it seems we went a couple days too early because the nurse and plastic surgeon did not see anything wrong yet, and thought that what Mary was feeling was the scar tissue building below her skin which does irritate some children. Mary's "blister" continued to grow over the next couple of days until it finally burst on Saturday morning, which then was actually more comfortable for Mary as the pressure was gone. I am thankful for a good friend who is currently going through this with her daughter, as she was able to provide me some much needed reassurance and cleaning care suggestions, preventing this over protective Mama from going to the local ER in the small little town we were visiting Grandpa and Grandma for the weekend!

At our scheduled appointment today the surgeon and nurse were able to confirm that Mary does indeed have an abscessed internal stitch. For some reason the stitch did not dissolve completely  and the body is now expelling it out. The surgeon did use some tweezers to help dislodge some material, which was not very much fun for poor Mary or her Mama (who really does not enjoy the sight of blood coming from her own child). The plastic surgeon and nurse were very kind to us and very gentle and sweet to Mary. I was worried about this affecting her scarring, which the surgeon said could happen, but was reminded again that Mary will most likely have revision surgery in the next year or so which will correct any effects from this.

Right now we are keeping the area clean by using peroxide and antibiotic cream several times a day. Although the area bothers her, Mary is a trooper and her sunny personality is not letting this get her down. Everyone at the surgeon's office today commented on her spunk and utter joy that she exudes.  
Last Sunday...

Today, a week later...

Once again, still lovely and beautiful, but - I just wish she could catch a break.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Our girls...

Warning: Serious cuteness ahead - be prepared!

And my personal favorite from the day...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Just chugging along...

We are now almost 5 weeks after Mary's surgery. Mary is doing great and has been busy enjoying the sporadic spring/summer weather when it comes our way.

First time playing in the sprinkler...

 Hiking with my friend Victoria...we need to pack bug spray next time!

We visited with our Speech Language Pathologist this week through our local Early Child Development Center. I really like our SLP, she is very professional and is very easy to talk about speech and language related issues. We first met our SLP when we came home with Sylvie, so we have had a working relationship with her for almost two years now. I am impressed with the rapport she has built with both of my children in such a short period of time, and both girls have enjoyed working with her. Sylvie has met all her goals of speech and language so she does not require any more service in this area, however with Mary, her cleft will require support for speech development.

Mary has met with our SLP before, the first time was about two weeks after arriving home from China to do an initial intake assessment. Our second visit was right before her first surgery in late January to determine which letter sounds she was making before having her premaxilla correctly placed and lip closed. Our third visit was this week one month after Mary's successful surgery.

At this time it seems that Mary is doing great with language, she understands questions, responds to directions, and communicates with others through words, gestures, and eye contact. Mary has easily over one hundred words in her vocabulary and is beginning to combine these into two or three word sentences. We would say that we understand what she is saying about 70% of the time, but this would be much lower for other people. While she is doing great with language development, Mary will require support in developing her speech however. Now that her lip has been attached, she needs to learn how to use the muscles to move her lip to correctly form different letter sounds. Mary is doing great with her vowels and several letter sounds and combinations, and with continual practice they are very clear. Her next goal will be to work on certain constant sounds that she was unable to say before surgery (ie, p, b. m, t,s). Our SLP modeled lots of fun ways for us to help train her lip muscles such as blowing feathers, bubbles and whistles.

A second goal for Mary will be to learn how to drink through a straw. This is a bit challenging for her since she has to learn to cup the straw tightly with her upper lip, as well she still has two small fistulas behind her gum line into her nose which make creating a vacuum seal challenging. So far Mary has been VERY determined to learn to drink through a straw like her big sister. The SLP has given us some straws with a valve in them. These special straws look like regular straws, but have a valve in the bottom, and once you suck up the liquid to the top, it holds the liquid in the straw. So far Mary has had some success sucking through the straw, but it takes her about 25 minutes to drink about 2/3 of a cup of juice. She is determined to do it however, and does not want to stop or take a break. We are always impressed with her perseverance and stamina ;)

 We had kind of hoped that Mary would instinctively know how to suck on a straw after surgery, but this was not the case. We were struggling with how to explain to her to suck exactly. Another mom on an online support group for children with clefts shared that she demonstrated sucking her daughter's finger and then had her daughter do the same to her. This was a great suggestion because we could then feel when Mary was sucking on cheer her on. Right now Mary is inhaling through her nose each time she is trying to suck up, which is what is taking so long for her to drink through the straw. We'll give her more time to practice however and are confident she will figure this out.     

Monday, June 6, 2011

Jammies from Grammie!

We have been very busy at the Drinkwater house lately, with Mary's surgery, recovery time and then finally...summer weather has arrived. However, I found a few minutes today to down load all the pictures from the past month and found some cute ones. These pictures are from May, just two weeks before Mary's lip surgery.

Look who's got some new jammies for night time!

Grandma Shirley has been busy sewing up some new jammies for our little girls, and they are just too cute not to share!

I had a little grumble and giggle when going through these pictures. You see, we have a "rule" about not sitting on the book shelf on the beds. Yet, it appears Daddy was either not *aware* of this rule, or he thought it would make a good photo opportunity.

So I didn't expect to see this... 
Or this... I can almost see Sylvie's smirk of satisfaction on her face!
What are you doing next Sylvie? 
 What? Standing on the bed, or is that jumping?!? Yet another safety "".  
Oh should be an interesting conversation at dinner tonight when I causally *inquire* about these pictures to Daddy! 

Thank you Grandma Shirley for the jammies! 
We liked that you picked fabric with kitties on them for us.