Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Few Words

I’ve been tentative in this blog post, partly because I don’t want to misrepresent Matthew and this season, but I think I can now happily report that Matthew is finally saying some WORDS!


He’s also making a whole slew of animal noises when prompted, including horse, pig, kitty, dog, and sheep.

It’s SO exciting around our house.

Just the fact that we now know Matthew CAN talk lifts a heavy weight from this mama’s heart and helps give me some perspective that Matthew’s development will come with time. Sometimes it all feels so slow to me, but I need to remember that he can only develop at his own pace, and my job isn’t to push or rush him, but allow his development to occur naturally as it will.

We're also seeing him play with toys so appropriately. He zooms cars, chugs trains, throws balls, and all the rest. Our boy is finally learning to play and understanding what different toys do, which is such a huge step forward.

I’m seriously proud of him right now, by the way—our sweet boy who is working so hard to learn and talk and grow.

Hooray Matthew!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Day is Done

There are some days that are better when they are over. Today was one of those days.

Matthew’s surgery went off without a hitch, and he’s well into recovery. It’s amazing how quickly little people heal—I’m so grateful for that.

We checked in at the surgical center around 8:45 this morning and were taken straight back to the pre-op area. My friend Bebeth came and joined us around 9:15. Around 9:30 it became apparent that things were running pretty late in the operating room, so the surgical nurse gave us permission to take Matthew (in his little hospital gown) and walk around the hospital until they were ready for us—it’s a good thing we did, because they ended up running almost 90 minutes late. Matthew enjoyed running all around the hospital, checking out the fish tank, playing with the fish imprints on the floor, and jumping on and off a bench.

When we finally made our way back to the surgery center, we got to see the surgical dentist and the anesthesiologist, and then it was time to carry Matthew back to the OR. I got to wear the fun, gauzy white jumpsuit again and the stylish hat and booties. 

I felt like an old pro, having carried him into the operating room three times prior, but I have to admit that it was still overwhelming and kind of freaky walking into the bright, white operating room and laying my boy down on the table. The anesthesiologist put the gas mask over his mouth and nose, and it took about two minutes for him to conk out, so I sang “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Tis a Gift to be Simple” until I could tell he was asleep. Then I gave him a little kiss on the cheek and was escorted back to the pre-surgical area.

My friend Bebeth and I got coffee and lunch and hung out in the hospital until the procedure was done. We got to talk at length with the surgical dentist (Dr. Kelly—really LOVED him) and then about 1:30 we got called back to the post-op area. A nurse carried Matthew into us, and he reached right for me. He was kind of groggy and grumpy, but he did a lot better once the nurse took the IV out of his arm and removed the tape stuck all over him.

After a sippy cup of warm milk (one of his favorite things ever) and a cup of yogurt, we got to go home. The rest of this afternoon and evening Matthew was sweet and kind of sleepy, but he seems to be recovering just fine. The dentist didn’t need to pull any teeth, but he did trim some of his gums, cap a tooth, and shave down a couple other teeth—so it’s likely he’ll have a little bit of oral discomfort for a day or two. Thank goodness for ibuprofen.

Many kind thanks to everyone who was sending thoughts and prayers our way. I was also thankful for the many test messages and phone calls today (and sorry for not replying to most of them).

At this point we anticipate that it will be another couple years before we have to lay foot in the surgery center again, which is a good thing. I don’t think this mama can handle another day like this one for a good long while.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ashes, the ER and surgery

There are ashes on my forehead tonight.

Ashes thanks to my good friend, who also happens to be a pastor, who made a house call with his ash bowl after work today to mark this black smudge on my forehead—a symbolic gesture of an unseen mark that is there already, that is there always.

It’s fitting to wear this black smudge on my forehead after the day (no, the week) we’ve had around her—and after the day that awaits tomorrow. When ashes are marked on the forehead on Ash Wednesday, they come with these words: “remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” The topic of this act is the very human, earthliness of our bodies, and it’s the bodies of my children that have been at the forefront of my mind for some days.

We’ve had several bouts of sickness around here, but a few days ago Sam’s bugs took a turn for the worst. The pediatrician suspected appendicitis and sent us to the ER last night, where we sat for over three hours, discouraged and frustrated, until we bundled up our boy and took him home. But this morning, after another conversation with the pediatric nurse, we went back to the ER, where we were indeed admitted and spent several hours. Turns out Sam’s just battling a pretty intensive case of the stomach flu and was severely dehydrated. So we waited at the hospital until his fluid levels were back up to a normal level, and then they sent us home.

Sam in the ER this morning.
Which was a good thing because now we’re home preparing for Matthew to have dental surgery tomorrow. Because of his cleft lip and palate coupled with his orphanage start, Matthew will have ongoing dental challenges for quite a while. We knew that this was a significant possibility when we said yes to a child with cleft. So tomorrow Matthew needs to have a procedure done—one that can’t be done in a dentist’s chair, so they’ve scheduled him into surgery with a general anesthetic so they can fix the problems in his mouth.
Matthew's bath on the eve of his surgical procedure.

Oh dear me, what a crazy few days it’s been, and I anticipate a few crazy days still ahead too. Tonight I’m turning my attention from one child (Sam) to another (Matthew), preparing my mama heart to walk my boy into the OR once again, to sit in the surgery center and wait to hear it’s all gone well, and then to try and comfort our boy as he wakes up from anesthesia.

I’m grateful that my friend, who is also the mama of a beautiful China cleft lip/palate girl, is going to come hang with me at the hospital. It will be good to have some company, especially from someone who kind of gets it (she’s been through surgery with her daughter already too!).

It’s not really all that big of a deal, but after the week we’ve had, with two ER visits, I’m a little spooked by hospitals and not looking forward to tomorrow.

So if you’re reading this and are willing to send some thoughts or prayers Matthew’s way tomorrow, I’d really appreciate it. We could use all the good wishes we can get. Thanks, friends.