We are rejoicing this morning!!! Mia Kai's swelling has decreased dramatically and she even tried to smile at JD! She started wiggling when she tried to smile because she got so excited but then started crying because she realized she is still in pain. Sweet girl! She's trying so hard! She had a pretty great night. The nurses had to draw her bloodwork which she got pretty upset about but who wouldn't?? We cannot contain our excitement as we see our little one progress with healing so quickly! It's been a long three days but it also feels like it's flown by because of how quickly she's healing when we look at the long scheme of things. We praise God for healing our Little Pineapple so swiftly! She still has a ways to go with the swelling (particularly in the back of her head and the rest of her body) but she's doing so great!
MK had a fairly decent night. They had to draw blood from her arm because, once again, none of her IV lines would draw enough. It was awful. Besides that, she slept well. Her pain level still seems intolerable but the nurses are giving her a steady stream of meds and that's helping tremendously. Her temp is normal, heart beat is steady and her blood work came back okay. Her hematocrit level dropped again - not low enough to get another transfusion yet but it's at 24... If it drops any lower, they'll most likely need to give her more blood. Her sodium is a little low but nothing to be concerned about yet. Today we're celebrating the drain removal and her little left eye peeking out every so often, just to let us know she see us!!
Last night was pretty awful. She's been in so much pain. Nurses have been taking exceptional care of her and she's been on a steady rotation of pain medicine. Her fever and heart rate got up pretty high. She is so over the nurses checking her all of the time. Haha! She ate well throughout the night but she's not eating great today. They started fluids again to help with hydration. They took her head dressing off this morning and have been able to take off two of her no-no's (little cast-like things to keep her from pulling on the lines). Her head is so round and bulbous now. We're astounded that we can already tell a difference in shape.
Surgery Day. We went in around 5:00 that morning, signed her in and waited. We were taken to the holding room around 7:00 am and the nurses and doctors came by to say good morning. They took her basic med info (blood pressure, temp, etc) then left us alone to love on Mia Kai before the nurses took her back to surgery. I cried a little but I think I got it all out the night before. It seems to be that this is the part that most parents have the toughest time with though. It's funny because we never thought her head was that misshapen until we saw how tall her head looks in the photos below.
The main risk for the traditional surgery is blood loss. The hospital staff informed us that we would be able to directly donate our blood just in case Mia Kai needed a blood transfusion. Countless people offered to donate directly but they set a maximum limit of four donors, preferably blood relatives. The directed blood donations are performed via American Red Cross. According to the information they gave us from the American Red Cross: "Parents are given the option to do directed donations for blood for their child's craniofacial surgery. It is highly recommended that mom and/or dad should be the only donors for children under 1 year of age." All donors are required to know their blood types before donating. Be sure to know your baby's blood type as well, so that you can make sure everyone has a match that will be donating. Everyone in our family wanted to donate but several family members had things that prevented them from being able to do so (previous illnesses, anemia, pregnancy, etc.). Two weeks prior to surgery, JD donated plasma then Chase (my brother), Sonya (my aunt) and myself donated blood. Somehow they are able to separate the plasma from the blood they would be transfusing. We are so grateful for the ones who offered to donate blood and to those who were able to!
"You may have noticed that her head is shaped a little funny..." our pediatrician said to us the morning we were discharged from the hospital. Mia Kai was three days old.
"No, but we did notice she has a lot of hair on her shoulders and back. Is that normal?" I asked him as JD and I laughed. My brother was born with a cone head so I was expecting that Mia Kai would have some kind of funny shaped head. It seemed like one of those 'normal abnormalities' the nurse mentioned during our childbirth classes.
Dr. Patz laughed and said, "It should round out over the next few days but if not, I'll check it again at her two week appointment."
It's no secret that this past year has been one of the greatest yet most challenging years. Between welcoming our sweet little pineapple into our family and then completely giving up control as we handed her over to the nurses that took her into surgery (that blog post series will be starting next week), our Father has stretched our faith, sustained our family and strengthened the story of His goodness in our lives.
We were carried by the prayers of His people, of our community. I look back and wonder how we made it through last year and my only explanation is Jesus.
This past year drives me to be more grateful in every moment. More relational so that I can be as much of encouragement to others as they were to us in the seasons of celebrations and heartache. More fluid with my schedule, to always make time for prayer and people. More purposeful in each action, each conversation and each project (whether personal or for Jitneys).