Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

This was a very special Thanksgiving for us because it was Annabelle's first Thanksgiving and our first Thanksgiving back in the U.S. after five years celebrating in Korea.

Ready to eat!  (Annabelle napped through approximately my first three sips of soup before requiring attention.)

I am thankful for big things:

  • Being back in my home country, with my family.
  • Having two amazing daughters.
  • Annabelle's feeding tube and our ability to really feed her what she needs to grow.
  • Having Keegan's support and help every day.
  • Having my family's support and help so often.
  • Having an amazing group of new friends in Williamsburg.
  • Having an amazing group of cyber friends who care for children like Annabelle and understand firsthand the ins and outs of clinic visits, scary diagnoses, and feeding tubes.
  • My parents moving to Williamsburg in just over a month.

I am thankful for small things:

  • The chance to run in the Williamsburg Turkey Trot this morning, despite a killer side stitch that developed after the first mile.
  • Pumpkin bread, green bean casserole, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.  We have some good cooks in our family!
  • A walk around the neighborhood on a beautiful, chilly day.
  • A fireplace to sit around with good cooks and the kids.
  • Movie night with hot chocolate.
  • Kids in bed, a cat in the lap, and a few free minutes to myself.
  • The promise of three more days before the daily grind starts up again.

Now, off to raid the fridge for some leftovers...

Together again

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Annabelle's Seven-month Update

Annabelle is seven months old!  It seems like we just got out of the NICU - time is definitely speeding past.

This was a big month for Annabelle since she had her surgery this month.  We have been slowly adjusting to life with a feeding tube again, but thank goodness we have it since Annabelle's oral feedings have been pretty poor lately.  She is getting plenty during the day as well as a long, continuous feed at night, which is wonderful since we don't have to wake up to feed her AND she is even getting more to eat than when we did get her up to feed her!

It's hard to say exactly where Annabelle is in her development now since we've been struggling with nutrition and feeding so much and since she has been recovering from her surgery for the past week or so.  But I am encouraged by what we've seen over the past few days.  It seems like since Annabelle has stopped spitting up and having "silent" reflux (that doesn't make it all the way up and out), she is much happier, more relaxed, and so much more interactive.

Oh, good one Foxy, that was hilarious!
She is reaching for toys more than ever before and has learned how to grab the sun shade on the top of her bouncy seat and pull it forward and back, an activity that she obviously enjoys and finds fascinating.  She is stronger and stronger at sitting supported and is quickly and easily rolling to her side after being on her back.  We've taken a break from the much-detested tummy time while the tube site heals.

Just chillin' with my sheep.

Annabelle still loves bathtime.  After her surgery we spent about a week filling the tub about halfway to the normal amount and then carefully sponging her to avoid getting the surgery wounds wet.  After our follow-up appointment on Wednesday, I got the go-ahead for regular baths, and you should have seen how excited and happy Annabelle was to be back in her full tub.  She and I have a game we play. If I tell her "Annabelle, show me how you splash!" she will smile devilishly and with much concentration, kick her little legs or slap her arms into the water.  She was very happy to do this again on Wednesday night in her real bath.  She loves having her face washed and is getting better during the dreaded getting-out-of-the-tub operation.

Annabelle's fascination with lights continues.

Mommy, schmommy, there's a sunlit window over there!
I was so happy that she was able to come with us to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens last night.  For those of you who haven't been, Busch Gardens is a huge theme park which at Christmas is decorated with elaborate light displays and tons of Christmas decorations.  I knew Annabelle would love to see the lights, and I think she really enjoyed riding in the stroller past the elaborate displays.

Annabelle also continues to "talk" all the time - our bevy of doctors and therapists always notice her constant commentary.  She has a few new sounds - when she is hungry she will cry with a "maaa-maaa" wail or a "waaa."  She particularly likes to complain indignantly when she is put through terrible medical procedures like being weighed or being laid down upon an exam table.  Even after such ordeals are over, she has to vent her frustrations for a while afterward, until she is satisfied that the message was received.

Annabelle loves having her arms moved to play patty-cake or "How big is Annabelle?"  She likes to "dance" when I hold her hands and move them around.

I think Annabelle's vision is continuing to improve.  She is much quicker to look for the source of a new voice or sound, and she is getting much better at tracking toys and people.  I've even noticed that she is looking at the pictures when I read to her.

I'm encouraged by how things are going post-surgery so far.  I'll let you know how we do in the coming weeks.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Home Again!

We left the hospital this afternoon around 1:00. Annabelle has been sleepy and content as long as she has a steady dose of Tylenol. I think she is still sore, but she is a trooper. Thank goodness for a Grandma willing to snuggle for hours so that Keegan and I could spend some time with Sophie, who didn't want either of us out of arm's reach all afternoon. Annabelle is having her first overnight tube feeding at home:  so far so good. Tomorrow is our first try back on our normal schedule with tube use thrown in. Wish us luck!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Second Day in the Hospital

Annabelle has been doing great!  The pain medications she's getting are doing their job because the main reasons she is fussy seem to be that she is hungry or just wants to be held. She is sleeping well and tolerating feeds through her tube just fine. Keegan and I got lots of instructions about how to use the tube and all its associated  equipment. Annabelle had a bath tonight and is quite the clean little princess with all her attendants bustling around to serve her. We should be going home tomorrow (Saturday), hopefully in the morning, though if there's paperwork involved, I wouldn't count on it!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Post-surgery Update

Annabelle came through her surgery fine and has been resting well all afternoon. She has been snuggling with both Mom and Dad and is very sleepy. She was able to drink some Pedialyte this evening. Tonight at 9 they will give her some formula through the tube. Too tired to write more now - it's been a long day!



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Big Day Tomorrow

It's been a long time since I've updated here.  Ever since Annabelle's crazy week of appointments in October, I've been feeling overwhelmed and anxious about her health and her future.  I could deal with that by writing blog posts asking for support or philosophical posts making the best of things.  Or I could deal with that by watching lots of TV and eating lots of junk food.  Guess which one I chose?  Sorry, dear readers.

Some of you may know that Annabelle is scheduled for her first surgery tomorrow morning (wonder if I could find a baby book that lists THAT first?).  We have to be in Richmond at 6 a.m., so I will not write much more now.  Her surgery will be at 8 a.m., and it will be to place her feeding tube and do another procedure to help with her reflux (it's called a Nissen fundoplication, if you're interested).  She should be finished with surgery around noon, and then the fun will begin as she recovers and we learn how to feed her using her fancy-schmancy new tube.  We should be able to go home on Saturday if all goes well.  I will try to post brief updates here as I can.

Wish us luck!