Saturday, January 24, 2015

Our Tough Little Cookie

Ready for bed at the hotel (not!)
January 20th was another long day at Centennial Hospital.   We arrived at our hotel in Nashville the night before and tried to get Anna Faith settled into bed, but she was very restless.  This isn't normal when we travel, as she is usually very tired from a long drive and wants to go to sleep without a struggle.  We could tell she knew enough of what was going on to not be able to sleep.  Since we had to wake up at 5:00 a.m., and she finally dozed off at 11:30 p.m., it was a bad start to a rough day.

Centennial Women and Chldren's Hospital

Little lady had butterflies.  She could explain enough to us about her spots getting fixed and getting boo boo's there that it was making her anxious.  This was a first for us.  She didn't walk into the hospital with a huge smile, greeting people and enjoying the attention.  Instead, she held my hand, was polite to everyone but was reluctant to let the nurses touch her.  She clung to me and Kris when we sat down and even though her gown had Minnie Mouse on it (we were happy for the girl-friendly change in gowns since she had never been fond of tiger gowns), didn't want anything to do with it.
Clinging to Daddy when we entered the hospital
When anesthesia came to introduce themselves, the OR nurse entered as well.  She was Chinese!  She was very excited to meet Anna Faith and told us it was her daughter's 3rd birthday that day, and she looked a lot like our Little Lady.  She also told us she was a Christian and we swapped numbers and email addresses.  It was such a comfort to know that someone who thought of her own daughter while she was working on Anna Faith in the OR was going to be watching over her.

Waiting to be taken to the OR

They took her back at 7:50 for the 8:00 a.m. surgery.  The best advantage to having the first surgery of the day is getting to go back on time!  They had given her Versed, so she was loopy and goofy as always.  She finally was willing to put on her gown, smile for a picture, and happily go to the OR nurse's arms and be carried away.
We got a call at 8:20 that Dr. Chester had begun cutting and everything was going well.   We were supposed to get a one-hour update, but it never came.  At 9:40 Dr. Chester appeared in our door and exclaimed as we looked up "That was the quickest one yet!".  She told us she got all of the bald spot on Anna Faith's scalp, but it wasn't going to look smooth for a while.  She glued the incision on her neck and covered it up this time.  We'd have to wait three days to do an "unveiling" to see it.  
Asleep in the PACU
Sleeping on Mommy while the anesthesia wore off
To avoid having post-operative delirium (also called emergence delirium) like she had in two of her four previous surgeries, the anesthesiologist really doped her up.  We waited almost an hour to go back to see her, then when we did, they informed us she still hadn't woken up, but the nurses needed to tend to other patients coming in from the OR and needed someone to sit by her bedside.  As soon as I came, I took a picture of her sleeping for Kris (he was on the phone with his family on the other side of the hospital where there was reception) and as I was talking to the nurse, she heard my voice and opened her eyes, reaching for me to hold her.  She was incredibly groggy, but did nod her head to questions as she dozed on and off until they moved us to her room.  She slept another two hours before she was awake enough to try some juice.  We had never seen her so tired after surgery!  We were ready to go home by 1:00, and she was very sweet about letting the nurse take out her IV and other monitors.  We thought she'd throw up in the van as we were leaving Nashville, but she held it in and never ended up vomitting the entire time.  The anesthesia team knew just what to give her to keep her juice down.  We got home in time for dinner, and she was ready for crackers.  She finally woke up enough to talk to us, but wasn't herself until the next morning.  

The morning after surgery, happy with her bow
Here are before and after pics of the results:

Before surgery #5 
Final result after three excisions (4 days post-op)
Before surgery #5- a bald spot that formed after the second excision to the scalp

After three excisions to scalp (four days post-op)
I'm going to be doing the "honors" of taking out her stitches again in about two weeks.  Believe me, it's no honor.  It's a necessary evil to avoid having to drive back to her surgeon in Nashville. In the meantime, she's going to be sporting a Pebbles ponytail, since she's insistent about wearing a bow (the morning after surgery she cried until I put one in- this girl can't go a day without a bow!).  
Little Lady has bounced back quickly and has already come off Tylenol after three days.  She is One Tough Little Cookie!  When I called her that before surgery this time, she clarified that she was a "chocolate chip" cookie!
Since our surgeries are over (Lord willing) I'll be posting about various other subjects on this blog.  God has taught me many lessons along this journey, and now that we have more free time as our kids grow (imagine that!) I can spend more time writing things down and sharing them with others.  
This season in my life is a unique one, not a necessary one.  I can either wallow in pity about the things I must sacrifice as a mother of four "littles", or see the beauty God has placed in the midst of seemingly mundane, every day happenings.  I may not be exploring the Himalayas for unreached people groups, feeding the homeless in a third world country, or even reaching the many in our community who have needs every day, but I am raising children who could one day be doing all these things themselves.
Why did the Lord give me three boys who are hard working, determined, little sponges who love to talk about Jesus?  Why did He gift us with our daughter, who is a living testimony of the redemption of God and his mercy, who has a tender and moldable heart?  I may never see this side of heaven all the impacts our family is presently making for eternity.  While we aren't a typical American family (we kind of stick out around here), we will never have a book written about us. This blog will never go viral like those amazing moms and wives out there whose articles are so inspiring to me.   Nevertheless, I resolve to live every day to please my Savior and bring glory to Him in the noisy, sweet snuggly, boo-boo filled, classwork saturated, dirty kneed, messy bedroom, filled-up sink days in our home.
Thanks for all your prayers, texts, sweet words of encouragement and concern, and support of Anna Faith's journey.  She is one special little girl, and I know her "future is as bright as the promises of God". (Quote taken from William Carey).

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