Friday, October 2, 2009

Annabelle's Hospital Stay

What a wide range of emotions we have been through these last few days. Annabelle had her surgery Wednesday morning and thankfully it well. It was a long morning leading up to the surgery but well worth it if this shunt can be the thing to make our little girl's head feel and work better.

We arrived at the hospital at 7:30 am to start the admitting paperwork and lab tests. Poor Annabelle hadn't eaten since midnight but she was sucking away on her paci and being a good girl. I have to say that the people at Long Beach Memorial are really wonderful. I'm sure it has to be hard for anyone to be unkind to a sweet baby girl, but the kindness and compassion we have been shown at each of Annabelle's hospital stays have been truly amazing. We were put into a private room by 8:00 am and were told we could stay in there unless they got super busy and needed the room. It really was nice not having to wait to the lobby. We were able to cuddle Annabelle and try to keep her as comfortable as possible. The surgery was scheduled for 10:00, then was pushed to 10:45 but they actually took her back at 12:05. I was relatively calm until they came for her then I completely broke down. Having to hand her over to them was extremely difficult even though I knew she needed procedure done. She was crying and is just so little.

We are so grateful for our good friend Erin who so graciously brought us lunch at hospital. She showed up at a quarter to 12 so the timing was perfect. Lunch from Grounds Bakery can change anyone's mood :-) Thanks again Erin. After eating our lunch on the patio for about 20 minutes we went inside to wait for the Dr. to come out. There we sat staring at the double doors waiting for Dr. Javahery to come out and tell us that everything went well and that we could see our baby. There was so much commotion going on around us and truly I felt like I was in a trance, just sitting there waiting not caring about anything else at that moment. At times I felt sick and wanted to throw up. I think the worst part is knowing that this will not be the last time we have to do this. Shunt revisions and other corrective surgeries are very common for people living with Spina Bifida. I can't imagine this will ever get any easier.

At about 1:30 the Dr. came out and said that the surgery went well - we were SO relieved! He also said that he was glad that he did the surgery that day because the shunt was NOT working at all - so crazy! It was completely plugged and was not draining. Had we not caught this situation I can only imagine how horrible things could have gotten. They called me back into recovery about 30 minutes later. It was wonderful to see her. Her little cry was all scratchy from being intibated and all the suctioning they did, but her lips were just as beautiful as always. I was so happy and surprised to see that she was hungry and they wanted me to feed her. It felt so good to be close to her and snuggle her. I held her so tight and assured her that I would never leave her. She and I were in recovery for almost an hour. I felt bad that Branden was sitting out front not knowing what was going on. Thankfully he doesn't have as vivid of an imagination as I do and just sat patiently knowing I would be coming out soon. Then they gave him a and they took us to her room - way, way, way back in the Winter West Wing of the hospital. We had never heard of this wing, but the staff was very nice and super sweet to Annabelle.

Branden went home around 9:30 to relieve my wonderful mother who had been at our house with the boys since 6:30 am!! I know first hand how long of a day that is. THANK YOU SO MUCH MOM for being there and for taking such great care of the boys!! We are also super thankful for our wonderful neighbors The Horton's who brought over a Delicious spaghetti dinner complete with salad, bread and fruit. What a huge help!

The night unfortunately was long and difficult. Annabelle was really fussy and clearly uncomfortable. Thankfully her vitals were good so no one was overly worried, but neither of us got much sleep. I was very happy when Branden returned around 9:00am Thursday morning. Annabelle stayed fussy for much of the day but finally calmed down and finally had some restful sleep. She started eating better and was becoming herself again. Her head did unfortunately grow about 1/2 cm over night which we don't really have an explanation for - I'm thinking swelling from the incision. The doctor had recommended that she stay one more night just to be safe since she was so fussy. We agreed, but later felt that she would be better off at home because she was doing much better and (OH NO) we got a roommate - not good at all. This completely changed my attitude about staying another night. Thankfully, Dr. Javahery was later was willing to allow us to go home when he heard how well she was doing and that we felt very confident bringing him home. Guess he shouldn't have given me his cell phone number (he he)!

We arrived home at about 6:30 pm and the boys seemed super happy to see us. Coming home was definitely the best decision for the whole family. It was AMAZING how much more comfortable Annabelle seemed sleeping in her own bed, on her own sheets (made by Grammy) and in her own jammies (cute hand me downs from Rachel P) and not hospital clothes that were literally 5 times too big. She settled in rght away which gave us sometime with the boys before they had to go to bed. Since my mom fed and bathed them we were able to get cozy on the couch and watch Bugs Life with - something they have been begging to watch for a while now.

It was a great night for Annabelle. She started nursing again, something she didn't do much of in the hospital and she slept well. We couldn't be happier how the whole experience turned out. We can definitely tell that her shunt is working now but of the feel of her soft spot - it's super soft and squishy, not hard and full like it had become. We are eager to see the positive changes in Annabelle that may come from this new shunt. Since excessive sleepiness is a sign of shunt malfuntion we are expecting a more alert and wakeful little Annabelle.

We truly could not have gotten through this experience without our friends and family. All of the e-mails and text messages of encouragement really helped keep me strong. THANK YOU ALL!


Greta said...

Thank you for the detailed update, Nicole. I am so impressed by you and Brandon. I know that handing Annabelle over to the doctors must have been incredibly difficult. I can not imagine how scared you were. I am thankful that you both are finding strength to go through these hard times and always finding the silver lining. You are both such wonderful parents.
And I am so thankful things went well. As always, you are all in our prayers.
Love from Greta

5chamberlins said...

SO SO thankful that all went well and that you are all home again!!! XOXO

Four Flights said...

Thanks so much for the update Nic. How wonderful your mom is and how wonderful is the grace of God to watch over little Annabelle while she went through surgery and as you took her home. I can just imagine her at home in those adorable sheets your mom made for her :) We love you all and continue to pray for you. Much love and many hugs, the Howes

Leigh and Andy said...

I'm so happy to hear that things went well! I know that it is NEVER easy handing over your baby, but you have such a great attitude about it. This is what your sweet Annabelle needed...she is one lucky girl to have such a wonderful family! :)