Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Six Months

July has been a long, hot month! An update on us: Grace turned six months old, her cast comes off August 9th (hallelujah!) and the rest of us are just waiting for that date to get here.

I thought I would do a little recap of our last six months and its highs and lows. Let's start with the lows so that we can finish on a high note.

The Lows:
- Jack got the worst stomach flu two weeks after Grace is born. This broke my heart but thankfully my mother-in-law was in town to help. Then of course Christian and I got the same virus.
- Grace was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. The harness did not work to treat Grace's hips. Grace had surgery and spent six weeks in a cast. Grace had another surgery and we are now at week four in that cast. Yes, a total of 10 weeks down with 2 more to go.
- Our dog died. Twelve and a half year old Radley broke his hip and we found out he had bone cancer. We miss Radley.
- Our grill caught fire. The firemen arrived to put out the fire and afterward said, "We don't know how your house did not burn down." The hand of God is my only answer. A little side note here. During this time a lot of people have told me that God would not give us more than we can handle. I really believe in the grill fire moment God knew that my house burning down would have been just a bit too much for me to handle. Thank you God. I am always grateful for our lovely home but now I am especially so.
- Postpartum Thyroiditis. I developed this after birthing Jack. With Jack my thyroid was slow and after nine months of feeling awful I was able to use medication to regulate my thyroid. After Grace my thyroid was fast until about a month ago. This meant that I spent about five months being crazy. Seriously crazy. I could not sleep. I was starving all the time. I could not stop losing weight. And I had out of control anxiety during an already anxious time. Thankfully this time has passed.

The Highs:
- We had Grace. My sweet girl and one of the few loves of my life. My heart is so full with the love I feel for my little family.
- Christian got a promotion.
- Christian's mom, my mom and my brother all came out to spend a week with us. They all came at separate times so we had three full weeks of help.
- Jack started going poopy on the potty. Unless you have had a child this one will be lost on you.
- Grace gets out of her cast in two weeks. At the cast change her hips looked like they were on the path to healing. I believe Grace is healed. Something in my heart over the last few weeks changed and I feel that she is already healed. I can't explain it; I just feel it. My rational brain still tells me to brace myself for bad news but I feel peace about her hips.
- We are so blessed. So much of our life is easy and full and privileged.
- We have been surrounded with prayer and love during this time.

For full disclosure I must say that this has been one of the hardest times of my life. Most days I am strong but some days I am oh so weak. This has been a time of extreme stress and exhaustion. However, I feel blessed with growth over the last few months. I have changed; my heart has changed. I see my world differently. I say this with total humbleness but I think I am a better person than I was a few months ago. I am more grateful and see my blessing much more clearly now.

What a crazy, busy, hard but wonderful life. Happy six months sweet Grace. We are so happy to have you here!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

It's Gonna Be A Hot One!

Sitting in The Children's Hospital waiting room is a humbling experience. This is especially true when your child is only getting a cast change. As Christian and I waited for Grace's procedure to be completed, we saw many families sitting along side us waiting for news from the doctors. After observing a couple of families being called back into the conference room to talk to the doctor, Christian said to me, "I don't ever want to be called into the conference room." I agree. They don't call you in there for good news.

I know it isn't good to let someone else's pain create gratitude but that is how I felt sitting there. I was flooded with an enormous feeling of gratefulness for the health of my family and empathy for those other families who aren't so lucky.

Grace's procedure on Thursday went great. The only hiccup was a two hour delay past her scheduled surgery start time. Even though Grace hadn't eaten for hours she stayed perfectly calm. She really is a chilled out kid. If I had not birthed this child, I would think that she didn't belong to me.

The surgeon had said to me a few times after meeting with Grace that this was the beginning of a long relationship. I have not known how to take this and finally asked the question that I wanted to know. Did she tell everyone with hip dysplasia this or did she see something unique with Grace's case that led her to say that. Thankfully, this is a routine statement and not a reflection of Grace's specific case. Regardless of how the cast works Grace will return at least once a year throughout her childhood to monitor her progress.

After the surgery when the doctor came out to talk with us she had good news. Grace's left hip that prior to casting would fall out of the socket stayed in when she removed the cast. This is good news. It means the cast is working. Our doctor did not try and pop the hip out of socket but did pull Grace's leg down and the hip stayed in place. Hallelujah!

Also, I am sure they tell all parents this who have children with casts in decent shape but our surgeon said that Grace's cast was one of the cleanest she has ever seen. I needed to hear this. All of my crazy, OCD cast care worked. It provided validation that we are doing a good job in this tough situation.

Grace will remain in her current cast for six weeks. I will be calling on Tuesday to schedule the appointment to remove her cast and we will be counting down the days. After her cast is removed she will be placed in a rhino brace full-time for at least two weeks. We will be able to remove this for washing and diaper changes. She will then be weaned off the brace over a few months.

Our biggest challenges of the next six weeks are keeping Grace cool and Jack entertained. It is going to be a long, hot summer.

Overall I feel very blessed. We are all hanging in there and looking forward to the end of this. Please continue to pray that Grace's hips heal and that when we are finished with this course of action, we will be done. Or as we said when we were leaving the operating room area on Thursday, we don't ever want to have to be back there again.

Thank you all for loving our family and keeping us in your thoughts!