Saturday, October 31, 2009

Post Surgery Updates

Yes, I know... how dare I make everyone worry about us... two weeks almost. Many excuses: waiting for the doctor check up to say a-ok (no counting chickens before hatched here), busy with a newly eye-sighted child (that's a major part) and life must go on... never slows down here. The reason: I just didn't do it. I apologize.

We have EYESIGHT! She is so excited to have her "new eyes"... and "eyes all better now" my favorite, "eyes no owie, all better, thank you." She is doing everything she couldn't do before as fast as she can as often as she can. First order of business was twirling ... lots and lots of twirling.
Well, actually the first order was to make sure Nika, Kole, Jadyn, Daddy were all still here. She was scared going in to the center because the girl knows what's up. She glared at nurses plenty but cooperated. After she was dressed (lovely nurses let her keep her pj bottoms on... Kole's ear surgery... different story), she went with Grandma and I to a child's room where she played with a wagon of toys. That was some serious fun in her book. Then I gave the camera to her and she snapped away until the anesthesiologist came in and ordered up the Versed. Translates to very loopy child with sedative (drunk) behavior and no short term memory. Kinda funny to watch and lightens the mood when your child is stumbling around mumbling abc's. I was sooo grateful she still was speaking in English and still remembered everyone. That was an odd fear of mine.

Off she went groggy; we walked her to the double doors where she parted with the OR nurse and mumbled "bye"... half way down the hall... Versed can't stop her! She realized that is not a proper goodbye and screamed at the top of her lungs down the hall, "BYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEE!!!!" I yelled back "bye" as all the nurses giggled. 1.5 hrs later, "She's crying for ya." I can hear her as I near the door and she's calling for mama. Yeah! She still speaks English and remembers me. She snuggled into my arms and just settled down to try and wake up.

As soon as she was home, she wanted to be ready to go but the darn meds, just made her so tired. That didn't stop her from trying. Hardly any blood in her tears and she was EXTREMELY obedient about not rubbing her eyes... crazy will-power.

All at once, she could see, she was so excited to point everything she hadn't really gotten to see. She ran around the house (as best she could and also for the next couple days), just excited. The best part: She looks me in the eyes and her countenance changes. A small tweak of the face to reveal a soft smile when I look at her... not a blank searching, trying to put images together. This is something your children do and I never noticed it fully until Milana. It is a HUGE forgotten gift and blessing. As I put her in the car for her first car ride after surgery, she stopped and studied my face and ran her fingers along my cheek and jaw slowly and then met my eyes... and then smiled and giggled. I have not had that yet and wow, pretty powerful stuff.

After this honeymoon period, she wised up and even though she couldn't figure out what had happened, she knew something had happened that wasn't fun. She kinda reverted here and there with behaviors, words, temperament, while she processed feelings. Now, she's all back and then some. Having her eye surgery has not only given her sight, it has helped us get past almost everything that has been a struggle for all of us. It was like overnight she just totally said to herself, I am part of this family.

Yesterday, we went to the doctor to check and everything is healing beautifully. Her eyes are just a tiny flick out (which is good because you don't want them in). The doc says only he would notice this and he also said it's not often. She has completely memorized his doc routine. Lately after surgery, she's had one night accident and one day... I figure still processing everything. Stress can wreak havoc on ya. Yesterday, we went to the park and this is the first time I've ever actually seen her enjoy the park. Donnie said all this in one sentence, "She is very enjoyable." Enjoyable... this really has been and she most definitely is. The other children are thrilled to have her seeing as well... and oh my stress levels have seriously dropped. I ran around crazy scared that she was going to eat it down stairs, off curbs, chairs, slides... etc. We are soo glad you can see, wo de bao bei. Daddy calls her little Ni Hao. hee hee Donnie also yells out kai shing! at odd times or asks her if she is. She always giggles. The one word she has kept as never interchangeable... wo chi... my foot.... oh I love those wo chi's.
She was ready to cruise outta there with that wagon.
She's LOVES her wo chi's. Not bad focusing for being two!
She took this of me and then laughed with approval.

Grandma just gave her Minnie and now she's in LOVE with anything Minnie and even sings "It's the Minnie Mouse Clubhouse." Mickey, you got the boot.

Never too ill to help... she loves the dishes.

A couple hours after coming home from the surgery center with her new baby doll.
My little loopy Milana.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Before Surgery & Thoughts & Some Pics

They totally did the "slow motion run to each other across the grass and hug" move and I didn't have the camera on video mode.

Here Milana! You Kick Like This!!

This is one of my favorites because it looks like Kole is pulling Milana's hair. He is actually explaining the dynamics of "how to do a jedi force punch." I'm not sure if he made this move up or not.

Oh! My Bubbles!

Are you not turtle-y enough for the turtle club?
Before surgery. I often wonder what she can see. I once asked her and pointed, "Is this the eye you are looking at me with?" She jumped and then laughed and said yes.
Thank you Sarah for the lemonade dress... this child definitely makes lovely life lemonade. P.S.Milana really likes to point and ask for this dress almost everyday.

Today is a choking back the tears day. Tomorrow, Milana's eye muscles for her strabismus will be repositioned. Four months ago tomorrow, Milana walked off a plane, onto American soil, and into our home and hearts. I have seen such growth from all of us. Some tremendous amounts of patience has grown from a tree we didn't know existed. Some more buds of patience continue to grow. A tree of deep soul-searching and deep unconditional love is growing from each of us in different ways and amazingly at different rates. When one of us is weak, the others carry the weight to keep the family going, and most often the person who is faltering. The enrichment this little one has given our lives is something special. It's funny how perspective can give you a heavy dose of what is real and what is your reality.

Perspective. Today, I am quite a bit more patient with the children. Knowing of the surgery to come can do that. I will wake up tomorrow at 5 am, off to the surgery center at 6 am, surgery is at 7:30. I will bundle a still sleeping Milana who I have told about the surgery, shown pictures, and role played a little, but she is still a very oblivious little one who trusts me so much to protect her. I am nervous about her being scared most of all. I am going to ask them to give her a sedative before they separate us... I think it's more for me. Will I feel this way tomorrow? Scared, nervous, hopeful and strangely calm that we will have a helpful outcome.Don't know. I know I won't feel this way even months from now. That's perspective. Hindsight. Life.

That's what happens. I know that I have been guilty of not having fresh perspective, when my nerves are worn and the children are "extra exploratory with brain challenges". This life is all about learning. Tomorrow, my world will not be black and white as a memory or photo, but in full action color. I must love this little girl because man, my heart is breaking a bit. I know it is important for her to have this surgery, but when you are the one experiencing the helplessness of letting others do work on your child, whew... self-restraint and composure... where are you. Wish us well, keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Funny, I know my family is strong-willed which I think I may hold the crown... often to prevent mutiny, I must remember to breathe and let life be. As strong willed as Milana is, I have always been told by my mother, You must be stronger. But I know when it comes to coping skills, Milana has us all beat. I stand amazed at her strength to endure. I am often reminded by Donnie when I worry about her, "She can handle it. She is a tough girl." So tomorrow, she will be fine, I will have been have been taught another lesson in life by my two-year old. Everything you need to know in life, your children will teach you.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

So I Was Wrong and the Sickness Ain't Gone

Give me an "S". Give me a "W". Give me an "I", give me an "N" give me an "E" and come here SOOO WEEE. That gastro stuff in the Southern post was the beginnings of H1N1. We're alright. In fact the kids have been the best. Milana was the least sick of all, which makes me wonder if this flu actually was around a lot longer than they are saying and she had it in Taiwan. She barely got gastro and barely got weak and less hungry 2 days. Donnie and I were beat down with the sick stick the last month pretty much. We're suspected the swine flu but didn't get tested and just kept plugging along until we ran into our old neighbor who works for our Pediatrics offices. She's had it for a month too and we basically laughed and commiserated over our misfortunate (spell check says I made up misfortunate) symptoms. She was tested and she is positive we have it.

All in all, we didn't get it too badly... we have all the symptoms they posted on the websites with a few of the (you should rush to the dr. immediately ones), like hubby wheezing. I was more annoyed with the sucker because life keeps going and so do my well kids. Mostly, we were insanely sleepy and lethargic. Headaches that were cruel punishment came out of nowhere and this evil pain in my neck couldn't be controlled by any pain meds I had. I had to start drinking a 1/4 RockStar for the headache and to actually care for kids instead of just zone out with meat defrosting in my hand while I made lunch. It's a bit brutal with the "keeps on coming back" factor but I've seen some nasty sicknesses and I wouldn't label this the worst...knock on word and say a prayer. This thing isn't over yet, but we are doing better each day. Yesterday was yucky... today will be better... I'm determined.

Catching up: Milana received her results a bit back about her kidneys. No Surgery!!! She does have a bladder that is twice the size of a child's her age, which the doctor (who is Chinese) believes was caused by prematurely potty-training a bladder that wasn't ready (it is more Chinese custom to potty-train early... which for Milana being a preemie... wasn't medically appropriate). She doesn't have much feeling anymore because of how she was taught to hold it, so we have to teach her to relax her bladder muscles. Poor thing has an involuntary shiver as the sign she has to go. But we are thankful she doesn't have reflux. We are in the monitoring stage.

Her eye surgery is next Monday. She will have 4 eyes muscles relocated at 7:30 a.m. I am trying not to get nervous... trying to stay calm and so thankful I don't have to worry about the flu attacking us right before her surgery.

Nika made Honor Choir at her school which I am so pleased she tried out. Even if she didn't make it, I know how hard auditions are so I am sooo tickled pink that she did it. She loves choir... even if it means off to school an hour earlier.
Kole is a reading maniac! The teacher says he is at a 2nd/3rd grade level. I went to school Friday to help (yes, my sickness is on a loll and I can control the symptoms with no harm to anyone) and these 4th graders came in to read to the K's. I hear the teachers say, "Oh my that's perfect" as they lead Kole to his 4th grader, a tall fair sweet Spanish only speaking child. So here you have this picture of a small Kindergarten student reading and explaining about fire safety to this older child, hunched over intently devouring everything Kole says with amazement. Then Kole preceded to take him by the hand and lead him around the room talking and pointing to all the colors and words around the K room! Perfect for both of them. Now, I'm contemplating asking to tutor this young man as he has zero English comprehension.
Jadyn is just absorbing Milana. Although Jadyn's speech has reverted a little, she and Milana are doing well as they are the ones not at school. Jadyn is starting to learn to read and we are working on writing letters as well. Milana doesn't want to be left out at all so she is full-force absorbing everything! Literally! She's starting sentences. Ok, so I may be the only one understanding her, but I LOVE it. I'm writing about both at once, because they have this love/dislike thing going but they always like to be together. I do make Jadyn have alone time though as you can tell once she is there... she is relishing it.

Milana had her Early Childhood assessment and ... she doesn't qualify! 2 months ago when I made the appt.... she definitely needed therapy. Now, after 2 months of English language, American culture, 3 rowdy kids and 2 parents at her beck and call... she is on target with a small delay in gross skills which I have tips on how to work with. She is at 27 to 30 months. Her actual age is 29 months. I will test her again at age 3 in case her sounds are not coming in the way we'd like to hear or in case her gross motor skills stall, but until then, we just keeping doing what we're doing because I guess it's working?! Alot is her and alot is that she is extremely bright and didn't have much exposure (the therapists think so).

Oh and we had our post-placement about a month and a half ago too. Milana was on her best best behavior which surprised me and I had to tell the social worker that. The social worker thought that she is always super well-behaved which made me laugh. She is a sweet girl and wants to behave, but wanting and doing are two different things. ;0) I think all went well as we don't get the report in this state. Our agency seemed content, so I guess all is well. Mostly, you just tell them how things are going and background info.

Well, gotta go... I hear the elephants stampeding above me as they wake up for the day. Pictures will be soon.

Ok, so I had to go back and add pictures because I just realized my 11 yr first date anniversary just passed by and hubby and I were so busy, we missed it! We've been making sure to still get our date night... small as it may be at times. HaPpY AnNiVeRsArY Love! On Halloween, he asked me to marry him... well it was pretty funny because it was a surprise on both our parts... we hadn't planned it at all. It was Halloween and he told me he wanted to be with me forever. I asked, with a brow furrow, "Uh did you just ask me to marry you?" His answer, "I think I did." My answer, "Ok". The next day... I asked... were you serious? 8 months later, we were married. 11 yrs, four kids later... absolutely inseparably meant to be. Crazy people in Love. And yeah, if you do the math... decided to get married in less than a month. ha ha Met on a blind date years earlier but I was on one with his best friend (who hit me with a four-wheeler that day... yeah, date not so good). Thank goodness for that date.