Saturday, May 26, 2007

Medical Updates

Well, things have suddenly gotten a litte stressful on the health front. We have been waiting for some time for the consultation with the ENT specialist about Alivia's small jaw size and eating issues. We finally got to see him this week. At first he was leaning away from any kind of surgical intervention. Alivia's jaw is small, but doesn't seem to be too much of an issue as she is finally eating solid foods and seems to be getting the nutrition she needs. He ran a scope through her nose and into her throat and saw how tight the opening is from her mouth to her throat and suggested that we might be looking at a simple tonsilectomy to relieve some of the space issues. Next, examined the back of her mouth and made a startling discovery. Alivia actually has the mildest form of cleft palette--the back of her mouth never fused and she has a split uvulla (sp). Now he is leaning more towards doing a jaw extension procedure that requires fracturing her jaw on both sides and then inserting a device for two months that has to be adjusted daily to extend her jaw. It's a very painful procedure, but is generally very successful. This doctor happens to be one of the top surgeons in the field and the fact that he didn't immediately jump on doing the surgery makes me feel a little better about it. I know that he isn't just trying to add another case to his resume. Anyway, we have to go back in a few weeks for a head CT so that he can get a more definitive picture of her situation and then we'll make the final decision. I'm hoping that a tonsilectomy will be all that is needed at this time, but it is more than likely inevitable that we'll have to do something about her jaw at some point. I'm worried that the situation right now actually poses a choking hazard for her.

We also did a hearing test on Alivia and had less than definitive results there. That's not unusual in a child of her age, but with the FAS situation we are concerned that she may have some hearing issues. We are scheduled to go back for another test in a few weeks that will involve sedating her and attaching electrodes to her head to measure her brain stem response to sounds.

Alivia is such a delightful child and so patient with the doctors and nurses who are seeing her. It's just amazing to watch--even they are surprised at how cheerful she is and how she doesn't cry or fuss while they poke and prod her. It just makes me so angry that she has to be put through all this all because her birth mother was stupid and drank during the pregnancy. Yes--even the cleft palette issue is one that is rooted in her mother's drinking! While I am ever thankful to her mother for giving her up so that I could adopt her, I hate her for what she did to her by drinking. All of Alivia's medical issues were so easily preventable!

Allright... I've had my rant for the day. At the moment I'm researching the procedures that the doctor is considering and just waiting to find out what the CT scan and hearing test show. On the positive side of things, Alivia is taking more and more steps independently and is picking up new things every day. She's such a happy and charming little thing. It really is hard to be anything but happy around her. I hope as the years pass that I can always say that!

~ Jeana

Thursday, May 10, 2007

One Year Ago

One year ago today I was sitting in my office just like today with no idea that in just a few short hours my whole life would change. It was the Thursday before Mother's Day and in between work tasks I spent a lot of the morning day dreaming about the baby girl I was waiting for. That afternoon I made the rounds of my co-workers' offices and fielded the inevitable "when will you hear something" questions. I remember smiling optimistically as I answered "could be any day now... but I won't hear anything today. It's too late in the day. They always call in the morning."

I was on my way downstairs back to my office when my cell phone rang. I remember looking at the phone number in disbelief--knowing, even before I answered it, who it was and what it was about. Time slipped into slow motion and the next few minutes seemed like an hour as I impatiently watched the photo of my new daughter-to-be download onto my computer screen. The next two months would be a whirlwind of activity punctured by long moments of suspended time as I completed last minute preparations and traveled to Russia twice to complete the adoption of my daughter.

My life has changed in immeasurable and wonderful ways since that day one year ago. Today, as I look forward to my first true Mother's Day, I do find myself daydreaming about the end of this year when I plan to start the process of adopting another little girl, but I also find myself determined to enjoy every minute of this very special time when it's just the two of us. Just me and Alivia. One year ago this moment she was still just a dream. Today she's all mine and the most precious gift this mother can ever imagine receiving.

~ Jeana