Sunday, September 23, 2007

On the Down Hill Side

Livi's surgery went very well on Thursday. She was in the OR for about 2 hours and then in recovery for about 1.5 hours before they took her to her room. She was in a lot of pain all day Thursday and most of Friday, but they kept her on morphine every two hours to deal with that. Thursday she slept most of the day away and Friday she dozed in and out, but spent the whole day in my arms. She wouldn't let me put her down for more than a minute--she needed Mommy love big time! That evening she did go for a little walk around the ICU and laughed a couple times at jokes. My friend Diane came to visit and held Livi for a couple hours so I could go home and get a much needed shower and meal. While I was gone Livi's 2nd IV (she pulled out the first one) got bent and had to be replaced. Poor thing!

On Saturday Livi was much better and actually let me sleep a bit, too. She wasn't nearly as clingy and walked around quite a bit. Saturday afternoon we did the first turning of the screws and she didn't even flinch. That evening they took her off the morphine and put her on an oral pain medicine that seems to be enough for her. She is eating a bit--her whole jaw and chin is swollen and it's hard to get her mouth open very wide, but she doesn't seem to be in much pain at all. She's been eating mac and cheese, yogurt and cream of chicken soup. Good comfort food! This morning they said Livi was doing so good that we could go home if I was comfortable with the screw turning. She doesn't seem to be bothered by it at all, so I am having no problem with it. Here's a photo of one of the screws.

The first photo above was taken right after we got home today. Livi's a bit swollen, but otherwise happy, as you can see! Now, if I could just get over this awful cough I have (bronchitis, I think... haven't found time to get to my doctor yet) everything would be great! Thank you, everyone, for your prayers, messages and phone calls! I'm still pretty much voiceless, but I do appreciate all the love and warm thoughts being sent our way!

~ Jeana

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Surgery Update

I received a call on Friday from the hospital rescheduling Alivia's surgery again... they've moved it up to Thursday, September 20th. Hopefully she will be fully over her cold by then and everything can proceed as scheduled.

In other news... Livi is living up to the terrible two's! Today she threw a tantrum just because I wouldn't open a door for her. There was nothing terribly exciting on the other side of the door--we were at my office and it just led to another hallway of offices. She pitched a royal fit, though, for about 5 minutes before finally giving up. Hopefully Livi will quickly figure out that Mommy doesn't give in to tantrums and will stop trying to play that card. Also, Kizi, the younger of my two cats, has finally decided to allow Livi to pet her. She's still cautious and quick to get away if Livi pulls or pinches, but they do seem to be getting along quite well most of the time. My other cat, Treasure, is going to be a MUCH harder sell... (and, yes, Kizi is a really BIG cat!)

We have a busy week ahead of us... Monday we start with a new speech therapist. Tuesday is a new cognitive therapist. I also have a doctor's appointment on Tuesday--they found something suspicious on my latest mammogram and want me to come in for a diagnostic one. Probably nothing, but I'm still a bit worried, I must admit. Wednesday is Livi's pre-surgical check-up, followed by the surgery itself on Thursday. If I make it to the end of the week with all my hair still attached to my head it will be a miracle...

~ Jeana

Monday, September 10, 2007

Cruise Report and More!

Wow! The Celebrate Adoption Cruise was an absolute blast! I won $840 on penny slots (PENNY slots!!!!!) that I spent on a gorgeous set of blue diamond ear studs. Livi surprised me by gobbling down cream of escargo soup and other gourmet delicacies. The other families were great--especially Natalia and her daughter Marina and son Roman. Marina and Livi became quite friendly and I hope we'll get to see them again in the future! Livi won't wear her sunglasses often, but when she does...

Livi proved to be a terrific sailor. No seasickness or major problems of any kind. Of course she was ready to go home once the cruise ended. So was I. We did enjoy ourselves immensely, though, and I'm already planning our next cruise adventure. I'm looking at a 7 nighter next year in October that will stop in Belize and Cozumel. I've never been to Belize and love Cozumel, so it looks very promising so far! Anyone want to join us? This is Livi's formal portrait from the cruise.

Other highlights--I mentioned Marina already. She was such a cutie--just a few months older than Livi and only a little bigger, but she played big sister and helped Livi climb the stairs. It was so sweet! The kids all spent time together in Camp Carnival, but we were not, unfortunately, able to do much together outside of that. Everyone just had too many things they wanted to do and it was a busy 6 days.

My mother watched Livi for a few hours while we were in Nassau and decided to get her hair braided. She loved it and looks very cute with her hair beads. I have to take them out in a few days to get her ready for the surgery next week, but they are so cute that I want to leave them in as long as I can. Here's a photo I took of her in our cabin with her braids. She was in a serious mood that night...

Livi and I recieved some very good news today on the health front. We had her 6 month follow-up with the orthopedics specialist and he said that Livi has made some fantastic strides with her legs (no pun intended!) and now no longer needs braces or even shoe inserts! I felt like jumping up and down with joy! Her legs have become much stronger and straighter and she's walking quite a bit now. Here's a photo of her in motion--literally.

At the moment Livi has a slight cold that I guess she caught in Camp Carnival. I'm hoping it will clear up soon and not delay the surgery. That's scheduled for a week from Friday--on September 21. I just want to go ahead and get it over with so we can get on with the healing. Well, enough for now! I'll try to post again in a few days!

~ Jeana

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Apologies and Updates

I'm sorry I've gone so long without posting. Things have been extremely hectic here over the past few weeks. In addition to Livi's surgery (more on that in a moment) I've had to deal with one college term ending, another one beginning and a couple major deadlines in my daytime job. Whew... I'm looking forward to being out to sea next week--literally!

Livi's surgery went very well. I was rather nervous when the surgeon told me not to be surprised if Livi had to be put on a ventilator after the surgery and had to stay a few extra nights. He hadn't mentioned any of that before. This first surgery was just for tonsils, adenoids and ear tubes. Well, fortunately, Livi proved to be a real trooper--no ventilator, no additional nights in the hospital, and really minimal reaction to everything that went on. Within about five hours of the surgery she was up pushing her stroller around the PICU and trying to visit the other children. The doctors and nurses were all just amazed at her resilience. I'm just hoping that she will show the same strength when it comes to the second surgery.

Speaking of the second surgery... the date has been moved up. They now have it scheduled for September 21. It's good in one sense--I'm happy to get it over with and we're less likely to be impacted by flu and cold season. On the other hand, my parents will be out of town beginning several days before hand and not returning until several days afterwards, so I'll be missing that support. With this operation it is very likely that she will be on a ventilator for a couple days. I know that she will be in the PICU for a couple days and then in the regular pediatric surgical unit for a couple more days. I get to stay with her the whole time, but it is going to be tough to be there alone. I'm hoping that my friends here will be able to come by to see us and give me that extra support that I'm going to need. It will just depend on everyone's schedules, of course.

Work has been a challenge, too. I'm teaching two courses this term and one is a newly developed one that we had virtually no info on until a couple days before classes started. I't a hybrid course (part in class and part online) and we have some technical issues to deal with, as well. It's been a rough start to the term... My day job hasn't been much better. I've been frantically working on a Website and brochure for one of our college programs trying to get it done by today. I did manage it, but just barely... I was at work until 6:30 last night putting on the final touches. I hate being on such a tight schedule--it really impacts my time with Livi, not to mention making me too tired to be able to do some of the things with her that I want to do.

Hopefully that will all turn around now that classes are entering their second week and that major project is done. And I'm officially on vacation for a week! On Monday we'll be leaving on our cruise to Key West and Nassau, Bahamas. There are five other families in our group who have adopted little ones internationally. I think they are all from Russia, but I'm not sure. I do know that they are all close in age to Alivia--she's the youngest, but most of the others are only 10 to 12 months older. It should be a lot of fun!

I still haven't been able to get any new photos, but I'm going to try this weekend. I'll definitely get some on the cruise, too!

~ Jeana