Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ella is a AWESOME -- and so is Zoe!!

What a day yesterday was.
A day I had been uneasily anticipating
and ready for it to be over with before it even began.
Everything turned out really well though,
from our 'Silly Breakfast' of jello, juice and popsicles . . . 

 . . . to getting weighed (27.5 pounds),
putting on the purple hospital pajamas,
pink socks (and getting an extra pair for Zoe)
and trying out the gas mask (and getting an extra one for Zoe).

It was very strange only having Ella with us, but nice to have that extra time with her exclusively; while Zoe was a trooper in her own rights, back home with Grama Dianne.  There were no tears when we left, lots of hugs and lots of 'I love you Ella - I love you Zoe',
and then Zoe and Grama just hung out together,
like two best friends on vacation : )
They even planted these flowers for the girls' tree house flower box.

We were at the hospital for about an hour and a half before Ella's surgery began, but the time actually went by quickly.  Zoe and Ella talked on the phone for a little bit, very short and sweet.
Zoe said 'I miss you Ella'
and Ella said 'I miss you Zoe'.

Ella and Tom had time for some deep conversations . . . 

 . . .  while Ella and I got silly together.

Children's Hospital has a policy that only one parent can bring the child to the operating room, so Tom and I decided I would do that part (which is why I was wearing the 'nurses clothes', as Ella called them, in the above pics).

So when it was time, I walked into the operating room carrying Ella and the nurse anesthetist had me sit on a stool.  She put Ella's mask on (with Ella's requested ORANGE-flavored chapstick layered on the inside) and one of the other anesthesiologists sat down and started to tell Ella a very silly, mixed up fairy tale.  Ella was so into how the Princess told the Three Billy Goats Gruff 'not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin' and tried really hard to keep her eyes open, but the medicine did it's job and she fell in a deep sleep very quickly.

The hardest part for me was placing her on the operating table
and walking away.
At that moment my arms felt so empty.

A little less than an hour later Dr. H came into the waiting room and filled us in on the surgery.  I was really hoping Tom was catching all the details because all I heard was 'she did really well and is in recovery now'.  Apparently Tom felt the same way because all he heard was 'she did really well' too.  Ella will have a follow-up ultrasound appointment in 4 weeks, so we'll learn more details then, but like I said in my post from last night, we are hopeful that the deflux procedure worked for Ella and that she'll only have to be on her medicine for one more week.

 After Dr. H left we waited some more until one of the nurses came and told us Ella was on her way to her own room.  Just as we entered the hallway another nurse was bringing Ella out of recovery.
She was really doped up, a bit confused, didn't feel great and was still very sleepy -- and she looked so small on the kid-size gurney.
My heart melted.

Once we got settled in her room all she wanted was to be held by me.
Lucky, lucky, lucky me : )
I wrapped her up, she snuggled in and everything felt just *right*.
The best part for me?  Holding Ella in my arms for almost an hour and a half while she slept.  Sounds corny, but I felt complete again.  

It also reminded me of when I would hold the girls in the NICU,
although with having twins I don't think I ever held one for that long at one time because I always had the other baby to take care of too.  I wish Ella had not needed to have this surgery at all, that she didn't have kidney reflux.  But that one-on-one time I had with her sure was a sweet perk of the day : )

Ella did get puffy from all the fluids they pumped into her
and had a little reaction to one of the meds (not a big deal),
which is why her face was so flushed.  

When she woke up the nurse brought her apple juice and a popsicle.
She wouldn't talk at first and still seemed dazed.

When she had one bite left of her popsicle she told us
in a very husky voice that her throat hurt (from the tubes)
and whimpered a little.
The IV didn't bug her though
and she didn't really pay much attention to it.

We called Zoe and Grama up again and though she didn't talk
she did smile when Zoe said 'I love you Ella'.

Then she started to perk up and act more like her usual self.
And she drank more apple juice and snuggled with Dad.

Discharge took longer than it should have because there was a mix-up with Ella's name (they had three 'Ella's' in surgery that day).  But when we finally got home, this is what greeted us near the front door:  A 'Welcome Home Ella' sign
handmade by Zoe Dianne and Grama Dianne : )
Zoe was so excited to see Ella and give her a hug,
and then she showed her the googly eyes she put on her sign.
And the hearts she made because she loves her.

We were also greeted by a very happy Zoe
and a very relieved Grama Dianne.

And of course, before bedtime Zoe had to try on her blue hat . . . 

. . .  and pink socks . . . 

. . . and cuddle with her sister.

Until Ella was ready for her long day to end.

Yup, yesterday was quite the day for our family.  But it was only one day, and it ended well.  Those of you who have experienced time at a hospital know there is a lot of waiting involved, and a lot of thinking time too -- and I couldn't help but think about all the families whose time in hospitals is a lot longer and a lot harder because they have really sick or injured children.  We're the lucky ones and I know that.  Now I need to work on remembering that when my two healthy daughters are driving me batty,
I'm ready for bedtime
and it isn't even time for dinner yet  : )

So today we're taking it easy while Ella recuperates, even though she insists she's not sick.  And we're listening to her tell Zoe about different random things that happened during her big day yesterday.  And we're listening to Zoe tell Ella about when it's going to be her turn to have surgery (even though she's not scheduled for any sort of surgery), and that she might be a little scared but not a lot  . . .   and there is some fussing and crying, but nothing that we can't handle.

Thanks again for all of the messages and emails!

Today's Update:  Ella did wake with a low-grade fever but it went down after her tylenol kicked in, and we're keeping an eye on that.  She is peeing (and it hurts) and there still is a little blood, but the pain and the blood is less than yesterday -- so she's definitely on the mend.  I think the worst part for her will not being able to jump off the bench or get too crazy on her swingset/play area for a few days.  But again, it's nothing we can't handle : )


McCaffrey365 said...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for the amazing post! It was so great to read about the events from yesterday. The pictures you took were great too and made my heart melt. So sad Ella had to experience surgery but what a precious time you and Tom got to spend with her. And the time you had to hold her that you will cherish when she is all grown up and doesn't fit in your lap anymore.

Please give both the girls hugs for me and tell them that nurse Molly is so very proud of them.

Pat and Missy said...

So glad things went well. We've been thinking about you a lot the last few days.
Give her a big hug from us.

Carolyn said...

Tears of empathy and joy. What a beautiful post. I know it's therapeutic for you as well as appreciated by your family's adoring fans! Your positive attitude is healing for all of you. You all are so special. Hugs to everyone!!