Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

Merry Christmas To All And To All A Goodnight...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Coffee and Lemonade

So... this is the latest development! Two weeks following Jackson's palate surgery we were able to start him back on solid foods again. I decided to try his usual oatmeal but with apple juice this time... and he loved it and gobbled it down in 10 minutes! Afterwards I thought I'd try a bit of juice in his sippy cup and see how it went. Initially I had to hold it for him, while he tried to figure it out. Then he started to get it and want to do it HIMSELF. Then the other night, this happened:

Drinking while Sleeping from Halle Whittington on Vimeo.

I have seen babies fall asleep while drinking before, but Jackson has NEVER done it because he has NEVER been able to take any liquid from anything. And we have tried EVERYTHING! So when we observed this the other night, we had to capture it. I can't tell you how excited it has made me! He can only take little bits from it right now, but he's getting it... and that makes me SO HAPPY!

In other news... Today is my sister's 29th birthday! Happy Birthday Anne (aka Bear Bear)! I love you!

Also, I met the most amazing woman today along with her beautiful girl, Bella. Bella is 3 months old and was also born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. We found each other through the blogging world and were finally able to meet up today over coffee and lemonade. I can't even express what it feels like to talk with someone that understands much of what we are walking through and knows what it is like to be a first-time mother in the way that I do. Jenny, you are such an incredible mother and I am so thankful for you.

What a beautiful day...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

11 Months Old

It is unbelievable to me that it was nearly a year ago that Jackson entered this world. Like I mentioned in a previous post, the emotions are heavy at times. So many memories. I was on bed rest at this point in time last year, trying to make sure Jackson didn't come too soon. If you didn't see pictures of me prior to delivering, here are a few my friend Monique took:

Now keep in mind these were taken right before I went into the hospital at 32.5 weeks! Right before the C-section, my doctor wanted to take a fundal height measurement to see how big I was. (For those of you who didn't know, I had excess amniotic fluid, also known as polyhydramnios. And excess was no understatement.) Typically, a woman measures 40cm at 40 weeks. At 34 weeks, I measured 55cm - the size of a woman having triplets. Crazy. And, honestly, not very cute. (At least in my estimation.)

Well, here is our boy at 11 months! He is recovering really well from surgery, getting better day by day.

We are so grateful for all of those people who showed us love and support when we arrived home from his surgery. Thank you to the Caldwells, Soderins, Eckerts, Sisemores, Siems and the Bradshaws for the amazing meals! We love you all.

Jackson loves books.

However, we're trying to teach him that loving them does not mean eating them...

We just love that hair! Correction: I love it, and well, Daniel is just jealous...

Friday, December 5, 2008

CHLA Post Op

Here's a video of Jackson in the hospital, a couple days after surgery. The noise you hear in the background is why I was so frustrated with this hospital experience. But our boy is still so sweet, trying to play with toys but not quite feeling up for the task. I just love this little guy.

Palate/G-Tube Post Op from Halle Whittington on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

3 Weeks Post Op

So, once again, it's been awhile... Life has been a bit crazy since Jackson's palate surgery. Seriously crazy.

First, to recap surgery. We stayed the night in the Ronald McDonald House prior to Jackson's surgery Wednesday, November 12th. We arrived at CHLA at 7:30am and began filling out the necessary paperwork. And then we waited. And we waited some more... And we waited a little bit more...

Finally, at noon, they were ready. Now, keep in mind, Jackson hadn't eaten since 9pm on Tuesday night. And we can't feed him ANYTHING because he has to have an empty stomach prior to surgery. Poor guy was really hungry. So we spent those hours finding creative ways to distract our hungry son until the time they called his name. I suppose distracting our hungry boy helped us distract ourselves at the same time. Sort of.

At noon we were brought to another room where we waited a bit more. Thankfully, it was not as long as the prior wait. We changed him into hospital garb and soon our boy was wheeled away from us, having no clue what was about to happen. Handing him over broke my heart because I knew when we got him back, he would be in pain and out of sorts.

Then Daniel and I waited some more. Jackson had 3 procedures done, so we knew it would take awhile, but we weren't exactly prepared to wait for the next 5 hours. His surgeons came to update us occasionally on how it was going. First, his ear tubes were checked. The doctor thought he would need to have new tubes placed, but, thankfully, the tubes looked great! No need for new ones. Phew. Next up was the gastroenterologist. His G-tube went in with no complications. Finally, the plastic surgeons and his palate repair. This was the longest procedure of the day. And it took longer than they anticipated.

Around 5:30pm, they finally called us in to see him. And he looked awful. It is ridiculously difficult to see your 10 month old like this. Not the baby I had left earlier. I couldn't help the tears. He was in pain. And I couldn't do anything to help him. He was also having issues breathing following the anesthesia, so he was on oxygen. Scary. On top of this, Jackson had a stitch through his tongue taped to the outside of his face. This was a precaution in case anything went wrong and his tongue obstructed his breathing, so the doctor could pull his tongue out of the way if needed by way of the stitch. Crazy. And I'm sure very comfortable.

And thus began one of the worst weeks we've yet to encounter together.

Jackson had to stay in Surgery Recovery for over 24 hours because there were no rooms open in the hospital. NO ROOMS. Typically, children only are there for a few hours at the most. So we have a baby that has just come out of surgery stuck in a large room, separated by curtains. Beyond frustrating.

26 hours after he got out of surgery, Jackson finally got a room. We were so happy and relieved... until we arrived in the room. This room was not a large room, however there were 4 cribs in it. I cannot even express the rage I felt. Every 20 minutes or so, our exhausted baby would get woken up either by another baby screaming, a nurse who HAD to check his vitals right NOW, or other families in the room laughing, talking VERY loud, playing the TV at a HIGH volume, and the list goes on. And this lasted until we finally left on the following Monday. I was not a very happy Mama to say the least.

We were originally supposed to leave on Friday. Then Friday turned into Saturday, and Saturday to Sunday... As far as his palate was concerned, the doctors could've released him on Friday, but the G-tube was the primary concern. Prior to leaving, Jackson had to be up to his normal intake of formula. And this took days. Not because it had to, but because there was so much miscommunication between the doctors and the nurses, everything took much longer than it needed to. And meanwhile Jackson is not getting any rest. We just wanted to get him home where we could take care of him.

Well, long story short (or not so short), we arrived home Monday to a very clean house thanks to my Mom. And the saga continues...