Monday, April 2, 2012

Emalyn is a Rock Star

Today was Emalyn's big day. We had anticipated this day and, as prepared as we tried to be, we weren't sure what to expect. Don't get me wrong, we knew how the surgery should go, to expect her to be swollen, etc., but we didn't know how she would react to the hospital, anesthesia, or surgeon; what she would look like afterwards; how she would feel toward us after surgery; how long it would take for her to show her sweet personality afterwards; and on and on.

We woke up well before the sun came up to check in at Children's Hospital by 5:45 am. We waited a little while after we checked in, then were taken back to pre-op. Several people came by to introduce themselves and they all asked basically the same she allergic to anything, what time did she eat and drink last, etc. Finally, her surgeon, Dr. Ray (who has a daughter the same age who is adopted from Taiwan) came by to say 'hi' and tell us what to expect. About 7:15 am her nurse came to get her and she was off. She did great when they took her back. She was hesitant to go with her, but never cried. Thus, the waiting began.

It was amazing the overwhelming peace we both had. We kept looking at each other and saying, "shouldn't we be more anxious?". God is good and, just like always, His presence was evident today. We are so grateful for His faithfulness and so thankful for a place like Children's! God has equipped this place with so much talent and people who care and it's truly a joy to be amongst the precious people here.

About 25 minutes after Emalyn went back they called to say she had done well with anesthesia, was asleep and they were getting started. By 9:00 am the nurse called with our first update (short and sweet: doing great, as expected) and by 9:40 am Dr. Ray was out of the OR and delivering an update to us in person.

He was very pleased with how her surgery went. He was able to close her lip, reattach the muscles, make her nose more symmetrical and her nostrils level. She'll have one scar that will fade over time. There are three layers of stitches and most of them will dissolve in four to five days. Just a few of them, those in the most crucial places like the base of her nose and her lip, will take two to three weeks to dissolve.

We waited a little longer for her to wake up in recovery (despite our graveling, they wouldn't allow us to be with her in recovery) and then were lead to her room. When we got there she had just arrived and was in the hallway on her bed. She tried to smile a little tired smile when she saw us and when I held my hands out to pick her up she reached for me with her stiff (splinted) little arms. Both were heart warming and a relief!
We were amazed at her appearance from the second we saw her. Her little eyes, cheeks and lips were very swollen, but beneath the swelling we could already tell that Dr. Ray had done a beautiful job on her repair.

Since she's been back in our arms she's done remarkably well. Everything except the stitches have annoyed her, but she's been tolerant. She strongly dislikes the blood pressure cuff, pulse sensor, splints and IV, but hasn't noticed the stitches yet. Her lip is numb right now, so hopefully she won't discover them and start picking at them. If she does she'll have to wear her splints a lot more than she did today, because she won't be able to feel all of the pain of pulling on them.
The nurses, her surgeon and the staff here have been amazing and they are doing a great job managing her pain and are giving her great care.

When Dr. Ray came by this afternoon to check on her, he brought a sweet teddy bear from the Cleft Foundation that also has stitches in her lip. He was very encouraging and kept telling Emalyn over and over how beautiful she is.

Adair, Nona and Joe-pa came by to visit this evening. Adair was very curious about the tubes and stitches, but so sweet and compassionate. After they left and before bedtime, we ventured out (IV in tow) for a little walk. Emalyn insisted on riding in the red wagon, so we strolled for a few minutes. I think she enjoyed a change of scenery...we all did.

As I type, Emalyn is sound asleep in her hospital crib. We're all hoping to get a little sleep tonight and we look forward to heading home tomorrow.

Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to pray for us as she recovers and we comfort and care for her. We are so thankful for today and thankful she seems to be recovering so well. It's truly amazing how resilient children are! God is so good!

Entertained by Daddy's glove balloon.

Happy girl pre-op.

Last "before" picture.

Mommy, Emalyn and Daddy pre-op.

Swollen and tired post-op.

Not so happy with all the cords.

Enjoying a little ice cream after two containers of yogurt.

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