Saturday, May 26, 2007
I am finally getting the blog updated with pictures and I am probably doing this backwards so scroll down if you want to read the posts in the right order. These are the first pictures of Helande after arriving to Texas. This was her first little wash down and she was so miserable. It's hard to remember that this is the same baby from just a few weeks ago!
Sassy and I were talking about Christella and her legs that don't work. She asked if she was going to be in a wheelchair and I told her that yes, it was likely that she will need a wheelchair to get around someday. Sassy then replied: "Well that can be a good thing, because Christella will never step on a tack."
I like that optimism Sassy. Thanks for making me smile.
P.S. This is Christella trying to kiss Sassy.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
It was good to leave the hospital with her. She smiled most of the evening and was able to ride in a "real" infant car seat for the very first time. I need to get better about taking pictures and posting them, I realize this. Soon, I promise. :) Christella still needs to gain weight and keep eating well. She will be having an MRI this week so that Dr. A. can see how things are all working. She has some tension and lack of "normal" movement in her hands and that is concerning, so hopefully the MRI will show what is going on. A really nice PT came to visit Christella and I before we left the hospital so he showed me some things that we can do in the meantime to work with her.
Helande is doing great. She is eating well and has gained over a pound since we got here! She is just so super sassy. We still aren't sure on her vision and she will go this Friday to the Opthomologist to get her vision evaluated. (Thanks to Dr. A. for setting this up for her!)
She will also have a scan this week to see how the fluid in her ventricles is doing and whether or not it has changed. Dr. A's gut instinct is that she will need a shunt, so that might be this week or next depending on when all the tests are scheduled for. (Hey nurses, we may be back!)
In other news... Lauren and I after taking the girls (and Angeline) to the doctor's yesterday went to the biggest walmart I have ever seen. It had it's own road. We laughed hysterically when we saw it, it was that large. We don't even have super walmart where we live so seeing these mega huge places like walmart and movie theatres with 50 screens (ok maybe that's an exaggeration) I find really entertaining. We were only asked twice in walmart if the three babies were TRIPLETS. I will likely get to the point where I just say, yes they are triplets. lol
Oh, I forgot to add that Helande now officially weighs more than Christella. That is good news for H. but not so much for C. I intend to spend lots of hours daily just making sure that C. is getting enough in her. We were also given the GO to start on baby rice and baby oatmeal, so maybe her eating will help put the weight on. She was small to start with so after surgery and having rotovirus, it just seemed to get worse.
I know that you all are wondering what its really like in Schniederville right?
It's very much like my house but without my family and without my cold rainy weather. :)
It has been so nice having Ange and Abby around to help out with the babies and there never seems to be a shortage of hands to snuggle and hold babies between Lauren, Grace and Sassy who all love baby holding as well. Everyone here is so laid back it would be hard to not feel at home here. Thank you all so much for opening your home to ALL of us (7 of us!) and of course for opening your hearts as well. And thank you for turning on the A/C last night and now I am well rested. (I was griping about being hot. I grew up in Ohio without A/C and now that I live in WA, we just don't get hot weather too often and we do have a window unit for those rare occasions. I guess I am just a big hot weather baby!)
Well most of the gang is waking up. This weekend we are planning to go to another town about an hour away and spend the weekend. My cousin Joe is graduating from High school so we will go to his grad party and spend some time with my extended loving family. :)
Love and thank you for praying! Pictures soon!
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Monday, May 14, 2007
This picture is of Helande post op. The nurses have been so good to us. Especially nurse Sunny, the handsome guy in the picture is Sunny. He said that we were bringing a bit of hope back into the world. And he had such a Sunny personality, he was just outstanding to work with!
Helande post op :)
I do have more pictures of her back, but this is one picture of Christella post op. Thanks Kim by the way for these great pictures! (I still need to get mine uploaded.)
These last two are Christella pre-op. Despite being so ill and having waited so long you can see how she was just wanting to grab for things and play. I just adore the close up of her, beautiful!!!
I came back to the apartment to run the bottles through the dishwasher. Both girls have thrush so we need to stay on top of the bottle washing/disinfecting. Ericka is at the hospital with the babies who are both doing fairly well today.
Angeline came back here with me and crashed out asleep on the bed so I am trying to be patient and let her sleep a bit before disrupting her nap. I know that the babies are in good hands.
and I can't seem to change the html to move the pictures where I want them! Grrrr!
Christella is now eating 3-4 ounces at a time. That was more than she has eaten since she arrived in the US. So we are hopeful that she is on the up swing. She does have the rotovirus and also is getting lots of antibiotics for her staph infection (of her myelomeningocele), so between those two things she has one really bloated belly. She is being a trooper though. She loves to be held and talked to and gets fussy when you lay her back down her in bed. All good, normal, "baby" signs.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Blessings and thanks!
Sorry if this sounds jumbled, I'm still trying to process everything that happened!
On Sunday May 6th, my friend Crystal, my father Fred and I arrived in Port-au-Prince. After a few errands we had to run, we met Licia (Lori's sister), the moms and the babies in the lobby of the hotel. The babies were so beautiful and TINY! I wasn't prepared for how tiny Christella was going to be. She is 7 months old but barely any bigger than 3 month old Helande.
We spoke to Licia and the moms for a little while, going over paperwork and learning about the babies. Soon it was time for them to go. Taking those babies from their mothers arms was so heartbreaking. Both moms started crying, which caused Crystal and I to cry too. They finally handed the girls to us, Christella to me and Helande to Crystal and headed out. It was so hard to watch them say goodbye to their girls. They seem like such sweet moms. Please pray for them as they are away from their babies.
Both girls were so sweet. Helande is a screamer and seemed to be in quite a bit of pain, if something barely brushes the bump on the back of her head she would scream. She was so tiny and ate like crazy. Christellas sack on her back wasn't a big as I envisioned. It was still big, but wasn't leaking, thank God! Christella is the quietest baby I've ever been around. She never cried, only whimpered. Getting her to eat was a chore. She will gladly eat an ounce or so when you put a nipple in her mouth, but doesn't cry to be fed. She never ate over 2 ounces at once.
Both girls did well the first night. They were both up every hour, hour and a half though. We got very little sleep that night which made for an exhausting next day. Our visa appointment was at 7am, and about 630am we left the hotel. There was so much traffic. We were late for our appointment, but in the end it didn't really matter. The line to get into the consulate was wrapped around the building. We bypassed the line and went right up the guard. After showing him the babies problems (Christella's back, and Helande's head) and telling him they need surgery, they hurried us in ahead of everyone. We turned in our paperwork and prepared ourselves for the wait.
We were expecting to wait an hour, maybe two. Our flight out of Haiti was at 1230pm. We waited for four hours....at 1130am we realized there was no way were making our flight and went to speak with the officer that was handling our paperwork. She told us that they couldn't get it done right now, try back at 2:30pm but it might be tomorrow before they would be ready! AHH! Panic! The babies both had pre-op appointments tomorrow and we really didn't want to be there another day. We called home and had my mom get started working on calling Washington to try to get things moving, and changing flights. We called Sarah and she started working on calling Senators or anyone else who might be able to push things through. We decided to go back to the hotel, re-group and decide what to do.
We sat down to eat something and held hands to pray over our food and this whole situation. I spoke to my mom in the US again and she encouraged me to try calling the consulate and finding out the status of the girls paperwork. I got a hold of a very sweet woman who told us that one girl (Helande) got her approval back, but the other hadn't come yet. 1/2 way there! Thank you God! We decided to head back to the consulate, to sit and wait it out if we had to. Off we went. On our way there my cell phone rang and it was a woman from the consulate. Both girls approval came through and they were printing the visas now! YAHOOOOOO! Crystal yelled "Praise the Lord!" out of the tap-tap window and we were celebrating the whole way to the consulate. We quickly picked up the visas and made our way to the airport. We were re-scheduled for the 4:45 flight out of Haiti. We made it in plenty of time.
Both girls were such troopers the entire time. They did SO well with all the traveling, and running we had to do. It was so difficult to manage the little tiny planes with two very fragile babies but everyone was helpful and friendly. We had absolutely no problems leaving Haiti and no problems at Immigration in the U.S. Getting to the United States with both babies seemed almost like a dream....it was really all happening....they were going to get their surgeries!
We had already missed our flight out of Miami to Texas because we left Haiti so late. My mom and Sarah worked for hours trying to re-book us flights to Texas. The airline told my mom it was going to be an extra $600 per ticket to re-book for the next available flight. We were so upset, but were going to take it if that was the only option. Then Sarah got in touch with some wonderful ladies at Delta who not only rescheduled our flight and waived their change fees, but talked the other airline into waiving their fees and re-booking us too! Yay!
It was at this time about 1230am and we had just made it to the hotel in Miami. We got the babies settles, ourselves settled and went to sleep for three hours. Our flight out of Miami left at 6am, so we had to get up 4am, get the babies ready, get on a shuttle and get to the airport by 5am. We were so exhausted! The babies did so well and we met some of the nicest people. People offered to help us, carry bags, move strollers, pick up pacifiers, hold bottles, etc the whole way. We are so grateful for their help.
Our layover was in Atlanta, GA and guess who was there? The Delta employee who had helped get our fees waived and get our flights changed! She met us at the gate with two bottles of water and escorted us to our next flight. Turns out she has a daughter with spina bifida (the same condition that Christella was born with) She was truly a God-send and we can't thank her enough. If it wasn't for her, I don't think we would have made it to our next flight in time. They were boarding by time we got there.
We arrived in Texas exhausted, excited and nervous. We were both so thrilled that the girls were finally there! We found and met up with Sarah, her friend Kim and daughter Angeline. It was so great to meet them! We helped them get the babies loaded up into their minivan and saw them off to the hospital. It was so surreal.
I'm thankful that God gave us the opportunity to help these two precious baby girls. This was truly a life changing trip. I am so grateful for every single person who helped, donated, called, emailed and prayed for us and for Christella and Helande. I can't help but cry when I think of how much their lives are going to change in the next few weeks. THANK YOU so much for helping to make all this possible! Keep praying!
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Friday, May 04, 2007
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Time is running out fast for me to get everything done that I need to get done. That was a hint that I am leaving soon, yes I realize that. I took some tylenol PM, so excuse me if I get a bit saucey in my writing. I typically have no trouble sleeping but have a bit of anxiety because the next few days are going to be busy, and big things are to happen, and I need to stop worrying and keep praying. So I need good sleep to think clearly.
Before I forget to by gracious, I want to thank all the lovely women and Moms, and family members who have been so kind and so helpful for Christella, Helande, and my whole family. There are so many people who have stepped forward and said that they can do various things BIG and SMALL and they have all made such a huge difference already. I wanted to be sure to say thank you now in case I am busy and wrapped up in life during the next couple weeks.
Today I heard about a newborn baby girl that needs a home ASAP. The baby seems to have spina bifida (they are still determining her whole diagnosis but it definitely sounds like SB to me). This would be a domestic adoption and if you are interested in more information or you know someone who is, please email me and I will pass you along to the right person: firstname.lastname@example.org
Angeline had her well child check up and shots today. I wanted to be sure to get that in before we leave and to get the OK that she is good to travel for a bit. Of course we will be spending ample time at the hospital and doctors should she need anything I will be sure to bring the insurance card, but she got the all clear! :) I am so thankful that her stomach bug has passed. She does have a slight fever from her shots. We saw a new doctor today. We were really worried about changing primary care doctors but ours is moving! (She is a friend of the family.) So we went to another provider in her network. Honestly, I don't think that we could have been randomly matched up better with anyone. He was so nice and gentle and kind. Angeline now has a big doctor phobia and he did his best to seem as un-doctorlike as possible. I was really impressed! The nurse had mentioned that they often turn kids around and now I am a believer! After the shots the nurse instantly picked her up and started comforting her to make sure that Angeline wasn't going to be afraid of her for the next time. Just pray her fever stops and she is back to normal tomorrow, because we have big days ahead of us!
No new news on Isaac. I am confident that he is doing well and our paperwork is moving along as it should. I will definitely update once I hear anything new. :)
Latest news on Helande and Christella is that they are both doing OK and hanging on. Keep praying!
There was sad news today from COTP. A baby that had been very sick passed away last night. Please pray for all of the people at COTP who are now grieving her passing. She was so loved and well cared for it was a hard day to think about everyone there. I know that she is pain free and in heaven now and that is comforting. But I see the love that the nannies and long term staff have for the children at COTP, and each one is like "their child". I was blessed to spend a little bit of time with this baby at the hospital while I was there and she was just adorable. Please keep everyone there in your prayers. Thank you.
Off to bed.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
I LOVE THE BATH! The Bath Tub, the big one, is HUGE! And its FUN! And I am so thankful that I don't have to wear those stinky casts anymore and that I have new leg braces and I can take baths! LOTS OF BATHS! And sometime soon I want to go to the swimming pool and the hot springs and a whole new world of possibilities has opened up to me and I love it!
Here are my leg braces. Aren't they so cute. I have two pairs of shoes that fit over them. Hot pink converse, and light purple converse. They are so cute. I can't wait to start standing and walking. I do get around really well scootching and also rolling. I wish that they made these braces in different colors.
Here is a picture of me moving around. I still had my casts on and they were light blue. My last pair of casts, my last go-go boots. Lauren did that to me by the way, those hair bows that are as big as my head. I like them for one thing... pulling them out!
This is my other favorite new pastime. Its called "eating lint". I like to move about and use my fine motor skills and pick up lint. If you hold me sometime and you have on a sweater, I might find some lint on you. My Mom doesn't mind me finding the lint, its when I put the lint in my mouth that she goes... "ewwwwww"... and then she takes it and then I cry! She does that "finger swipe" thing that Moms do. That Red cross standard finger swipe out the lint in my mouth thing. That makes me mad. I much prefer lint these days over most anything, except for cookies, crackers and breads. I am a carbs kind of girl.
I don't know what to say about my sister Lulu in this picture. Hmm... ok then.
But see me, I am looking at this thingy and it was good in my mouth too, but not as good as lint.
ELFALINA. Angelina+Elf hood= Elfalina
I don't like hats anymore than I like hair bows.
This one here, this is a good picture of me, but Lauren took it and she doesn't know the "flash" on the camera. But I was so happy... we were singing my new favorite song.
"Rich Girl", you know the one! (Gwen Stefani)
I LOVE that song. Not because of the shallow meaning behind it but because of the NAnanananana nanananana nanananananananananananna NA NA's!!!
We listed to it all the time and I come in on the Na na parts. I love it.
Ok well I think that someone else wants to use the computer so my time is up. Until next time... be bright and sunny and laugh lots.
Lint wishes and pop star dreams,
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