Isla's Medical Fund

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Making it through to the other side

The last night before surgery was a rough one...not for Isla, but for me. I was full of so many emotions...anxiety, fear, sadness, excitement, happiness. It was almost too overwhelming. I was anxious because of all the unknowns; was the surgeon going to do a good job? Was Isla going to handle anesthesia ok? Was I going to like her knew smile? I was sad because I had fallen so in love with who she was...that big wide smile just melted my heart and I couldn't imagine her being anymore beautiful than she already was. I was excited only because it was my last night dealing with the NAM. And I was happy that we were finally going to be able to put this stage behind us.

Arriving at the hospital only intensified all of the emotions I was feeling the previous  night. I told the nurse as we were handing Isla over that I felt like I was about to get on a really scary roller know that feeling where your stomach is in your throat, you can almost taste your adrenaline, but there's a tinge of excitement and anticipation in there too. I wanted so badly to cry as I gave her to the nurse.

 The next few hours were horrible for me. All I could think about was my poor baby being cut open and then sewn together. I was sooo nervous that I wasn't going to be happy with the results, that it made me nauseous. But somehow I held it together...and this is why and how...

Isla's surgery date was on my dad's birthday, Feb 11th. It was originally supposed to be on the 19th, but through a strange set of events they bumped it up to that date. I really feel my dad had a part in that...almost to let me know that he was going to be watching over her and that everything was going to be ok. (For those of you who don't dad past away 7-4-08). Knowing that, and with the overwhelming amount of prayers and support we received from all our friends and family, made me somehow get through those few hours with some peace. So again...thank you all that prayed for our family, that sent their positive energy for a successful surgery and every ones well wishes. Without all of that, I know I would have been a mess.

After a little over two hours of Isla being back in surgery, our pager went off. She was done!! The surgeon then spoke with us and told us everything went great, Isla is perfect and she was recovering. Now we had to wait another hour to see her...longest hour EVER!!

It was time...we get to see her! And that roller coaster feeling came over me again. As I walked into the recovery room, I saw our sweet baby lying there so peaceful with her perfect new little face. All my fears, anxiety and sadness left my body and was replaced with pure joy. The surgeon did an awesome job and I don't think it could have turned out any better. She is perfect!

They moved us up to our hospital room where Isla woke up for the first time since surgery. My heart was breaking because of all the pain she was in. I handed over a perfectly happy baby and they gave me back another perfect baby, just super unhappy, uncomfortable and in pain. This was probably the hardest part for me...I wanted to be able to take that pain away from her, but there was nothing I could do except make sure that nurses gave her her pain meds on time every time. I held her all night long, and slept maybe a total of two hours total.

Morning came and Isla woke up...this time with a smile! The nightmare was over and now we've successfully made it to the other side!

Isla is so strong. She is more tired than usual, but pretty much back to herself. She's managing her pain extremely well, back to eating regularly and smiling and talking every time she's awake. She's my hero.

In less than a week, she will be getting her stitches out. And then in about three weeks they will be taking out her nose stints. After that...Isla gets to just be a kid for a little while! No taping, no devices, no stitches...just a regular little adorable baby! I

Friday, February 7, 2014

The NAM is back!!

This morning I woke up and Isla had been without the NAM for less than 24 hours and I was feeling really defeated. There was already a noticeable difference in the shape of her nose and with 5 days still left to go, I was really starting to worry that all the progress we've done was going to be set back. So I emailed Isla's ortho and asked him if there was anything I could do in the next few days to at least maintain what we've done so far. And to my surprise...he had already fixed the NAM for us!! Apparently Isla has been one of his best patients as far as progress goes, and he also wanted to see her go all the way through with it. So we went and picked it up...and I never, not in a million years, thought I'd actually be happy to see that thing!

But as we were driving down to San Diego I got a call from the hospital. They've moved up her surgery date again! Now it's on Tuesday the 11th!! Only 4 days away, yikes!!!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Last Days of Isla's Wide Smile

Today was Isla's last adjustment with the NAM and to our surprise, we also had our pre-op appointment. They feel as if Isla has done so well that she is ready for surgery now and so they've bumped up her surgery date to next Wednesday. It's only a week earlier than originally scheduled, but's a week early and only 6 days away! And I don't know how I feel about this. There are so many emotions running through me right now (anxious, happy, scared, sad, nervous, excited) and I don't know how I'm going to handle this...but the doctor suggested valium, ha.

I know Isla is ready for this stage to be over and to be done with the NAM! As we were leaving our appointments today and I was getting the kids in the car, I noticed that Isla didn't have her NAM in her mouth...when I know for a fact she had it on when we left. I looked high and low, under cars in the car seat, in the car, stroller...everywhere for that damn NAM and it was nowhere. Isla had ripped it out, but now I had to figure out where she threw it. So as I'm unloading the girls again, I find it in between her car seat and the car seat base...broken into two pieces!! I freak out, grab the girls and run back into the doctors office. I'm in tears at this point, because I've had to put this in Islas mouth everyday to get the progress we've gotten and I did not want to loose any progress with surgery now only being less than a week away.

The doctor comes out to talk to me and pretty much laughs at how distraught I am over this. I mean come on...a grown woman crying her eyes out about a retainer, lol.  He said, that everything is going to be fine and that surgery is so close, a few days without it isn't going to hurt anything at all. So there is a blessing that the surgery got bumped up a week, because two weeks might have been too long to go without the NAM to get the results we want. Everything happens for a reason, right??

But I'm already starting to mourn Isla's smile...I remember when I first found out Isla was going to be born with a cleft, I would read the blogs of other moms and I ALWAYS came across an entry that said "I'm going to miss that wide smile". And I remember thinking (as many of you might be too) Don't you want your child to have a smile like everyone else? I am, and now I'm saying the exact same thing. I AM going to miss the smile that Isla was born with and I AM going to be very sad to see it go. But I guess I'm lucky in the sense that I will have two smiles to fall in love with that will both be Isla's.  So between now and then, you better bet I'm going to be taking lots of pictures!