"What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters
compared to what lies within us."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, December 30, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

Boy, are we glad to be home! Thank you so much for all the support and prayers for Francesca. It has really kept me going.

All ready to go home!

Francesca did great on the airplane, but she still didn't sleep (she always closed her eyes when the camera flashed). I had a bad feeling people thought Francesca had fallen down the stairs or something. Maybe I should write on her casts
"syndactyly released baby". By the way, did you know kangaroos have syndactyly?

Poor baby had a plethora of tangles from shaking her head from side to side while laying on her back in bed. That is how she used to sooth herself when we first came home from Ukraine.

She hasn't really slept much at all since we have been home. I think she is afraid to go to sleep. After all, look what happened to her the last time she fell asleep!

We spent the day reading books and games. Little Catherine changed her outfit about 30 times. This is her princess face.

Victoria was less enthusiastic about dressing up.

It was great to be able to sit outside in the sun and get some fresh air.

Victoria hung out with baby Jesus.

Anastasia and Catherine skated.

And we ate the rest of our our "Happy Birthday Jesus" cake.

Originally, I had gotten some of those sugar decorations for the cake, but they only survived about 5 minutes before they were begging me to eat them. I decided that Jesus wouldn't really like reindeer on his cake anyway.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Francesca's Surgery

What a day! We arrived at the hospital at 6 am. Francesca was very absorbed with her belly button.

She was quite perky!

The surgery lasted about 5 hours and there were three doctors who worked on her the entire time. She has over 1000 stitches!!! They also had to take four inches of skin from both sides of her groin for a graft for her hands. Dr. Fearon is amazing.

My wonderful friend, Rhonda, drove all the way here with her daughter from Oklahoma City to sit with me during Francesca's surgery. What a blessing to have them here!!

After surgery, we had a scare. Francesca was having a lot of trouble breathing, even on oxygen. Her oxygen level should have been 100 and it was dipping down into the 80's. The problem is that Francesca has a very narrow nasal passage. Also, when she was intubated, it caused some swelling in her throat. It was pretty scary hearing her struggle to breath. I was so glad Rhonda was with me!

The doctors also thought that the pain medicine they had given her could have caused her breathing problems. This was not good. She was in a lot of pain, but they didn't want to give her anymore pain meds because of her breathing.

The anesthesiologist decided Francesca needed to be moved to the PICU to be monitored more closely. They took a chest x-ray, ordered as sleep study for later and gave her a breathing treatment. She is resting now, thank God. They didn't have pink casts, so we settled for purple and blue.

Boy, I have a bad headache! I am still hopeful we will get to go home tomorrow. Thank you all so much for your prayers and thoughts!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pre-Op Fun

We made it safely to Dallas this morning. Francesca and I are NOT morning people.

I have been trying to teach Francesca to say "uh-oh", but she says "ahhhhh-haaaa" instead. She said that a lot today as she stormed through the hospital in search of things to explore.

Here is the famous Dr. Fearon. He is amazing in his knowledge of kids with Aperts Syndrome. A lot of doctors actually cut off a finger digit because they don't know how to separate all the fingers, but Dr. Fearon always gets kids four fingers and a thumb.

This will be the last Francesca will be walking for about three weeks. She will have full leg casts and arm casts to protect her hands and feet. The surgery will be five hour with three surgeons working on her the whole time. They will have to take skin from her groin area for her fingers. Her last surgery was not too painful, but this one is not going to be fun.

Hotel dance party, toddler style.

Several people have asked me why Francesca's actually looks worse after her skull surgery. The doctor had to advance her forehead so that her brain would have room to grow. The front of her face is flat, so her forehead looks way out there. When she is much older she will have a mid-face surgery which will even things out.

Well, I gotta get to bed. We have to be at the hospital at 6 am! Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Happy Christmas

Such a wonderful time! The baby's first Christmas! (Notice how we used the treadmill for a Christmas tree platform, aren't we just so clever?)

Never again will Francesca and Victoria be alone. They will always be surrounded by the love of their family.

Victoria's favorite present was her banana.

Their first stockings! Francesca loved pulling things out of bags and unwrapping things, whether they were hers or not.

Victoria got a vibrating toothbrush, which she thought was hysterical. I remember just six months ago when she was afraid to touch things that moved!

Some presents are disposable.

Such a happy girl! I remember when we thought she would never smile!

Grandma with her three youngest sweeties!

Francesca loves dogs!

We love you Great!!!!! 

Trick present!!

Catherine got me some new scissors! We'll see how long it takes until these disappear!

Traditional Xmas boxers in a can...

Sometimes things got a little overwhelming....

Catherine actually being still for a nano-second.

I played a trick on Anastasia. All she asked for was this giant horse. I didn't put out the bag with the horse on Christmas morning. She was so sad, but she tried to be brave and grateful for what she had gotten. After all the presents were opened, I brought out the horse in a bag and said, "I think we forgot to open this present!" Such a giant smile!

This was Catherine's favorite present, which my friend, Traci, had passed along from her daughter.

The best Christmas ever!!!

Early tomorrow morning, Francesca and I have to leave for Texas. Francesca will be having both her fingers and toes separated. For some reason I am more nervous about this trip than the last. I feel badly about having to leave the kids again. Poor Francesca will be sporting four casts for a few weeks! She won't be able to walk or feed herself. Hopefully things will go well. Please say a prayer for her!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Xmas Idioms

People who built gingerbread houses should not throw oranges.

Don't bite off more than you can chew.

Don't get caught red-handed eating all the decorations.

Two skates in a box are worth a bump on the head.

Keeps your friends close, but your toys closer.

And finally......

“Family is the most important thing in the world.”