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

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Crash and Burn

Now that all the adrenaline is out of my system, I am suddenly totally exhausted. Even thinking of doing laundry is overwhelming to me. Francesca swelling is not going down; it's actually increasing. The doctor said this could be a sign of infection. She also had a fever of 101.6 tonight. If this continues, we will be back in the hospital. On the positive side, I think this whole ordeal has really helped Francesca to bond to me. Since we have been home, she has only wanted me to hold her.

I am going to post some surgery pictures, so if you are easily grossed out, you might not want to look, though I really think the surgery is amazing. Also, remember, Francesca looks bad, but she really isn't in too much pain because there aren't a lot of nerves in the head.

Francesca had four procedures done, plus the ear tubes. The first was an anterior cranial vault, which opened up her skull and gave her room to grow. The doctor said that the covering of her brain, the dura, was actually pushing up out of her soft spots, so thank God she had the surgery in time.

She also had a nose graft, and two surgeries on her eyes.

A few minutes before her six hour surgery.

Here she is right after surgery in the ICU. She lost two cups of blood, that's why she is so pale. She didn't need a blood transfusion. They actually did something called a cell savor, which means they recycled her own blood back into her.

The zig-zag incision is made show it won't show up so much once she heals. She has lots of sutures inside her head too. They splice her own skull bones to fix her head.

She never needed anything more than Tylenol. The doctor told me that kids who have had this surgery when they are older say that it doesn't hurt, but it just feels very tight from the swelling.

It was really tough on her not being able to see. The mark on her forehead is not common for the surgery. The doctor said that once he sewed her up, he felt like things were too tight, so he took down the skin again and fixed it.


Victoria had her surgery the day after Francesca for her cleft palate. Here is what it looks like before surgery, like a big valley in the roof of her mouth. It took the doctors a long time to get this picture! Victoria was not a happy camper!

She was really in a lot of pain. She had to have strong pain meds every 15 minutes. They had to give her an IV in her neck, gross!! Blood was shooting out of her mouth and nose. It was tough to see.

They let me ride in her bed with her when they took us to her room.

They wouldn't let the girls be in the same room, which was kind of stressful, since I was running back and forth between both crying kids. Finally, I just brought Francesca into Victoria's room.

Victoria had to eat in order to be released and she would not, so we had to stay an extra day. Luckily, Miracle Flights was able to find us another flight home. Of course, she started eating five minutes after the doctor left! Her favorite food is cheap processed cheese slices. Only the best for my babies!

This was a bad shirt to put on Francesca. Her head was so swollen that I couldn't get it off her!

Victoria loves her books.

Francesca and I are going back to Texas on December 27th to get her fingers and toes separated. She will have four casts! Dr. Fearon, who did these surgeries, can separate her digits in only two surgeries, while the doctors here in Atlanta said it would take seven surgeries!! Dr. Fearon even does the stitches with the grain of their fingerprints so they don't have as much scarring.

Here they are at 2:30 in the morning. Who needs sleep anyway! I love how Francesca is patting Victoria.

I'm so happy to be home!!!


  1. That is a LOT of swelling! Oh MY! Poor babies. Poor you! Love the picture of you in the bed. :)

  2. Prayers of healing to Francesca and Victoria! ((hugs)) for you mama!

  3. When I saw the very first picture of Francesca I thought she had a wig on (you know, being close to Halloween, costumes and all.) I can't believe how long and gorgeous her hair is! What a blond beauty!

    Why did they have to do the IV in Victoria's neck? (OW.)

    Prayers for quick healing for both girls and that Francesca's swelling and fever diminish quickly.

  4. That's so hard to see the girls like that, prayers for quick healing and for Fran.'s swelling to go down. Victoria really looks like my Lucy. I'm so glad they have you and you have them :)

  5. Praying for quick recovery for your little sweeties and that the fever and swelling goes away.

  6. Poor babies!!! You are an amazing woman! Praying for a quick recovery.

  7. Poor sweet babies! They both look great!
    I have been a stalker but I had to let you know that one of the guidance counselors at my daughter's school has the same syndrome that Francesca does! She is super nice. You can tell she has had her fingers separated but that doesn't seem to stop her. We are homeschooling now but I am really tempted to call her (we had ALOT of interaction last year) and talk to her about it. Maybe Francesca will be a therapist when she grows up! I know having one in the family would be handy around here!! HA! Sheri

  8. Poor babies. I know they will be well in no time at all though. I'm praying that Francesca's infection will clear and the swelling will go down. Get some rest.

  9. So happy you guys are home and are through this first part of the surgeries!! I will be praying for Francesca's infection to clear as well and that both girls heal very quickly!! How these surgeries work is truly amazing to me as well!! Hope you get some rest and Happy Halloween!!!

  10. Ouch. It looks painful. And that IV in the neck is the one thing that made me turn away. OUCH! I hope everyone heals quickly and that Francesca doesn't have an infection. *hugs*

  11. A tough process, but what a joy that they can receive the surgeries they need! It will be wonderful to see their progress. How fantastic it will be for Francesca to have more usable fingers!
    Give yourself lots of grace....the laundry can wait!

  12. There are no words...oh my. Many prayers are being said for all of you. I seriously don't know how you do it.

  13. I forgot how painful the palate surgeries are - one of doctors said it's like having a bunch of dental work - big dental work like involving the bone, etc. I hope all the candy she is getting now is making it all a fading memory. :) And I LOVE YOU. That part about how they didn't want the girls in the same room .... "I just brought Francesca into Victoria's room." I wish I had always had your guts. You are the best mom ever. God picked well for these girls. :)


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