Tuesday, December 27, 2011

December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas! The last few weeks have been filled with holiday fun. We kicked off the holiday season the weekend of December 10 by making cookies with Grandma Distad.

Charlotte's favorite part was rubbing the flour around and brushing a little (ok, a lot) onto the floor.

Merry Christmas! We celebrated early with Charlotte and she is now a culinary queen. Here she is posing next to her kitchen with her chef hat.

Charlotte proceeded to get sick the week before Christmas. She was coughing, vomiting, and sleeping in excess. I stayed home with her on Monday, on Tuesday she went to bed at 5 p.m., and on Wednesday she fell asleep at daycare while all the kids played loudly (they called us to pick her up). Luckily she slept until 2 p.m. on Wednesday and woke up with enough energy to travel to Eau Claire for the traditional dinner with Santa (and, most importantly, Grandma and Grandpa Russell).

The holiday excitement escalated when she got to see the big guy. This was as close as she'd get. At least she thanked Santa for the cookie!

Posing in front of the Fanny Hill Christmas Tree. Everyone is looking at the camera and even smiling!

Charlotte got to try her hand at cookie cutting and decorating again with Grandma Russell. A messy, but fun, venture.

Christmas Eve! Grandpa Russell hand-crafted this barn for Charlotte. The trip to Michaels: $5.26, Popsicle sticks: $4.99, hot glue gun: $8.99, this picture: priceless (please note: prices are completely made up).

Charlotte now poses for pictures and then runs to see herself on the camera screen. She rarely poses long enough for the picture to be taken, however, and you can see here she's just starting to run toward me.

Christmas morning came awfully early, so that Charlotte could open her gifts from Santa before we headed off to Grandma and Grandpa Distad's. Love the bed head! Here she is with the magnifying glass she received. She thought it was hilarious.

A tractor for Christmas! She may live in the big city, but at least she'll know what a tractor looks like.

And no Distad family Christmas would be complete without a child playing piano. We enjoyed being serenaded by Charlotte's playing and singing this year.

Here, Charlotte is posing with her new Bitty Baby. There is no need for us to by extra outfits, however, since it appears that Charlotte's preemie clothes fit just fine. It's hard to imagine, but the above outfit was too big for Charlotte at one point. Look for Charlotte in the next People's "Who Wore It Better?"

Saturday, December 3, 2011

December 3, 2011

Yesterday's surgery went well and Charlotte was discharged this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. So, so good to be home. Just one night in the hospital was longer than any of us wanted to experience; as we packed up to leave Patrick joked that it almost felt as good as the day we took her home from the hospital (after a 94 day inpatient stay). I'm including a few pictures from the past couple of days. Warning: I'm including a picture of her surgical wound, so don't scroll down if you'll be queasy.

The surgical waiting area is full of toys. Here's Charlotte moments after we arrived as she moved frantically around the room checking out all of the toys. After we waited here for a couple of hours the toys lost their novelty and she was ready to get going.

Here she is changed into her hospital clothes. We love the Family Life Specialists at Amplatz. Before her surgery one of the specialists brought her a baby doll with a G-tube and a bag of medical toys to play with. Then, on Friday night when her IV lost the vein another Family Life Specialist used an iPad with very cool apps (animal noises, music, fireworks, etc.) to distract her. She didn't even fuss, and I know we would have had to physically restrain her if it'd been just the nurse.

Here she is a few minutes after we got to her inpatient room. She was wiped out. We knew she was going to be just fine when she was up for giving high-fives to Grandma and Grandpa Russell as they finished their visit.

And here is the surgeon's work. Her original G-Tube site was just above and to the right of where you can see the Mic-Key Button. We're happy the surgeon was able to do this laparoscopically through her belly button. Before the surgery he said there was a good chance he would need to make an incision if there was extensive scar tissue internally, and that would have meant an extra scar.

Another note, our surgeon said it is rather unusual that a G-Tube site needs to be moved. He said in his career he's only performed a couple dozen of these procedures and never on any of the tubes he placed initially (surgeons are known for their modesty, you know... :p). He seemed to imply that the surgeon who placed it initially had created too much tension between the tube and the stomach which caused the tube to migrate up toward the ribs. He planned to leave as little tension as possible.

He somehow managed to use the same stomach hole, which is why we were able to leave the hospital early this afternoon instead of late tonight or even tomorrow. We are very happy with our surgeon and hope he's as knowledgeable as it seems.

Charlotte's evening nurse brought her a wagon, so we spent a lot of time walking around the halls like this. This picture is from her first ride when she was exhausted, but when she perked up she enjoyed pointing and saying "that way" and "more walk" when we tried to return to her room.

She was tired, but not too tired to pass up an opportunity to play with toys! There was a great play room on our floor that she enjoyed a couple of times. It's staffed by volunteers, and I'm sure many of those volunteers are the budding health professionals I advise at the U. I was happy I didn't recognize anyone as that may have been awkward.

Day 2! There was only room for one of us to spend the night with her, so she was happy on Daddy's shoulder when he returned to the hospital this morning.

Relaxing with some Dora.

And here's a picture of my own budding health professional (maybe?). Or, I guess any profession that involves gloves. She was pretty excited about them.

Time to go home! We expect her to have some pain and discomfort for the next couple of days, but it should lessen and be gone completely.

Hospital trips do not get easier. The hardest part is giving her up to the surgical staff - I think I'd even rather being the room during the surgery. This time we were able to be in the room when she first opened her eyes, which was easier than last time when we walked in and she was crying in a nurse's arms. She seemed comforted waking up to familiar faces despite being in pain. We're just glad it's done and we hope this is her last surgery. Ever.

Growth progress update: At her pre-op appointment on December 1 Charlotte weighed 24 lbs 7 oz and was 33.5 inches tall. 



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