Thursday, January 26, 2012

Of Throats and Hives and Basketball

Life here is back to normal...ish. Olivia can eat again. Her throat is nearly healed. She sleeps very well.

But she's still breaking out in hives. Now we think she may ALSO be allergic to something in her soap. Time to call an allergist, I guess.


She's back at school this week, and she starts a month-long basketball program at the Y tonight. She is quite excited about this, and I am really looking forward to watching her learn a new sport. Kind of...I mean, they don't REALLY learn basketball at ages 4 and 5 and 6. They learn to shoot and take turns. Whatever.

In other news, it has been raining and dreary and basically JANUARY around here, but it has NOT been snowing. We can ALL be thankful for that and pray that it continues. I really hate snow.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Because blogging keeps me awake

I had three hours of sleep last night. I'm running on caffeine and sheer willpower. I can barely put a full sentence together. It is by the Grace of God that I haven't strangled anyone this morning.

Last night was bad. There was this awful line of severe weather with high winds and tornado threats moving through, and Joe was out in it picking up a conference participant at the airport. So, obviously I couldn't really sleep until I knew he was home safe. Then I was up another 45 minutes waiting for the heavy part of the storm to pass. Thunder is annoying. High winds, though, make it impossible for me to sleep.

I was just drifting off when Olivia woke up (after the bulk of the thunder had already passed) and said that the storm scared her. So I went to lay with her in her bed. She proceeded to toss and turn, wide awake, for the next three hours. At that point, I was so tired that I was sobbing. I put her on the couch and turned on the TV at 3:45 a.m., resigned to the fact that if she could be entertained by the TV, at least that meant I could get a couple of hours of sleep before I had to get up and face the day. Normally, TV in the middle of the night would NOT be an option, but IT WAS 3:45 A.M. AND I HAD NOT YET HAD ANY SLEEP. I was desperate.

Of course my desperation and sobbing woke my husband, who had been asleep about three hours at that point. He took matters into his own hands, trying to get Olivia to calm down and fall asleep. He finally succeeded about two hours later, only to have her wake up about an hour after THAT with a bad dream.

Needless to say, we are both very, very tired today. And Olivia gets to take a nap this afternoon, whether she wants to or not.

Recovery-wise, things are going smoothly. Olivia still complains of sore throat when she eats something scratchy, but otherwise she is acting and playing normally. Where she was breathing so loudly before surgery that we could hear her on the opposite end of the house, doors closed and TV on, she now breathes so quietly that we have to watch for the rising and falling of her chest to know she is breathing at all.

All this has translated to better overall sleep as long as nothing wakes her prematurely. That part could be a problem. Even after just six hours (of her usual eleven) of sleep last night, she was refreshed enough to stare wide-eyed at the ceiling for the better part of the night.

The other thing I've noticed is that she hasn't had a bedwetting problem since the surgery. She developed that problem around this time last year, when we started noticing her apnea symptoms. It is really too soon to tell since she was so dehydrated for several days following surgery, but she has been "normal" in fluid intake for the last few days, and still she stays dry all night. I'm thinking maybe she was too tired to get up and potty before. So I'm hoping that trend continues.

The huge downside is that she seems to have developed an allergic reaction to all food dyes. Everything is making her break out. Today is the first day in a week that we haven't dosed her with bena*dryl. We aren't sure that dyes are the cause, but it seems to be the common denominator. We are hoping that avoidance of all dyes takes care of THAT problem.

I am so, so tired.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


The surgery recovery continues to be nothing but misery. On Sunday, Olivia broke out in hives. We thought it was the narcotic, so we stopped that and switched to regular ty*lenol. The hives continued and got worse after her Monday dose of antibiotics. So we assumed the antibiotic to be the culprit and started back on the narcotic. They STILL continued but seemed to get worse after the ibuprofen. So yesterday, she had nothing but ty*lenol.

And the hives got worse again.

Last night, at the end of our proverbial rope, we decided to give her nothing at all (except Ben*adryl, because of the hives). She slept basically like all the other nights...peacefully for 5 or 6 hours, then up for 90 minutes in pain until she passed out again for the rest of the night.

But today, she woke up with hives AGAIN. And her throat is very swollen and she doesn't want to talk or eat or drink.

So. The nurse said to stop tylenol and try ibuprofen but only if she absolutely needs something for pain. This, of course, is right in the midst of what they said would be the hardest part of recovery, pain-wise. But right now, the itching hives and the swelling in her throat are causing her more problems than pain. The nurse also advised us to start back on the steroid, which we stopped on Sunday since we weren't sure what was causing the hives, because it is not likely the allergen and will help with the swelling.

Recovery day 7. She's crying because she can't swallow much and she's gagging on mucus and I'm thinking that a ten-day recovery is just a pipe dream. I'm also thinking of buying her a pony* when this is all over. The poor kid deserves a treat** after all this pain and suffering.

*And by "pony", I mean, "special toy or treat of her choice, under $30". Because I'm not made of money. And she's a little terrified of large animals.

**Mommy also deserves a treat. Recovery is pretty hard on caregivers too. Which is why I am 100% sure I am not cut out to be a nurse. Those people should get a special medal or something.

Friday, January 13, 2012

This sucks

Recovery is hard, y'all. Olivia woke up yesterday all swollen in the mouth and crying and wouldn't swallow anything. Today was much the same as yesterday. I don't really know how to fix that.

It seemed to get better as the day went on. By bedtime yesterday she was dancing in the shower and chattering away. But mornings are hard. Everything is hard until she can work herself up to swallowing some medicine. And that takes most of the morning.

My first duty is to get something of the pain-reliever variety in her as soon as she wakes up. It's hard, but necessary. We spend 15 minutes trying to accomplish this. Then she whimpers until it kicks in. We spend another two hours trying to work ourselves up to eating/drinking SOMETHING so she can take her antibiotic and steroids and the REAL pain medicine (all of which should not be taken on an empty stomach, are you kidding me?!). So, here it is after ten o'clock, and I'm still in my pajamas and the only real thing I've accomplished today is force-feeding my kid some ice cream (!) and getting her to take two of the three important meds. We'll work on number three (the narcotic) later, when the steroids kick in and give her a little more energy to eat something and be more cooperative.

I'm exhausted, but I can tell she is even more exhausted. She's also a little confused about her voice. Yesterday, until the swelling went down, she sounded very much like Kermit the Frog with his tongue frozen to a flagpole. Today is a little better, but maybe because she refused to speak any real words for two hours and communicated in grunts and moans. By the end of the day, she sounds more normal, but still a bit pinched. Even she noticed it. "Mommy, my voice sounds weird. It doesn't sound like my normal voice anymore." Sorry kid, that's probably permanent. Adenoids were blocking your air passage. Things are going to be different now...mostly good, but might take some adjustment.

One day at a time. We are on day two of meds and recovery. We were told to expect ten days of soft foods and mild activity. So patience is the name of the game. I suppose it's a good thing that winter decided to kick in just now because it would REALLY suck to be stuck inside and miserable in pretty weather. The snow seems fitting.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tonsils be gone! (and adenoids)

Today was Olivia's tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. She has been anticipating it with glee, mostly out of sheer ignorance. "Fox in socks (stuffed) is going with me to the hospital. I'm going to take the special medicine and then say 1-2-3 and then go to sleep! I'm going to be very brave!" So, with this preparation, she showed up eager to please and in a good mood.

The nurse read her bracelet and listened to her heart. Later, they came and gave her some "goofy meds" which, of course, made her tired and groggy. She happily downed the nasty-tasting stuff and then hated how she felt as she got groggy. They wheeled her away as she was drifting in and out.

When she got back into the room after surgery (which was short and successful, by the way), she was swinging mad and crying. My throat hurts! Where's my mom?! Where's my medicine?! Where's my drink?! I WANT A DRINK ALREADY!

They got her to her room and we got her calmed down relatively quickly by getting her a drink (!) and having me in bed with her head in my lap. That probably helped the most. Once she settled, she got some ibuprofen and drifted off to sleep. Things have been going pretty well since then, with a few outbursts. For the most part, she's been groggy and hungry and relatively cooperative on the fluids thing. I'm encouraged by the list of things she's eaten since we've been home: yogurt, cotton candy, baked chicken, green beans, mac & cheese, pancakes and ice cream. That's impressive! We'll see what the next few days hold.

The worst part of the day was listening to all of the OTHER tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy patients wailing. No doors in outpatient surgery...only curtains. The wails coming from other kids (who obviously weren't handling recovery quite as well as Olivia) caused a little anxiety before surgery but exacerbated her anxiety after surgery. Thankfully, she was groggy enough to sleep through some of it.

For the most part, she was quite the little trooper and did very well. Doc said she had huge tonsils and adenoids, and her sinuses were also infected. We suspect that she's pretty much chronically infected because she has cold symptoms five weeks out of six. Doc says that adenoids make that worse, so this should improve the situation quite a bit.

I sincerely hope so.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Nesting and waiting

I spent the weekend nesting, so to speak. I had a dream on Friday night about getting a call for a placement, and I woke up and realized that we were very, very unprepared to put a baby anywhere in this house.

The third bedroom, a.k.a. the baby's room, has been used for storage for anything that I wanted to keep out of reach of the kids. As a result, the usable space in this room kept getting smaller and smaller and smaller. So, Saturday I spent nearly the entire day cleaning out this room. It still needs some work, but you can now access both the crib and the dressers without climbing over anything AND you can walk into the closet...which was not possible before the great clean-up. I now feel like we could put a baby in there without fear that he or she would suffocate from the sheer volume of STUFF in the room.

I have a whole list of other "nesting" projects to keep me busy in the next few months. I've found this is necessary to keep from obsessing about the actual, ellusive baby in our future. I try very hard to appear very calm and confident about this whole adoption waiting process. I talk a good line about waiting on God's timing and all. But occasionally things happen to rattle my confidence and make me question why we have to suffer all these things simply to build our family.

I got a Christmas card from a friend I met in Omaha when we were both training to become FertilityCare Practitioners in 2000 and 2001. She was in her early 30s at the time, married and dealing with some major infertility issues. She welcomed her first child through adoption several years later, a couple of years before Olivia was born. And then, when her baby was less than a year old, she discovered that she was pregnant. In her Christmas card this year, I learned that they are expecting their fourth child (third pregnancy) in July. Now in her early 40s, she is classified as an "elderly multigravida"- a title she NEVER would have expected to carry. She is overjoyed. I am overjoyed for her. I understand her struggles to get to this point and am so happy that she is filling her house with children, which has always been her dream.

And yet, such an announcement makes me question again..."Why me? Why us? Why are we continually burdened with waiting while others celebrate such unexpected blessings?"

I was reflecting on this a couple of weeks before Christmas and a quote from Narnia popped into my head. From "The Horse and His Boy," Aslan is speaking to Shasta as Shasta questions why certain things had to happen to him and to his friend as they were on their journey.

"Then it was you who wounded Aravis?"
"It was I."
"But what for?"
"Child, I am telling your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own."

I think about that a lot when I get overly frustrated with the wait. I think about it now when someone announces a pregnancy or gets a really quick adoption placement while we wait. God is in charge, and He has reasons for His timing. Maybe there is something we have yet to learn or experience. Maybe there is a baby especially suited for our family who isn't to be born for awhile. Maybe there is a birthmom who needs extra prayers and is really, really struggling with a decision that will ultimately affect us, but right now affects her more than she ever thought possible. It's really not just about me or us or our little family. But ours is the only story WE are told.

So we must be patient, or at least try. And pray. I remain confident that another child is in our future. I'm just a little frustrated with the foggy details. That's the planner in me...always frustrated over things I cannot control. So if you want to pray for me, pray for patience. I could always use an extra dose of that.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Off and running

Hello, and we are still alive here in Chez Consumed. Christmas nearly ate my brain and now it is January and there are SO. MANY. THINGS. LEFT. UNDONE.

Christmas itself was lovely. Who wouldn't love seven straight days of too much sleep, too much food, and hoardes of family members and little cousins gathered around entertaining my kid so I can relax. Heaven. Olivia was AMAZINGLY well behaved for the whole thing and it was so much less stressful than previous holidays (when she was sleep deprived and ripe ground for multiple tantrums).

But, of course, there are all those things that you tend to put off until after the holidays. I have a stack of bills to attend to. I have some volunteer responsibilities, which involve motivating OTHER volunteers to get stuff done at a time of year when NO ONE wants to have anything added to their list. Yeah, still trying to procrastinate on that one.

And then I volunteered to do research on our family camping weekend IMMEDIATELY so that we can find a place and space available and get everyone together on a weekend that works for all and SERIOUSLY THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE. Have you SEEN my family (probably not). There are eleven adults and eleven small children, six separate households, kids in school and ballet and summer activities, families with OTHER vacations in the works...and I'm trying to find ONE weekend that works for ALL of us. Hmmm...

Also, we have a tonsillectomy on the docket for next week, a family wedding to attend in February, a massive family vacation to save for in June (cruise, not camping) and some pretty light pockets at the moment (I blame Christmas shopping). Oh yeah, and did I mention the tax audit?! On our adoption credit from three years ago?! That came two days before Christmas?!

Yeah, so we've been busy. Now we are back into the swing of things, and I guess back to "normal" for a bit. Except that now the baby I watch has morphed into this army-crawling, pulling-up-on-furniture, stealth little crumb snatcher. She refuses to be confined to anything so babyish as an exersaucer. Oh, no. Put me on the floor, woman! I need to chew up some Barbie shoes and try to stuff that piece of broccoli on the floor from dinner two nights ago into my mouth.

2012 is off to a running start.