Thursday, October 23, 2014

How'd all the appointments go?!

We had 3 appointments last Thursday at our Children's Hospital, and one this past Tuesday.

To the many families with lovely littles - or delightful big people - that are having to spend a lot of time at places like this for reasons much more serious and long-lasting-impacting, my heart sends prayers and love.  I do not take for granted visits to doctors that are "routine."   That being said, I thought I might give a little snippet-glance at this day in the life of our little crew....

6:30 - Woke up - found in my inbox a very neat blog entry that happened to be by a mama who also adopted a baby from China who has hearing/ear issues...and there was even a photo in it of when they got their daughter, of some familiar faces--kind people we actually met while we were in that very same room in China just over 2 months ago...
[this is the window of time a prudent mama would have been preparing a well-balanced portable lunch]

7:30 - Neva's up & rollin' - I have finally gotten to the kitchen to assemble some food stuffs (she has a craft date and is not joining us on this medical field trip)

8:20 - "Boys, come to breakfast PLEASE!!!" (Seriously! Now!)
8:50 - Gotta get in the van!
9:00 - REALLY gotta get in the van!
9:10 - We finally start the 23 minute drive to our 9:30 appt, no margin for wrong turns parking or finding the right room (thankfully they don't make you a reschedule til 30 minutes late, which i certainly hope we're not, aarrrrrrgh whydidntigetgoingearlier!!?!?!)
9:35 - Arrive in the parking lot
9:40 - Still looking for a spot in the ramp, maybe??  Dang this place is crowded. Note to self, allow PLENTY of margin for parking next time!!!
9:45 - Find our way to the cranial facial clinic, it's combined with a dentist clinic.  Wait at cranial facial desk - thankful the room is quiet and empty...but so is the registration desk it seems...
9:50 - The Dental receptionist looks up our name in the system and says "oh, actually, you are scheduled in the Plastic Surgery clinic" Oh no.  Whoops. Yep, ok, that's exactly what it says here on this form I got in the mail.  Huh. But for weeks now we've known we are going to see the cranial-facial-plastic-surgery-doc. Oh well, potato, potata...thankfully it's only one floor down.

9:52 - Whoa!  Here's where the party is. Everyone seems to be here with their neighbor's brother's uncle's child. No real great stroller traffic patterns either. Oh well. They don't seem alarmed that we are running late. We meet 2 sweet little girls at the coloring table and they call our name within a few short minutes.

10:01 - Our new dear doctor comes in - did I mention he is Chinese and has also adopted a little girl from China?  He speaks to me for a little while then gets down and right close to NaNa and talks Chinese to her. She looks at him with her big brown eyes all wide like " I know you??"  We ask what he said and he said he asked her how old she was and what she was eating. ;)  

He says at some point they would like to see a CT scan of her jaw but a lot of times asymmetry can be tweaked as needed with orthodontics. They can "easily" perform surgery to take off her skin tags whenever we feel the time is right.

11:16 - We find the cafeteria, after running into a doctor friend of ours from church, who recommended the chicken nuggets.  We order chicken nuggets and a large apple juice. There's even a jukebox, sort of.  I threw in a bunch of sides for lunch so they ate those with the nuggets and I try to push, push, PUSH the apple juice as the ultrasound people want her kidneys/bladder to be full (how about her diaper too? nevermind....)

12:04 - Stopping mid-hallway to find the radiology department, we see a huge quilt on the wall. The boys and I look over these tender squares and realize it is a precious memorial quilt, with dates and names of unforgettably sweet children who did not have the luxury of any routine visits here.  Some of them lived less than one year, some less than one month. A few of those remembered lived into their teens. But the tender care and love for them and the intention to treasure their memory is clear and dear and speaks volumes to us. My heart aches for their families...

12:15 - We check in right on time for our ultrasound of her kidneys (since kidneys & ears form at the same time, want to be sure everything's hunky dory in the kidney dept or if not, proceed as needed).
12:30 - Here we are in the nice room with a TV and a bar (j/k no bar) & hoping that her kidneys/bladder have just the right amount to reveal what's important
12:33 - I lay with her on the table as they get the gel, etc, and sweet Vera screams the entire time they 
investigate the inner parts of her cute little belly... :(  We are thankful to know she is not in pain, but still it's no fun to be so scared of these weird people with their weird wand of smushy stuff.

1:20 - 2nd poopy diaper of the day, this one leaks onto pants & I remember that last Thursday I told myself I was going to put that don't-know-how-much-you-need-it-til-you-don't-have-it BACKUP outfit in the van....and then I got distracted.  whoops.

1:30 - Hanging out, snacking on yogurt in the train room.  A toy train drives around the ceiling.  Also, who needs pants?  If there's anyplace where they're no stranger to naked kid legs, it's at a children's hospital.

1:33 - Mama shares top secret info: Stealth gummy-worm-eating training for the boys
(veggie chips for NaNa).  Years of occasionally sneaking candy in front of toddlers without letting them see/smell/know's a refined skill. Perhaps some of you know of what I speak?!?????

2:10 - Final appt of day, with Otologist (ear fanatic doc).  Here is our cutie waiting in the chair. She and Rowan played with the cool toy on the wall...for the first 5 minutes. The folks were all very nice here but we ended up waiting quite a while before the doc came in.

3:00 - After a long hour of keeping her out of the low metal drawers, off of the floor-level blinds, out of the garbage can, out of the bio-hazard garbage can, away from the outlets and random cords, off of the computer keyboard, away from the "ear specs" (most of which you can see from this one wonderful view including the artful way she placed my nametag on the purple stool) ...

3:10 ... the baby went to sleep and the doctor came in.
(the boys enjoyed their screen time finally, first time all day)
He said at some point he too would like to see a CT to check out details of her inner ear, but for now getting going on the hearing aid usage would be great.  He also recommended I get a new hairdo. Or maybe budget more time in the morning to tend to such craziness. Oh wait, that was my inner 13-year-old...or nevermind.

3:57 - We are on the road back home to the rest of our evening which included kicking off a weekend with our cousins (and a fun Aunt & Uncle too)!!! Yippeee!

Update: Kidneys checked out normal--Hooray! So very very thankful for this!  Then on Tuesday we got to get fitted for, and borrow, a Ponto hearing aid while we wait for our BAHA 4 hearing aids (2) to arrive. The headband is blue, the ones we will get later are black. You can hardly see it under her hair here... Isn't this the CUTEST little hearing-aid wearer you have ever seen!?!!?!?

Vera is tolerating her hearing aid very well, and seems to enjoy hearing more than she could before. It hasn't impacted her as dramatically as I expected, but we're only in our first few days, so stay tuned for another update about that next. Eventually...  ;)

Thank you for reading & checking up on us!  We are so very thankful for the love & encouragement we have been given along the way and this sweet treasure of a girl we have been blessed to be the mama and baba and sister and brothers of.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

poetry (but still reality)

to: NaNa - with love from Mama

i love

that you reach for me
how you pat the spot next to you so i'll come sit down
that you want me to hold you SO much of each day
when you grab both of my hands to dance, after you turn on the leapfrog fridge tunes
that you help mama by turning the light switch off or on
the quick way you pick up a new sign, how you love to try things with your hands
how you hold and hug your new dolly
that you love to play the piano with me
how you love to get your feet rubbed
the sweet way you gaze into my eyes
your beautiful dark eyes
your precious face & your adorable, darling voice!
when you reach up and touch my face
the way you giggle when you see me coming toward you across the room
how your sweet little arms hug me tight around my neck

the way life must slow, in the special way only a toddler can invite it to

i love that i am becoming your mama
i love you are becoming my baby
i love that we are becoming...Us.
i love YOU, little girl!

hearts knit together
after time seeming an enemy
this time together: these few short weeks, these days strung together to create 
something beautiful--
time becomes an unexpected friend

--Just a quick update: we were able to get into the audiologist last week!  After a visit from the county organization that provides services to kids 0-3, one of the speech therapists made a couple of calls and got us in a month early!  NaNa did very well and they think she's probably a good candidate for a BAHA (bone anchor hearing aid). We go mid-October for the rest of our appointments, one of which will be with an otologist (ENT that specializes in ears) who will need to sign off to get us officially on the BAHA path. Then she'll get fitted for one.  In the meantime we need to figure out how to get a 21-month-old willing to keep a headband on all the time. ;)  And also our speech therapist will start coming regularly to our house to provide services, yay!  - in case you missed it here is a dose (my previous post) of our less than ideal-seeming reality.
-And now, for catching up on some pictures from the last few weeks! Including some very adorable ones with VeraNaNa & her Daddy BaBa!




i am sure the picture i'm painting is mostly the wonderful sweetness of this past few weeks, which is a true and delightful part of our process. but i would be remiss if i did not somehow acknowledge even though our new sweetie is a precious treasure, she is just a regular toddler too! encountering frustration and obstination... but more than that is probably the emotional work...toll...whatever, that makes it difficult at times, deep in the heart of little old me.

on a daily, if not hourly, basis, i am reminded that no matter who i AM spending time with or what seemingly important task i'm in the middle of, at all times, there are 3-4 other people i also need to keep track of, spend time with, catch up with, check in with, and of course the list of household and school management tasks is unending. the challenges of keeping a little mobile curious toddler in a safe and educational and most of all love-growing environment is a pretty full time job. and then there's a mound of my own clothes in my own closet that is truly prize-winning. yikes. i hate to admit it, but i have some slob genes. i have some neat and organization-minded ones too but in my closet it gets ugly quick. it's really like the layers of the inside of a tree; you can learn so much about the object of nature in question if you just look back through the layers that are there, haha.  what have i been wearing for the last 3...or 13 days....

the task lists around the house or more importantly for the school are quite long and while i know that being with my kids is the best investment of this season, there comes a point when even a person with slob genes says ENOUGH already! i cannot endure one more second with this pile of *insert word of choice* paper/clothing/toys/randomhouseholdobjects!!! sometimes it seems everywhere i look i am surrounded by reminders of all that i am not getting done...

but is being overwhelmed on a regular basis something that is new to this life-o-mine? um, no. is it really that much more chaotic than it was a few months ago? actually, no. several aspects are much calmer now that we are all home!

i am still behind in most every aspect of life yet plugging along. when i put her to bed either for nap or night time it is usually ME that falls asleep first! and any early morning catch up nonexistant. for now. feels next to impossible to get a leg up on anything, BUT i just must remember this is a season. a truly precious season. i would love it if you want to pray for me to be truly present...

anyway, there's lots of emotions and lots of logistics and lots to figure out and get used to and it's all a blessing and we are grateful but just want to be honest about the fact that it's still for-real life. ;)

Friday, September 12, 2014

four weeks

Four weeks ago today we came home with our precious little Vera!
She was not so sure about us that first day (almost 6 weeks ago) when we met.
But now she is quick to hug, quick to kiss, quick to giggle, and pretty spunky.
One of her favorite things is when we sing the Johnny Appleseed prayer. All that hand holding and enthusiasm, and loud A-mens--watching her grin & watch us (and eagerly grab our hands after making a big O over her own head) is a highlight of our day.
What a special addition she is to our family!

A quick li'l update:
She had a great doctor's appointment with our Int'l Adoption Pediatrician - who also happens to know about lots ear stuff as an adoptive parent as well!  Vera got some shots and had some blood drawn, and was NOT happy about it, reacting as any sane person would.  But she did great!  Next stop in about a month is the Audiologist and Cranio-facial Plastic Surgeon. We will find out more about her ears and hopefully get to try out a hearing aid!  Then also we'll check on her wandering ear lobe & facial asymmetry just to see what they recommend, etc.  And her kidneys will get a little peek as well- did you know that ears and kidneys get formed around the same time?  So it's good to check on one when the other is a little...creatively formed. ;)

I have just come out of a rough week of feeling pretty crummy & SICK most all.week.long.  It's much better now and thankfully no one else seems to have gotten it but if I thought I was behind before, haha!  It's ok though, right, when you have a new little person in your house you must reframe all expectations of productivity! 

We are ready to move out of this little is not exactly lonely here with five other people to run around with, poke, sing with, go to the park with, giggle with, swat at.... but it feels a little isolating at times!  We are looking forward to introducing her to more friends and family, and in the meantime we really truly do appreciate getting checked on with texts/emails/calls... ;)  Thank you!

Little NaNa is such a delight. It would be A-okay if she didn't happen to be so delightful, of course, --but our transition has been pretty good so far.  I know there will be many hard things to walk through together as the years go on.  But we are so very thankful that she seems to be getting settled in quite well at this particular moment. Here are some pics of our last couple of weeks.  Earlier this week I posted a bunch from our big event in July- if you didn't see them and you would like to, here they are.

At the end we have another little giggle video with NaNa, her brothers, and a TOAD!

Things are looking up....
we love our cousin hand-me-downs! ;)

Silly Sister pics!

Fuzzy but couldn't resist sharing Vera's sweet expression!

Gearing up for a hike

Whewf! Riding in a stroller sure can be exhausting. But someone's gotta do it.
 Closeup on the cuteness!

Sisterly Pedicure

A moment of weakness....alone with the chocolate (dr.pepper-cake) frosting leftovers. 
All gone. So. GOOD.

LOVES her very special quilt from Grandma! 
If you would like to read a little more about this special project, look here!

Enjoying the new sand in the sandbox...

 This princess is not one bit afraid to touch a cute little toad!
I just LOVE the sound of her giggle!