Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sam is HOME! (Finally!)

We went into this surgery knowing that Sam would need to stay one night in the hospital, but Mommy was so not prepared for that one night to turn into three!! Honestly, once I got used to the idea that he was not coming home on Thursday, I was relieved that he was able to stay and get the pain management and care that he needed. He was having trouble eating and he was holding saliva in his mouth because it hurt too bad to swallow it. He rattled and snuffled in his sleep and could only sleep between 15-45 minutes at a time. Russ and I had decided before hand that he would stay with Sam at the hospital the whole time and that I would be there for as much time as possible, but that I would take care of the other kids since I know their schedules, get them ready for school, etc... All that "Mom" stuff that is too hard to explain to anyone else. When I went to spend the day with him on Thursday he was still groggy and in a lot of pain. He was happy to see me though and moved around in his bed for the first time since the surgery. I left at carpool time to pick up the boys, Emma and my mom and dad to go back up to the hospital for the evening. He lit up when he saw everyone and seemed to feel so much more at ease. I cannot imagine what was going through his little mind. This huge experience so soon after leaving China. You could see the concern in his eyes. He was so funny trying to "explain" to me what happened to him. He would make all sorts of grunting sounds and then point at his lip to show me. By Friday when I was up at the hospital, I could see a significant difference and my sweet, lively little Sam was coming back to me. I was so encouraged to see him starting to get back to his old self. He still wasn't eating much and was still "gurgling." I guess I should explain all that was done during his surgery. The ENT put tubes in his ears and performed a frenulectomy (correcting his tied tongue), the craniofacial surgeon revised the scar on his lip by lengthening it to allow for growth (the scar had started to pull his lip up and his nose down because although Sam is growing, the scar is not), reshaped his nostril, closed the palate and created a muscle pad in the back of his mouth using muscle that was already there (causing his difficulty in swallowing food and saliva), and the dentist placed a protective stint (like a clear retainer) that covers his teeth and palate, but did not have to extract any teeth like he originally thought he might. In fact he told us that Sam's teeth look great! They may be in funny locations all around his mouth (he even has one that is completely sideways), but they are all extremely clean and healthy. Dr. Williams came in this morning and discharged Sam just in time for him to get home as the first snowflakes started to fall. We rarely get snow and for it to happen so much during this time in our life was a little unnerving, but we were really able to enjoy it today. We played outside while Sam was napping (i.e. knocked out from the pain meds) so I am hoping it will still be snowy tomorrow so that he can experience his first snow. The forecast says it should get down to 17 degrees tonight. We are not really used to those temperatures! We are all so glad to have him home. The boys all made signs to post around the house welcoming him home and when he walked in the door, Sam ran up and gave everyone a hug! It was so sweet, and he was so happy to be back at home. He has been a happy little guy today. We love him so much and are so glad that this is behind us! Thank you so much for your prayers, emails,..... They have meant so much!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sam's Surgery

He is actually smiling in this picture, but his little face is so swollen it is hard to tell!

Our little guy had his BIG surgery today. He was so good. I cannot say enough about our hospital, Children's HealthCare of Atlanta, Scottish Rite. The nurses are amazing and the amenities are equal to a nice hotel. They even have room service and family activities. Our team of doctors, Dr. Williams (Craniofacial/Plastic Surgeon), Dr. Thomas (Craniofacial Dentist) and Dr. Aiden (ENT) were comforting and more than competent. Each visited us before and after their part in the surgery and promised to treat Sam as is he were their own. Sam, of course, has charmed everyone he comes in contact with. I have so many details to share, but I need to get some sleep first. I will update tomorrow. Oh, and by the way, it RARELY ever snows here, and wouldn't you know it - it was like a blizzard. I left the hospital (Russ is still there) to get my other children settled and then go back up, but now I am snowed in at home. As much as I look forward to even a flake of snow, I am hoping it will be warm enough tomorrow so that I can get to my baby!!!