Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Surgery - Deep breath... exhale slowly....

Man, what a crazy whirlwind week we've had!  On Tuesday we left Austin for Houston to visit with a cleft team at the Shriner's Hospital there in Houston.  They'd accepted Mia to do all of her cleft lip and palate treatment free of charge so we thought we'd at least check it out.  We looked up the doctors online and they both checked out great.  Shriner's paid for our hotel room where we stayed Tuesday night.

At the hotel - Mia checking out what papa's up to.

We went in first thing Wednesday meeting to have them give Mia a mini-physical and to meet with the plastic surgeon there. While waiting for our appointment we met a mom and her 12 year old son who was also cleft affected and she raved about Shriner’s and what great work they did. She had her son come over to show us his repair and you could seriously not even see the scar on his lip unless you really looked close.

Well, after we met with the surgeon, we felt good about it and decided to go ahead and schedule with them. They had said they’d probably not be able to get her in until the beginning of January, but then the plastic surgeon said that maybe they could try and squeeze us in in December if our schedule was flexible. We told them it was. The plastic surgeon went on to meet with the next patient and the care coordinator left to go and look at the surgery schedule to see when they could fit us in. We knew the surgery would be on a Thursday because the team is rebuilding after being moved from Galveston after the hurricane, so they have cleft clinic on Wednesdays and cleft surgeries on Thursdays. Well, a few minutes later the plastic surgeon popped his head in the door and said, “Would you be able to stay, check into the hospital today and do surgery tomorrow morning?” I guess the original patient had just barely tested positive for strep so they couldn’t do their surgery and the “back up” couldn’t make it so the spot for the next day happened to open up while we were there.

Our heads were spinning as we agreed and started the paperwork for admission into the hospital. Wow!  While we waited for the admission paperwork to get finished up we got to meet a little four month old baby boy who'd had his unilateral cleft repair done three weeks before and was in for his post op follow up.  We also got to meet and chat with a nineteen year old girl who'd been born with a bilateral cleft just like Mia.  She'd just finished her last treatment and looked really good!  It was nice to see different kiddos who were at different phases in the cleft repair process.

Reading with mama while we wait for all the paperwork to get filled out.

They admitted us to the hospital floor and then we had to just chill at the hospital for the rest of the day.

Here's Zeus in our room and Mia's cage-like crib for the evening.

Mia and I - when Zeus was holding her against him, somehow his visitor tag ended up on Mia's tummy.  We had to get a pic!  :)

Shriner's sees a TON of children every year, so they started doing a visitor tag ball each year.  They start with a tennis ball and throughout the months, people put their visitor tags on it as they check out for the day to show visually how many families they help each year.  At the end of each year they start over. 

Mia and I posing with our visitor tags and the visitor tag ball for 2010.

Family photo with Mia holding our tags, right before we helped her stick them on.

Chilling out on the patio and snapping pictures of the precious little face that would be changing so drastically in a few short hours.  Man we love this little one!!!  :)

Couldn't take enough pictures of her wide little smile that we would miss so much.

I was so upset that we didn't know we were having surgery and so I'd left the NICE camera at home!!!  Thankfully I keep my old digital camera in the diaper bag as well as a set of back up batteries that barely lasted until we made it home.  Lucky break that!

Giving Mia a pre-surgery scrub bath at the hospital - we had to do one the night before and one that morning.

Mia and I in her Christmas themed surgical gown the morning of surgery - all scrubbed up and ready to go!

Chewing on her toes one last time as we waited for the doc.

So incredibly sweet and happy in the morning!

Smiling with papa - sorry honey about my sub-par photography skills in this one!

Snuggles to sleep with mama while we wait for surgery time.

Following the nurse down the hall to the pre-op area.

Nervous smiles from mama and papa before they take our sleeping angel into surgery.

Zeus and I were absolute bundles of nerves during the 2 1/2 hour long surgery, even though they came in a few times to give us updates that all was going well. 

They gave us a pager that they said would go off when they were about ready for us to go into the recovery room.  We were told to have a bottle ready when for the recovery room so that she could eat right away if she wanted.  Well, we figured we'd have a second to run and make a fresh one when the pager went off.  We would have made it ahead of time, but Mia won't take a bottle if it's not really warm.  Too cold and she'll fuss and refuse it.  Anyhow, they came to get us BEFORE the pager went off, so Zeus went ahead into the recovery room with the camera as I tore down the halls to grab her bottle and run back. 

It was HORRIBLE not to be able to go straight back, but I had been the only one able to go back when she had her pre-maxillary tooth removed plus I'm fastest at making bottles, so off I ran.

Zeus's first view of Mia when he got back there, all wrapped up in warming blankets from surgery, and right before he was able to hold and comfort her.

My first view of my sad little red (from all the heating blankets) baby girl.

Mia was super-duper sadness after surgery and just continued making the quietest little sad cry you've ever heard.  She wouldn't take any of her bottle so we just patted and cooed and comforted and patted her and rubbed her sweet little head.  It was heart breaking seeing her that way and not being able to make it all go away.

Most of the first day she would hardly eat anything and would just sadly fuss.  About the only thing that seemed to calm her down and sooth her was to walk the halls with her.  We ended up doing that most of the afternoon and evening, either carrying her in our arms or pushing her in the stroller.

I'll post more later, just wanted to get the beginning down and let everyone know that Mia came through surgery just great.  Thanks so much for all of your thoughts and prayers on her and on our behalf.  The first few days were so hard, but we are thrilled to say that she's slowly improving bit by bit.  She finally slept through the night again last night and has even started cooing again and attempting a smidgen of a tight little swollen smile.  She's definitely not back to herself yet, but she's on her way there - yay!  More pics and info later, as it's just after midnight and I'm exhausted to the nth degree.


  1. WOW, what a trip!! I can only imagine how you guys must be feeling...hang in there. Thoughts and prayers for you-speedy recovery and safe trip back home! HUGS!

  2. I'm going to miss that little cleft face! She's adorable. I love the one of her on her daddy. I'm thinking of you so much! I wish I was there still to give you love, support, and food! :)

  3. Such a sweet heart! It is interesting to read about the experience. You all continue in our thoughts and prayers.

  4. What an amazing story - I am so happy I came across it. My daughter was born with a cleft lip and palette as well and I can only imagine the various emotions you were feeling. Congrats and best of luck to your family. If you are ever looking for other families to connect with check The Cleft Awareness Foundation on Facebook (