Thursday, December 10, 2015

Surgery Time...and a whole lot of waiting!

Pre-Surgery - Someone is getting tried of waiting!
This will be Riley's sixth surgery in her five years of life. Not really fair in her mind, but thank goodness it's available for her. She'll have a palate revision, which involves her palate and throat. We have the best doctor around and he explains it well, I do not. Since this is probably one of the more invasive surgeries she'll be staying overnight at the Hershey's Children's Hospital.

Pre-Surgery - Her brother insisted on staying with her as he is her best entertainer. 
We did a TON of preparing for this surgery. Meaning that we talked with Riley about what to expect.

  • Yes, it'll hurt, but we have medicine that'll help.
  • Yes, you'll feel "weird" when you come out of the surgery, but mommy will be there waiting.
  • Yes, you'll only eat soft foods for 3 weeks, but we'll have fun picking tasty new things to eat.

The waiting was tough as it would be for any child, but it's been much smoother then the previous surgeries. I really think it helped that she was able to understand and knew what to expect. It probably helped that the new Children's hospital is now open. They had so many cool activities to pass the time, plus watching their favorite movies on the big screen.
On our way to surgery with the team.
Riley's surgeon was very happy with the outcome. He met with us prior to the surgery and felt strongly that we should do a slight lip revision while she was under. I guess he was really giving it some thought since our last visit with him. We agreed, though I didn't like that I wasn't able to prepare her for this. She did much better in the recovery room compared to previous surgeries. They allowed me to come back as soon as she was taken out of surgery. She would open her eyes, look for me, then back to sleep. In past surgeries I was not aloud back with her until she was awake, so by the time I got back to her, she was hysterical!

Side note: Her nurse had two adoptive children, one from China! We could've chatted all night. Well, I guess we kinda did. 

Our view from Riley's overnight recovery room. It's hard to see,
but we had a perfect view of the lit sculpture in front of the hospital

Riley was pretty out of it most of the night, but was woken up every few hours for her medication. She was hungry (which she always is) and thirsty pretty quickly, which made the doctors and nurses happy. I got to sleep next to her in a comfy chair/bed. It wasn't horrible. Though my expectations were low. I didn't expect to get any sleep, but I surprisingly did. I think being in super-mommy-mode helped. It exhausted me. Her room had a HUGE flat screen with endless kid's movies, so we watched all her favorites. I turned off the TV sometime in the middle of the night and she woke up and got my attention and pointed at the TV. In a quiet little voice she said, "movie please?" You get anything you want tonight little girl! In these situations limited TV time does not apply. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hershey Chocolate & Ronald McDonald House go GREAT together!

This will be our little Riley's 6th surgery. She has a pretty serious case of medical anxiety. Can't blame her one tiny bit. I got a bright idea (occasionally happens) that we sneak in a day of fun before Riley's surgery. We had some extra funds available from our kiddos' Post Adoption Services, so I contacted our social worker and asked if we could use it towards a family day. And we could!! It was a dose of happiness, giggles and chocolate...perfect meditation to calm any anxiety!

Hello Hershey's Chocolate World! We're ready to go!

We meet a family friend that we didn't see in YEARS! She took this photo for us. 
The kids had the opportunity to make their own personalized Candy Bars! I think their faces say it all. These kids are too much fun! They even gave us parents and taste and I'd say that fresh made chocolate bars are YUMMY!

Making their own candy bars!

Posing with their candy bars!

Our Trolley awaits!

Our last ride was on the Hershey Trolley Works. Lets just say we were all pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed learning about the rich history of Hershey, and the man who started it all. Amazing! There were so many things I did not know about a place I grew up exploring. We thought it was super cool that Milton Hershey and his wife also had a love for caring for foster children. 

We knew we'd have to stay two nights for Riley's surgery since we now live 2 hours away instead of the convenient 35 minutes. We were so fortunate to have the opportunity to stay at the Ronald McDonald House!! We didn't know if they'd have openings until the very morning we left, but we're so thankful they had a spot available for us. It's not easy living off of one income AND now that my hubby was off work due to his hand injury. Well, it really made things pretty tough financially. This was a HUGE help!!! Not to mention it was an absolute dream for the kids! 

Riley posing in the Ronald McDonald Play Room in her comfy PJs. It was a good day. 

Gigantic french fries rule the room! If you're granted passage you may jump onto the pile of super, plush stuffed animals!

Therapy pets visit. My sweet little Riley made a new friend with another little girl named, Rylee who is right beside her. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

We're In Again...but not everyone is settled.

We're finally getting settled into our new place! Finally. If you've ever moved, you know this is a huge feeling of relief for us adults. But it often is not the case for our children, especially our adopted children. Change can be a gigantic, and can open up an flood gate of past emotions. Those deep, dark emotions that have no words.

As you may have read in our past posts our move was not a simple one. Yeah, but who's is, right? Moving two and half hours away, selling our house, and finding a new home was not an easy task. Thank goodness for the help of our parents whom allowed us to stay with them while we organized this multiple step move! I love you mom and dad! Thank you, dear sister, for your endless hours of entertaining my busy bees while we packed, unpacked, packed and finally unpacked again!

It was a sense of pure joy getting settled into our new place. No, it's not a dream house by the beach or a even a house for that matter. It's an apartment which I never I'd imagined we'd seek out. It's not big or new, but it's a place we can turn into a home. It's comfy. It's peaceful with views of trees and grass and possibly just as exciting, Target, Trader Joe's and Starbucks is less then a mile away! Oh yeah. I like it.

We prepped and prepared the kids for months prior to the move. It was actually a blessing to make the big move and end up at my parents' for awhile. They LOVED that. But I wasn't prepared for the changes I'd see in my children. I was relieved and ready to start fresh, but my kids were feeling it like it was the end of everything they knew.

You know how sometimes you're in so deep that you can't really get a clear view of what's going on? Especially when you're expecting all to be all honky-dory? Yep, that was me. I have contact with a wonderful post adoption social worker who lets me freely express my concerns and fears. Thank goodness. She gets it. She ever so kindly explained that maybe our kiddos were still in the honeymoon phase of the move while at my parent's home. Now the true feelings and anxieties are coming out since we're officially in our new home. Totally made sense!

Just knowing can be a tremendous help. A relief. A few days ago my son asked me how long we're staying here? I was so taken back, so surprised by his simple question. We explained numerous times what "our plan" was and even though he understood it He just needed to hear it again, loud and clear that we're staying here for a long time. He didn't need to hear that it was forever, just that he was able to let his guard down...if that's possible...but enough to let himself relax a bit.

It's not easy, especially moving two weeks before the winter break. We tried to keep the schedules tight with not much change, but no school, no work still really rocks the boat for these little ones. Tomorrow is back to the normal grind, but normal is just what the doctor ordered for this family! Cannot wait.

Reminder to self:  Change takes time.