Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Comparisons: Not always the thief of joy

What do you get when you have three girls, a mama that saved all the baby clothes and loves to take photos? 

Comparisons of three little Herrera girls in the same outfits/ages!

Kinsey- 6 months, Makayla- 7 months, Savannah 8 months
(can you tell I upgraded my camera between Kinsey & Makayla?)

All three girls have hit milestones pretty much at the same pace.
They were all born during my 39th week of pregnancy( K & M 39w1d, S 39w2d)
They all were late rollers- 5ish months
Makayla cut her first teeth at 6 months, but Kinsey and Savannah were both 7 months.
All three started crawling right at 8 months.

Kinsey, Makayla, Savannah- newborns sleeping with daddy

Kinsey walked 6 days before she turned 1, Makayla walked over 2 weeks before her birthday.
Hopefully this last little baby of mine will follow suit.
I don't want to rush a thing this time!
I might also be pushing her down when she tries to stand alone for a while ;)
Kinsey- 6 months, Makayla 6 months, Savannah 7 months

Here's to comparisons bringing joy, not jealousy!
Each of these girls is so unique, both in personality and looks,
I can't wait to see what strong, beautiful and intelligent women they grow up to be!

Do they look alike or totally different? What do you think?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Makayla the Brave

Yesterday was surgery #2 for Makayla. A Lateral Rectus Resection was preformed on both of her eyes just over 24 hours ago, so here's a little recap of our day yesterday and recovery so far. 

We left about 5:40am, with Makayla and Savannah in tow. Kinsey stayed sleeping in her bed and luckily my parents were in town (for their own appointment) and able to get her ready and to school for us. 

Check in at 6:15, up to the 9th floor by 6:45, they called her back around 6:55. She wanted Roy to take her back, sweet little daddy's girl that she is. I gave a quick hug and kiss and tried not to get to emotional in front of her. She knew she was going to drink some medicine, take a nap and wake up- but what does that really mean to a 3 year old? Surgery is really just another random word for something a Dr does at a hospital at this age. 

I was left with Savannah, tearing up in a waiting room watching the sun rise over the city. I knew she was in good hands, but it nearly killed me to not be by her side. 

Back with Roy they talked to the Anesthesiologist, she drank her sedative, and they were told it would be about 10-15 minutes to start to see the effects, with a full 30 minutes until she was really sedated and ready to be brought back to the operating room. Roy was a great companion, taking a million 'selfies' from every angle of her and her favorite stuffies, tigger and sock monkey, that she had brought for comfort. 
Selfies while they waited on the sedatives

The time came for Roy to leave her side, and while she was pretty sleepy at that point he said it was just awful saying goodbye and seeing the fear in her eyes. Talk about having your heart ripped out of your chest. 

Surgery started about 7:35am, and her Dr came to let us know everything was over around 8:38am. He said she did well, but obviously only time would show us the results of the surgery as her eyes heal. 

10 minutes later they brought be back to the recovery room to a sleepy, loopy, trashing and yelling little girl. It was a rough 20 minutes or so while the worst of the anesthesia wore off, and then she became more coherent and peaceful, with periods of sleeping on my chest mixed with wakeful grumpiness. 

Some of her most repeated phrases:
"I only want mommy's water from home"
"my sister....I want my sister"
"my eyes hurt"
"what's on my face" (nothing was at that point)

A peaceful moment in the recovery room
Finally she drank a few sips of the hospitals water after I convinced her is was mine. At 9:40 they said we could go and took out her IVs and Pulse Ox monitor. They wheeled us out to the car, where Roy and a crying/hungry/tired Savannah were waiting. We drove over to a nearby parking lot so I could feed the baby and as soon as I got her out Makayla started vomiting. It was chaotic moment, but soon we were back on the road for the trip home. Makayla slept the whole ride. 

Back at home she crashed on the sofa for the next 3 hours, with periods of waking, drinking water, vomiting, and then more sleeping. She said the cool rag across her eyes really felt good, so it stayed on her face for most of those 3 hours. Around 2 she began to be more wakeful, sat up to eat some crackers and drink water (kept it all down!) and took some ibuprofen. She was laughing and told us that "there's two daddy's!" At which point we figured she was definitely experiencing some double vision, which we had been warned was a possible temporary side effect. 
Sleeping it off at home
At 3 we loaded up to get Kinsey from school and drive back downtown for a post-surgical checkup with her Dr. At this point Makayla was fully awake and in good spirits. She didn't complain about pain or mention being tired at all. 
On our way for Post-Op Checkup
The Ophthalmologist seemed pleased with the results already! YAY!!!! He said her eyes already appear to be pretty straight, which is great news to us! He gave her great praise from his staff on how well she did during prep and recovery- they were all amazed at her bravery, calmness and maturity at only 3 years old.

We go back in two weeks for more testing, and in the meantime her double vision should fully subside (it already is much, much better) She already looks different to me- whether it is just the swelling and redness, the dilation of her pupils, or the fact that her eyes are more centered and straight is just too hard to tell right now. I don't remember her looking so different after the first surgery, so I'm hoping this is a good sign.
She slept all night and woke up only complaining a small amount about her eyes hurting. After meds and the cool rag she is now back to her normal, happy and carefree self. We basically have to keep reminding her to be calm and play quietly! Her eyes will be swollen and red for several days, with prolonged redness for up to a month. She's pretty good about wearing her princess sunglasses when we go outside, so hopefully she will be healed up quickly in time for a fun summer in the pool!

This morning- eyes closed they look nearly normal

This morning- she wasn't being very cooperative for a photo
She wanted me to take a picture of her new paw patrol toy not her eyes

Praying that this is the last of her eye surgeries and we are over the worst of the recovery process! Thanks to all our family and friends for their continued prayers and positive thoughts during this process.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Big Day For A Little Girl, Round 2

Our sweet little three year old, Makayla, has a very big day in her near future. She wishes it was her first day of preschool, but she'll have a few more months before that day arrives this fall. Instead, we are all a little anxious about another round of eye surgery on Monday to hopefully further correct her strabismus.

In this post I discussed her first procedure, where the interior muscles (those along the inside corners of the eye) were moved inward to 'loosen' the eyes into a more straightforward appearance. That surgery took place in July 2012, just before Makayla's first birthday.

It was successful in the aspect of her recovering well, and we felt as though the strabismus was improved somewhat, but it was obvious to us that it was still present. We knew going in that the rate of 100% success was not great, and that 10-20% of children require a second surgery. We just hoped that the odds were in her favor and we could be in the 'one and done' group.

Well here we are almost 3 years later facing round 2. We've tried multiple rounds of glasses, and while she looks so adorable in them, they don't seem to improve her strabismus at all. Her vision is excellent, so the purpose of the glasses was to hopefully strengthen her eye muscles if they were weak and therefore relaxing into a crossed or wandering motion due to the weakness. They may still be useful after surgery number 2 in further correcting any lingering strabismus. Only time will tell.

This time the focus of the surgery will be to 'tighten' the muscles on the outside of the eyes, to further stabilize her pupils in the center of her eyes. The younger that these procedures are done, the better the odds that the eyes will start to work together and things like depth perception will be improved. As far as we can tell she can't see things in 3-D, because her eyes work independently, one dominating over the other, alternating at any given time.

Our reasons for doing the second surgery are clear. There's been no change/improvement in her strabismus since the first surgery. Everything, including her eyesight, is stable. Waiting another year is only going to be just that. Waiting. So we are choosing to proceed with another corrective surgery so that hopefully she can start her school 'career' with the least noticeable strabismus possible. From the very beginning of this journey my deepest concern has always been how other children would treat her as she grew up. No parent wants their child to be the victim of teasing, and while I cannot protect her from all of life's dark sides, I want to do everything in my power to help reduce the struggles she will have to face.

As of now, she's a bright, caring, energetic 3 year old who only knows that she has very special and beautiful eyes. Roy and myself have been the ones to take on the burden of others unkind words during the last few years, and my hope for her is to never know how rude people can be.

She knows that Monday is a big day, and that she has a surgery on her eyes at the hospital. We've talked about being brave, and the Dr reassured her that she won't be getting any shots, just a special drink. It's so different this time around, knowing that she is aware of everything around her and will be asking questions and feeling afraid. The entire surgery is on the surface of the eyes, and we are told that the recovery is not very painful, mostly just a bit uncomfortable and achey. This girl has a high pain tolerance so I have no doubt she will be feeling like her normal self before too long.

Of course, all Prayers are appreciated. We will keep you updated.


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