Wednesday, December 17, 2014

And Then We Were 4

Well, our cute little family is growing.  Or...has grown?

In a muddle of thoughts I cannot think of where to begin.

First of all, I'm not one to divulge all the graphic details of Baby Girl's birth (or any birth for that matter) in a blog post.  I can appreciate those that do but I'll keep this G rated, partly because it otherwise gives me the heeby jeebies.  Childbirth, though beautiful, wonderful and miraculous, is also icky!

SOOOOO, Holland has graced our home with a lot of force, and very little sleep.

She was born one week early via NON-elective cesarean section.  Stubborn girl was breech, just hanging out for a few weeks and did NOT want to flip over into a more comfortable position. So when I went into labor, there wasn't much of a choice.  Some of you may say that breech births happen safely all the time, but they are illegal in Ohio so it's not even really a discussion.  We like to abide by the law 'round these parts.

Can I just tell you how miserable a C-section is?  Once again, some people prefer it, oh geez, not me. As soon as they told me I had to have a c-section I immediately started to internally panic. I kept my composure pretty well until the sweet sweet nurse couldn't find the vein for my IV and had to stick me four times.  Then I lashed out, swore at her and told her she better find the vein quickly.  Andrew was quickly issued a hazmat suit (or the likes of), cute little booties and a cafeteria cap.  We walked down the hallway where Andrew was deposited in a waiting room and I was whisked away to the OR (And by "whisked away" I mean they made me walk, while holding my standard issue hospital gown closed, and forgot to give me hospital booties so I had bare feet, gross?!).
From this point until recovery a few events occured:
--I was certain the epidural would not work and that I would feel them cut me open.
--The epidural worked.
--I screamed that the anesthesiologist was a liar over and over again because he told me we'd be done in 20 minutes, and we were not.
--Holland was born safely, but we were told she had a "pinpoint size hole" in her soft palate that wouldn't cause any problems, she would be able to nurse just fine, yada yada yada.

And then we were in recovery 40 minutes later.  (Andrew told me the next day that during surgery before they closed me up they were counting all of their supplies and two of the nurses looked confused as they were counting the bloody gauze.  Nurse one whispers to nurse two, nurse two looks at doc, doc puts his hand in my stomach and pulls out an extra gauze.  WHEW...close one!)

Turns out little Holland has a cleft palate that does INDEED cause problems.  The hole in her palate is bigger than a pin point, and it causes an open airway from her nose to her mouth so she cannot get suction on anything which means she has to have a special bottle to eat, and she cannot hold a pacifier in her mouth.  It also means that when she spits up it goes up the hole and out her nose, like a cool magic trick!

SO....along with all of the other newborn things (lots of eating, waking up a lot in the middle of the night, lots of poop, diapers) we get to go see an array of medical specialists.

Let's backup, cleft palate.  Cleft=hole.  Palate=palate (of the mouth).  So, Holland does NOT have a cleft lip, and the hole she DOES have is in the back of her mouth on the soft palate.  Hers is relatively mild.  It's a perfect little hole about the size of the tip of a new crayon.  Other babies are born with their entire palate gaping.  This hole leads to her nasal sinus which leads to her nasal passage and out her nose, so basically she has an airway from her mouth out her nose.

The diagram below helps explain cleft palates a bit more.  The bright pink is a babies gum line, and so typically the opening goes from the back where the uvula (hangy down thingy) usually is up through part of the palate.  The muscles on a normal palate run horizontally and help with sucking, and also with fluid drainage from the ears, however on cleft palates the muscles aren't attached to each other and they run vertically so the can't contract properly for sucking and for ear drainage.  When the repair surgery is done the muscles are pulled horizontally and the opening is sewed together, creating a uvula.

SO...cleft babies often have problems with their ears, both hearing problems and fluid drainage problems.  They often times have eye problems.  It is also a genetic disorder in some.  That means we have been to see the Ear Nose Throat doc, the ophthalmologist, the geneticist, the cranio-facial doctor who will do her surgery, as well as the regular pediatrician.

Lets talk about the surgery which is not performed until babies are 10-12 months.  We have been told over and over again that the surgery is only done in order to help with speech.  It is a quick surgery but Holland will spend one night in the hospital.  After she is released she will have her arms splinted for 2 weeks so she cannot get her hands in her mouth, preventing stitches being ripped.

Cleft palate babies often gain weight very slowly because eating is difficult.  Well, not this baby. She was back to her birth weight in less than a week after birth.  She is in the 40th percentile for weight, and eats like a champion.  Because she cannot nurse, I spend half of my life attached to a machine, and the other half of my life giving her a bottle.  She hasn't missed any meals, that's for sure. Please see exhibit A below for proof.

Keane loves Holland.  He quickly tells me anytime she is crying, when she is awake, when she is asleep etc.  He wishes she could play more than she can so I have to keep a close eye on them to make sure he is "very soft", but we feel lucky that he loves her so much.

So after nearly a year of no blogging, this is what we are up to these days.

I am now an expert on cleft palates, so that's a bonus...right?

 As you can see, she is happy and though she will face certain difficulties with this "medical handicap" as it is called in the medical world, she is also very lucky.  We love her and it feels like she was always part of our family!