Saturday, February 26, 2005

Having some Rice Cereal...

Not sure how much of it actually stayed in her mouth, but it was a start!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Isn't she cute?!?!?

Post Op Appointment with Dr Lehocky

Rachel had her post op appointment this morning...just a day short of 4 weeks since surgery. Dr. Lehocky said her lip was looking great and has healed nicely. He explained to us that we could start to see her lip start to pull up at the incision site, the reason being that the scar tissue is tightening, and over time as it relaxes it will loosen. He said that her nose might need a little work, which is normal for most babies who've had a wide cleft, as Rachel did. A nose revision would most likely take place when she's 4 or 5. Right now it's hard to tell if she'll need a revision, because she's still growing and her face is changing.

I had a long list of questions to ask him. The first question was when will her palate be fixed. He said between 8-12 months of age. He filled out the paperwork for the palate repair in hopes that we won't be forgotten. More than likely her palate repair will take place in July or August, which makes her closer to 10-11 months old. They will also place tubes in her ears at the same time. A routine procedure done with cleft affected babies to keep fluid from building up in their ears that lead to infections, and sometimes hearing loss, which all can affect their speech development. The next couple of questions involved her scar...I've read online of people massaging the scar which helps loosen it. He said we could do that. I'm going to wait a while longer on that one...the area is still pretty tender and she cries when we simply wipe her nose, I can't imagine how painful it would be if I was massaging the area. I also asked about applying Vitamin E or Mederma to the scar to help minimize it. Her scar looks awesome and there are some days you can hardly see it, but I still would like to do what I can do to help the look of the scar in the long run. He said either would be fine, although there is no research to back up that those prodcuts do reduce scaring. I'm going to do the Vitamin E route because it's cheaper than Mederma and I have read of people using it and it helping. A few weeks ago I asked our Pediatrician if Rachel could start on solids, and he said because of her cleft palate, to ask our plastic surgeon, so I asked and Dr. Lehocky said it's perfectly fine. He did say that sometimes food can become stuck up in the palate, but it works its way out. I bought some rice cereal in anticipation of starting solids, and now that we've been given the approval, I'll try giving her cereal tomorrow. I'll be sure to post pictures of this event!!

As for him leaving, the date of his departure keeps getting pushed back. And he said he might very well be the one to see us prior to her palate repair. It would be nice if he was around to do the palate repair, only because we've already been working with him. But if he does leave, another surgeon could easily take his place. All the cosmetic/reconstructive surgery on the outside was done by the same doctor, the next doctor would be working on the inside.

Aside from the happenings of her post op appointment, she's doing great. Continuing to love her freedom from restraints. We acquired an exersaucer over the weekend from a friend and she's been loving sitting in that! She is able to turn in it and watch us as we move from the couch into the kitchen and vice versa. LOL. She's sleeping great. She continues to have some attitude at some of her bottles, which scares off the grandmas for potential babysitting opportunities. LOL. The midday bottle is the absolute worst and involves a huge attitude. I might try giving her her cereal at this time of day and see if I can avoid getting attitude.

And to close this post, I just want to say another "Thank You" to all of you who follow Rachel's Journey. And many thanks to those who pray for her, and us! We appreciate all your prayers, thoughts, emails, and feedback left on this site!

Having fun in her new exersaucer...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A Day without Restraints...

Finally, Rachel was able to get back to normal sleeping in her crib and not in her carrier. She did pretty good last night. She woke up a couple of times. It'll probably take some getting use to sleeping unconfined and unrestrained!

She's doing pretty good with not putting her fingers in her mouth. She seems to not be putting her fingers in her mouth nearly as much as she tried when she had her breaks from wearing the restraints! LOL

It's so nice to be able to put Rachel down and not have to worry about her rolling over or putting hands in her mouth, or carrying or holding her the entire time she is awake. She's pretty heavy and my back was pretty tired and starting to hurt by the end of the day!

I think she's happy to have her arms least until her next surgery!! :)

Happy to be free!

Sitting up with the help of the boppy pillow! Not long and I think she'll be able to sit on her own...with the help of all her chub!

Chubby Cheeks!

Just a day short of 3 weeks since gaining a new smile. This is a great shot of just how chubby her cheeks are!

Monday, February 14, 2005

The Restraints Come OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Whooo Hoooo! Rachel is Free!

I called our plastic surgeon's office this morning to check on how long the restraints needed to be left on. Everything I've read online says 3 weeks, however, our discharge papers don't give a time frame, and we don't have our post op appointment until next Tuesday. So I called and asked his nurse. She checked with one of the other plastic surgeons and he said they normally suggest 2-3 weeks and that they could come off today. The nurse assured me that Rachel couldn't undo anything at this point. :)

I laid Rachel down for a nap in her crib, not in her carrier, and without the restraints, she didn't know what to do with herself! She was kicking and squealing in delight that she was a freed girlie! After watching her mobile for a while, she rolled to her side and drifted off to sleep...she's still sleeping and we're approaching 2 hours!!! Yahooo!

For the first time in almost 3 weeks, Rachel takes a nap not in her infant carrier, and without restraints!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Well Baby Check Up

Rachel had a well baby check up today. Her weight was 17lbs 6oz and her height was 24 1/2 inches. I was so pleased with her weight!! Not only did she not loose any weight following surgery, she actually gained 9oz!!! I looked at Hannah's baby book and at her 6 month check up, she was only 13lbs 10oz, so Rachel weighs almost 4 lbs more than Hannah did at this age!

Everything else checked out well. Rachel got her 6 month shots. Dr Berry, our pediatrician, was very pleased with Rachel's lip repair and said he was impressed with the plastic surgeons work.

I asked about starting Rachel on solids, and he said because of her cleft palate, to check with the plastic surgeon. Everything I've read online says it's okay to do solids with a cleft palate, you just have to anticipate food coming out their nose. LOL. We see the plastic surgeon for a post op visit on February 22nd, so I'll check with him then.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Just hanging out....

in the jumper! In an attempt to find something new to occupy Rachel's awake time, I put her in the jumper that hangs from the doorjam. She loved it!!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The 2 Week Mark!!

We've hit the 2 week mark since Rachel's surgery. We didn't make it to the 2 week mark with her last surgery, so despite this being a totally different surgery, I've been a little nervous, but I think I can relax now. :)

She's doing great!! The past couple of days she's taken her bottles really well. Only maybe one or two episodes of an attitude. Now we just need to get Gramma to feeling comfortable in feeding Rachel again so we can go out for a peaceful dinner! :)

Rachel is continuing to sleep in her infant carrier. I tried this morning to get her to take a nap without it, but the poor girlie just couldn't get comfortable with those darn arm restraints on, so I ended up putting her back into her carrier. Only one more week of the restraints!! Yippeee!

Rachel's incision is looking so good. Some days there is hardly any redness at all. We see the plastic surgeon for her post op follow up in 2 weeks, and I have a list of questions for him in reguards to putting Vitamin E or Mederma on the scar, etc.

We couldn't have asked or prayed for a better post op thus far! I think life is getting back to least until Rachel's next surgery, in July or August.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Our Two Sweethearts....

This is the first official picture I had taken of both the girls. At Christmas, we did a picture of both our girls and our neices for the grandparents for Christmas, but this is the first of the sisters! I'm so pleased with how they turned out!! Rachel is a lot easier to get smile at this age than Hannah was, it was a huge ordeal taking Hannah to get pictures when she was little. LOL

( can click on any of the pictures and view them larger)

Friday, February 04, 2005

Getting back to normal...

I think things are getting back to normal around here. Rachel is eating her bottles better... a little less attitude. Still an attitude, but we're not sure whether it's a surgery related attitude or if it's just her attitude she had before. LOL. Rachel also finished her antibiotics last night. Such a relief not to have to give medications. Now she just has her pain meds for whenshe appears to be in pain or discomfort.

Rachel is back on her schedule she had prior to surgery where her last bottle of the day is 9/9:30. Which puts us in bed around 10 or shortly thereafter. Last week, somehow because her attitude was getting in the way of her bottles, her last bottle of the day was 10/10:30 and that was putting us in bed after 11. Which was just waaay tooo late for me so may days in a row. It's amazing how much more rested you feel with an extra hour of sleep. LOL.

It looks to be a quiet weekend around here. Hannah is spending a few days with her Gramie, my mother in law. Between spending two nights with her cousins from out of state and then with my parents for a few days over Rachel's surgery and hospitalization, she's hardly been home the last two weeks!! LOL. It's been good for her to be able to get some one on one time with her grandparents. She expressed the other day that Rachel had been taking up too much of our time lately and she has. Rachel has been high maintenance since her surgery. Because she still attempts to roll to her side, she can't be put on the floor to play and move about. So when she's awake, she needs to be held or constantly supervised. Less than 2 weeks and the restraints can come off!!!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

A week after surgery....

A week after surgery and she looks so much better than we ever thought she would so soon! Her incision is barely red and is sooo smooth. She looks this great and it's only been a week...we can't imagine how much better she'll look as time goes on!

Rachel and her restraints...

Here's Rachel with her arm restraints on. She's doing extremely well with these things on. Much better than I had anticipated. We can take them off when we're holding her or watching her closely. Last surgery, she was still too small for normal restraints, so we had IV boards that we strapped to her arms and wrapped gauze around to keep in place.These restraints have velcro and are easy on/easy off.