Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fevers, Congestion, Coughing & Ear Infections

Okay so this title describes the medial conditions of my two little girls. Yaya is congested with fever. If she still has it tomorrow morning we head to the 9:15 am appointment I already have set up for her. If she wakes fever free…then we scrap the appointment and weather this cold. Our malady options if she still has fever are: nasty virus, pneumonia, sinus infection, and flu. I’m super excited about all those options…not. I pray that tonight somehow she can sleep even though she can’t breathe out of her nose. We all need sleep desperately. P.S. She is off her hydrocodone, just Tylenol and Motrin alternating.

Our sweet Eden still has a stinkin’ ear infection! She has had some sort of fever/cold/cough for almost 4 weeks now. Her phlegmy rattily cough caused enough alarm today that I took her to the doctor and found out about said ear infection. Praise the Lord her lungs are crystal clear. So even though she sounds like she has walking pneumonia, it is drainage from the bad ear. So we had to get a very painful big antibiotic shot and then we are starting a new course of oral antibiotics for her. Yay. Not.

Both girls want to happy but it is hard for them. Eden is pretty doggone cute recently but sweet Yaya is just miserable. She is regressing with attachment, which we expected, but wow it is draining for Mama to pull her out of her anxiety. She began dropping eye contact today with everyone and was insistent about being ON Daddy. She would refuse me for most things in the afternoon. By early evening it was time for intervention and we spent an hour locked in her room together with her screaming and crying non-stop. My mere breathing irritated her. So imagine how she loved me talking and reading books allowed. She finally gave up control and fell into my arms after an hour. She would make eye contact and respond to my questions. She asked to see her brother. So I took her to Noah and she started crying and then made the sign for sad. It was so cute and heartbreaking to me that she wanted to go tell Buh-buh she was feeling sad. She was doing well when I left the house to go to Noah’s parents night at his school and seemed well upon my return. Eric let me know that he and my Mom attempted bedtime with disastrous results. Yaya was too anxious to let Eric put her down and Eden didn’t want him going down with Yaya and wouldn’t stay with my Mom. The girls then decided I was the one to put them both down. Yaya went down pretty easy. Eden…not so much. But it is here nor there. 

We need rest in this family for all of us, both the infirmed and their caregivers! Keep us in your prayers friends!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Post-Op Day 2

Well last night was not as great as we had hoped. Eric and I decided to wake her to keep her on her pain meds and in hindsight…not the best decision. We should have let her sleep. She had a hard time breathing through her nose and is sounded much like congestion from a cold. That phlegmy rattling breathing in the throat and nose. You could tell it bothered her. When we woke her at 1 am she was to console and put back down. We finally got her to rest in our bed with us and there she slept the rest of the night. We abandoned the 4 am meds. She woke up with her head at the foot of the bed and Eric was holding her leg to make sure she didn’t slip off. When we she roused herself crying at 6 am, we discovered she had a horrible fever. It registered a 101.2 but her ear canals are all weird and she was squirming, if you had felt her you’d know the fever was much higher. She got a dose of pain meds that had fever reducer in it and at best it held the fever at bay until we could get her Ibuprofen at 9 am. She was very miserable until that time, hard to console and wanted to be held while standing…friends she weighs 30 pounds and when she is sick she doesn’t hang on to you to “help” you.

We called the doctor at 6:30 am and his opinion was that the fever was in no way related to the surgeries. It was likely a cold, the flu or sometimes kids get a post-op fever. But he told me not to worry much as long as she eats and drinks. At 9 am she got the Ibu and then she slept for about an hour on Mama. When she woke up she was much better. She has been fairly perky during the day but you can tell she is wearing down. Plus, while she has drank quite a bit today she hasn’t eaten much food. We aren’t sure if the fever is gone as we are giving her meds every 3 hours that would control it. I think she has run hot most of the day. We are deciding NOT to wake her tonight for meds. If she wakes with pain we will medicate her but she doesn’t seem to really be phased by her mouth. It was the fever that upset her today. We extended her wait by one hour for her most recent pain med dosing and she didn’t seem to notice. I just gave her the hydrocodone and some Benadryl (she is itching from the hydro).  So hopefully that combo will help her sleep tonight, through the night. She is in bath time with sister right now and for the most part all is well. We are very pleased and are so thankful to our Savior who set up this surgery for her before he even created her. His provision is great and we are thankful for it this day!

Here is a cute picture of Eden…just for fun!


Post-Op Day 1

Well last night went way better than we expected. Yaya slept most of the time and cried very little. We know that the steroid shot she got to reduce the swelling from her tonsillectomy was part of the reason. While Eric and I did not sleep much, Yaya did. Praise the Lord! She woke up a bit grumpy because her pain meds got staggered a bit wrong since we let her sleep through a 1 am Motrin. She got behind on meds so our wonderful nurse this morning got us a does of Morphine to take the edge off and didn’t put the horrible O2 sensor back on that we got to remove this morning. So the Morphine helped her out  until we could get the Hydrocodone. She has now settled down a bit. She has had a really cranky morning until we got the meds worked out. She is super anxious as you can imagine. In classic Yaya form, she wants Daddy constantly and was getting upset if I left the room at all. She didn’t want me but didn’t want me out of her sight. Her anxious attachment behavior with Eric started to escalate this morning to the point that I had to intervene. That is a kind way of saying; I took her from Eric and she went nuclear. I sent him for breakfast at this time. He accidently didn’t pull the door closed where it would latch and so the door slowly drifted open and the entire ward got the privilege of listening to her entire tantrum until I could get her settled down. She was in a much better mood after that.  A little while later she happily played in Daddy’s lap reading a book with her “cat-cat” (the lovie of the week).


When the doctors rounded in the morning (it was the Fellow working with Dr. Grant), he was shocked that Yaya had eaten and drank the night before. He said, “Wow! Wow! That is some kind of record all I can say is Wow!” He said if she continued in this fashion then she might get discharged today. He decided to stop her Morphine, which we had already stopped taking it and he ordered her fluids to be reduced to half in her IV.

Mid-morning finished eating her first container of baby food and then ate another one AND had a container of apple sauce! Plus she has probably drank a good 6-8 oz. of liquid! Later she ate even more food. At 11:30 am we went to a Princess Tea Party the hospital was giving for the children. There walked all the way there and waved to everyone she saw. She made a princess wand and walked around. They gave her a Minnie Mouse Tea Set and hair styling kit when we left. We took the hair styling kit back to them since Yaya wouldn’t want it.  They insisted I take something else for her, I tired to decline and they finally made me take an additional fairy tea set for Eden. So sweet and kind.


Yaya continued to cruise up and down the ward talking to everyone…loudly. Our sweet nurse Carrie was around a lot helping us out and just inquiring about Yaya in general. She let us know that Dr. Grant was going to round after his surgeries and we expected him at 4 pm –ish. A dear friend was going to pick up some lunch for us but we had to cancel that because Dr. Grant showed up at 2:40 and in seconds deemed her able to go home! It took about an hour for the orders to go through and get the paperwork signed and get Yaya’s IV off etc. We got one last dose of pain meds at 4:00 and were on the road to the pharmacy by 4:17! We arrived home at 5:00 pm. Sweet Eden greeted us at the door and ran to Yaya and the girls hugged each other! The then played together for several hours. Yaya was getting tired but she ate more food and at 7:00 pm she was out like a light. We were so glad to be home.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Outta Surgery

Yaya’s surgeries went great. I am a little weirded out to make that a plural but indeed she had 3 today. New tubes, palate repair and tonsils removed…in that order. The tonsils as you know were the surprise.  She recognized us in the hallway and we got to walk up to the room with her. She was on a gurney and she didn’t like that a cotton ball was stuck to the back of her right hand and that they put all her id bracelets back on her arm instead of her foot…well she didn’t want them on period. AND the red glowing O2 sensor was taped around her finger. This is the thing that offends her the most. Once we got settled and got the bracelets back on her leg and moved the O2 sensor to her big toe on her left leg she was much better. However, upon waking an hour and half later…she was still offended by the O2 sensor. She wanted some food and she managed to eat about 1/2 of a container of baby food. You can see that she wants it but it is too weird and painful to negotiate right now. I unloaded our stuff while Eric held her and then he went for food while I held her, then she woke up for the food and was just outdone. She was way overdue for pain meds and the nurse brought her some morphine and in 20 minutes she was sleeping again. We finally got the blood pressure cuff off it was every 30 minutes on her leg for 2 hours. Now I think it is every 4 hours for that. We want her off the morphine ASAP. If the morphine stops then the O2 sensor goes. We are waking her in about an hour to give her an oral pain killer to see if it controls the pain, if so, then we wait till the morphine is out of her system and take the glowing red offensive device off her toe. She is sleeping soundly in her Daddy’s arms. It should prove to be a difficult night. Pray that she some how can sleep through the worst of it and be prepared to eat tomorrow. The sooner she eats, the sooner we get home.


P.S. She hated her gown and wanted her purple shirt. And what you see around her mouth is the purple baby food she tried to eat. Nothing scary. Except what is below……



Surgery Day!!

Today we are having Yaya’s palate repaired! We are to arrive at Children’s Hospital downtown at 10:30 a.m. Yuck. Yaya is our one child who WON’T  miss a meal. This is our eater. She is not going to be pleased that she can’t eat this morning. And she wasn’t…


Here we are at home with our, “Why won’t you guys give me chocie milk or feed me look.”


Here we are walking into pre-op with Daddy. Wish this photo was little clearer. I have one on the first surgery of her near the big number 3. She walked in the pre-op admitting/waiting area and just started running cruising around. Very different from last September when she always wanted to walk holding someone’s finger. She also says, “HI!!”  to everyone that will make eye contact with her. One really sweet thing happened. One of our neighbors that we really don’t know that well at all is an interpreter here at Children’s. She remembered Yaya’s surgery date and came to wish us well! How kind is that?

The second picture is of us 30 minutes later in our triage room waiting to sign forms and meet a million people who will be taking care of her. We also tortured her by putting 3 bands around her left leg and then later after the Versaid we put on her little gown. But by then she was so loopy she didn’t care. In the above picture she is watching cartoons. Thank goodness we brought all our technology and can wireless so we can watch Netflix while we wait. It happened that our the child before Yaya had a complicated surgery and it pushed ours back by several hours. It wasn’t until 2:30 that they took her back for surgery.

Below are our silly girl photos taken after we gave her the versaid to take the edge off.  She is our happy lovie drunk girl. When it really gets in her system she wants to give out kisses and hugs to us and all her lovies. And even the baby chick sticker on the door. One of the sweet nurses brought back a beanie baby bear that was rainbow colored. It took Yaya about 5 minutes to warm up to the bear and then it was LOVE.


The pass off went horribly. They sent one person out to get her who was a little girl in my opinion. She was holding a 3 ring binder that was bigger than Yaya which was Yaya’s chart. She said she was gonna go get a gurney and I told her that Yaya is not gonna lie on a gurney and be rolled away. Yaya will fight. The woman said that she would just carry her then. I looked skeptical and told her that I would need to carry her chart that there was no way she could carry both. She didn’t believe me. I told her that Yaya would buck and arch. She didn’t believe me. So I handed Yaya over and true to my girl, she went berserk. So the woman handed her back to me and looked unbelievably shocked. She then used her walkie talkie thingy and called for back up. At the same time another much larger and older woman came out with a large rolling bed. The small nurse said that she had to call for help. The bigger nurse said, “You want me to get her for ya?” While the little nurse debated I just walked up to the bigger one and said, “Yes. Take her. But know that she is going to immediately arch and buck and thrash. And she is strong. But let’s do this quick so you can get her under.” I passed Yaya over to the more capable nurse and off she went screaming like a banshee down the hall. My comfort is that because of the versaid, Yaya won’t remember any of that.

Then Eric went to the car where I had packed us a lunch and tons of snacks and brought it back to the parents lounge so we could eat. Many parents looked in with envy because they didn’t think to bring food. Now we sit in the waiting area. The ENT finished with her ear tubes about 3:00 pm. He said her ears are clear now and that he had to put new tubes in as her old ones were totally blocked. We are gonna follow up with him about every 2 months to see if he can clean her ears a bit so they don’t block up badly. If he can maintain her ears then she won’t have to be put to sleep to have them really cleaned out.

New news!!! We just were paged about Yaya. A new ENT greeted me to let us know that now that Yaya’s palate is closed and in doing so her tonsils were revealed more and are apparently very large and they are touching. Soooooo…Dr. Grant said it would cause sleep apnea if we left them and he wants them removed. So they are now taking out her tonsils and perhaps her adenoids depending on if they are obstructing her airway. The good news is that I asked about them and her freakish gag reflex. He told me they were likely the culprits for that! So it may be that this is one of our answered prayers that help our sweet girl to eat solid foods! The tonsillectomy will cause additional post-op pain, but with her palate being repaired it is all a big mess anyway. Better to get it all done now! We are very excited about the possibilities! Keep praying!

She’s Attached.

A two word sentence so small. So seemingly meaningless…unless you know our story. It was a powerful sentence, one that brought me to tears last Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013. But let me back up a couple weeks before we arrive at this momentous little sentence.

The post before this one talked about a huge step Yaya had made in my opinion with attaching to our family. A couple days later something bigger happened. Yaya has a picture that she loves of herself when she was about 9 months old. We have it in a frame and it is cropped so that you just see her sweet face. It looks like this:

Hope May 2011 close up

She was playing with this picture and she tapped the neck of the woman holding her and said, “Mama!” She looked at me bright eyed and smiled like she was saying, “There you are Mama holding me!” I quickly corrected her and said, “No baby, that isn’t Mama that is your old Nanny from China.” Which of course she had no idea what I was talking about. I quickly grabbed my computer knowing somehow that this was a big thing about to happen. I pulled up the original picture…

Hope May 2011

I told Yaya that this was one of her Nannies that took care of her until Mama and Daddy could come get her from China and bring her home. Yaya looked at the photo introspectively and then looked from me to the nanny and pointed at the nanny and signed/said, “Friend?” I thought I would fall off the couch! I exclaimed, “Yes, baby that was a friend!” Then I quickly pulled up a photo of her with a nanny in the second orphanage and she excitedly pointed to that nanny and signed/said , “Friend! Friend! Friend!” I laughed and validated that this nanny was indeed a friend. Then I showed her a Gotcha Day picture of her being handed to me (see center picture of 3 picture story in previous post). Yaya grinned and laughed and pointed to me signing and saying , “Mama! Mama!” So I showed her a couple more pictures of Gotcha Day where she was flailing around and screaming. Yaya pointed to those pictures and started laughing…then she signed, “Angry.” She signed that she looked silly in the photos…which she does if you don’t know how angry she was. But Yaya thought she looked funny behaving so angry.

Friends. Those of you who have followed our story…can I tell you how huge this moment was?! Yaya finally put me in the category of , “Mama”,  and it meant something more than nannies who she designated as only friends.  She didn’t call them Mama’s or me a friend. We clearly had distinct roles and mine was finally more than just a caretaker/friend!!!!! Praise the Lord! Finally!

I had scheduled an attachment therapy session for right before Yaya’s palate surgery. We are done with attachment therapy but we wanted to give her a little boost before surgery. We had our session and the therapist was very impressed with all Yaya’s progress, both emotionally and physically. At the end of a GREAT session I asked the therapist how she felt about what is going on with Yaya and I. I was concerned because we have seen a lot of old anxious behavior return since Eden has been sick (post on that later). I had to hold Eden for like 6 days for hours on end because she was so sick and Yaya clearly didn’t like that much. In those few days she stopped letting me put her to bed and began the crazy behavior we often see with Eric like she is having her arms ripped off if Eric puts her down. The therapist said, “I feel GREAT about what I see. She’s attached… blah blah blah blah” I write the blahs down only to indicate that I have no idea what she said after “she’s attached.” My heart stopped and all sound died down around me and I could hear those words “she’s attached,” echoing over and over in my head. Glory Hallelujah! How long have we worked, my sweet Yaya and I to build a bond that isn’t there that is normally given as a gift at birth to mother and child! How long have we labored and screamed and cried and kicked and struggled to mean something to each other more than “friends”?! For us it was almost 9 months. And in actuality I consider myself lucky. It can take some children years and years to attach and sometimes they never do. We are the lucky ones indeed. What we are seeing in her behavior is termed “regression.” Well clearly. And it is expected in all adopted children. But the main point is that she has formed and attachment to me! Now there are levels of secure attachment and we pray that each day we grow deeper and deeper and that her anxious attachment to Eric morphs into a secure attachment. We know it is coming and we are praising our Lord for it. All the glory to Him who deals in the supernatural. We do the natural…he does the super.

While I’m thinking of it. We are making strides in her gross motor skills! She learned how to jump with both feet of the ground and run two weeks ago! She can navigate small steps by herself (even though I am hovering around her) and that means that she has moved almost into the 24 month range for gross motor! You go girl! At the end of December 2012 they had her at 15-18 months gross motor. After two months of physical therapy (PT) she has gained much! And did I mention she is IN LOVE with her PT therapist. Yaya has even given her a name sign she likes her so much!  We have just begun occupational therapy (OT) for her “oral defensiveness”. Yep that’s a real term. It is why we can’t get her to eat solid food. We have begun by using what is called the Wilbarger protocol. It boils down to this: We brush her all over her body with a soft surgical brush every 90 minutes to two hours and then do joint compressions, while she is awake. It takes about 5 minutes…when she is willing. Which, she is getting more resistant than compliant. But it is supposed to help desensitize her and begin to rewire how she interprets outside stimulus. It somehow will help us get her to eat.

We also had her evaluated for speech. Now obviously she can’t articulate yet but we wanted her to meet her speech therapist before we had to go to her for regular therapy. We got back our evaluation and I was thrilled to see that she was evaluated as a child with no language delay. YAY! Meaning, she understands what people tell her and through sign language can communicate back easily. She was assessed at the 30-33 month range for comprehension and expression (p.s. that is older than she really is…yaya is brilliant!)

So that is the big clinical update on Yaya. Next I will be doing the surgery day report! Stay tuned and keep praying!

Qian Ya 1Qian Ya 2

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Just when you think the Psycho-Babble is Pointless

First, let me say, I have a Master’s degree in psych0-babble and I am normally a big fan of it. But sometimes when I am deep in the trenches with Yaya and the attachment struggle I wonder if it really is working. Then, she has some major break through using some of the psycho-babble stuff I am doubting and then I become a believer again. Let’s take for example the 3 picture story. You may not remember or I may not have posted about the 3 picture story, Yaya’s  looks like this:


Okay, yes, ours has 4 pictures. But that is only because she had two orphanages. The idea behind this little tool is this: Start telling them their story as soon as possible so that they can  begin processing it as soon as possible. That is the short version. It is sooooo much more. In the book “Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child,” they talk about introducing their story in 3 pictures. One before they they were adopted, one the day the big change happed and one with the new family. “You were born in China to a China Mommy that wasn’t able to take care of you so she sent you to these ladies at the orphanage (picture one)  who took care of you until Mommy and Daddy came to get you (picture two) and now you are a part of our family and we are going to stay together from now on, no more big changes.” That is the down and dirty of it all. We introduced Yaya to her 3 picture story 3 weeks after she got home. We saw her respond in really amazing ways.  She responded to it in many of the ways outlined in the book. It was really incredible. Well the story is always around in the girls room, there are multiple copies of it in different sizes and they are laminated.

On January 15, 2013 Yaya was having a very emotional day. (Big shock there, it was the day after her Gotcha Day anniversary.) Her and I were in her room and she was having a “come apart” as we like to call it in the South. I had just talked her off the ledge, so I thought, when she ran right on back to it an started peering over. We sat on the floor and I reached for her story, when she saw it; she grabbed it, threw it, and then angrily threw herself to the floor and went nuclear. Ummm, okay, didn’t want to talk about the story I guess. After 20 minutes or so of total raging I asked her if I could hold her and told her that Mommy really wanted to hold her when she was ready. She acquiesced  and crawled up into my lap. I held her close and said that I was sorry that I upset her with suggesting to talk about her story. She grunted at me like, “You should be sorry.” But then she picked up her story that she previously threw. She looked at the story and hit the middle picture of Gotcha Day and looked at me and signed, “Angry!” To which I immediately replied that she was indeed angry that day, and sad (she signed sad after I said it) and scared, (again she signed the feeling after I said it.) I talked a little about how hard that day was expanding some. She went back to “mad” and I affirmed her. Then she hit it again, and again. I then hit it and she cracked a smile and she hit it again. Then she tossed her story aside, but I quickly picked it back up. I looked at it and said, “But wait Yaya, your story doesn’t end here (tapping the middle picture of Gotcha day). I tried to direct her to the family picture and she wouldn’t look at it. So I started naming off the family members in the order of what I thought was her favorite to least favorite…”Look there is Daddy…Buh-buh…Sister…” She interrupted me by lightly tapping on my face in the family picture, and saying fondly with her voice, “Mama.”  I then was able to talk about the family a little pointing out each person and telling her how much they loved her. Then I asked her how she felt about the family picture. With no prompting from me she immediately signed the word, “Happy.” (Is anyone crying yet? Because I was almost a basket case by this point.) Then I asked about the Gotcha day picture and she didn’t miss a beat, “Angry.” I was able to validate her and let her know how sorry I was that it was a scary, sad, angry day for her. She lightly tapped the two Nanny pictures but she didn’t associate any emotion with them. But lightly tapping is a fondness gesture I suppose. I asked if she wanted to read a book and she went to grab “her” book that I made for her and took to China. The stick people book, if you have forgotten it you can see a portion of  it here.  It is her favorite book. The pages not showcased are the ones of us in each room of our home. When she wants to calm herself down she likes that book or the two family photo books I took to China. After this encounter, she was right at rain the rest of the day! Maybe a week later we had another break through but I have to leave you hanging on that one cuz I’m too stinkin’ tired to write about it, but I do want to document it.


Off the Bottle!

Okay so I wrote this post January 2oth…but couldn’t post it…then I forgot I wrote it…blah, blah, blah…


Oh yeah! Yaya is no longer taking a bottle! AT. ALL. Part of the “gifting of the extra time” before palate surgery, I believed, was to teach Yaya how to drink from a cup and to try to reduce or totally eliminate the bottle. Why do this you ask? Well first, the post-op recovery for palate surgery is horrible and many children refuse a bottle because having the nipple even touch the top of their mouth is too painful. While Yaya’s nipples are cut to pour out the liquid out with no sucking, she still uses the top of her mouth to manipulate the nipple and to help pinch it off when she is resting from guzzling it down. If I could remove the need for a bottle all together it would just make it easier for her to take liquids after surgery. Second, she is rapidly approaching her 3rd birthday and has no idea how to drink from a cup! Kids with unrepaired cleft can totally drink from cups, someone just needed to TEACH HER HOW! Third, there is the whole issue of her primary nutrition coming from a bottle and she is almost 3 years old thing. And last, I can’t lie…I’M. SO. SICK. OF. CLEANING. BOTTLES.

I started this process by contacting the IAC to see what I “should” be doing for her nutritionally. They told me to eliminate the noon bottle for one week, and then drop the morning bottle to 4 oz. All the while increasing the baby food if possible. Check. Did that no problem. While in that first week of dropping the noon bottle I had the idea to “have tea", everyday with the girls. I got out their teapots, cups and saucers. Eden and I began to teach Yaya how to pour water from her teapot into her tea cup and then drink out of it. The first day was a pretty wet day. But by day three she was doing pretty well. On day four instead of her night bottle I fed her rice milk out of a cup. She did most of the drinking without any help. She was a little messy but did really well. I did the same for her morning bottle the next day. This happened last Friday night and she hasn’t looked back. Now she can pretty much drink from a cup without dribbling anything. Her only real spills happens when she is distracted and not paying attention. She doesn’t exactly grasp the concept that if she moves wrong or tips her hand then milk goes everywhere. But that I think is totally age related. Eden just now gets that she needs to be careful with open cups. I am so stinkin’ proud of Yaya! I am freaked out at how quickly she learned how to do this! By Feb. 25th she will be a pro! I’m hoping that enough time will have passed that the bottle won’t even enter her mind as something she would want. Her and I still have our quiet time while she drinks her morning an evening milk so that is still preserved and still very much needed.

Thus also ends buying toddler formula! The down side to this is that she has really amped up her eating of baby food. And I mean really. She went from about 3 containers of baby food a day to now 8 containers, plus some sort of apple sauce, pudding or yogurt cup. She is an eating machine now!  She had 4 containers for lunch today!!!

On a totally separate note…how cute does she look in her silks?!



P.S. If you have ever heard Eric or I utter the phrase “angry Asian” before, we mean this:


This was her, “If you don’t stop taking my picture, I’m going to go nuclear,” look.