Thursday, March 7, 2013

the last of the snow days

I don't know about everyone else but I'm ready for spring to finally, finally get here.  Not that our winter has been horrible, I'm just ready to be able to go outside for a walk without having to bundle up, find mittens and hats, etc.  Although we are so very ready for spring to be here, we were able to enjoy a few minutes outside to soak in the very last bit (hopefully) of winter by playing in the snow.  Jackson would stay outside in the snow all day if we'd let him. I even taught him how to taste it... which he just kept doing.  :) I am just glad we were able to enjoy our last snowfall and cold weather.  By Saturday it should be in the 50's, hooray!  Here are a few (ha) photos from our last snow adventures.

Here are the photos from when the snow started falling during the evening of March 5th.  We decided it would be fun to walk down to the mailbox and enjoy the lovely snow shower.  It was a hit!  

I know there are quite a few of these, but they seriously make me laugh. I wonder where this kid gets his over-the-top smile from?! I should really try to smile more like a normal human being.  I'll start practicing...

And next are the photos from March 6th when we actually got all bundled up and played out in the snow for a bit.  There aren't many things cuter than a tiny man in a snow suit with a cute hat and mittens! Oh and those tiny boots...


His first taste of snow.

I'm not sure why, but I think he liked it.

Just got hit with a snowball... and loved it.
Snow fall photos....before and after. I wish I could say that I will be sad to see the white stuff go.  But I won't!

And a final photo to leave you with.  Self timer in action.  Jackson was obviously really interested in having his photo taken with me.  Oh well, until next time!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Jackson's Surgery - 02.12.2013

It wasn't until Jackson was already one day old that we realized he had something special.  His "special fin", like Nemo.  Jackson was born with Syndactyly.  Syndactyly is a condition wherein two or more digits are fused together. On his left hand, the pointer and middle finger had connecting skin, up to his middle knuckle. Almost like a webbing connecting the two fingers.  Once we were aware and his pediatrician was aware of this, we knew that he would have plastic surgery on his little hand early in life.  We started the scheduling process when he was between 9 - 10 months old and finally, the surgery date was set.  April 18, 2013.  The surgery would be performed at Riley Hospital for Children, just a short walk away from the office I work in at the Cancer Center.  The surgeon is the best of the best and specializes in this sort of surgery.  I know how lucky that is but that doesn't help with the nerves!  Early in February we got a call that Jackson's surgery would be moved up to February 12th.  The surgeon is leaving the university to move to another state but wanted to make sure he got this surgery done before he left.  February 12th got here so quickly, no time to panic!  

We had an idea of what to expect: surgery to separate the fingers, a skin graft taken from his upper leg or belly to fill in the space between his fingers, and a cast that would go from his fingertips to just below his shoulder.  The cast would help to keep his fingers stable and help the skin graft to do its job.  We were looking at 2-3 weeks for the cast.  The surgery was just the beginning!

The night before his surgery, we let the little man play in the bathtub just about as long as he could stand it. We knew that once the cast was on, he wouldn't be able to enjoy baths the same way for a little while.   He got to stay up a little late and watch an episode of his favorite show (Bubble Guppies) before bedtime.  Then, he was off to sleep. Poor little guy had no idea what was coming in just a matter of hours.

Cuddling with "Teddy", the bear Todd had when he was a baby.

My parents drove up from Tennessee to come and help take care of Jackson (but probably just to help take care of me... I was a bit emotional!)  They arrived after Jackson had gone to bed.  We knew that he couldn't have anything to eat after midnight so around 11:30pm, we woke him up and gave him anything and everything he wanted. :)  He wasn't really sure what to think waking up in the middle of the night and encouraged to eat, but he quickly woke up and ate a little, read some stories and shared some smiles with all of us.  It was a really sweet time for all of us to spend together.  Then it was back to bed with the hopes he would sleep in late and not ask for breakfast the minute he woke up!

Just as we had hoped, Jackson slept in and we actually had to start waking him up around 7:30 so he could have a drink of water or juice before his 8am cutoff.  He woke up in great spirits and we were out the door before 8:30am.  

Checking out the fish tank at Riley with Nonnie.

Hopefully this will be the last time we see those two fingers connected!  In a way, I'll miss his "special fin."
 After arriving at Riley at 9am, we checked in, and played around in the waiting room for a few minutes before they called us back.  It was time to say goodbye to Nonnie and Poppy for a little while and the three of us spent some quality time in the Day Surgery waiting room.

This little hospital gown was handmade and gifted to Day Surgery.  We were actually able to bring it home with us. 

We spent quite a bit of time waiting, but you'd never know this kid hadn't eaten since before midnight.  He was in a great mood all day.  He did so much better than I did.  I honestly can say it was a miracle. Truly a miracle.  If only I could have been half as happy and calm as he was!

Because many children his age tend to have separation anxiety when leaving their parents, the surgical team suggested that maybe we try a little something to help take his mind of the situation and help ease him into the idea of leaving with the nurses and be taken back into surgery without his mom or dad.  This is when the story actually gets funny.  I never imagined I would laugh so hard, right before my baby was taken back to surgery...but it was honestly hilarious.  Jackson was given a really small dose of Versed (it provides a conscious sedation) and wow... there is really only one way to describe him after that. Drunk. Baby.  You'll see.  He was having a great time.  It seemed to melt the tension away in the entire room and really helped to ease my stress as well as any that he might have been holding onto.  

Once the sedative kicked in, it was time for the nurse to take him back.  He had absolutely no problem leaving with her and we kissed him a million times before he was gone.  And then I may or may not have sobbed on Todd's shoulder for a minute.  Watching someone walk away with your baby is really tough, especially when you cannot explain to him what's happening and that he might be hurting soon but that he will be okay.  I get teary just thinking about it all again.  It honestly isn't something that I would want any parent to go through. We are lucky to have such a healthy boy and if this is our biggest hurdle to jump, we couldn't get much luckier than that.  Anyway, once I was able to collect myself, it was time to head to the waiting room for the worst part. The waiting.

In just about 2 hours, the surgery was over and we were told he was waking up in the recovery room.  The surgery had gone well, he did amazing and they were putting the cast on.  After a quick chat with the surgeon in the waiting room, it was only a few more minutes before we were called back and headed to the recovery room.

When we came in, they were putting the finishing touches on his cast and he was really just starting to wake up.  The recovery nurse helping to take care of him was really sweet.  She was showing us the incision from the skin graft on his belly and was telling us about how the same surgeon did the same surgery for her when she was Jackson's age.  She was telling us how her and Jackson had matching scars.  There is something special about the staff at Riley.  They are such nice people and obviously personally linked to such a special job.  I wouldn't want it any other way!  She knew just how worried I was and helped to put my mind at ease.  

Our little guy did amazing and woke up without any issues from the anesthesia.  He was still pretty groggy but happy to have some cheerios and water.  Such a trooper.  I cannot imagine any adult recovering from anesthesia/surgery that quickly and so well.  After scheduling our follow-up appointment and having the IV removed from his tiny foot, we were discharged and ready to head home.  It was almost 4:00pm and we had all had a very long day.

I would just like to say how thankful I was to have my husband and parents by my side for this special event.  I had no idea how much of an emotional toll it would take on me.  Again, if only I could have been as calm and laid back as Jackson. I could learn a thing or two from that guy.  He continues to recover every day.  The cast has been off for a week now (more to come on that later) and he does not seem to be bothered.  He continues to have his hand wrapped for the time being but from what the doctors have told us, he is healing really well, the skin graft took as it was supposed to and all looks great.  Such wonderful news.  The best part of the whole thing, Jackson never asked to eat prior to being taken back for surgery (at almost 11:30am). Not even once.  Even though that's the first thing he asks for when he wakes up, every single morning.  I have no idea why that day was different but honestly it was a miracle.  What a nice boy.  We love you so much.