I tried putting Everett in his chair for a while so I could play a bit better with the other kids a few feet from him. Luckily we were basically alone at the lake so it felt safe to have him sitting right there with a perfect view of us.
I was smart and brought a gallon jug filled with tap water and a bottle of hand soap. After changing, the kids were able to fully wash their hands and enjoy their food without lake water hands! It was such a good moment hanging out by our car snacking and hanging out after such a good time swimming.
Bath time once home. I obviously didn’t photograph the older girls during their showers. haha! But these three munchkins… I don’t bathe them all together very often, usually only when I want to rush things because we get home late. But seeing them all there in the tub together is fun 🙂 (that’s not Everett’s wiener showing in the pic, btw, it’s his hand holding his wiener! haha, boys!)
I started Everett off in the stroller thinking we were only getting a couple things but quickly went for a cart when my arms filled up. Everett loves riding in the cart these days! He bangs his casts against the handle and smiles and giggles up at me. Cute.
The next day we went to another city here in Colorado to look at rentals and also to look at homes for sale! We might buy… we just don’t know what we’re going to do!
Anyway, after all that we hit up Sam’s Club.
At 7am I had just fed Everett and an assistant of Dr. Benson came in to see if we were ready to be released to go home. I said, yes definitely! And she left to submit the paperwork. Everett’s new nurse for the morning shift came in and checked Everett’s vitals and gave him medicine (this was 8:20am) and asked if I needed anything and then she left.
I called Allan and said I had no idea when we’d actually be released but since it’s an hour drive he should head over. There are a lot of other details but I’m sure this is extremely boring so I’ll stop and say, Allan got there and we got released and we stopped at Walgreen’s for Everett’s medicine and then we went home! Whew.
There was a three hour time span where Everett was awake off and on and we just hung out together. I stayed fairly glued to the bedside to talk to him and rub his head. I held him a bit just to hold him, not because he was cranky. And he would drift off to sleep and then wake up to stare at me.
He’d been super groggy and out of it all night, not focusing on anything really and definitely not responding to anything I did, that morning at 10:20am I did something and he cracked a smile! I felt like falling over it shocked me so much. I had assumed he’d be in a bad mood all day by the way he was acting and then after smiling he started cooing a bit happily, too!!
These pictures are from when we’d been released and they’d taken out his IV and told me I could get everything ready to go. It was so so so so SO awesome holding him without that stupid IV and cords/wires everywhere!
So all night long he’d kicked his legs like crazy. He kept rubbing his feet together in a not-happy way. Once they took his IV out he wrapped his feet together and kept them together for a long, long time. He seemed extremely happy about having bare feet!
I made Allan some pot roast and he got to work. He has a HUGE thing going on at work HUGEHUGE thing, like the most important of the whole year, so he was feeling super duper stressed on missing two days of work. He worked every second at home he could.
My kids are so freaking loud, maybe like most kids? I don’t know, maybe more… they seem extra loud to me. So I took them to East Plum Creek Trail to leave Allan with a quiet house to get some work done.
Problem is it started to rain just as we were pulling out of the driveway! After being sunny for the last several days or week! haha
No real problem though! I keep an umbrella in my car! It was just sprinkling and on any normal day that type of weather would be the BEST weather for our little family of rain lovers but I didn’t want Everett’s casts wet so I kept him under the umbrella.
He started falling over at one point (not used to his heavy casts) so I tried laying him down. He liked baby talking to the umbrella for a few minutes.
But quickly tired of being able to hear fun and exciting things going on around him but not see them well. I sat him up again so he could watch all the cars driving by on the nearby road.
After everyone was fed and then put to bed I sat down to edit hospital pictures while Allan sat on the recliner nearby working on his laptop. I wanted to stay up with him just to keep him company but once midnight hit I could not keep my eyes open and begged him to go to bed with me. He did. And that was the end of our surgery day! 🙂
I’ve had his pictures edited since Tuesday night but have been putting off blogging this because there are so many pictures. I like making long blog posts most of the time but for some reason blogging about his surgery in detail feels like too much work! haha
But, I should probably do it anyway so I can just move on with my blog, I’m going to get so far behind on pictures again if I put off blogging!
Everett’s surgery was scheduled for 11:15am. Check in time was 9:15am. And I was to stop giving him breastmilk by 7am.
We got to the hospital and went up to the front desk. The woman there said to have a seat and they’d call us back to register soon. Ten minutes later they called me back into the registrating room. I took Everett (looking back I should’ve left him with Allan)
Everett grabbed at everything in the room while I answered questions. It didn’t take too long, luckily. Registering for giving birth took twice as long. Even though I always pre-register, it always seems to take forever to get registered the day of. But this time it didn’t. Five minutes max.
After registering we were sent up to the second floor which is where the pediatric surgery area is. We signed in at the desk there as well. Mostly it was confirming information and giving our cell phones numbers for updates during surgery. It was also changing Everett’s last name on all the paperwork, someone somewhere along the way had entered it wrong.
The wait in this waiting area seemed like forever. We took the time to snap some pictures and basically stare at Everett. I held his fingers and felt sad. Not anything besides just sad. I didn’t want my baby to have surgery and I was going to miss his sweet fingers. I was happy that he wouldn’t be horribly deformed as an adult (which he would be left without surgery) but the entire thing was just upsetting to me.
Brooke was visibly upset by the idea of surgery and really worried for Everett. We had talked to her a lot about the surgery and how great Dr. Benson is and how the only real risks were anesthesia and how luckily all of our family handles anesthesia extremely well and Everett was likely to take after that.
Finally we were called back in to a room which was basically a back room to wait. haha
They took all Everett’s measurements and blood pressure and asked us a bunch of questions. They were all repeat questions but I know how hospitals work, always confirming information.
Then everyone left us until it was time for surgery. I think it was about 10:15am at this point and so we thought, wow- a whole hour of waiting. I started to get worried about this next hour because Everett was exhausted and really wanted to breastfeed and be put to bed. Allan and I took turns rocking him and walking the halls with him. He dozed off a little here and there but mostly was awake and cranky.
At 11am we started to get excited, as excited as you can get about your kid having surgery, because the doctor and anesthesiologist would probably be coming in to talk to us any minute! Since surgery was supposed to started at 11:15am and all.
11:10am: any second now.
11:15am: okay, definitely coming in any second.
11:20am: um, no sign of anyone.
We started to get freaking annoyed at this point. Everett was now 4 1/2 hours past his last nursing and couldn’t fall and stay asleep with his stomach growling and my kids were super impatient having sat and watched the clock tick the minutes by excitedly waiting for the 11:15 mark…
A quick doze:
The nurse came in and asked us a few questions and then it was time for him to take Everett away. I’ve never had a procedure work this way, I thought I’d be going back to the room with him while they put him asleep (this is what happened with Payson and also what the anesthesiologist told me on the phone) so I was pretty upset that I was just going to hand my baby over and watch him walk away with him. I didn’t like that. But I have zero power there so let it go and moved on to letting everyone say goodbye to Everett. We brought him to each kid for a hug and kiss. Brooke was crying and it was heart breaking.
Payson and Ember had no recognition for the risks or gravity of surgery in the slightest. Sierra was very sad and worried but kept it in.
Allan and I hugged and kissed him last. I felt upset… I wanted his fingers to be separated but I didn’t want him to have surgery. I didn’t want my baby to go through all of this. I didn’t want to let him go. For me it’s 100% unnatural to be away from my babies for any amount of time their first year of life. I feel like I’m cutting out my heart and handing it to someone. It feels terrible.
I watched Craig walk away with my baby. I turned back to the room full of people and did exactly what I’d brought them there for, gathered them up to go feed them! They were complaining about being hungry and bored SO much. They weren’t being brats or too obnoxious, they were just hungry and sick to death of that room (me too!) so we quickly went to find lunch at the cafeteria. I knew bringing them would be the only thing that would keep me together that day. I am the type who sobs uncontrollably during things like this and even with a crowd of people to take care of it was difficult to swallow back the cries as we walked through the hospital towards the cafeteria. My stoller held my backpack of supplies rather than my baby. My arms were empty and light. I told Allan, “It’s wrong to be without my baby.” And he put his arm around me and said, “I know.”
I wiped away my tears just before we got to the cafeteria. By this time it was noon and the cafeteria was packed. The absolute chaos of the situation helped me forget my sadness and worry. It was all about getting food for the other kids at this point.
We actually had a great lunch together. The kids were all in great moods. Allan and I sat near each other and felt happy about how our family was doing. Everyone was behaving and happy and we felt really united as a family.
After lunch we went back to the pediatric part of the hospital and waited in the waiting area on the first floor. Our kids were just a bit too noisy for the second floor where the surgeries happen. There was more space and light on the first floor.
The receptionist gave my kids popsicles then (Brooke had an icee instead) and were pretty happy about that!
So this is the part of the story that gets boring and I won’t talk about much even though it was the longest part of the day! For 5 hours we sat in that area waiting. We walked around a bit to do other things but mostly we just waited. We read books, played with toys, and got bored. And got anxious. And it felt like we would be there forever and ever.
But then I got a call that Everett was done with his surgery and getting casted and we could head up to the second floor and that Dr. Benson would be out soon to talk to us.
I felt a huge shot of adrenaline kick in and started to freak out. I was looking forward to his surgery ending so much but also dreading seeing him in recovery. I was expecting him to be inconsolable and I just didn’t want to see him like that.
We went upstairs and after about thirty minutes they came and said I could come see him. Only I was allowed to go back and even if the kids had been allowed I wouldn’t have let them…
Now this part was annoying but I wanted to nurse him right away (and they wanted me to nurse him right away) but I’d been breastfeeding Ember all afternoon (instead of pumping!) so I wanted to rinse my boobs real quick just to get her germs off before nursing Everett. So I walked back to where he was, saw him laying in that bed with a nurse standing by him making gentle shushing sounds with her hand on his head to comfort him, and I had to go to the bathroom first to wash up. It was one of the most horrible feelings in the world to want to rush over to my baby and pick him up but to have to wash first! I have never washed up so quickly in my entire life! I had some water on my shirt and pants from spilling and splashing too much in my hurry!
I speed walked back to his bed and hurried to the side of the crib. The nurse came over to help with all the wires and whatnot. She let me pick up Everett while she got a pillow to put on my lap under him. I had thought about this moment so much in the last few weeks. Picking him up in his groggy, cranky state with giant casts. I’d worried about it. I expected him to be crying, screaming even. He was fairly peaceful. He would fuss quietly every now and then. I offered him my boob and he latched on (thought shallowly) right away. It stopped his fussing completely and I felt his body settle into me. He was so out of it that not only did he not have any idea where he was or what was going on, he didn’t even open his eyes at all. He was basically mostly asleep.
I sat in recovery for 45 minutes with him. He was latched on the entire time. Thought he had a softer suck he drank a full meal’s worth of milk. Partly because I was so full of milk it just flowed out without him even needing to suck. haha
After a while and many more questions and stuff it was time to move to his own room in an entirely different part of the hospital. They got a wheelchair for me. I hate being pushed in a wheelchair holding my baby because I’m always like, this nurse is gauranteed thinking I’m obese and how annoying it is she has to push me. haha
So the nurse wheels me out of the recovery area into the main waiting area where Allan and the other four kids are waiting. They jump up excitedly when they catch sight of us and hurried over to peek at Everett in my arms. They were so happy to see him. They noticed his casts and I showed them the bronco on the side of one of the casts. They loved that.
Allan and the kids gathered their stuff quickly and we all made our way to room 4414, where I’d be staying the night with Everett.
Having just nursed for 45 minutes, Everett was out like a light! We let the kids watch him in the hospital crib. I lifted the littler kids up to see him and we talked about his casts and the wires in his foot (his IV) and that he now had separate fingers and how long he’d wear the casts and all that kind of stuff!
I wanted more time with Allan to talk and be together to process everything that had happened that day and to just hug each other with relief that it was over and stuff but the older four kids were super impatient and anxious at that point having spent the entire day in the hospital. Allan and I decided right away that he should just go home.
As he left and walked down the hallway I felt an intense emptiness overcome me. I felt super lonely walking back in the room and standing by my sleeping baby’s crib. I had no one to talk to and it was just silent and sad. I cried a little and just stood there for a very long time rubbing his head and leaning close to him.
After a while I forced myself to take some pictures of Everett to take my mind off my emotions. Well, I took them mostly for him for his scrapbook since he looked so peaceful, but it helped snap me out of the emotional fog I’d entered.
After that he woke up and I fed him again.
I met all the nurses and they came in every half hour to check Everett’s vitals and see how I was doing. They were AMazing nurses, every single one of them and I’m very grateful for that. I felt like they were friends and I needed that.
Later on, probably 9pm, I decided to eat my dinner! I wasn’t hungry up until that point with all the stress and chaos but figured I should eat my wrap since I’d bought it three hours before and if it hadn’t already was going to go bad. haha! It was just a turkey wrap from the cafeteria that I’d purchased right before getting Everett in the recovery room.
Allan called me a little while after that and we talked for a good hour. It was awesome talking to him and we unloaded all our emotional thoughts to each other. I updated facebook and instagram here and there throughout the evening. Surprisingly I didn’t feel like it because I wasn’t in the right mood to talk about it and honestly even this blog post was difficult to write. For some reason my experience feels very personal and I don’t enjoy writing about stuff like this. Not that’s it’s really private, it’s just something important to me that I think will bore others.
That night I was expecting Everett to be super fussy and expecting to get very little sleep.
I couldn’t have been more wrong!! He was not fussy at all! He’d wake up fussing like he does every single other night and that’s it. I went to bed for good around 1am and got an hour of sleep before the nurse came in to give him his pain medicine. I fed him then. I woke up an hour later when the nurse came in. And then Everett slept soundly from 2am to 6am!! The nurse came in a couple times for some things but I just opened my eyes to see what she was doing and then went back to sleep.
I’ll continue part 2 in the hospital in another post. Just because I like my blog entries to be chronological by date. haha
So Allan found this Mt. Herman online. The drive up there freaked me the heck out. I have no idea why since I’ve never been scared of mountain drives with steep drop offs before! But once up at the trail head I was blown away but how freaking pretty it was. I could’ve lived up there.
I was feeling dead tired that day and mostly had wanted to stay home and sleep but I was glad to be out in the open air.
We started hiking and I was just so tired. Weirdly tired since I was gradually recovering from the flu. I figured it must’ve been from not exercising regularly. Plain old out of shape?
The further we went, though, the better I felt! I enjoyed the trip. The kids did, too. Even though they complained a bunch (and one kid more than others) they loved it and I’m sure will have only good memories of it!
When Allan came back I asked him if he could help me get a picture of Everett on this log. Allan likes to just hike hike hike and not stop and look around so I knew he was feeling antsy to just start powering up the mountain. But I like to take pictures… I could just take like ten hours hiking- stopping every two feet to snap photos. I try to compromise by not stopping as often as I am inclined to but I know the stops we make are still too many for Allan’s liking.
We own so many puzzles. All my kids love puzzles so very much. Ember will do puzzles over and over and over and over again. Puzzles, puzzles, puzzles. It’ll be a super strange day the day where puzzles aren’t such a big part of our daily life!
I took a picture of Allan getting his picture taken. He just loves when I do stuff like that. (haha, he doesn’t)
I told him as he walked back to me, “Do you just love me when I photograph you in public places?!”
We went to Jack in the Box (Allan’s fave fast food) for a little lunch before he went back to work and I went on to Target to get some stuff.
On the way out Ember asked me for an icee because she saw a dad and his little girls drinking icees. It was cute how she’s like, “Mom, those little girls are having an icee, maybe I can have a icee?”
A week ago Everett grabbed his hanging toys for the first time!! He was SO excited. He’s so cute when he’s trying SO hard to grab it, he would grunt and coo nonstop as he worked at aiming his hand just right to grab on. SO cute!! I don’t remember any of my other babies vocalizing so much when they learned how to grab toys!
Another fun thing about Everett is it looks like he’s going to be left handed! He grabs towards his toys the most with his left hand, he sucks his fingers and thumb on his left hand, he plays with my hair with his left hand. He does use his right, thankfully, so there’s nothing wrong with it, but the left hand usage far dominates!
Everett sucks on his hands a lot now that he has control over them. It makes me sad that he’ll wear casts/bandages for 6 weeks. He won’t be able to use or suck on his hands all that time. Ugh, I try not to think about that too much because it makes me so sad for him!
One morning after dropping the three older kids off at school, I went to the emissions testing place to get my car checked out.
I sometimes remember to take a picture of Everett in places for his scrapbook.
Ember liked this place. She thought it was really cool and mysterious. She looked around the whole time and asked me a hundred questions about the place. At the end, while we were driving away she called it a gas station. haha. She’s so cute!
I’m going to try to take more pictures of his syndactyly before his surgery. It’s still amazing to me that one day, fairly soon, my son won’t have fused fingers! It’s going to be so strange when those bandages come off and he has five separate fingers!!
When we first moved to Colorado all of us were plagued with dry skin, hair, lips…
We bought a bunch of lotion and have been getting our skin back to normal. Each kid got their own tube of chapstick, as well. Poor Payson’s lips got the worst. They were SO dry and chapped. So much so that the center of his lip split open pretty bad. I gave him chapstick and tried out coconut oil but it wasn’t doing much and his lips were getting worse.
To google I went and I found a message board with people talking about split lips. Someone brilliantly suggested lansolin and I went out that day, within the hour- haha, and bought some. I’ve been putting it on his lips every morning, afternoon, and night and it’s helping a LOT. This was the first day. I thought I’d better hurry and document the split lip before it was healed. I should’ve taken a zoomed in picture when it was really bad but I just never did.
We finally got around to going on a little hike this last weekend!! I don’t think we could’ve done anything better to make Colorado feel like our family’s home than to drive to the mountains and go walk up into the pines and to a little lake! It was great. I chose poorly in baby carriers (you sling users, how does your back not break apart using them?!) but besides that it was super fun! It felt so freeing being out in nature. I like it.
Allan was really happy to be hiking, and all the kids, except Everett, were excited. Everett hated the hike! haha. Poor boy was not loving the chilly air (it wasn’t that bad) and was hating the wind! I don’t blame him, who likes wind??
I told the girls they should try to climb a bit on this rock face. Allan said they shouldn’t because it was dangerous. Usually I’m the anal one about dangerous stuff but I didn’t think it looked too dangerous.
My mom sent Everett conversation hearts, too, just to not leave him out. I’ll probably take a picture of them for his album. haha (I over-photograph everything, yes)
She also got him some batman shoes that are pretty cute and that Payson is in love with.
Allan and the kids cleaned out our cars. My car was like a dumpster inside. I wish I cared, and on some level I’m sure I do, but my dirty car is the least of my worries on a daily basis.
However! It has been AMAZING driving around in a spotless car!! We’re trying really hard to keep it clean this time!
Everett loves his sleeper bed! He sleeps in this now for half the night by my bed. The other half of the night he’s in bed with me.
I heard him fussing in my room so went to check on him. By the time I got there about thirty seconds after his first fussing I found him like this:
He totally put himself back to sleep sucking his thumb! I wonder if he’ll be a thumbsucker when he gets full hand control!
Speaking of hands. Today I’m calling a hand surgeon here in Colorado to set up an appointment about Everett’s syndactyly. Now that surgery is coming up really soon I’m starting to FREAK out. I do not want my baby son to have surgery. I hate this. I feel so bad for my poor baby and having surgery, being in pain, and then being in casts right during the time he’s learning to use his hands, and then the bandage changes and all that. It freaking sucks. I have, so far, told myself that I’m glad it’s not a life threatening condition he needs surgery for but lately it’s not helping… I’m just plain old sad that my son has to have surgery.
The other day Allan and I were talking about Everett’s upcoming surgery and I think it was Sierra who said, “But I don’t want him to have surgery. I think his fingers are cute the way they are.”
The kids mention his fingers once in a while but mostly we’re so used to them they don’t seem weird or different to us. I’m so used to holding his fingers as he nurses or sleeps on my lap, I can’t imagine holding his hands in a few months and experiencing a different feeling… not rubbing my finger on the space between his two connected fingers. It will be weird and though I know I’ll be thankful for surgery and the function and appearance being “normal” I know I’ll miss his hands the way they have been all along. I bet I’ll feel his scars between his fingers a lot in the future and feel sad for him. But you know, thankful he’ll have five full, separate fingers.
More pictures from the last month.
One of the first days I felt better during my early pregnancy. I was about 12 weeks along, I think. I noticed the flowery tree against the sky and is was so pretty. And then I realized, I just thought something was pretty! Instead of being stuck inside my head, fixated on how awful I felt, I was seeing something outside!! It might sound crazy but it was an awesome moment.
It’s important to me that the kids have fun while taking pictures. If it was a huge challenge to photograph them I don’t like the pictures even if they’re cute, because I’d only remember the not-so-much-fun process of taking that picture. This experience was a blast and therefore, some of my favorite pictures of Ember 🙂
Oh and when we were snapping pictures she’d hop up and run to the corner while Sierra or Brooklyn (and even me and Allan a few times) would sit on the little bench and she’d make us giggle. It was a blast. I have some cute videos of it all, maybe some day I’ll get around to going through my video clips from the last few months!
The weather that day was awesome. When I got home Allan was working outside in the yard. I left the car on the driveway with all the doors open and let Ember sleep for another twenty minutes or so while I leaned against the outside of the car and watched and talked to Allan. I think the three older kids were riding their bikes at that point.
Suffering from some major cabin fever, I took the little kids to Peter Piper Pizza for lunch one day. I bought Payson a lunch buffet plate and he had three or four pieces of pizza, toppings only! I felt so wasteful throwing away all that crust, but, what else do you do with a gluten-allergic boy? He also had a big salad, which I had to make him eat by promising he would get ZERO tokens until he did. Ember ate two whole pieces of pizza and about three servings of salad! That girl LOVES pizza and salad!
Payson got a cheeseburger with no onions and no bun. It’s always a “thing” when I say, “No bun.” The person taking my order always hesitates, thinking. They’ll fumble to figure out what to push into the register, “Just the… patty and… other stuff? Without the bun? Okay.” And half the time they call someone over to ask what to push. Ordering for allergies makes me feel like a picky person! haha (That’s why I like In N Out, they have a protein version, without bun, that’s a normal order!)
I love that you hardly need anything.
I had the kids sort out their fruit loops into colors before gluing and whatever cereal pieces were leftover (and later marshmallows) they got to eat. They loved it. They also got some more from the box after they were all done.
We got some card games from the Target $1 spot and have been playing a LOT. Our new favorite is crazy 8s. We play one on one or with half of us or, my favorite, as a whole family! Even Ember plays and she does really well!! So fun! (This was the first night we played, only Sierra and I did and Ember was pissed at me because I wouldn’t let her breastfeed while we played!)
Ember is such a mini adult. She loves to copy everything Allan and I do. He was flossing so she ran for a flosser. Then when he came over to kneel by her to floss together she kneeled down the exact same way. She even made sure she mirrored him perfectly with which knee was bent up. So cute!
That’s the end of catch up post #2! I have more pictures from this week which hopefully I get to this weekend. I can’t wait to be caught up and able to blog about the present day happenings!