Trip to the dentist

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It’s been a while.  Sorry!  Lots going on, lots to report, but really only one issue I want to address here tonight before I turn in.  Glory is scheduled for her lip repair surgery at Riley Hospital in Indy on October 8.  This is an answer to prayer because it lands right at the beginning of Emet’s 2 week fall break, so we don’t have to worry about school for the first phase of Glory’s recovery.  My mom will be coming from Colorado to help us out, and we’ve been looking forward to the surgery as the last big medical hurdle this year.  At least we were, until we visited the dentist today.

Glory has 6, possibly 8 cavities.  Can you imagine?!  My poor baby!  It is an incredible amount of decay- every one of her back teeth are affected.  Repair requires anesthesia, and must be dealt with so that the bacteria does not infect her healing lip.  I made calls today to the plastic surgeon to see if he would/could share the OR with a dentist on the 8th so both procedures could happen at the same time.  I also called the Riley Dental Team to see if it was even possible to do all that they need to do to be ready for a procedure on the 8th.  In both cases, the person on the phone needed to ask someone else, and both said they would call back tomorrow.  If using the Riley Dental Team is not an option, our local pediatric dentist is willing and available to do the procedure at the hospital in our town, but we have to get it scheduled.  There isn’t much time.

And so, we pray.  And we ask you to pray, too.  To our minds, the best option would be for Glory to receive both procedures at the same time on Oct. 8.  However, God knows best, and that is what we are asking for.  Please pray that all these details would come together in the best possible way, for our daughter Glory, and the glory of our God.  Thanks for being with us on this!  We expect great things.

K is for Kindergarten

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It has happened!  We have a kindergartner in the family!  Emet has been so excited to begin kindergarten, summer just couldn’t go fast enough.  We’re proud of him, and I’m looking forward to picking him up in an hour and hearing all about his first day 🙂

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Summer therapy/development update

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Summer is flying by!  With Emet starting school on August 5, we’re fast approaching the end of it!  In this season we have seen many changes in our girls, and we are so encouraged.

Glory and Saige have been receiving therapy through First Steps for three months now- one hour each of physical therapy (PT) and developmental therapy (DT) each week.  Our PT recently recommended Saige reduce her therapy from 4 times a month to 2.  Each week she comes, our PT is encouraged by Saige’s progress in holding her head up and level, turning her head easily to the left as well as the right, and gaining strength in her trunk to support appropriate movement.  Each week our PT tells us Saige is better than the previous session, I have to give praise to God because only He and I know how little I do the appropriate stretches with her!  We try to incorporate strengthening exercises into play, but still it seems that her progress is disproportionate to the amount of work I put into it.  Rather, it seems more likely that her advancement is the result of the prayers of faithful men and women of God, who often lift up our girls and their health issues before the Great Physician.  I praise God both for His people, and His healing hand!

Glory continues to receive PT 4 times a week.  This little girl is astounding.  While she had her bandage on her arm from hand surgery, she took to scooting on her bum across the floor, but since it has come off (on June 11), she’s been working back towards a crawling position.  Her arms are still rather weak, but she will get up on her knees and elbows to crawl a bit.  Sometimes even voluntarily!  More and more I see her sitting on her knees and leaning on her hands, like she’s going to take off any second!  Over the last weekend, Glory pulled herself up to standing in her crib, and yesterday she pulled herself up on the coffee table.  Prior to this she would whimper and whine about being left to lean on the coffee table herself, and I never even suggested she stand in her crib.  She loves to ‘walk,’ holding onto our hands for support, which prompted our PT to move forward with leg braces.  Glory was measured 2 weeks ago, and will probably be outfitted with this new hardware sometime next week.  We’re still waiting for insurance to approve her lip surgery….

DT happens on Wednesday afternoons, and is like a little breath of fresh air for me.  The girls love their DT (and their PT, for that matter!), and plop themselves down in front of her, ready to see what toys and books she has for them in her bag.  She works mainly on vocabulary building, so there’s lots of playing, repeating, and modeling.  While our DT is there, I can sit in the background and get laundry folded, do some meal prep, and occasionally reply to emails!  The girls seem to be more focused with fewer distractions, which means it’s helpful for the boys and I to clear out!  Glory is trying to repeat more and more words.  Yesterday, she told the DT, “No,” she did not want the DT to count the puzzle pieces as Glory put them away in their bag, Glory wanted to do it herself!  So the DT let her make an “uh” sound each time she put a puzzle piece away, as though she was counting.

Saige, well, Saige is now a regular jabber box.  She uses around 50 words, and I’m hard pressed to say something she won’t understand.  It is amazing!  Recently she pointed out the window where the sun was shining and said, “Outside. Light on.”  One day she pinched the flesh of her palm in the door so that she was stuck until the door was opened.  She whined a little to get my attention, but when I asked her what was wrong, she stopped and said, “Door.”  So I opened it, released her, and she went on her merry way.  Another day, she was playing with her baby doll, tapping its toes together while she sang, “Toes, toes, toes, toes.”  Then she stopped, bent down and touched her toes, yelled, “TOES!” and went back to singing and tapping the baby doll’s feet.  She is full of surprises, and repeats words like a parrot.  All this after only 6 months of exposure to English.  I think we may have a little linguist on our hands!

During therapy, the boys are usually redirected to another part of the house where they are less likely to distract the participants.  They’ve really handled this well, and content themselves with playing with the therapists’ toys after the session while she is writing up her notes.  It was a real blessing for them to spend the latter part of June and early part of July with their grandparents in Colorado where they got to do “big boy” things, and life did not revolve around baby girls, therapy and medical appointments.

I know the blog has been a little quiet, but life is certainly not!  Thanks to those who pray for our family, whether you know what is happening or not!

Birthday boy!

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We celebrated a birthday on the 9th.  Emet is now 6 years old, and is so impressed with how big he is now!  Because he is 6, he helped me unload the groceries from the van last week, noting that, “I can carry this big milk now that I’m big enough, ’cause I’m 6!”

We spent the day in celebration with our church family, as it was a Sunday.  Providentially, a picnic at a local park had been scheduled, so the “birthday party” was ready made!

We began the day with breakfast; Emet helped Daddy make German pancake.

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We worshiped with our church family, then went to the park.  I made my first ever dirt pudding in honor of Emet’s brithday, but both he and Jamin refused to try it!  As Jamin said, “Mom, if you call it dirt, we won’t eat it.  If you call it not dirt, we will.”  So, I said, “Ok.  It isn’t dirt.  It is cookies and pudding,” and they still wouldn’t try it!  Jesse tried pointing out that the same woman who made them wash their hands before they eat was not likely to feed her children actual dirt, but to no avail.

wpid-20130608_190420.jpgAfter eating, playing soccer, enjoying bubbles and the outdoor drinking fountain, we went home for a nap!  When the kids got up, Emet fielded the usual birthday calls from his grandparents, and then opened his presents, including a super-hero shirt that Jamin picked out for him.

wpid-20130609_172229.jpgEmet had been asking for strawberry shortcake for his birthday, breaking from the ice cream cake tradition.  He is such a funny kid- he really doesn’t like normal cake.  Turns out whatever he thought was strawberry shortcake wasn’t, and so he left the shortcake on the side and enjoyed strawberries and ice cream.

wpid-20130609_174013.jpgWe are super proud of this kid, and thankful that he is our son.  He is learning what it means to be a truly helpful helper, and to be a leader for his siblings, modeling doing the right thing.  He is very active, always on the move.  It was noted tonight at a friend’s house that the boys are nearly the same height and Emet only outweighs Jamin by 2-3 lbs, yet eats twice (if not three times!) what Jamin eats!  He loves riding his bike and scooter, and running.  Oh, how he loves running!  He can’t wait to get a skateboard like Daddy’s (that’s a story for another post), and is a regular monkey when it comes to climbing trees.  He is growing into a trustworthy kid, able to help Mom out when she needs an extra set of eyes on the girls, and able to take care of chores like folding his own laundry and refilling the dog’s food container.  His laugh is contagious!  We look forward to many more years with this kiddo, and pray that the Lord would make him a man after His own heart.

All is well

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Everyone under 9 years old is in bed (the dog is 8), and sleeping.  Praise God!  Our day was eventful, but so, so blessed!

Last night at about 9 Jesse and I decided to change our plans and both take Glory to the hospital.  It seemed everyone we talked with thought I ought not to take her alone, and we decided that maybe they knew something we didn’t.  After all, this is our first surgery.  So, we called up two dear families in our church to see if they would together care for our other 3 kiddos, and we are grateful for the loving way the Fulks and Smiths (Ilers too!) served us and our kids today.

It was weird driving up to Indy today.  I just kept thinking, “I’m taking my daughter to the hospital to have her thumb cut off.  What???”  Of course there’s more to it than that, but it was a strange thought, and a strange feeling.

We arrived at Riley early, thanks to Dave Iler picking up all the Magnuson children not having surgery today and taking them to the Fulks house for us.   It was an odd thing to walk through the hospital with just one child.  Jesse carried her, and I felt like such a tag-along walking with them, only carrying a diaper bag and our lunch.  This was the first time that we can remember the parents outnumbering the kids.  When you’re used to 4, having 2 parents for just 1 seemed a little, well, silly.

Pre OP

Pre OP

Anyway, we got Glory checked in, and were called back to our room at 10:15, about 15 minutes ahead of schedule.  We signed paperwork, the nurse took Glory’s vitals, and we changed her into her gown.  We were told she’d go back at noon, her hand surgery would take about 45 minutes, then having her ears cleaned and tubes inserted if necessary would take 10 minutes, then she’d need another 30-45 minutes to wake up, at which time we’d get to see her.  By our estimate, that put her waking up just before 2 PM.  before she went back, we were to see both the hand surgeon and the ENT, and a Child Life Specialist was supposed to come in, make friends with Glory, and would go with her to the OR using an iPad to distract her from the separation from her parents.

At 10:50 or so, the hand surgeon, Dr. Mih (say ‘me’), came in to give us an overview and answer questions.  He left, saying they were getting ready for Glory, and a nurse would be in to get her later.  At 11:15, the nurse came in, verified that Glory was Glory, and that the procedures in her file were the same ones we thought we brought her for (not a bad idea).  Then she asked Glory if she would come to her.  Glory did, and the nurse said, “Let’s go!”  So we kissed her, and sat down as the nurse carried Glory out of the room.  We could hear Glory and the nurse outside the door, and we just looked at each other and asked, “Did she just go for surgery, or is she doing something else?”  When she didn’t come back, we decided she must have gone to be prepped for surgery.

We had been instructed that one of us was to remain in the waiting room at all times so that when the doctor was available, one of us would be there.  So, we sat and read in our little room, which was decorated with Toy Story characters, until about noon.  Thinking that she would probably have just gone into the OR, I suggested that Jesse go out and eat his lunch (no food allowed in the waiting rooms), and then he could go get himself some coffee and me some chai (drinks were permitted).  He agreed, and then I suggested an alternate plan: I would go eat first, that way when he got back I could enjoy my chai.

So that’s what we did.  I left, and returned 15 or 20 minutes later only to find out that Dr. Mih had been in, said everything went well, said he did have to use a pin, and gave additional instructions.  Then, also while I was out, Dr. Morgenstein, the ENT, had been in to tell us he was about to clean her ears and would insert tubes if he saw any fluid at all.  So basically, I missed everything!  Jesse didn’t go eat, because Dr. Morgenstein was due back any minute.  When he did come, he said there was some nasty fluid in there, so she got the tubes, and then he gave us instructions for her care.

Drugged, but with Daddy!

Drugged, but with Daddy!

Maybe 20 minutes after that, a nurse came to ask us to come to the recovery room because Glory was mad and did not like the nurses!  She was fighting them, and they couldn’t tell if she was in pain, or just angry and wanted to see if she’d calm down for her parents.  Glory is such a daddy’s girl, I didn’t even bother trying to pick her up, and Jesse scooped up our angry, drugged little girl, and she cuddled right down on his shoulder and went to sleep.  The nurse said, “She just needed some vitamin M and D- Mom and Dad,” and then sent her back to our room with us to finish her recovery there.

After a 30-40 minute nap, she opened her eyes and jerked up her head at the mention of water.  She slammed almost her full sippy, and was released to go home!  Jesse carried her out, and it was such an amazing thing to see her noticing the different sounds as we walked to the parking garage- elevator bells, the sliding doors, and construction equipment all attracted her attention in ways they never have before.  I had been warned that she might be afraid of new sounds and their volume, but there was no sign of fear (even at home- the noisiest place we go!).  She did surprise us, however, as we heard her repeat sounds that she hasn’t repeated before, like “og” for “dog.”  We expect this little girls vocabulary to take off, now that she can hear properly.

Checking out the bandage!

Checking out the bandage!

On the way home I rode in the back of the car with her, a little concerned she might get sick on or mess with her bandage, which is a soft wrap that must stay on for the next 3 weeks.  She was sleepy, and trying to suck the back of her left hand, so I removed the small wrap that was covering the place where her IV went in.  After I removed it, she offered me her right hand so I could remove that bandage too.  I told her she was going to have to get used to that one for a while!

At home she took a short nap and joined the family for supper, feeding herself with her left hand as her right was bundled into the sleeve of a long-sleeved bib with a rubber band around the bottom.  She acted like herself until bedtime, when she hardly put up a fuss when I put her in bed 🙂

Each step of the way we are reminded of God’s goodness to us.  His goodness in leading us to this precious little girl, for providing her with the most important of her surgeries before we even met her, for allowing her to attach to us quickly so that her daddy was more comforting to her than pain medication this afternoon.  What a blessing each of these things are!  And His loving kindness goes even further to, in just under two weeks, arrange the schedule of Glory’s ENT to be available to deal with her ears today so a separate appointment was not needed and she didn’t have to go any longer with her limited hearing.  We are awed by God’s mercy to our family.

Surgery on Monday

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Everything has been confirmed: Glory is to report to the Riley Outpatient Surgery Center on Monday morning at 10:30.  Both the hand surgeon and the ENT are scheduled, praise God!  Her procedure will take about an hour, then they’ll keep her an hour, then we’ll head home.  She will likely have a cast on to protect the pin in her thumb.  Jesse will take the day off and spend it with the other three kiddos at home.

Thanks for praying with us.  We’re excited about making progress and checking off one of our little surgeries.  By the end of the day Monday, we look forward to our baby girl having just 10 fingers, and to be able to hear clear as a bell!