Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Let me first say that Sophie's surgery went well. I'll get back to the details, but I wanted to make sure you knew that first :)

This past week has been very challenging in lots of different ways. I don't think Sophie will nap long enough for me to get into all of them, but let me just say that it has really made me prioritize my life a little bit.

First: Sophie. Poor little thing. She has been so cranky (well, cranky for her, which isn't all that bad). She doesn't want to sit still, doesn't want to eat, and just has random bouts of crying. We took her to my departmental party on Friday, and she alternated between having a great time and wanting nothing to do with anything. My department rented out the Natural History Museum, and we had free run of the place. We actually got to eat in the main hall, underneath the dinosaur skeletons! It was pretty awesome. Tim was like a kid in a candy store. He was trying to teach Sophie all the names of the animals. I, on the other hand, was pointing to things like leopards and saying, "Look Sophie, big kitty!"

Sophie had a great time when we let her out of the stroller to run around. They have all of these stuffed animals (like real animals, not plush ones) set up in dioramas. Sophie loved running up to the glass and yelling at them :) As long as she was free, she was fine. Trying to get her to sit still and eat was something else. Tim ended up scarfing his food (which was ok, but not great) so that he could walk around with Sophie while I ate. We packed it in about 9. From the stories I've heard, it sounds like people got a little goofy after we left. Fortunately, no dinosaurs were injured.

Saturday I figured out why Sophie might be cranky. Not only were her ears bothering her, but she was popping both the upper and lower molars on the right side. That would make anyone cranky!

Saturday night Jen came up and made the midnight CVS run with me. We got most of the free stuff we wanted, but we hit another CVS at 7 AM to try and get the rest (without much success). I went to church later in the morning while Tim stayed with a fussy Sophie. My friend Katie from Alaska came over Sunday afternoon, and Sophie was in a good mood long enough to have some fun playing.

Things were going really well until about dinner time on Sunday. We were trying to get organized for Sophie's surgery on Monday morning. Since I had to stay at work after the surgery, we figured we'd drive two cars to the hospital Monday morning. Tim went out about 7 PM to fill up his car with gas so he didn't have to go in the morning. I started getting Sophie ready for bed. He called me about 15 minutes later to say that his car wouldn't start. He got to the gas station fine, but after he pumped, the car wouldn't turn over. It was in the single digits temperature-wise, so we thought maybe that was an issue.

He called AAA at 7:15, and they said they couldn't have someone there until 9:30!!! Seriously? We needed it towed just up the road to the mechanic. There are tons of tow shops around, and he had to wait more than two hours?

This also meant I had to keep Sophie awake so that I could pack her up and take my car to pick up Tim once he dropped the truck at the mechanic's place. So, I kept little feisty-pants up. We finally all got home before ten. And we had to get up at 5 AM the next morning.

Sophie was NPO after she went to bed, and all I could think about Monday morning was how pissed she was going to be when she woke up and realized she couldn't have anything to eat or drink. The plan was to have everything packed in the car and literally pick Sophie up from her crib and put her in the carseat still asleep. We had decent success with that.

Driving into the hospital at 6 AM, the thermometer outside said it was 0 degrees. And it was dark and windy. There is a tunnel from the parking garage to the hospital, but it was still frigid. We had Sophie wrapped in a big fleece blanket to keep her warm. She really put up with it well.

We checked into pre-op about 6:30 AM. They weighed her and had us change her into this (absolutely adorable) tiny hospital gown. She was wide awake by this point, but she was so curious as to what was going on that she wasn't upset about being hungry. For a while, anyway.

We saw the nurse, the resident, the anesthesiologist, and the surgeon. And then we waited. We were second in line, but Sophie didn't get in until a little after 8. By that time, she was bored, hungry, and had had enough. We walked with her, next to her little crib, until we got to the surgery double doors. It was the saddest thing--she was sitting up in her crib, and she turned around to look at us. That was the first time she looked scared. It absolutely broke my heart.

We sat in the waiting room, jumping every time we heard a baby cry, for about 25 minutes. We saw them wheel her into recovery as they went past the waiting room. She had a mask on and was still under anesthesia. I wanted to run to her, but we had to wait 15 minutes until they had her off the anesthesia. That was terrible--I was glad she was done, but I was literally twitching because I wanted to see her so badly.

When they finally took us back, she was off of anesthesia but asleep in her crib. We waited for a few minutes until she woke up. When she did, she had the most pitiful cry. I held her and rocked her, and she went back to sleep for a bit. We were able to give her some juice when she got up again. Once she had eaten, she was much calmer. It was obvious that the anesthesia hadn't worn all the way off yet. We changed her and bundled her, and then I walked Sophie and Tim back to the car. I absolutely did not want to have to walk next door and go to work, but I knew I had to. All I wanted to do was hold my baby.

Tim said she slept the whole way home, and she slept the whole morning too. The surgeon told us that she actually was developing an infection in her ears before surgery, so he had to suction some infected fluid out. That meant 10 days of antibiotic drops instead of 3. Tim got her up at noon to have some milk and tylenol, and they drove back up to pick me up at 1.

It was so hard to focus during my rat surgeries, but I knew I needed to get done and get home to Sophie. I felt bad that Sophie had to take another car ride, but I didn't have a car. Tim bundled her up and cranked the heat the whole way up. She was semi-awake the entire car ride. Sophie and I dropped Tim off at the mechanic's on the way home to pick up his truck (bad battery and corroded connection, $250). When we got home, Sophie was actually pretty awake. She had some food, and then she wanted to play.

Already she was acting like a different baby. I think she can hear better, and she's verbalizing more. Her balance is a little better too. And even with those nasty molars coming in, she was in a much better mood. For instance, Tim had a dentist appointment a little after 6 PM, and I needed to fill Sophie's prescription. So I bundled her up and headed to the store. It should've been a quick drop-off. Instead, we drove 15 minutes west to a Rite Aid, but they didn't have the drops. So we drove 20 minutes east from there and tried a Walgreen's. No drops. So it was back west again to Giant Eagle, and they finally had them. Through three stops, getting in and out of the car, Sophie was an angel. Not a peep. She seemed semi-alert, but very calm. It was amazing.

I finally picked the drops up at 8 PM, right before bed for her. She didn't love them, but afterwards she had a bottle and went right to bed. I'm sure she was exhausted.

My sister Amy came up Monday night, and she stayed with Sophie on Tuesday. I was able to get home about noon after finishing some rat echoes. Sophie was having a great time, playing and tooling around the house. She still had moments of tantrums, but overall she was good.

My parents and Jen came up for a few hours to make the Christmas lasagnas (we're trying something different this year). Then, it was just Tim, Sophie, and I last evening.

Tim and I also had some other bad news this weekend. His grandma had fallen and broken her hip several weeks ago, and she had it fused. Since the surgery, she has not been dong well. She's in her late 80's, diabetic for decades, and has a slew of other medical problems. She's now very depressed because she's lost the little mobility she did have. She doesn't want to be in a nursing home, she's in a lot of pain but doesn't want pain medicine, and she's generally given up. To top it off, the stomach flu was going around the nursing home. I'm not sure if grandma got it, but they've taken her back to the hospital for other issues. And his entire extended family (minus his dad, who wore a face mask like they suggested), caught the stomach flu from the nursing home. Because everyone is sick, they are canceling Christmas Eve.

Last night, we really had some time to reflect on all of this (and other things as well). We both were awed by how quickly things can change. Last week, the biggest concern about Christmas was whether his cousin's kids would leave the dogs alone. Now, there is no Christmas on his side, and we're worried about how long his grandma will be around.

It just made us realize how thankful we are. I personally am very guilty of overlooking the big picture for the day to day stresses. There's so much busy-ness in my life. My daily to-do list seems overwhelming, but I fail to take a step back. We have a roof over our head, food on the table, and we are all in fairly good health. We have loving families, and we love each other very much. There has been so much happening in the last week that has affected each of these items that I take for granted. It made me realize that I need to be more in-tune to the big picture. I don't want to look back at my life and realize all I did was "make it through" on a daily basis. I know that saying "stop and smell the roses" is trite, but it's really something I need to work on.

I will get to see some of my mom and dad's family over Christmas, which I am thankful for. And hopefully we'll have a rescheduled Christmas on Tim's side this weekend. Sophie's recovering, we are (so far) healthy, and the temperature is back up into a reasonable-but-still-cold range. We don't have gifts or fancy decorations, but we have each other. And for as much of a cliche as that is, it's really all we need.

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