Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Surprise Hannah

This was taken right after the video of Riley. I didn't want Hannah to feel left out. ; )
Oh yeah, sorry for the coffee slurps!

Riley Has Something to Say

I've been trying to get her talking on video for weeks! Finally, I got a good one.

Friday, November 25, 2011

What I'm Thankful For

It's a day late but still relevant. 

1)  My church family.  The support they reached out to David and I while we're were going through Riley's hear surgery was nothing short of amazing and comforting.

2)  My husband, David.  There is not another person who supports my hopes and dreams like David so unselfishly.  He puts his family first, and values his time with us.  And he likes to have fun with us, sometimes he's a bigger kid than our kids.

3) My kids, Hannah and Riley.  Hannah has the sweetest, most caring heart.  It kind of amazes me because I don't see that in myself or David, at least not to the extent that Hannah has it.  And Riley has amazed me with her recovery.  She came through something so major so quickly.  Less than 3 weeks out you would not know that she just had heart surgery.

4) My sister.  Casey and I have always been close, even when we were younger.  Don't get me wrong, we had the "mom, can't you get her to stop going in my stuff" fights but we have always been close.  We don't look alike and we certainly don't act alike but over the years she has become so much more than a sister to me.  I love her and miss her so much but am so happy for her.

5)  The rest of my family, to include all the Cernock's.  My mom and Art, for never failing to be there regardless of what is going on.  My dad for being the strongest man I know, even if it drives me nuts most of the time.  Amy and Tom for love and support that extends driving across half the country (practically) many times a year to be with us.  Bob and Susan for dependability and help in times of need.  And Bob specifically, for being an outlet for David.  I could go on and on.  Our family reached out to us this year in such a heartfelt, caring manner.  I have no doubt that I could've called any one of you for help and our needs would have been met.

6)  There's a handful of friends I call close.  Those of you that know what I'm thinking and feeling when I'm not being honest about it.  Thank you for being my checks and balances.

7) Elizabeth, my therapist.  I've been seeing her consistently for a year, but overall for almost 2 years.  She has helped me through the hardest times in my life.  I believe that every breathing person could benefit from talking to a therapist.  Who I am now is not the person I was  year ago and a big part of that is her.

8) My home, the structure and the place.  I complain about living in Fayetteville a lot but there are benefits to being here.  I think it's pretty awesome, and convenient, that Michelle leaves less than 2 miles from me.  Most of my family is within a 10 minutes drive.  We're close to the beach.  I see the community trying to evolve and it's neat to watch areas change and grow.

9) Our medical community.  Our pediatrician for catching Riley's heart murmur within hours of her birth.  This is VERY uncommon.  Her cardiologist for the time he spent with David and I.  The doctors and nurses at Duke (with the exception of one person).  They saved my baby.  And did an awesome job of it!  The nurses in the PCICU were so caring.  The whole experience was frightening but bearable because of the caring and attentive staff.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

4 Months

What Miss Moon has been up to: chewing on her hands.  A lot.  And she gets mad if you take her hands away.  She also bubbles and gurgles away.  I've always thought leaving a bib on a baby was stupid....until now.  This kid soaks her onesies.  She's kicking her little legs all over the place.  She's been doing that since before she was born though, she kicked a lot more than Hannah in the womb.  

There go those legs.  You can't tell she had heart surgery 
two weeks ago tomorrow!

Lip smacking good fingers.  


New Toys

Still the loving and kind big sister.

Chowing down toys and hands

Also, if surgery had not happened, we'd been rolling over, no doubt.  She's tried a couple of times since then but I panic and avert it.  Hannah is still infatuated with her little sister and helps out all the time.  As Riley becomes easier to entertain, Hannah spends more time entertaining her.  

The fastest recovery ever

Riley spent two days in the PCICU.  By the time she left the PCICU, she had everything removed except for the heart monitors (which could not be removed before she was released) and her nasal cannula.  She could have moved into a regular room with more than that still attached to her, that's just how good she was doing, recovery wise.

Here she is the night of her surgery.  You could see her trying to regain full consciousness, especially when David and I were talking to her.  

Sleeping peacefully the next day.  

We got to hold her on Wednesday.  It was little nerve racking, because
we didn't want to do anything to hurt her.  But the nurses helped out by letting us get situated in the chair and then handing her to us. 

For the first time in David's life he was able to successfully feed one of our children.
He was pretty emotional about it.  

More peaceful sleeping.  She did a lot of that the first two days
following surgery.  

The wing in between the PCICU and the 
children's hospital.

Into a regular room on Thursday.  It was a lot different than the ICU ward.  
I mean there was a 1 to 1 ratio in the PCICU.  But we couldn't sleep there.  
As mom and David, we were nervous about her getting moved too soon.  I mean, 
just as we had been prepared for, we expected her stay in the ICU to be a little longer.  

Friday.  Notice the TInkerbell picture behind her, Hannah made 
that for Riley's hospital room.

In the next two photo's, you can see Riley's incision.  You have to look closely 
though, because it's very thin.    

Showing signs that she's ready to go: she's trying to get to the fingers attached to that 
arm board.  

And we were released on Saturday.  It was a remarkable turn around for a 3 month old that had heart surgery 4 days prior!

David and I could not be happier about the turn around.  Matter of fact, we 
went to church the next day, as a praise to all the people who had been praying for her.  We wanted them to know that we believe our prayers were answered.  Our church was such a sense of support for David and I.  People reached out to David and I from all over, offering kinds words and prayers.  Thank you from the very bottom of our hearts.  

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Paint your own

Pottery that is.  I've blogged about Greg's before but yesterday we went back for more.  And had just as much fun as the first time.  Amy and Tom each picked something out to paint.  I was the only one who didn't paint something but I found something
I want to paint the next time we go. 

Grandma picked out a  smiling buddha.  Hannah painted an egg, a sunshine, an angel 
and a mini tea cup and saucer.

Tom picked out a giant coffee mug and David picked out a bowl.

I love how intense everyone is!

Just like before, Hannah could have painted all day.  But we do have to watch the price!  The staff was awesome as well.  David really gets his moneys' worth our of their opinion!  I like the thought of going and painting something for us to keep every time we go.  We're not keeping David's bowl, eve though I love the design he did on it.  We're going to keep Hannah's egg because I really like it!  Everything else is christmas presents.  We're heading downtown on Black Friday for A Dicken's Holiday and we'll stop in to Greg's, possibly to paint one or two things or maybe just to say hello.  Maybe our pottery will be done then.  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The longest day ever

The day started out early but only because I couldn't sleep.  I didn't fall asleep until after midnight and I was wide awake around 5.  I got up and started the house coffee and took a shower.  Riley's last feeding had to be over with by 8 am, so I hoped to wake her up at 730 and feed her then.  She actually woke herself up just after 7.  Our morning went really smoothly. We were right on time at the hospital, arriving at 0850.  

Her doctor was Andrew Lodge.  You can learn even more about him here.  David and I agree that we could not have asked for a better doctor.  We met with him 2 weeks prior to surgery and then we spoke with him again, right before they took Riley back.  This guy was surgeon to the T.  He was not a communicator.  He kept telling David and I "Well, you know...." and David kept saying "No, I don't know.  I've never done this before."  There is no doubt in my mind that this guy took medical school very seriously.  And that is exactly the kind of surgeon you want operating on your 3 month old!  

The waiting was rough.  There was some miscommunication about when Riley's surgery would start.  See she drifted off around 10 am, while we were in the waiting room.  We had been told that the first surgery had run over, but that's all we knew.  She woke up around 11, hungry.  It was bad.  I was uptight and anxious.  My baby was hungry and they wouldn't let me fix it.  David tried consoling her.  A nurse tried giving her glucose in a bottle but Riley had never successfully taken a bottle.  Plus, she was really ticked off at this point.  I walked away because I felt like I was torturing Riley.  She knew I was there, and I could just imagine her thinking "why isn't mom feeding me."  It felt cruel.  While I was taking my time out, another woman in the waiting area approached me.  She stood with me for a few minutes and offered comforting words.  I walked back over to David and Riley, who was still screaming, and another woman approached us.  She said she was a nurse who worked in the pediatric ICU and also a lactation consultant.  She wanted to know if it would be okay for her to try and comfort/feed Riley.  I welcomed someone else trying.  This lasted for what seemed like an eternity but probably about 30 minutes.  Riley eventually wore herself out crying and fell asleep.  Right at 12 we were called back.  They prepped in the back and the anesthesiologist came back to talk to us.  Around 1245, the anesthesiologist told us to say good bye to Riley.  I have not done anything that hard in my entire life.  Even writing about it now is causing me to tear up.  David and I said good bye to Riley.  Then we took 10 minutes in the private room for ourselves.  The strangest part about that moment is that David and I really didn't cling to each other, like I had imagined.  We stood across from each other, lost in our own private thoughts and concerns.  As we walked back into the waiting room, I saw my pastor's wife.  She had come up to be with us.  Our pastor was unable to come because of a conference.  As soon as I saw her, I broke down crying even harder.  

And then we waited.  We walked around, a lot.  We played Scrabble and Monopoly.  We read but not really.  Left the hospital to eat twice.  They called every hour to let me know how things were going.    
At 5:45 pm, they called to tell me that Riley was out of surgery and the doctor would be out to talk with us in a minute.  He came out and said that surgery had been what he had expected, with no surprises.  The patch was closed with the exception of a very small, less than a millimeter, residual hole.  Over time, the cells of the heart would grow over the entire patch, which is made out of Gortex by the way, and close up the very small residual hole.  

We headed to the PCICU, where we would meet Riley.  At 630 pm, they told us we could head back and see her.  This time, there were no tears, only smiles.  
My baby, right after surgery.  
She looked so much better than we ever imagined.  I expected her to look puffy and bruised.  David expected her to look as if she had been beat up.  Yet here she is, somewhat alert and looking like herself.  It was such a relief.  

She still looks a little dopey.  She had short moments of being alert, with bouts of trying to come off the anesthesia.  

She was hooked up to so many machines in the PCICU.  

So happy to see her.  

It felt so good to see her.  We hung out for a few hours, then opted to leave as they attempted to remove some of the things she was hooked up to, like her breathing tube.  

David and I walked to TGI Frdays.  Remember me mentioning that nice lady that came up to me and talked to me while we were in the waiting room.  Her husband is a pastor.  David had been chatting with him in the waiting area.  As they said good bye to us, he slipped David some money and told him to take me out for a nice dinner.  We felt like it was necessary to honor his wishes.  So while TGI Fridays is not a fancy place, it was the nicest sit down place within walking distance.  On the way there, David and I agreed how we both felt like a weight had literally been lifted of us, and comforting to know the constant care she was receiving.

The longest wait ever

Remember when I told you all about Riley's heart defects.  Well the week before last was her surgery.  Our long adventure started out Sunday November 6th, when we drove to the Ronald McDonald House of Durham.  It's hard to explain how David and I felt.  For myself, there was this giant ball in the pit of my stomach.  I felt kinda queasy and I felt like I had all this nervous energy balled up inside of me.  We ended up just driving around Durham for a few hours late Sunday night.  We love just driving, it calms us.  We found a Whole Foods, which was mildly exiting.    

Monday morning was Pre Op.  Pre Op consisted of a chest x-ray, EKG, lots of blood, vitals, weight and height.  All the normal doctor stuff and then some.  We spent a good 5 hours at the hospital taking care of it all.

  Even Riley looks stressed.  But she's not, she's just tired here.  Every time she drifted off, they called her back to do something else.  

David playing a game with her while we were waiting for the 
PCICU (Pediatric Cardiac ICU) nurse to come in and talk to us.  

She was nice, but a little OVER optimistic.  You know what I'm talking about, the overly "everythings going to be alright" attitude.  It was a reminder to us of the seriousness of Riley's surgery.  She explained the details of Riley's surgery and recovery.  She said that "on bypass" and "off bypass" were two important things that would happen.  On bypass would signify that they had successfully stopped Riley's heart and put her on life support.  Off  bypass would mean that they had successfully taken her off life support and her heart was again beating on it's own.  The expected stay in PCICU was 2 to 3 days and another 6 to 7 days in a regular room.  She also talked to us about how Riley would look when we saw her.  Outside of the machines and monitors she would be attached to, she would be puffy and bruised from fluid and surgery.    

We took in all the information, and had very little questions.  Truthfully, her cardiologist had prepared us and we knew as much as we wanted to know.  The nurse asked that her last feeding be over with by 8 am and told us to be at the hospital by 9.    

Monday night, as happy as can be.  

Riley's self soothing technique.  

We tried to busy ourselves that night.  The Duke's Women's Lacrosse Team cooked dinner at the Ronald McDonald house that night.  The commotion and conversation was a welcome distraction.  We stayed up pretty late, playing games on our Ipad and Iphones.  Whirly Word is an awesome game, by the way!  David and I both drifted off sometime around midnight.  

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Ale House Cornhole Tournament

I'm doing a little bit of catch up, from October 16th.  This is a cornhole tournament to benefit the wounded warriors program.  I fully support David's cornhole endeavor's, because he does pretty good in them.  He's placed in the top 3 in every tournament he's played in.  Plus, they're fun for all of us!  

Here's all the boards set up in the parking lot before the start of the tournament.  

Our crowd.  At times the entire table was full.  We had friends coming and going throughout the 8 hours we were there.  

Round 1

Analyzing the competition

Riley received LOTS of attention

A little in between, just for fun action

Riley did this most of the day

More analyzing, this time over Redskins/Panthers game tickets

The bearer of good news.  This guy relayed to Bill and Amy that they had won the silent auction for the Redskins football tickets.  The Nam Knights chipped in to help make this happen.  What made it extra special was that Bill was set to deploy in two weeks.  The game was the following weekend.  He took his teen-age son, and I'm told they had a fantastic time.  

Bill running around with little Hannah

Bill running around with big Hannah

Our only complaint were the boards used in the tournament were not American Cornhole Association regulations.  The thickness of the boards used were much thinner than regulation, causing the boards to bow and the bags to bounce off of them.  The boards were made by Creekside Cornhole.  Not only were their boards thinner than regulation but they had their own team in the tournament.  Now first prize got a custom set of Creekside boards.  It just didn't seem right that the people co hosting the tournament were also playing, taking out other teams.  Most of the teams were unhappy with both of these issues and I'm told that first placed actually turned down the boards.  Having said that, we still had a great time.  The Ale House was a great host, though not as good as the Southern Pines VFW, I"m told.  I guess the beer was super cheap there!  David and Jason, his partner, placed 3rd. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

3 1/3 months

Here's our girl, just a week ago.  I was trying to get her to laugh but she wouldn't...until I stopped recording!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Riley's Buddy

I think Riley has a buddy.  

Domino does pretty good.  She hasn't sat on Riley yet, she just gets thisclose to her, curls up and falls asleep.  

I think it's cute.