Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Surgery Details

Brandon dressed for surgery.

One of the hard parts about getting a baby ready for surgery is that he can’t eat for several hours before the surgery. They gave us a complete schedule. His last solid feeding was the night before. His last feeding of breast milk was early in the morning and his last bit of clear liquids came about three hours before the surgery was scheduled.

Everything didn’t go super smooth. We made it to the hospital right on time. We filled out paperwork and dressed Brandon for surgery. It was going great until the nurse came in and told us that there had been an emergency surgery and that we had to wait another three hours. Brandon was able to drink some apple juice at that point but he’s not fond of drinking out of a cup so he got VERY little.

The funny thing is that Brandon is very outspoken when he gets hungry so I anticipated trouble but he was great! We walked around the hospital most of the time to keep him distracted and he was pretty happy the whole time. I was amazed.

We had been told that he had two hernias but when the surgeon looked at Brandon he felt like only the left side needed to be repaired. Afterward he said it was a very complicated surgery. Because of his former surgeries he had a ton of scar tissue. The doctor said it was bad enough that he couldn’t tell what was what. He told us that when this happens they need to use “another technique” but he also said that it went really well and everything was good.

As I mentioned, when Brandon woke up he was mad. One of the nurses said that he was one of the loudest babies she has ever heard. He has learned to scream lately and he can certainly make some noise. We he is calm and happy it’s hard to imagine but he and Katelyn can to a great job of disrupting church every week. Even the next morning Brandon was pretty drowsy when we first went back to see him but he was pretty calm. He was able to begin nursing right away and he was acting pretty normal within a couple of hours. He was however very calm and he just wanted to snuggle with his mom. Both Brandon and Katelyn have a slight fever but they are doing well and I assume the fevers have nothing to do with the surgery.

We had been told that the goal was to keep Brandon less than 24 hours. Based on what we heard we were expecting it to be closer to 23 hours but when Brandon was doing so well in the morning they sent us home pretty early.

We got a chance to stay at the Ronald McDonald house (Katelyn, Blake, Derek and I), or as the boys call it, the Old McDonald house. In addition to a very inexpensive place to stay it’s a great place. They have a huge kitchen. They have a bunch of free food that is donated by various people groups and restaurants. And a different group comes in each evening and cooks dinner for everyone. In addition they have stuff like free passes to the zoo and the children’s museum. The boys wanted to stay longer than one night. However, we did get a chance to hit the zoo for a couple of hours so they had a lot of fun. As great as it was, I hope we don’t ever go back.

This is the wagon we used to pull Brandon around the hospital.

Katelyn didn't want to stay in the wagon but luckily Amy moves fast.

Brandon in the recovery room.

Pictures from the zoo. (My grandfather always pointed out that those cougar statues were sculpted by a relative - Unle Avard)

The funny part about this picture is that Derek was actually mad at me for finishing his ice cream cone. He was grumpy so when I told them to look mad he didn't want to do what I said and he smiled, Blake looked mad liked I asked. They should be actors because they both look convincing.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Good news

Brandon's surgery was a success! He is doing well. He was very sleepy when I left but the docter said that when he first woke up he was as mad as a hornet. That was good news.

I will posts more details soon. Amy is at the hospital with Brandon. I'm at the Ronald McDonald house posting with my phone. The boys are asleep and I hope Katelyn decides that she is sleepy soon. I'm very tired.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Third Time's A Charm

Well, I think we might make it for Brandon's surgery this time. This is our third time on the schedule and so far so good. Brandon is well and so is everyone else in the house. In fact Brandon didn't need his oxygen most of the night last night, so he is stronger and doing better! He is also bigger and I think he is going to do well. We'll keep everyone posted tomorrow. He is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon and the goal is to be there less than 24 hours.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fun Hospital Visit

Well you know you are weird when the funnest thing you do to celebrate your babies' birthday is to go to the hospital, but that is what we did. I had been thinking about doing it, but knew that we had invited all the people we most wanted to see to the party. But when Catherine (the nurse who was a "primary" to Katelyn & Brandon) called to say she probrably wouldn't be able to make it to the party I dedided to just go. It was a fun visit and we got to see a lot of people in the NICU. We also visited Perinatology, but we didn't get any pictures there, they were busy preparing for a transfusion that day. The pediatric surgeon who has done Brandon's surgereies and who we think is an inspired genus happened to be at Utah Valley that day so we went to see him in the clinic. As we left the hospital that day Derek said "Mom, does everyone at this hospital know us?" No, thank goodness - not everyone!

Brandon with Dr. Downey (who as long as we can keep Brandon healthy, we'll be seeing again on the 21st for the hernia repairs)

Katelyn gets a little overwhelmed when we do these visits. But here she is with Catherine.

Brandon is a bit more easy going.

Brandon with Rafino, a Resperatory Therapist.
Brandon with Deann a lactation specialist.

That night we let them open presents. They both enjoyed it, but we got some great shots of Brandon's joy:

I love Brandon's expression in this one!

The Party

Here are a bunch of photos from Brandon and Katelyn's Birthday party. Amy had fun making cupcakes. A couple of friends came over the day before and helped out. They made a wide variety of great tasting and exotic cup cakes. We had 9 types of cupcakes to choose from and ther were over 200 total.

I took a couple of leftovers to church the next day and I think it was the most popular lesson I've ever taught.

We wated to take pictures of everyone that came to the party with the babies. We started out doing well at the beginning of the party (thanks Aimee) but we didn't do so well at the end. Bassically we have a bunch of photos of poeple who arrived first.

Mammaw with Katelyn

Out good friends the Pucketts.

Brandon was one of Jane's first patients at Primary Children's

This is our neighbor Kristie who helps Amy out a lot.

Our good frined the Francis Family

Our neighbors the Dunfords

Becky, one of Katelyn's Primary nurses at Utah Valley Hosptital.

Another good friend, Aimee Sinema

We gave the babies each a birthday cake - it took Brandon a little longer to figure out he could eat his but they both loved it!


Here is video of Katelyn at the parade on the 4th. She likes to drink out of a cup but she could still stand to have a little more practice. Can you tell?

Brandon and Katelyn opening birthday presents, with a little coaching from their brothers.

Brandon enjoying his birthday cake.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday Brandon & Katelyn!

A year ago when our fourth transfusion for Brandon and Katelyn started to go with poorly with Brandon's heart rate dropping we could never have imagined what lay ahead. Even today I cannot readily remember a lot of the past year. But I never loose the awareness that we have been blessed with miracle after miracle beyond what we could possibly deserve. Brandon and Katelyn are just supposed to be here and I feel a little extra excitement to watch their lifes' purpose on earth unfold. But for today I am just so grateful for the opportunity to raise them and know them. I prayed countless times for the opportunity to do that and my prayers were answered. They bring so much joy to our family. Happy Birthday Brandon and Katelyn, I am so glad to be able to celebrate this day with you!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Birthday Announcement

We've been so busy that we've had trouble getting Brandon and Katelyn's birthday party announcments out. We decided to post one here. We are looking forward to celebrating with all the many family and friends that have helped us so much during this last year. It will be an open house.

Below are larger version of the photos we used on the announcement:

Crazy 4th of July Weekend

The fourth of July is big around here. There is a lot of really fun stuff to do. Amy’s mom recently moved here and the Popes came to visit too. We had a blast.

On the 3rd we got up very early and went to watch the hot air balloons launch.

Emily and Derek looking up at the balloons.

A big group of friends spent the night on the parade route to save a
good spot and were nice enought to share.

Brandon hanging out in Brynlie's car seat.
This expression pretty much sums up what Brandon thought of all the festivities!
Derek and Blake had so much fun roughing around
with some of the older boys.

The Foxes and the Popes

Mammaw and Blake at the parade.
Lilly and Kaylee with the babies at Brick Oven after the parade.
The babies enjoyed watching the fireworks.

Katelyn loves food - other people's food. She is strong enough and determined enought to get it too. She would not let us take this sample away from her. She also loved the dippin dots.
Blake wearing armor at Colonial Days.
Derek in the armor.

We have started giving the babies baths together.
They love it! And we do too, it is so much easier.

Katelyn showing off her new bloomers.
After all of the 4th of July festivities we did some birthday partying. Jordyn is 14 today!
Katelyn exploring her first birthday gift.

Derek and Blake roughing around with Bill.