Saturday, August 27, 2011

Time to celebrate!

**Normally it would have taken me a little longer to post about Caroline's birthday but I just had to move down those hand surgery pics!**

I'm not a big birthday party thrower. In fact, the boys have never had a formal birthday party! But, it just didn't seem right to let Caroline's birthday come and go without a little hoopla. So, we decided to throw a little shindig! We were fortunate to have a houseful of friends and family. The little kids swam and the big kids had a lot of great conversation. It was truly the perfect way to celebrate a fantastic little girl!

It took a little convincing for her to dig in to her cake. She didn't want to sit in her seat let alone play with a cake.
Once she tasted it though, she was hooked! Looks like Jack is a little envious :)!

She got a ton of awesome gifts! She is going to be the best dressed little girl this fall!

And then after presents, she decided to stand for the first time. That was pretty awesome!!

Super fun cousins doing the robot.
And then . . . she conked out!

like completely out! She was pooped!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hand Surgery - *Graphic*

Shortly after Caroline's status changed from critical to stable last August at Dell, the neonatologists told us they were going to ask for a hand plastics consult to look at what could be done about Caroline's hand. At the time, we thought they were nuts. After everything she had been through, why in the world would we want to put her through anything else? There just happened to be a hand specialist employed by the hospital so we thought it was at least worth looking into. We didn't even know what was possible.

When we met with him, he explained that he could give Caroline a thumb using a procedure called Index Pollicization. He explained that he would move her index finger into the position of the thumb. After he talked about it and what it entailed, I asked if we could choose not to do it. At the time, this seemed very unnecessary given everything else being done that was very necessary. He of course said "yes" but asked me to think about what I could do without a thumb; all the things I wouldn't be able to pick up. We had plenty of time to decide; we wouldn't even think about a date until all of her other issues had been taken care of and we would see him when she was almost a year.

So, needless to say, we decided she would thank us later if we went ahead and had the surgery done. She had the procedure the day before her birthday, August 11th. I have never heard of a doctor taking pictures during a procedure and sharing them with the family (taking pictures, yes. sharing with the family, no!). But, this one did and while they are a little graphic, I am glad to have them. If you don't want to see the inside of her hand, don't scroll down :)!

This is was her hand right before the surgery.

The skin pulled back to expose . . . everything! The dark red is muscle and the thin white lines are nerves.

To make her index finger the size of a thumb, they took out the middle section of the 2nd proximal phalanx bone (the long bone on the index finger) and fused the top and bottom of that bone together. This picture shows the section of the bone that was removed.

A pin is currently holding the bones in place until they heal together.
We were really pleased and surprised with the way it turned out. It actually looks like a thumb!!

After the surgery, hospital staff surprised Caroline (and the rest of us) with a big cake and cupcakes to celebrate her birthday the next day. She wasn't exactly excited by it . . .

The procedure was out patient and she left with coban wrapped around her and and up to her elbow. Jesse took her back to Austin this past Monday for a check up. The doctor was very pleased when he took the bandage off. We were originally told that the first bandage would be replaced with a splint but he ended up wrapping it again with a smaller wrapping. We think she likes it a lot better because her little fingers are exposed.

Unfortunately, with this one, we need to rewrap it ourselves every 2-3 days. We are going to do it for the first time tomorrow and I am a little nervous.

She goes back on September 12th. At that visit, the doctor will take the pin out and she should have a completely usable thumb!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

on loan

I can't tell you how honored I am to be this little girl's mommy!

We found out Caroline was a girl on Thursday, April 1, 2010. I was always the person that said she wanted all boys so it was quite a shock to my system when I was over-the-moon excited to find out I was having a girl.

The next Monday, I got an urgent call from my doctors office saying my doctor wanted to see me right away to talk about the sonogram. I asked repeatedly if something was wrong and the nurse just kept answering that it was normal for the doctor to want to go over the sonogram results. I knew this wasn't true after having so many with the boys with no scheduled follow-up. He was gracious enough to start with, "I'm going to get right to it . . ." and started talking with me about his concerns. He explained the things he saw (or didn't see) and was very honest about the directions things could go in. He made it very clear that when I went to see the doctors in Austin, it was possible they would try to talk to me about having an abortion and I needed to be ready to respond.

When I got home, I broke down like I don't think I ever had before. Because I had a miscarriage before, I was pretty guarded about the pregnancy and didn't let myself get excited . . . until I found out we were having a girl. Then I couldn't help myself. I had started to dream about what it would be like to have a little girl with dirty blond ringlets running around the house. I was already certain that she would be a tomboy just like me.

I didn't want the boys to see me upset so I went and took a shower. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. Halfway through my "breakdown" I VERY clearly heard a voice say to me, "She was never yours to keep!" and I said out loud standing there in the shower, "I know, I know." I knew that whatever was going to happen with Caroline, I was supposed to trust that God was in control and had a plan for her. She is a child of God and He would use her to HIS glory!

But . . . I'm human . . . and it was really, really hard!

I have always prayed for God's will to be done. I try to not ever pray, "God, take this disease away from someone" or "God, please make this situation easier." I know that God has a plan and can dream bigger than I can. But this time, I pleaded . . . "Jesus, I want to learn this lesson you are teaching me! I want to learn it! Please Jesus, if there is a way I can learn it without this sweet baby having to go through pain, PLEASE Jesus, let me learn this lesson another way!"

Caroline's birthday is hard for me. I look at her and I see Jesus's reflection. But, on her birthday, I also feel the pain of almost loosing her. I can still see Jesse walk in the recovery room and tell me that she had more issues than we expected. I can still feel the fear I felt when I read that she had a 25% chance to survive. I can still see her lying in a bed with a dozen machines around her keeping her alive. I still feel the panic of waking up from dreams where I knew I had lost her. The pain is still very fresh.

Caroline's chest contains many, many scars. For my eternity, those scars will be reminders that GOD chose to breathe life in to this amazing child. He chose to use her for HIS glory. HE chose to save her!

Psalm 139:13-16 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you,when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Grandma and Grandpa Chupp Camp

While I was away at a conference, Jesse flew by himself with the three kids to Indiana. I can't even imagine how tough that must have been. I can also not describe how much fun they all had. Jesse was in heaven being with his parents and the boys literally felt like they were at camp.

Jesse's mom made sure that the boys had activities to do at all times! They rode on Grandpa's tractor . . .

went fishing . . .

rode bikes . . .

learned how to ride a bike without training wheels . . .

and learned some super fun tricks from Uncle Matt!

They even got to take their nightly baths in grandma and grandpa's huge jacuzzi tub.

Aunt Hannah with baby Caroline. They hit it off right away.

Grandma Chupp made some homemade cupcakes to celebrate Caroline's first birthday.

and got the boys some glow-in-the-dark glasses. So fun!

Caroline did a great job trying to eat the icing.

Caroline loved the extra attention!

The day before we left, we went to Goshen to visit Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Chupp and many other members of the Chupp clan. Boy did they love to love on Caroline. She was very happy to get loved on too!