Monday, March 30, 2009

One Step Back

Over the years I have developed this theory that everything in life happens exactly as it should. Most of the time I can't really make sense of why life takes the course it does, but in retrospect, everything happens for a reason. I have learned to take something positive from every negative situation and doing so has provided me with the necessary tools to get through life. All of this seemed to start with the death of Paul's father. Although it was mostly Paul's journey, I learned a lot along the way. In the midst of the chaos, I vividly remember telling Paul's mother "I don't know what this is preparing me for, but it's preparing me for something." One week after Paul's father passed away, my uncle was involved in a serious accident resulting in a severe traumatic brain injury. Five years later, he remains confined to a bed or wheelchair, entirely dependent on others to feed, clothe, and bathe him. He really cannot even effectively communicate other than a yes or no response to basic questions. Thereafter, life went smoothly for a while. Then came the infertility. And then came the triplets. The 6 weeks of hospital bedrest. The 7 weeks in the NICU. And somewhere in there was Olivia's diagnosis. Although during most of my pregnancy there was no indication that anything was wrong with Olivia, I had this feeling that Paul and I would become parents to a child who needed more care and support than a "normal" child would. I knew we had the hearts to love such a child, regardless of her level of "normalcy"...and I knew we had the life experience to handle her needs with confidence and grace. If given a choice, we absolutely would have wanted Olivia to be medically perfect. But we weren't given a choice...nobody is given a choice. The only thing we are given are life experiences that provide us with every tool possible to succeed in handling all future life experiences. And so far, Paul and I have plenty.

Last night we were given the unsettling news that Olivia's temp had spiked. Immediately we knew this meant she likely has an infection. Well, long story short, this morning they think it is proably pneumonia. But as odd as it sounds, this is apparently good news. The bad news is that she is still on a ventilator and although they had hoped to have her breathing on her own by tomorrow, we are now delayed. The pneumonia has delayed the weaning process and for the next few days she will just have to remain completely sedated and on the vent. To combat the infection, Livy has been put on two potent antibiotics and they are using a heavy-duty suctioning machine to help clear her lungs. They have cultured everything, and will continue to do so until she no longer has an infection. For now, though, we worry...and we hope that this really is just a short delay in her recovery. We know how serious pneumonia is, but we must remain hopeful. Olivia is a fighter. She has more strength than she knows what to do with...and so while we all know she's on the sick side, you'd never know it by looking at her. As for her mommy, I just can't wait to see her little peepers again. I miss looking into her eyes, so much that it hurts, but I keep telling myself that it will just be a few more days.

Paul and I are doing fine, but only because we have had so much preparation for this. I thought our time in the NICU was rough, but seeing our little girl like this is so much harder now than it was back then. Had we not experienced the NICU, though, we wouldn't be so well-prepared for what we are experiencing now. So, in a way, we were blessed to have that experience. We are better parents, and better advocates for our daughter as a result.

Before I sign off, I just want to thank all of you who have been following our blog for all of your support. It feels so good to know that there are so many people out there sending positive thoughts and praying for our family. So thank you!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Long Overdue & Livy's TOF Repair

I have neglected this blog for what I would consider to be obvious reasons, the least of which is the fact that I am a mother to 5-month-old triplets. I need not elaborate, but such brevity would make for a rather uninformative blog. That said, long story short, we just received temporary orders to relocate from Corpus Christi, Texas to Cleveland, Ohio. Following receipt of those orders...and by following receipt, I mean following said receipt by approximately one week...we are now Clevelanders...or Strongsvillers...whatever floats your boat. Did I mention that our house was packed up and moved within a week of receiving those orders? Need I remind you that this happened while caring for 5-month-old triplets? The truth is, we were more than ready to get the hell out of Corpus Christi. Having spent eight of the last nine years in San Diego, California...and having pretty much grown up in Cali, those 15 months in Corpus elicited about as much excitement as a silent movie to a blind man. It didn't help that 7 of those months were spent pregnant with triplets and confined to our house...but on the other hand, it probably didn't hurt, either. So away we went to Cleveland, Ohio...and here we are. It's comfortable, strange, and not home. Although Paul grew up here, he no longer feels an attachment to this place, and we are both left longing for San Diego. That's the only place that has ever truly felt like home to the both of us and we can hardly wait to return with our girls some day. In the meantime, here we reside, and for the best reason: our little Livy and her broken heart.

Olivia is currently settling into her Pediatric Intensive Care Unit room here at Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital. We have yet to see her following an 8-hour surgery to repair her heart. As you may recall, she was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot one day after birth. We chose to head North in order to seek the best possible medical care for our daughter, and more pleased we could not be. Livy's surgeon performed a number of repairs on her heart and it should now function normally. With any luck, she will require no further surgeries, though the likelihood of further catheterizations is high. She certainly has a long road ahead, but she is off to such a great start. Following recovery, our next step is to fully diagnose any complications arising as a result of her chromosomal deletion, DiGeorge Syndrome.

As for the trio, they are doing amazingly well overall. Makenna doesn't stop smiling and "talking"...she's as chatty as her mother. Lauren is always wide-eyed and stares at EVERYTHING. Livy is less generous with her smiles and has a tendency to reserve them for the most deserving of people and occasions. She has mastered the "dirty look" and has a real knack for flashing at anyone who doesn't meet her standards. Mommy, however, always elicits smiles and if Livy's in a good mood, so does Daddy.

The only other real "milestone" any one of the girls have reached is starting solids. We haven't even attempted this with Livy, but Makenna and Lauren have both tasted their first solid foods. Makenna tries to suck her spoon and thus feeding her is a giant pain in the ass. Lauren, however, is so freakin' hungry all the time, that she has figured out how to eat like a big girl. In other words, she swallows more than she spits out.

So that's about it. I suppose I should update with some pics at some point soon, but for now I'm exhausted and dying to see my little girl.