Sunday, December 30, 2012

Merry Christmas!

We celebrated Christmas at our house a little early with some presents from us to the kids.   Andrew got a play kitchen with accessories, two kinds of blocks and some books.  Clara got some stuffed toys and an electronic toy to stand up next to.

The next day we flew to Michigan to spend the holiday at Nana and Papa's house.  Grandpa and Grandma came to visit, as well as Uncle Devin and Aunt Kathleen.  We got to visit with dear Michigan friends and family, including Great Grandparents and the W Family.

Mama's ankle was still very broken.  I was non-weight-bearing, so I spent most of the visit on the couch like this:

Christmas morning had lots of fun and playtime and gifts from Santa and the grandparents....

The highlight of the gifts was a collaboration by both sets of grandparents... a big, riding excavator.  Andrew gasped when Papa brought it down the stairs and exclaimed "DIRT!  DIRT!"

The grandpas helped Andrew take the excavator for a spin in the snow.

Papa also took Andrew out to see the BIG diggers.  Talk about Andrew heaven!

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that you have a blessed new year!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Milroy's Update

Long overdue - here's an update on the kids' puffy feet, aka Milroy's Disease, aka Congenital Primary Lymphedema.

At the end of 2012, Andrew is 20 months old.  We began decongestive therapy with a wonderful lymphedema therapist in Denver back in May.  His foot was pretty big and tight, and the texture of it was firm.  He responded well to daily manual lymphatic drainage from me and weekly visits to the therapist for more thorough treatment.  We also started wrapping his foot and lower leg with short stretch bandages in the standard lymphedema style (with cotton toe wraps) during the day.  At night he had a lot of trouble sleeping with the wrapping, so we just did it in the daytime.  It seemed to be helping to keep things under control even without night wrapping.  

We made sure to give him lots of time in bare feet too, to make sure his gait and foot sensations continued to develop normally.

Once he got a little older, later in the summer, Andrew was fitted for a Jobst Elvarex day garment (his "special sock") and Solaris Tiny Tribute boots for nighttime wear.  

The Elvarex garment was easier to put on and off, but it didn't hold everything in as tightly as wrapping with short stretch, so we would alternate which technique we used, depending on how busy we were going to be.  The Elvarex garment is also very convenient for travel. 

The Tiny Tributes also don't help as much as the short stretch wrappings at night, but they got him used to wearing something at night.  After the 18 month sleep regression was over, he accepted wearing either at night, and so again, we alternated which technique, depending on circumstances. 

All in all things are going really well.  We are integrating the therapy into our lives, and for a rambunctious toddler, Andrew very willingly accepts the garments.  On the days he gets cranky and doesn't accept them, we don't force the issue and he gets a break.  If he goes for a day or more without wearing garments, his foot puffs back up again.

At the end of 2012, Clara is 6 months old.  She has not yet started serious therapy for her lymphedema.  Her right foot has returned to normal, much the same way Andrew's left one did after birth.  Her left foot (the puffy one) seems to have improved some all on its own with no treatment, and it seems to be not as severe as Andrew's was at this age.  But she also is somewhat affected in the left ankle and lower leg, which is different from Andrew.  In the coming months, we'll start MLD and wrapping with her, to see if we can see some improvement.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Broken Ankle - Two Week Update

I saw my orthopedic surgeon yesterday for my first check up on my trimalleolar fracture since ORIF surgery.

The one piece of less than awesome news is that I will continue to be non-weight-bearing for another four weeks.  He said that if the fibula portion of the break (the part under the plate) was a simple, clean line across, he'd be okay with me starting to put some weight on it now.  But my fibula was shattered, and so he really wants it to be super strong and rebuilt before I try to stand on it.

Other than that, all the news is awesome as I'd hoped.  My x-rays show that my bones are perfectly aligned and are healing quickly.  They took off my splint and removed the staples from my surgical incisions, which are healing beautifully with no infection.  I am able to flex and point my foot with no pain, just a lot of stiffness.  He doesn't want me to do any side-to-side or rotational motion just yet, but he okay-ed practicing my flexion.  My range of motion is small, but it has already perceptibly improved since yesterday.

I now have a fracture boot, which is fairly comfortable and makes my leg feel very protected.  Most importantly, I can remove it which means I can bathe (!), exercise my ankle, and sleep much more comfortably.  My ankle does feel very vulnerable when not in the boot, so I wear it if I'm going to move anywhere, even just to the bathroom.

I'm still in good spirits, and feeling really positive about all of this.  But it is still exhausting to get around, and I have pain and swelling if my leg isn't elevated for any period of time.  I'm hopeful that I'll continue to see improvements - little by little, day by day.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Two at a Time

It's time to get pajamas on.  Andrew is resisting.

Travis says, "Do you want to walk upstairs or do you want me to carry you?"  Andrew will not be moved.

Travis says, "If you walk upstairs with me, you can take the stairs two at a time!"  Andrew immediately hops off the couch, runs to the stairs, reaches for Daddy's hands, and walks up with GIANT steps.

Daddy knows how to speak Toddler.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

first foods

The time has come for Miss Clara to try some solid food and so far, she's taken to it like a duck to water!  We are doing Baby Led Weaning again (highly recommended!), having had such incredible success with Andrew, and Clara is already proving to be just as amazing and adventurous an eater, which is so exciting to watch.

Her first meal was roasted parsnips and apple wedges.

Since then her repertoire has exploded: baked sweet potato, steamed asparagus, Cutie segments (those little orange/tangerine thingys), oatmeal, egg yolk, white potato, boiled carrots, roast chicken, beef brisket, hummus, orzo pasta with feta and tomatoes, banana, broccoli...  that's all I can remember.  It seems like there's nothing she won't try!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Broken Ankle

Warning: My X-ray pictures are in here.  If you don't like looking at stuff like that, maybe you should skip this one.

So here's how it all went down.

On the afternoon of December 4, I was in the mother's room at work on the fourth floor, doing the pumping thing that I do three times a day.  Of course I was totally multitasking - getting some work done, going over my to-do lists, making a couple phone calls - distracted, I guess.  I grabbed my milk and my laptop and headed back to my desk on the third floor, like I always do, taking the back stairs, like I always do.  

About eight steps before I reached the third floor, my foot slipped off the front of the stair.  I was wearing these cute ballet flats I had just picked up, and my left foot just slipped.  I came down on my left toe on the next step and sort of wobbled there, trying to catch myself, deciding whether to sacrifice the laptop.  I rocked what turned out to be the wrong way and my leg bone kind of came down independently of my ankle.  

I looked at it and instantly knew it was dislocated.  I mean, you could tell - it was just not right.  I screamed, mostly at the guy who had just passed me in the stairs, "My ankle is OUT!  It's OUT!  Call a doctor!"  A couple people came to be with me in the stairs, and a few more came in because they heard me yelling (and of course the stairwell has perfect acoustics).  The security guards, who have basic medical training, came to sit with me while we waited for the paramedics to arrive.  A couple friends called Travis, gathered my things, and notified my boss.  

The paramedics came and gave me and IV with Fentanyl for the pain (sweet relief!), and then I got my first ambulance ride.  There were a lot of firsts that day: first broken bone, first surgery, first general anesthesia, first, hospital stay...

They rolled me into the ER.  The PA there took one look at my mangled ankle and said "Have you ever had surgery?  You're going to have surgery today."  They took some x-rays.  In order for the ankle to dislocate, the leg bones have to break in about three places.  It's called a trimalleolar fracture.  Even to the untrained eye, it was clearly not right at all.

The orthopedic surgeon came down to reset my ankle.  They knocked me out to do this.  Apparently they put me under and I looked over at the nurse and said, "Heeeeeeey, buddy!"  like I was talking to Andrew.  And then while they were setting my bones, I kept telling them to stop Andrew from jumping on my leg.  I introduced myself to the ortho doc three times.  Fun stuff.

After they reset my ankle, I felt much better.  As in, pretty much no pain at all!  In fact, I said they could just leave it like that and I'd be fine!  Unfortunately, it had to be reinforced for daily life and weight-bearing, so I would still need surgery.  But it looked pretty nice right then.

I went up to pre-op around 8:30p - less than six hours after I even broke the thing.  When I woke up, I had a plate and ten screws in my leg.  Technically the surgical procedure was an open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF), which I guess is pretty standard for this (fairly common) injury.

I stayed overnight in the hospital, and enjoyed the help of the nurses.  I was discharged around 2pm the next day, about 24 hours post-injury.  

The first few days at home were tough, painful, and awkward.  After that, it started to get better, first slowly, then more quickly.  Travis has been an absolute champ, almost completely taking over care of the kiddos, preparation of meals, and management of the house.  Our sitter, Maggie, has helped a ton, including staying overnight with the kids on the night I had surgery.  Some dear friends made us some meals.  My mom came into town for a long weekend.  

I've been in really good spirits for the most part, which has surprised me.  I've only had one really bad mood day (and one day with a migraine, which, whoa).  I think that I credit my kids with keeping my chin up.  It's hard to get down when you've got a baby who smiles at you like you are her entire world while she's nursing, and a rambunctious toddler who loves you so much that he's perfectly happy to sit and read books all day just so he can sit next to you.  

It's hard.  Maybe the hardest thing we've done so far.  But we're making it, day by day.

The prognosis is still a little fuzzy.  I'm going in for my two week check up on Thursday.  They will take x-rays, and I think they will have a much better idea of when I'll be able to start weight bearing and then the long road of rehab.  

My postpartum goal of climbing at least one 14er next summer still stands!

And now some pure cuteness: