I shared back in September that Esther had had a surgery on her face to place tissue expanders around her eye to help “grow new skin. I also shared that I was the one most nervous about this new adventure.
I was nervous for a lot of reasons but mainly because I just didn’t know what it would be like to watch two “bubbles” grow on Esther’s head over the next couple of months.
On top of that I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to give her the injections for them ourselves at home. (More on that in a minute.)
Back to the growing bubbles. It’s really not that big of a deal and because I was with her day in and day out I seriously hardly ever noticed them. It’s hard to see the bubbles when all you see is her absolute beauty. You know you’ve got natural beauty when you can rock some tissue expanders on your face! Just sayin’.
Now, back to the injections. Yeah, we did them at home. Well, actually ML did. I held her hand… that part is important too though!
After a week or two of observing and training, Dr. Ray felt like Michael Luke could handle doing the injections at home. From the outsider looking in I’m sure we looked like some pretty cruel parents… or either weird scientist parents. Two to three times a week we would numb the ports hidden under her scalp and then distract both girls with a little Barney while they sat side by side on a bench.
They would zone out watching tv while Michael Luke would cleanse the spot and then stick a needle into her port and inject a few cc’s of saline each time. Most of the times the girls didn’t even notice… at least not until the end. Sometimes, Noah would look over and ask what was going on. But what child wouldn’t if they saw there parents doing that to their sibling. We liked to to do the injections at nighttime so that afterwards we could just rub a little pain cream (a mixture of essential oils) on to her face and then put her to sleep.
We continued this for several weeks. The bubbles kept growing and the top one got to a pretty impressive size. Then one night ML came home and noticed she had a small opening in her skin on the area that was covering one of her bubbles. We didn’t freak though. Thankfully, the dr. had told us a day or two before that this might happen and we were at a good place if it did. He had also given us his cell phone number.
We texted him a picture of her forehead and went about preparing to leave our girls with the babysitter for the night. Dr. Ray replied with the news we were both sort of expecting, “Don’t feed her breakfast in the morning. Bring her to Children’s South and we may do surgery.”
Thankfully, we have an awesome babysitter who totally wasn’t weirded out by the fact that Esther had a small hole in her head. I say this only because my weak little stomach really didn’t want to focus on that fact. She kept the girls for us while Michael Luke and I went to a meeting that night.
In hindsight that probably wasn’t the best solution for Esther though. She did incredibly well with her first surgery but that was because I spent weeks prepping her and days in advance applying Tranquil to her to help ease any nervousness she had. This time we had less than eighteen hours to prep her. #fail
Her tummy started hurting her that night and she couldn’t fall asleep easily. Our sitter texted us and I recommended rubbing a little DiGize on her tummy. Clueless me thought she was coming down with a virus or something. WRONG! She woke up the next morning sick but it wasn’t because of a virus it was because of nerves. Poor thing, she just felt horrible and dreaded what was to come. She ended up getting to surgery and having to take a Tranquilizer to help her calm down. It was not how we wanted her next surgery to go.
Thankfully, the actual surgery went great. The top forehead expander was removed and she was back to her old self in no time.
It was then that I realized her next surgery would need just as much preparation as her first. She had a little more motivation this time around too. Why? Because when she had the expander removed they gave her a sippy cup with lemonade in it! She wanted that again! Whatever works, right?
Her third surgery was this Monday. After weeks of preparation again and days of applying Tranquil for preparation she did great! She didn’t shed a tear as she was rolled off to surgery and even bounced out of bed Monday morning. To continue with the tradition of the first surgery she dressed in some of her fanciest clothes to go to the hospital. Wearing her pajamas like some of the other kids just isn’t an option for her.
She did great and then thoroughly embraced her “Queen Esther” roll while in the hospital Monday night. I’m telling you, staying in the hospital for Esther is like a trip to a resort and spa… on insurance. People waiting on her hand and foot. Endless tv. Meals at your request. And your own bed on wheels. What more does a girl need?
Both expanders have now been removed as well as all previously scarred and bound down skin. Her new skin on her face will now be as smooth as the other side. And the dr. surprised us by lowering her eye just a smidgen to match her good eye. Esther’s head will be in wraps until this morning and then we will resume life as normal until hopefully sometime next year. We’ll just have to wait until another day to talk about that surgery though.
P.S. For more on why and what type of essential oils we just click here.
P.P.S For more on our Hong Kong adoption click here.
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