Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mystery Girl

The mystery of Maggie's mouth continues.  To recap, when we first met our little lady, she had a very strong smell coming from her mouth.  When we arrived home, our adoption doctor discovered a patch of white/yellow gunk up in her palate. She was treated for thrush with no success.

We followed up with her dentist and our pediatrician, who suspected a bacterial infection in her mouth. She also was diagnosed with a staph infection on her skin and we weren't sure if that was related to her mouth.  She was on a strong antibiotic for 10 days, during which both her staph infection and her mouth greatly improved.

However, once the antibiotics was finished, the patch came back in her mouth and the smell came back. One reason why this concerns us is because we were worried whether or not the gunk being there would affect her upcoming surgery.  Our other concern was that when the gunky patch is bigger, it irritates her and makes it hard for her to suck on her bottle. Since she doesn't eat solid food yet (just baby food and formula), it's a big deal when she only takes in about a fourth of the amount of formula a day than she would otherwise. It makes her irritable, probably because she's hungry.

We have been in ongoing conversations with her doctors trying to solve the mystery.  We saw our pediatrician again last week, and she was able to culture part of the gunk. We're still waiting on for those results.

In the meantime, our pediatrician talked to Maggie's plastic surgeon on Friday, who wanted to see her right away.  So I scrambled to arrange childcare for the other 3 last minute, and off Maggie and I went to the hospital. Thank goodness I don't otherwise have a life!

The surgeon believes that the gunk is simply food and mucus that accumulates in the open space in her palate. He said her mouth anatomy is very unique, so it's basically a catch-all for anything in her mouth. He was able to clean some of it out and said we could also use long q-tips to clean it out as needed. He sees no concern for her surgery at all, which is a relief.  And stuck food is much less of a concern than an infection of some sort.  So I'm really hoping he's right!  And if he is right, I really wish we had figured it out weeks ago!  We're still waiting for the results of the culture to be sure there's no infection.

Since then we've tried to keep it cleaned out but it has grown back since he was able to knock some loose. She continues to fight the bottle and be pretty fussy.  Is it the patch that's bothering her? Or something typical for her age, like teething? Or just still adjusting to her new life?

In hindsight, IF it's been food in there all along, it's frustrating that we've put 3 different meds in her body trying to treat it, not to mention the various appointments, countless phone calls, money and time we've spent trying to solve the mystery.  But such is life sometimes.  The difficult part of dealing with a cleft lip/palate is that there is not ONE main doctor to treat that. She has a team of doctors and when there's an issue, there's a certain chain we have to go thru to get to the bottom of things.  That's a good thing and a bad thing. I'm thankful there are so many professionals putting their heads together and caring for our girl.  On the other hand, they often have varying opinions.  And I sure wish they could all just look at her at one time in one place rather than chasing down each one individually.

We'll hopefully get the news from the culture back on Thursday when our pediatrician returns after the holidays.  If it shows no infection, then we'll just continue to help her as much as we can for the time being.  I keep reminding myself that this is temporary as her palate surgery is only 5 weeks away!

In other news, we've continued to just stay at home for the most part. It seems like this break from school has lasted forever, and they still have another week off!! I could never home school, just saying. I'm starting to daydream about that yellow bus pulling up to our drive!  :)

Our Nature Boy decided he was tired of Christmas cookies
 and asked if he could gnaw on a broccoli stalk instead.  

How Jeremy deals with Maggie's fussiness.  She's happy to hang out on his back.

Girls in the handmade outfits they received at gifts.

 First visit to Grandma Toodie's house!

 Grandma Pat has her lap full. :)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Our Naptime "Routine" (insert sarcasm)

Read to and bottle Maggie.

Lay Maggie down.

Read to big kids.

Separate big kids into separate rooms to "rest" for one hour (as we do every day for my sanity):

Ben to boys room.

Sam to basement.

Allie to my room.

Begin list of phone calls regarding medical bills.

Sam comes up to poop.

Get him re-settled downstairs.

Another phone call.

Allie comes out to poop.

Get her re-settled in my bed.

Make another phone call.

Ben comes out to poop.

Sam comes up to ask if he can come up.

Ben asks if he can be done resting.

Maggie wakes up crying after only an hour. With poop in her diaper.

Change Maggie and lay her back down.

Allie comes out to ask if she can be done resting.

Maggie doesn't go back to sleep.

I give up.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Very Merry Christmas Indeed...

Truly a special Christmas with our Maggie Fei home and our family all together.

She looks like a teeny tiny doll in my lap!

These 2 can't get enough of each other.

Silly string...what was Santa thinking??

Had to call his best buddy to compare notes on presents. :)

Sam was more excited about Maggie's new toys than she was!

Hugs for Great Grandma!

Being silly with Mommy... and you can get a glimpse of her open palate.

Almost there!

Silly Grandpa.

Photo bomb

All worn out and ready for bed.

Giggles on Christmas Eve...

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Homecoming #2 (Home 1 Month Today!)

In honor of being home 1 month today, here's the rest of our homecoming story & pictures.

You can see my first Homecoming post here:

Picking up where the first Homecoming post left off, as we landed in Cincinnati.  Home at last.

We had done it.  We made it through 17 days of uncertainty, the trip of a lifetime, got our girl and made it back home.  I was much calmer by the time we got off the flight from Chicago, but tears just kept leaking out.  We made a quick pit stop in the bathroom (Maybe that iced tea in Chicago wasn't such a good idea!) and started to head toward baggage.  After spending so many days in overcrowded China, the Cincinnati airport was a ghost town. We had this long, straight, quiet, eery walk. I wasn't sure where we would find our family.  All of sudden I realized they were all straight ahead at the end of a very long walkway.  I swear it was the longest walk of my life! We could see each other but it just seemed like we weren't getting to them!  My parents were there, my sister and her kids, my grandma (who said she wouldn't have missed that moment if she had to crawl!),  and Jeremy's brother. Our friends Leigh and Brian and their daughter Evie was also there, Leigh taking pictures of our homecoming for us.  There are no words to describe the emotions of those moments. I was just sobbing the whole walk and my babies were jumping up and down waving madly to us.  Of course after all our efforts to get Maggie to sleep on the flights, she chose that walk to fall asleep in her carrier on me!

Finally, finally, we made it.  It was hysteria by all, lots of tears.  There were several video cameras and cameras going and such high emotions.  I wanted to just pick up each of my children and squeeze them for dear life. But I had our new child strapped to me , so we did lots of side hugs.  :)

Relief.  Such huge amounts of relief to be safely back to my babies and back home. Thanks to my dear friend Leigh, we have beautiful pictures to document these moments.  I love looking through each one, relieving those moments second by second. It brings back a flood of emotions every time I look at them. Leigh, I'll never be able to thank you enough for these pictures!

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

These final few we took ourselves.

Home at last.