Monday, September 22, 2008

We've seen our Graci!

Hi everyone!

We were finally able to go and see Graci. It took a little longer than we had thought because they had a little scare with her blood pressure dropping, but she is doing fine now. They had her covered with her cute blanket and she actually looked very good (considering). She's a little pale and puffy, but I think she looks better than last time. Right now she is still on a ventilator, and she's already communicated that she's not happy about that. She signed that she wanted a drink, and I told her we'd have to wait until the vent is out-- and I could see her fighting tears. She has several IV's in different places and four tubes coming out of her chest/abdomen. This was easier to see this time as we have gone through it before. I did ask her if she's hurting, and she shook her head, "no." She is resting well, though she is pretty aware of what's going on. She's barely opening her eyes, but she shakes my hand and tells me (by me guessing) what she wants-- which is usually to sing to her. Sadly, I forgot her CD's-- so we won't have those until morning. Jeremy was only able to be with Graci for 5 minutes before the combination of sickness, lack of sleep and stress made him feel like he was about to pass out. He headed home and hopefully he can get a good night's rest and come back refreshed and feeling better tomorrow.

It felt so good to have Graci communicating a little bit-- even if by nods and shakes of the head. It is SO NICE this time that she can understand English and have the comfort of having things explained to her.

Parents have to be out of the ICU from 7-8 for the nursing shift to change-- so that's why I'm here typing right now. It was hard to leave her because I could tell she wanted me to stay. I'll be so happy when she can move out of ICU and have her own room that has a bed for me so I don't have to leave her.

Taylor, Parker, Jesi and Elli-- I LOVE YOU!!! I told Graci that you were happy she was doing well and it seemed to make her happy. Thanks for being such good kids-- I miss you! I'm excited for Graci to get well enough that you can come and visit! (:

In closing, a scripture from Psalms:
"He healeth the broken hearted and bindeth up their wounds."
These words have been fulfilled today. (:

We've spoken with the surgeon

Graci is nearly done-- she is still in the OR because they are fixing an IV line, but she should be getting settled into the PICU shortly and we should be able to see her in about 30 minutes. (: Everything has gone well. She is stable and they were able to accomplish everything they wanted to do. They will, of course, be monitoring her very closely because of various risks, such as infection, bleeding, complications with the blood flow to the lungs, etc.

We are VERY HAPPY and relieved that she has come this far. As we've said many times, we appreciate every prayer offered in her behalf. Jeremy is still feeling under the weather, but has been told if he scrubs well and wears a mask he can come with me to see her. (: (: (:

This may be our last post for a few hours-- we'll see how things go in the PICU. Love you all!


4:10 update

We just spoke with the nurse and they are closing her up, putting in chest tubes, and making sure she is stable. Everything is still going well-- it is just meticulous work. Hopefully she will be done in an hour or so and we can speak with the surgeon to see his take on everything. I am almost ready to breathe a sigh of relief.

Have you ever tried to eat anything while your child has his chest cut open and ripped apart? Let me tell you, it's not an easy thing. You take a few bites, but can't escape the images in your mind of the sad state of your child. I had a very hard time choking down lunch... until I got to the most fabulous chocolate mousse pie-- yummy! I figured God must hae invented that just to bring some joy to this day. I was also able to giggle out loud from the latest entry from the most beautiful blog-- If you haven't checked this blog out, you should do it-- she is the most amazing writer and has literally thousands of hits every day-- no joke. Angie's from my favorite place-- Nashville, TN, and we've had some similar experiences that make me feel close to her. Her entry today was priceless, and I have to agree with her on the panties thing! See, now you're going to read it just to check out what I'm talking about. (: Another happy thing today--my dearest frined, Heather, just got her LOA for her little guy from China, which means they'll be travelling to get him in just a few weeks. They are the most beautiful family and I feel so blessed that Elli's adoption was part of what opened their hearts to their little Max-- such a cutie.

So see, there is always some sunshine in hard days... (:

3:15 update

They are all done with the work on her heart. They are now doing an echocardiogram to ensure that the blood flow is all correct. If everything looks good, they will close her up. If all is good, she should be done fairly soon. Thanks for all of your prayers. She has done very well!

2:15 Update

They are almost finished with the work on her heart! They have finished the patch on the VSD. they have attached the new valve to her heart and are in the process of sewing the blood vessel to her pulmonary artery. Then they will sew her back up. the nurse estimates another 1.5 hours. Good luck Graci!

1:00 pm update

We get an update every hour from the nurse practitioner who is assisting. Currently they are working on patching the VSD (hole in her heart). When they finish with that, they'll move on to the valve replacement. Graci is doing well.

Thanks so much for all of your love and support. It's amazing to me how many people are genuinely concerned about our little princess!


Still doing ok...

Another update-- Graci's still on the heart/lung machine. They are currently ballooning the pulmonary arteries, which were a little bit smaller than they had hoped but still manageable. They still haven't started the "big stuff"-- putting in the valve and closing the VSD.

You have no idea how much we appreciate your comments-- thanks!


She's on the heart/lung machine

We just received word that Graci is now on the heart/lung machine. Apparently, things are going a bit slower than anticipated, but she is stable. We should have another update in an hour or so.

New update

The nurse just came out with another update-- they are still working on getting her ready for the heart/lung machine. She said it's going slower this time because of her previous surgery, but it is going well and she is stable.

Graci is in surgery...

Graci went in to surgery at about 7:45 a.m.-- about two hours ago. We just had our first update from one of the cardiologists-- she is doing well, and they have made the incision and are working on opening the sternum. The surgery should last until sometime early this afternoon and we will try to post each time we hear anything new. It is really so crazy to think of the condition she is in right now-- so difficult, and yet such a miracle that they are able to do something so complicated and intricate. This would be so much harder if we didn't know she was in the Lord's hands.

We are going off just a few hours of sleep, but I'm feeling fine. Jeremy, however, is under the weather and could use your prayers. At this point he's thinking he doesn't feel well enough to go into the ICU when she get's out of surgery-- and I really want him there with me. So, we both appreciate your prayers...

Graci was in great spirits this morning. She called her foster parents (we call them "China Mom" and "China Dad") on the way to the hospital and they had a good talk. She complained afterward that it is getting hard for her to speak Chinese. ): She was a little nervous at the hospital, but smiling and sweet. The "silly juice" they gave her before the surgery really relaxed her and she left us giggling and loopy. We are so grateful to be in such a good hospital and to have such a fabulous surgeon.

Graci has been the princess for the last week-- favorite foods, no chores, late nights-- it's been fun! Jeremy took her for a Daddy Date last week and when she came home we had a little surprise party planned for her (Jeremy's idea). We decorated with lots of pink balloons and streamers, played Graci games, had ice-cream sundaes, and watched the movied of her adoption story. Her friends were VERY intersted in the movie-- and were so sweet about it. We also had each person paint one of Graci's fingernails so she could go into surgery with something from all of her friends. Graci was SO happy about the party and thanked us over and over.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, and thanks Mom and Dad for taking care of the kiddos. We love you!