Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bridger's Surgery 1 year ago

So I'm really sorry, but this post is going to be a really long one, so I won't be offended if you don't read it, but I've been thinking about Bridger's surgery alot this last week and feel like I need to document what happened, so that I will be able to tell him when he gets older. After three days of having strong contractions and being dilated to a 4 and not changing, Bridger was finally born on 10/28/07 at 10:36 am two weeks from his due date and was a whopping 8 lbs 13 oz. I remember making a few trips to the hospital where they would monitor me and then send me home. On the 27th we went and walked all over Salt Lake hoping things would get going and we finally decided to go back in that night crossing our fingers that they would just induce me. The first nurse that was there had us walk around the hospital for a couple of hours and that still did not help. She was not a nice nurse and was going to send us home. Lucky for us her shift ended and a new nurse came in and let's just say she was an answer to our prayers! She did not want to send me home and convinced the doctor to let me stay overnight and they would induce labor at about 4:00 in the morning. I got an epidural around 11:00 so that I would be able to get a few hours of rest. 4:00 came and they started me on the pit. That got things moving and around 9:00 they broke my water and by 10:36 he was here! I remember during pushing that his heart rate would drop and the doctor was getting nervous. He told me that I HAD to get him out on the next push because he was started to get distressed. Thankfully I was able to get him out on that push. I remember thinking that he was so handsome and that I was so grateful to have him in my life. I noticed that his head shape was different, but I just thought that it was from the delivery and didn't think much of it. I remember laying in the hospital bed holding Bridger when the pediatrician came in the morning after I had him. She sat down with us and told us that everything looked great with him except for..... And as parents that is the last thing that you want to hear and you just fill sick to your stomach. She then informed us that he had what is called Metopic Craniosynostosis. It sounded so horrible and I remember just bursting into tears and didn't hear much else of what she told us. We researched and found out that this condition is when one of their soft spots fuses before it is suppose to and in this case it was the soft spot that is located down the forehead. Basically what happens is that there brain would not develop where it is suppose to and would push out anywhere there was room and could cause developmental issues. The most common procedure to fix this is where they do a zig zag incision across the head from ear to ear, cut out the bone and put plates and screws in that dissolve within six months. There would be swelling around the brain for around 6 months and they would spend about a week in the hospital. Needless to say my husband and I were devastated and did not want our sweet little baby to have to go through all of this. The weeks following his birth were a whirlwind of blood tests, eye exams to see if there was damage to the eyes, CT Scans and doctor appointments with the Neurosurgeon, Dr. Kestle and Plastic Surgeon. Dr. Siddiqi. Upon meeting with the plastic surgeon he informed us that about a year ago they had started doing a new procedure called a cranio stripectomy where they do a three inch incision right on the hairline and grind away the fused bone. It is a lot less invasive, no swelling around the brain, no plate or screws, and two-three days in the hospital. They also have to wear a helmet for 8-12 months after surgery to reshape their head. Bridger would be the 13th one to be done this way. The only way that they can do this surgery is if they catch it within the first 3 months of life, because the key is getting them in the helmet as soon as possible. Surgery was scheduled for January 4th 2008 and we pretty much had to try and go about life with surgery being a couple months away. They also told us that we had to keep him healthy or surgery could not be done. I was working full time and also carried our insurance so there was no way that I would be able to quit and we did not want the kids to be in daycare and risk Bridger getting sick. My Mom and Dad and Russell's parents are such a blessing in our life and my mom took two months off of work to come live with us and take care of Braxton and Bridger and Russell's Mom also took off two weeks to come stay after my mom left. We stayed home for Thanksgiving and Christmas because we did not want to risk him getting sick. We didn't take him anywhere and pretty much quarantined ourselves to the house. The week of Bridger's surgery what do you know? He got a cold! We aren't sure how, but he somehow managed to get a little cough. We prayed and prayed that it would go away and showed up to Primary's on the 4th for surgery where they heard him cough and decided it just wasn't worth the risk and cancelled surgery! We were devastated, and just wanted it to be over with. Looking back now I can say that we are so thankful that they waited because he really was not well and it wouldn't have been worth it. They rescheduled the surgery for the 24th of January and told us to pull Braxton out of Preschool and to be as careful as possible because if surgery could not be done on the 24th they would have had to do the other surgery. Russell and I still went to work, but changed our clothes and used so much germex before we would hold him! Byt he 24th he was healthy and we were able to get the surgery done. It was scheduled for 1:15 and we was not able to have any breast milk after 8:00 am and could have pedialyte until 10:30. It was horrible! He was so hungry and so tired and we just had to hold him and cuddle him and make him as comfortable as possible before surgery. I remember when the doctors finally came and got us and they let me carry him until we got to the surgery doors. I think that was the worst moment of my life, having to hand over my almost three month old baby to the doctors. It was horrible! I knew he was in good hands, but he was so little and it just broke my heart. Russell and I were both just sobbing. My parents, Russell's parents and my sister-in-law and her husband were all at the hospital to wait with us and I was so grateful to have them all there. Surgery was about 2 hours and things went really well. He was moved to the NICU and we were able to see him about an hour after surgery. I still remember seeing him hooked up to all the machines laying in the giant hospital bed all by himself. We did not want to leave his side. We were able to get a room to sleep right there by the NICU unit but I didn't want to leave. I slept holding him in my arms in the rocking chair for most of the night. Russell traded me off and I went and slept for about an hour that night and couldn't stand to be away from him. The nurses have you leave for an hour in the morning and an hour at night so that they can update all the nurses on everyone's condition and I remember when we came back in, Bridger was asleep in the bed. Russell went over and picked up his hand and said Daddy's here buddy and Bridger opened his eyes and looked at him so sad and just whimpered. It was so sad and Russell just started crying. It was so hard to see him like that. He had lost a lot of blood and were worried that they would have to give him a blood transfusion, but in the end they decided against it and in the end he didn't end up needing one. He spent one night in the NICU and one night on pediatrics floor and we were able to go home on the 26th. We went in the next week to get him scanned for his helmet and he received his first one on February 14th 2008. The first two weeks were horrible and he hated it, but it doesn't even bug him anymore. He has to have it on for 23 hours a day and can only have it off for baths. He has been through three helmets and we are hoping that he will be done wearing them within the next month. He is such a fighter! Someone asked me the other day what I learned through all of this and I've been thinking about that alot this week. I learned that love is unconditional and whatever our children are born with they are still our children and we love them no matter what. I learned that we have such loving and supportive family, friends and neighbors, people that gave up time in their lives to help with our children, family and friends that sent us care packages, and money to help with Doctor's Bills. Someone even left us a gas gift card on our doorstep to help with traveling to and from Primary's. We are so blessed and we are so grateful for this challenge in our life because it truly strengthened our testimonies of the gospel. I have posted pictures of when he was born so that you could see the how narrow his forehead is, some pictures waiting for surgery, and pictures of the surgery. Sorry this is so long!!

These are some pictures when he was just
a few days old and you can really see his
forehead and how pronounced the bone was.

waiting for surgery, trying to keep him happy
he hadn't had any milk for around 6 hours

After Surgery holding him in the Nicu. I
didn't want to leave his side.

When we got moved to our own room, see how bad his
face is swollen

Bridger out of Nicu and in his own room. He couldn't hardly
open his eyes because his face was pretty swollen.

Two days later we got to go home!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Christmas 2008

We had a great Christmas this year and we were so grateful to be here to celebrate with our families! Last year we weren't able to come home for Thanksgiving or Christmas due to Bridger's medical condition so it was extra nice to be able to be here. Christmas Eve we spent the evening with Russell's family. Christmas we just stayed home and enjoyed our time together playing with all the fun things the boys got. Friday we had my family party in the afternoon and one with my extended family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc on Friday night. There are so many pictures so I just put them in a slideshow. Enjoy!

Christmas Candy Making Day!

Every year we get together with my mom, sister, and sister in law and make candy plates for neighbors. We make dipped pretzels, caramels, sugar cookies, chocolate dipped gummy bears (my favorite!), chocolate dipped cinnamon Santas, peanut butter cups, you name it, we probably made it!! This is the first time in at least 5 years that I was able to be there and it was so much fun! The kids love to help and are getting old enough that it is fun for them, but I'm sure they ate more then they made! But so did I, so o'well! Bridger and Addison also loved to empty out the cupboards and the older kids had to take a break after a while and go outside to do some sledding.
*Disclaimer* A lot of the pictures have the children licking there fingers and eating while they were making the candy and to the best of our knowledge we made them wash their hands every time we saw them = )!!!

Why we didn't decorate our Christmas tree!!

I'm finally trying to get caught up on our blog so i will be posting all of our Christmas pictures. These pictures are of Bridger knocking down our Christmas tree! It happened a number of times so I was really glad that we don't have many decorations and that I didn't put them all on there! I was in the kitchen making dinner when I heard Bridger crying in the living room. I went in there and this is what I saw.....

Christmas 2008