Sunday, January 23, 2011

Two weeks post-op

Cadence has got her groove back! Two weeks post-op for her cleft lip repair and she is her usual ornery, happy, silly little self! Albeit with a much smaller smile, but it's beautiful and we are happy to be done with surgeries for a few years. Honestly, I had a really difficult time with the whole transition. She just didn't look like herself. Everyone kept saying how great her lip looked and what a good job the surgeon had done... logically I knew this to be true. But where was the little girl that I met in China just 4 months ago? Understandably her personality was a little "off" too. She was uncomfortable, her lip hurt, and I'm sure she was wondering "What happened to my mouth and why does it feel funny?". I think this, along with the physical change, just shook me up a little and made it feel like we were meeting all over again. In the midst of my feelings of guilt about the way I was processing it all I talked to another mom whose son had surgery for his cleft lip after he got home from China. I was so relieved to know that I wasn't alone or a terrible mom for having to adjust to the newness. I am so happy to have Cadence back to her usual self and smiling her "new" beautiful smile!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

To Thine Own Self Be True.

From the moment I heard the words "It's a girl" I have had a slightly gut wrenching angst about the fact that... it's a girl. Three to be exact. They are children now, but they are growing fast and soon there will be all of the drama that comes with being a girl. Yes, boys have it hard too - but I've been a girl my whole life ;-) and I know just how hard it can be. I also know that as my girls grow up I will tell them that "I know how hard it is to ... be this age ... like a boy ... fight with your friend ... have a monstorous zit." And I know that to them, I will sound like Charlie Brown's teacher "Wah, wa, wah, wa..." So I hope that maybe they will come upon something, a book, a poem, a blog, that is as inspirational as the following one and take something, anything, to heart from it. From the moment I heard those words I pray for my girls that they will grow to be healthy, happy, strong women. I pray that they will have all of the right influences in their lives to succeed in all the right ways.

To Thine Own Self Be True.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Laurel's addiction

Hello. My name is Laurel and I'm addicted to my little sister, Cadence. I ask for her first thing when I wake up and I can't go to bed without giving her a kiss. I have ignored my parents, big sister, friends, and grandparents to be with Cadence. I would probably skip baton and recess just to hang out with her. When Cadence is within my reach, I can't help myself but to grab her and squeeze her and love her... even when she screams and wants me to let go. My parents thought it was simply a novelty to have a little sister in my life and eventually I would become bored with Cadence, but that hasn't happened at all. As each day goes by I think my addiction to her grows even stronger!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Surgery #2

My girl loves to smile! Big, cheesy, wide-open, "hey, you gotta smile back at me" kinda grins! Yes, it's bigger than usual due to her cleft, but beyond that, she puts her heart and soul into her smile. I believe one of Cadence's top priorities is to make people laugh... and she succeeds! People have said "She'll be beautiful when she gets her lip fixed". Yes, they have actually said this - to me! Regardless of the complete ignorance and rudeness of this statement I do realize that there are general "norms" that society considers "beautiful". Typically having a two centimeter gap in your lip doesn't fall in this category. But dang it, Cadence is beautiful!! Her eyes, her heart, her laugh, and her smile!

The day finally came to have her cleft lip repaired. I was nervous because surgery will always make a parent nervous. However, I was more nervous about the change to take place. Before I had children I remember a co-worker telling me that she grieved when her child had his cleft lip repaired. It seemed strange to me because of course he looked "cuter" once it was done, right? I get it now. Since the day I saw Cadence's picture in April I have loved everything about her. Now, one of her biggest, most shining characteristics was going to change. It would be an adjustment.

Cadence giving her cheesiest smile pre-op!
Below: When she's anxious she sucks on her blanket... soon that will be a little harder for her.

Gettin' goofy after some versed!

The surgery went great and the doctor was happy. He placed stents in her nose that will come out next week when he takes her stitches out. Surgery took about 3 hours and we were very excited to be able to go home the same day (it pays to have two nurses in the house!). It was shocking to see her. Her mouth is so tiny! I know there is swelling and that will subside and with time things will stretch, etc. Wow! What a difference! When we were driving home she looked so relaxed so I got my camera to take her picture. Without missing a beat, she cheesed it up! She wrinkled her nose and squinted her eyes. Her poor mouth didn't move at all, but I could still see her beautiful smile in there! Despite all of the obstacles this girl has gone through in her short life, joy is in her soul!