March 31, 2012

One Year Later: Surgery

Today is March 31.  It marks one year since Clara had her repair surgery to fix her diaphragmatic hernia.  As we explained then, this was really just a small step along the way for her.  It was repairing what caused her problem (underdeveloped lungs), but it didn't solve the problem itself.  Still, it was a critical day in Clara's recovery and one that we have remembered today with yet another surge of gratefulness and awe at God's handiwork.  As Sweet Mama said today, "we're sure thankful to be on March 31, 2012 instead of March 31, 2011."  We remembered the anxiety, the fear and the worry that we felt last year on this day.  We also remembered the incredible love, support, and thousands of faithful prayers that were offered for Clara one year ago today.  And on many many days since.  

You may remember from last year that March 31 is also recognized as Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Day.  So many of you wore turquoise last year on this day for Clara and for the other babies born every day that are fighting for their lives because of this birth defect.  This day will always hold special meaning for us as we celebrate the important step to recovery that it was for Clara.  

Here she is, post-surgery, one year ago today: 

And here's that same sweet belly today.  Scars are fading.

This is what I wanted to do so desperately last year, and couldn't.  So, today, I soaked it up.  And here's a little post-nap stare down too.  

One bonus shot too.... totally candid (hence the cell phone picture!)  I'm sure Rufus appreciated being read to this morning.  Poor puppy no longer has any personal space....

Say it with me: Thanks Be To God.

P.S.  Chrissy, weren't you supposed to run a race today?!  Well, um, yes.  This is the problem with announcing ambitious goals intentions to the whole internet, I suppose.  I did not run the Cooper River Bridge Run today, as planned.  I've had a wicked wicked foot injury (plantar fasciitis, for any of you who've had it) that has literally crippled me.  So, I haven't been able to train and decided not to do the race.  It was a good call. I tried running again one day this week and could barely move the next day.  So, I'm walking for now, resting, icing, stretching, wearing inserts and doing all the other stuff I'm supposed to, along with hoping that maybe by fall I'll be able to pick an event to train for.  Gulp.  

March 30, 2012

Playground with A Friend

It's so fun to watch these sweet girls interacting more and more.  Doesn't seem like very long ago at all, they were just like this or this or this

Here's to a wonderful, long, sunny, germ free spring and summer ahead!

P.S.  Happy Birthday to sweet Chloe who is turning one tomorrow!!  We love you!

March 26, 2012

"Beautiful Lungs"

More birthday photos will be coming soon, I promise.  But for now.....

We went back to Brenner today for Clara's one year surgical follow up.  Started off with a chest x-ray.  She was not quite as cooperative this time as she was six months ago.

The techs were super fast though and the good news is, once those x-rays were taken, we went to visit Dr. Turner for a follow up.  (After a quick stop by the NICU to check in on our old favorites.... it's always so good for our soul to see the folks who loved and cared for Clara so well those first 78 days.  We will be forever indebted to them!  Their faces lit up at the sight of her waddling around and babbling to them with her ever-present grin.  I think it was as good for their spirits as it was for ours.)

Just for fun, we did a little before/after look.  Here is Clara's chest x-ray from 3/23/11.... all those abdominal organs are up in her chest where her left lung should be and her heart is pushed over in the space where her right lung should be.  It's a garbled mess:

Here is Clara's chest x-ray from today:

Her left lung has totally filled the space in her ribcage (that's the one that was once described as nothing but a "nubbin'").  Dr. Turner said it looked complete, as full as a healthy child's lung would be.  Can't express how it does our hearts good to hear phrases like, "those are beautiful lungs," "her x-ray was perfect," "it couldn't be any better," and "everything looks great."   Her heart has shifted back to its correct location as well.  Other than a teeny bit of scarring on her right lung from her pneumothorax (no problem or concern there though), her lungs look just fabulous.  They sound good too, although we won't know much about their functional capacity for a few years.   The good news is that she will continue to grow alveoli until she's about eight years old.
We didn't get a picture with Dr. Petty today, but he came to Clara's party on Saturday so here he  is (left) with her then!  Dr. Turner and Clara are on the right, today. 

We will continue to have chest x-rays yearly until Clara is five or six and as long as there is no recurrence of the hernia (always a possibility since a patch was used to repair her hole), we will go to every 2-3 years at that point until she's done growing.

We didn't suspect any problems, but it's a great relief to have that confirmed in a film for us today and to hear the positive affirmation of how well Clara is doing from the folks who helped get us here.

She was pretty tuckered out after a big morning at Brenner.  I snuggled her a little extra tight during her nap this afternoon.  We're proud of you, Clara.  Well done, baby girl.

March 24, 2012

Birthday Preview

I'm exhausted from two solid days of celebrating, but I wanted to at least show a few quick previews from Clara's birthday yesterday and her party today. Full posts to follow.... sometime this week.

Friday's birthday celebration...

Saturday's party....

March 23, 2012

Clara's First Year

So many of you have watched us day by day for the past 366 days as Clara has fought for her life and turned into the most beautiful, happy, strong, smart and loving girl we've known.  Her birthday today is filled with rich and raw emotions for us as we are continually humbled by God's presence in our lives.  I have simply uttered the prayer, "thank you" millions of times since Clara's birth and I utter it again today.

Grab a box of tissues, and carve out 23 minutes to watch it all recapped here.

Happy First Birthday, Clara Mae!  We are so blessed to be celebrating you!

March 20, 2012

Welcome, Spring!

Trust me, no one is happier that Spring is here than we are!  The end of our quarantine is in sight and we are looking forward to the long warm days ahead.  I celebrated the Spring Equinox today with the sweetest little blossom that ever has been.  Enjoy!

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