Saturday, February 2, 2013

Grace's Lip Repair and other new things

First, a disclaimer.  My last post was indeed my "favorite things."  Not, "this is how things always look at my home" post or "every moment of Christmas looks like this."  I had so many nice phone calls and emails and comments that I just wanted to be very clear.  On a blog, you can put your favorite things if you want.  This is not how it always plays out.  I was about to be invited to speak at a Homeschool Convention because those pictures and posts and poems look so organized!  (Not really.  That is a shout out to my homeschool mom friends.  Even on my favorite things post, I have not arrived to your level! :)  )  So, to keep it real, please know that there were Christmas time outs for the older three and a couple "time ins" for the newest addition, AND I am pretty sure that Cory threatened to cancel Christmas at least once.  It is another holiday tradition that I look forward to.  The annual threat of demolishing Christmas.  And just for good measure, here is a picture of NOT one of my favorite things.

Four children are no joke.  Neither is the laundry they produce.  If you can't find me, I've been swallowed up by the black hole of never-ending laundry.

So, some new things in the new year that are fun...

Everything is better with a visit from Palpa!  The new year brought a much anticipated visit from Cory's Dad which was so much fun!

Palpa's visit also prompted Will to take off his training wheels and burn rubber on a new bike.   Palpa and Will went and picked it out.  He learned fast and is breaking hearts left and right on his "Blue Thunder."

There are so many captions I could pick for this picture, but I'm going to go with, "Duke.  Represent.  Or get off my driveway."

Just beautiful.  This is how Grace looked before surgery.  There is a nasoalveolar molding that Grace wore in her mouth, covering her teeth where her palette should be.  It also went into her nostrils to help prepare her for the lip repair.  It moved gum lines and teeth center, while keeping the nose from collapsing.  She wore this for 6 weeks, along with the taping, that stretched her skin around her lip and nose area so that the repair could be made with plenty of skin to use.  No one thought she would keep all of this in, but she did.  It really worked and really helped her outcome.

This is Grace a day or two before surgery without the tape on.

If you have to wear all this stuff on your face, you can definitely look stylish doing so.    She is so girly and loves bows and shoes and makeup (stealing her mom's makeup and attempting to put it on and rub it in the carpet).

If you're going to have surgery, a first trip to Krispy Kreme is a good way to celebrate.   Grace gave it 2 glazed thumbs up!

Up close shot.  We are constantly amazed at how willingly she let us pull out the retainer and tape and clean it and reapply every night with more tape and surgical glue.  Never moved or tried to take it off.  Sweet girl.

Way too early and just a bit giggly on the morning of surgery.
This is Grace the morning of her lip repair surgery.  We had to wake up at 4 am so she was a little tired, but so very sweet.  She let us cuddle her and sing to her.  I will never know if she knew what was going to happen, but she was very clearly ours and so loving.  It was such a wonderful gift.

She looked very cute in the Looney Tunes pjs and started to act a little looney tunes when they brought her a nice "cocktail" right before they took her from us.  We are thankful that she won't remember that part.

After surgery that evening.  Grace and Mom prepare to settle in for the night.

Look at that happy face.  Traumatized by every doctor or staff who walked in our recovery room EXCEPT when her brothers and sister showed up.  She squealed in delight!!  She was jabbering away and pointing to all the cool buttons on her space age crib.  They sang songs for her and Cory and I stood back and watched with thanksgiving.  We are family.  

Four days home.  Outside with big brother William getting some fresh air.

So, Grace's first surgery went very well.  Her recovery has been rough in that she is having trouble sleeping due to some "fight or flight" old habits coming back from the experience of all of this surgery and doctors and strangeness and getting used to a new way of breathing while asleep.  Grace, Cory and I have averaged 3 hours of sleep each night this week as Grace easily wakes up uncomfortable and with a temporary sleep apnea response to a new nose and lip.  We don't think she is in much pain anymore, but likely sore and stiff.  I will post more up close "before and after" shots in the next post, but am too tired to line them up the way I want and the man with the answers is sound asleep on the couch.  So, those can wait a few days more!  We are trying to document each day with a picture (thanks Amanda!) so we can see the progress, which I will share soon!  She should feel much better in a week or two and the dramatic difference in her lip and nose will be noticeable in a couple of months, although we are pretty amazed already.  Plastic surgery is such a phenomenal common grace, especially for little children.  That Grace can already say new sounds and blow bubbles and have a sucking reflex that we hope to try with a straw soon is just such a gift.
Honestly, we miss that sweet little cleft lip face that we fell in love with...we all have adjusted to a new look on this girl we love and it took some getting used to.  I know it sounds weird, but we loved her as she was.  And, we love her now as we are starting to see glimpses of our Grace come back as the swelling goes down and a little smile starts to try and creep in, despite a very sore lip.  Tonight she was dancing and giggling and her little exhausted eyes lit up like we know and love.

Before I close this out tonight...
Two last pictures....
Right before Grace's surgery, Claire and Cory had a date to the movies.
1.  The only man that will be kissing Claire in the movies for quite some time.
2.  The only man that she will be kissing for quite some time.  In the movies.  Out of the movies.
3.  Super cute pics and so glad my daughters have a Dad like this.


  1. My goodness. Bless you ALL for your grace for Grace! What a beautiful blessing you are and will always be for her. I LOVE reading your blog, and seeing the laundry just makes it all that much more real.

  2. I can never read your blog without crying. It is what it is, and I'm not that surprised. I love Grace from afar like I love Carter,Claire, and Will from knowing them. We love and miss your family every day. Thanks for sharing the real of are always so good at that. Can't wait to meet her, and spend time with your family. More prayers always from the densmores! Love, marnie

  3. I was happy to see and hear more about the surgery and how it went. I would be so happy to help you fold laundry on when I come over on Tuesday. I hope you'd let me!!

  4. I'm so excited for what God is doing in your family. Thanks for sharing.

  5. i read your posts with tears in my eyes--full of joy--as i knew, from the 7th grade, that your life would be filled with such beauty! You have been faithful and God is GOOD.

  6. Love, love, love those pictures of Grace snuggling with her Mama!