Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Surgery again....

Today was another day that mom and dad dreaded for our baby girl. Surgery day....again.

When Danielle was in the NICU she began to have quite a bit of drainage out of her right and left eye. The left eye over time seemed to heal, the duct cleared. Well, the right eye has continued to be pretty icky. She constantly has bright green drainage coating her beautiful long eyelashes. I have suggested this to her Pediatrician several times and the eye doctor as well. Late this summer Danielle begun to have this drainage quite a bit more and each time it was cultured and determined to be strep. This isn't a good thing and when I notified Danielle's eye doctor in IC, we went right in for an exam and set up a surgery date.

Surgery was the last thing we wanted baby girl to go thru again. The worst part for mom and dad was the eye doctor telling us that they could have possibly done this procedure at the same time as her ear tubes....UGH, talk about feeling like bad parents.

Well today was the day, we knew she would be in great hands as Dr. Olson was also the doctor that did Dylan's laser eye surgery when he was in the NICU. We had been told by several doctors of Danielle's what a minimal procedure this would be. Dr. Olson went over a couple 'worse' case scenarios with us and we were praying those would not be the case. We arrived at UIHC bright and early this morning and Danielle was the happiest little thing even though she hadn't eaten for 12 hours. She is quite the trooper! The Anesthesiologist met with us, the eye doctor met with us and they took her back. At 45 minutes the procedure should have been done, at 1 hour and 15 minutes mom was a little concerned. Finally they came to tell us that she was in recovery. We went into the 2ND stage room and Dr. Olson came right in to give us the news. Well the first words out of his mouth were....

'Surgery went fine BUT I have to say your daughter is SO beautiful, she sure awed everyone in the OR today with her smile. We were just starting to put the mask on her to put her to sleep and she kept smiling at all of us and looking around and smiling more, I mean....how could we put her to sleep when she was smiling at all of us? So we waited until she got those smiles out, but she sure melted our hearts today.'
That literally melted mom and dad's heart too. That's our baby girl alright, the happiest princess in town :)

So surgery went okay. Dr. was a little frustrated because it didn't go as planned. The plan was to probe her duct and dilate it so it was open for drainage. Well as one of the 'not so likely things' he ran into. One of the 6 teeny tiny bones in the top of her nose, one was blocking the duct. So he moved it back into place, but then the probe wouldn't continue on like it should have. So as he mentioned, 'not so likely #2' he had to do, poke thru the teeny thin layer of tissue to find the remainder of the duct. Well he injected the dye and it didn't suction thru like it should have.

So what does this mean?....we don't really know. We need to give it time, at least a few months time. We will pray, pray every day that things will be fine for our little girl. All of the inflammation needs to heal and we will see what happens. If her eye gets goopy after the initial 'healing' is over then we will probably know. The doctor was honest, he felt horrible. He said this is the 1st time in probably 3 years that this has happened. He was frustrated, we know he is a good doctor, we trust him, he has really helped our children. So we will wait, if this isn't corrected, well then, we will need to talk about seeing a plastic surgeon. But for now that is a distant, very distant thought.
As we have learned as parents, the parents of preemie baby's and 2 miracle children, time is of the essence. We will continue to take each day as it comes, hope for a better tomorrow than the day was today and BELIEVE...we believe in our children and their strength. We will hope, we will pray and we will believe, in our children and the power of the lord.
We love you Danielle Marie~

Sunday, December 27, 2009

18 months old & a Christmas Vacation!

Our Family 2009 Today our baby girl is 18 months old. It is amazing to think how fast the time is literally 'flying' by. Danielle is doing great, we went in for her 18 mth check and things are looking good. Baby girl is weighing in at 18 pounds and 29 3/4 inches long. Still about the 3rd percentile which is good. We are working to feed her a little more baby food during the day and she is still on higher calorie baby formula. We have been doing Visual Therapy to strengthen her central vision to make it more fun for Danielle to see things in the center of her body while sitting and in a crawling stance. Danielle absolutely LOVES Visual Therapy and our therapist is AWESOME! It is such an amazing and rewarding experience seeing such a great person interact with our daughter, teach her new things and see the huge smile on Danielle's face every single week. It literally brings tears to our eyes every appointment and Danielle is making great progress, the lord sure has blessed our family with wonderful people in our lives who really want to help our daughter!

This Christmas our family decided to take a Christmas Vacation! It is SO cold and snowy this December so we figured what a better way to help rid of our cabin fever to head to the desert west to Arizona! We planed the trip with Grammie Martucci and really looked forward to it! We packed up and headed off for some fun in the sun! Danielle is a pro at flying now as this was her 3rd flight ever and this year! She relaxes and enjoys the ride!

The day we left was perfect. There was a major winter storm in the forecast, we were heading out of town just in the nick of time! It was also daddy's birthday! What a great gift for him, a trip on his special day and with his family! Well Grammie Martucci doesn't let a birthday go un-noticed, miles away or not, she had this birthday decor set up when we arrived to our resort in Scottsdale!

Happy Birthday honey & daddy!

We arrived late afternoon and Grammie couldn't wait to get her hands on Danielle. After all it had been since June since she had seen the kids....and boy they were SO excited to see her too!

Grammie had this yummy cake for daddy! It was a delicious chocolate bundt cake with cream cheese frosting, can you say..YUM-O!

Daddy opened his cards and gifts and we sang Happy Birthday, so much fun for daddy on his special day!

After we got all settled in Brad and I headed out for a birthday dinner while the kids stayed back at the condo with Grammie, Aunt Britni and Uncle Chase! They didn't miss us any, they got LOTS of loves from family!

Everyone got comfy in their pj's and relaxed the night away! Perfect for the first night of our Christmas Vacation!

The next morning Daddy and Chase got up bright and early in anticipation of their 9am T-time for a round of golf. We headed up to the mountains to drop them off. They played a beautiful course, rated 42 out of 100 courses by Golf Magazine. It was amazing!

We relaxed for the day and soaked up the sun! Mommy headed off to our favorite kids toy store, the Kidstop! This place is amazing and every toy you can think of for kids 0+ up to teenagers. The elf's were wrapping away on this day!

Danielle loves her Grammie so much. Every day she was smiles all day. It was SO nice to be able to take the kids out without having to bundle them up in hats, coats and mittens. The weather was just beautiful!
That evening we headed out to a sports park called Cracker Jacks. They had SO many fun activities, volleyball, a hitting range, miniature golf, go carts, indoor games, bungee, bumper boats and the list goes on and on. It was a great place to spend our evening!

Bumper boats were a hit. Danielle stayed back with Grammie and mommy so we didn't get wet. The others... well they had lots of laughs and we enjoyed 'laughing at them too'! HA! Daddy and Dylan as well as Aunt Britni got stuck under the waterfall and got....soaked!

After bumper boats we hit the miniature golf course and took our try at 18 holes. Uncle Chase came out on top this round!

We then headed off to the go-carts. Since the kids were too small to ride them, they stayed back with Grammie and got in some snuggles!

We headed home for some pizza and got warmed up. The night got a little chilly, but definitely warmer than the temps we left in Iowa! The next morning Daddy and Chase went out golfing again. Danielle took a morning nap with her favorite Aunt Britni. All snuggled in!

Our condo was so beautiful!

Daddy and Chase were quite the golfers this trip. We won't say how many balls daddy lost the 1st day....HA! But the second day he did much better. The guys had a great time on 2 beautiful courses!

It was Christmas Eve and that night we got dressed up a bit and headed out for a night of fun. Danielle was dressed in her adorable pink polka dot sweater dress. She looked adorable!

We first made a pit stop for a Christmas Eve train ride. The kids loved it and the sun was setting, the lights were on, it was a perfect Christmas Eve train ride!

We then headed to our favorite Mexican Restaurant in Arizona, Ajo Al's! They have the best mexican authentic cusine, delicious! Everyone was looking forward to dinner that evening. We had great food, great conversation all with great company. We arrived back at the condo and got the kids all snug in their pj's and bed all in anticipation for Santa's arrival the next morning. Grammie set up this 'Arizona style' Christmas tree for us and gifts galore!

And look, on Christmas morning we awoke to see that..Santa had found us! The kids sure must have been good this year, look at all of these presents miles away from home!

Christmas day was nice and relaxing. We cooked our own Christmas feast complete with, ham, potatoes, salad, veggies, lots of yummy appetizers and a delicious chocolate cake for desert. The weather was warm and the afternoon was spent in the hot tub for the adults and pool for the kids, what more could we ask for!

It was important we captured our Christmas Vacation memories in the way of a family photo. We took a few, they turned out great!

Our resort was gorgeous, this is the life!

Our family Christmas vacation, Scottsdale Arizona, 2009!

Our last night in Arizona, Grammie and I had the perfect idea to visit Rawhide! This was a favorite place of mine when I was a little girl and we would frequent Arizona. Our trip wasn't complete without a trip to Rawhide. We thought the kids would really enjoy it so we were off.
Rollin' Rollin, Rawhide!

We first spotted the 'laso a steer' and daddy jumped right in to give it a shot. It was harder than it looked but he managed to laso him in!

Everything in the town was all decorated for Christmas. It was wonderful.

The town is an old town complete with a jail and the town sheriff who will hunt you down if there is a warrant for your arrest. There are lots of stunts in the streets. We really enjoyed watching them!

Mommy and Daddy really had a great time too!

Arizona sunset!They have all sorts of activities for everyone, shows, comedy shows, horse drawn carriage rides, rock climbing wall and much much more.

Uncle Chase and daddy tried their shot at a few games.

And a few un-lucky visitors got a visit to the Rawhide jail!

We ventured around the town, in the shops and saloon all before our dinner reservation at the Steakhouse.

All decorated for Christmas complete with a 90ft Christmas tree! SO beautiful!

The Blacksmith shop was really neat. Everything was hand made and even personalized for you!
We headed off to the Steakhouse for dinner. Rattlesnake is something I have had before and thought that everyone should try eating it at dinner. We had a few nervous nelly's in the group, but everyone was a trooper and gave it a try, after all it tastes just like Chicken but its really....um...rattlesnake!
We had a great dinner complete with live music. The atmosphere is so fun and you can really tell that everyone there is really having a great time. Danielle took a snooze during dinner, but she still enjoyed all of the fun!

After dinner we headed back out to the town for some live music. The main stage had a great band, the band members looked for a few audience members to enjoy in the fun up on stage. Daddy, Dylan and Uncle Chase went up and played a few musical instruments. The rest of us enjoyed the warmth of the fire pit and listened to the sounds of the music!

We had a great time at Rawhide. Before we left we even roasted marshmellows around the campfire and made some delicious smores'! We headed back to the resort for some great conversation before getting tucked into bed, we had a flight to catch in the morning :(

Our family really enjoyed each other in the warmth of Arizona for Christmas this year. Although we missed our other family and friends at home for the holiday it was fun to 'escape' during the hustle and bustle of the holiday. We were together with the ones we love, the kids had a great time and it is fun being along side them when they travel to new places and experience new things. We look forward to another Christmas Vacation in the years to come. Danielle you can tell is a frequent flyer, she relaxed and caught a few zzzzz's on the flight home!

Merry Christmas sweet baby girl, thank you for being such a great traveler!~