Saturday, July 30, 2011

Getting back to normal

Just a lazy Saturday thankful for being at home and hanging out as a family.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Recounting the scariest night of our lives

It's been exactly one week since the scariest night of our lives, and it seems only fitting to recount the story here if only to wrap up this crazy week and move on.  Last Friday night around 8 pm, Aaron, myself, and Kai went out to feed the animals and milk Weezy, our goat.  Helping to "milt eezy" is Kai's very favorite thing to do, and talks about it repeatedly throughout the day.  Aaron and Kai were milking the goat, and I proceeded to feed the sheep, goats, and finally the donkeys.  What I didn't realize was that Kai decided he had had enough of milking the goat and followed behind me to feed the donkeys outside the barnyard.  I had my back turned, and saw just out of the corner of my eye behind me Kai running up behind the donkeys, who were eating.  I shouted "No, Kai!", but it was too late.  One of the donkeys, surprised by Kai's presence, kicked with its back foot and hit Kai square in the forehead.  I immediately ran over, scooped Kai up, and handed him to Aaron, who ran to the car with him.  I drove as fast as I could possibly drive to the nearest emergency room, which took about 10 minutes but seemed like an eternity.  Aaron sat in the back seat with Kai, applying pressure to his head.  Kai screamed like crazy the whole time--he never lost consciousness. 

Everything was a blur once we got to the hospital in Mansfield.  Kai was still screaming and thrashing around, so they had to give him a sedative so that he would be still for the CT scan.  The CT scan showed that he did not have any bleeding in his brain, but that he had a skull fracture.  They started an IV and placed a neck brace on him, they then called for the ambulance to come pick him up and take him to Cook Children's in Fort Worth.  Only one parent is allowed to ride in the ambulance, so we decided that Aaron would be the one to go with Kai, and I drove our car.  I have absolutely no idea how I managed to hold it together as I drove the 25 minutes by myself to Fort Worth.  I just remember talking to myself the entire time, telling myself that I had to hold it together and could break down later. 

At Children's we were taken to the trauma ER.  The room looked just like the ER shows on television, and their were probably 20 people milling about, all focused on Kai.  Then all of the doctors came in to tell us what they thought--a neurosurgeon, an opthamalogist, a pediatric plastic surgeon, and the ER doctor.  The donkey's kick had not only caused a fracture in Kai's skull, it had also broken the bones surrounding both of his eyes.  As the night wore on, his right eye continued to swell and was soon swollen shut.  Kai went into surgery at 2:30 am on Saturday morning to clean out and stitch the wound.  We waiting in the waiting room outside the OR for 2.5 hours.  Finally they came out and told us we could go up to the hospital room.

I didn't feel relieved at first when I saw him.  I didn't know what to feel.  There he was, my tiny baby, laying on this giant stretcher, asleep, with tubes and beeping monitors everywhere.  All I wanted to do was scoop him up in my arms and hold him, but the nurses said he had to stay in the bed and couldn't be picked up.  About 30 minutes later, Kai woke up and started thrashing around the bed and screaming.  The nurses relented and let me pick him up.  He immediately fell back to sleep.  After that, they never made us put him back in that bed, and we never did.  Aaron and I held him the rest of the night, and all day Saturday and Saturday night. 

We cried every time we made eye contact.  I tried to sing Kai lullabies, or recite his favorite book, Goodnight Moon, but couldn't get past the first few words.  We basically just sat there, crying and cradling him, for hours and hours.  We pulled ourselves together when we had visitors, recounting what the doctors had told us and updating folks via text message and a few phone calls.  We saw the opthamologist, who was confident that despite all the broken bones, Kai's eyes themselves were not damaged.  The neurosurgeon also stopped by and said he wanted to monitor Kai to make sure that he did not leak fluid from the fracture in his skull, which would warrant emergency surgery.

Saturday evening was the first time we saw a glimpse of our old Kai.  He had a dose of morphine, and immediately afterward, woke up and said "read book, Daya."  (He calls Aaron "Daya"). 

This is the only picture I took while we were in the hospital, and I took it right after he asked Aaron to read to him.

We burst into tears and read him stories for about 20 minutes until he fell asleep again.  Saturday night was more of the same.  We traded off holding Kai as he drifted in and out of a fitful sleep. The next morning we asked the nurse for another dose of morphine, and it was as if a miracle happened.  He woke up, and within 30 minutes he had pulled off his chest monitors, was talking and laughing, eating cinnamon toast crunch cereal, and singing songs.  An hour later he was walking around the room, and within another hour he was jumping, climbing, and acting like a normal 2 year old.  The neurosurgeon came by and said that he was ready to discharge us.  It was absolutely amazing.  I honestly thought that we would be there another week, and might even have to have a major surgery.  Instead, we were told we could go home.  It was really very surreal.  We gathered up our stuff and headed home late Sunday afternoon.  I felt like I had been run over by a truck, but had survived.
Here is a picture I took of Kai on Sunday evening.

We ended up having to head back to the hospital on Monday afternoon because we were afraid that Kai's runny nose might indicate a larger problem related to the fracture, but we had the fluid tested and were told it was "just snot," much to our relief.  He was on prescription pain medication for a couple of days, and then no longer needed it.  By Wednesday, he was back to his normal silly self, jumping, singing, laughing, playing, climbing, and doing all the normal things that active two year olds do.  He is healing quickly, and he seems to have no memory of the incident at all.  Aaron and I, on the other hand, have had to do a lot of processing this week.  For me, dealing with the guilt I've felt combined with the pregnancy hormones I've got going on right now, I've been pretty much a basket case emotionally.  But we're managing now, and each day it gets easier, as he continues to heal and we see what an amazing, resilient, and precious son we have.  We've got lots of follow-up appointments with doctors over the next few weeks, but by all accounts, Kai has made an amazing recovery and is no worse for wear.

I would be remiss if I neglected to thank all of the amazing people in our lives who love and care about us and made the past week livable.  Thank you to Dad and Ann-Marie, Holli, and Mike and Lauren, who stayed with us in the hospital until 5 in the morning.  Thank you to Holli, who went way above the call of duty and watered our chickens and turkeys at 6 in the morning on Saturday after staying up all night with us at the hospital.  Thanks to James, who went and bought feed for all of the animals on Saturday afternoon so they didn't starve.  Thank you to those of you who visited us at the hospital, who prayed for us, who sent healing thoughts our way.  Thank you to my mom and to Aaron's mom, and to my aunt and uncle, who came to help us this week after we got back home.  Thank you to all of the friends who left kind messages on Facebook.  Our family has been incredibly blessed to make it through this week, and your love, support, prayers, and thoughts are a very large part of what got us to this point.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Here's a picture of our sweet baby boy from this morning.

PS--We've got a couple of donkeys we'll give away for free if anyone's interested. :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Looonnnng road trip update!

Yes, it has been a LONG trip, but a great one.  Just a few more days left.  I had intended to update with pictures every day along the way, but have found myself exhausted by the time we get the kids to sleep in the evenings.  So, alas, here are many days worth of activities all jumbled into one post.

When we left St. Louis on the 5th, we headed to Kentucky, where we spent the morning exploring Mammoth Cave, a really neat large national park.  No pics from the caves, unfortunately, as there were lots of rules about cameras, bags, and other stuff that we weren't allowed to bring with us.  Then we headed further east to tour the Wild Turkey Bourbon Distillery, on Aaron's behalf.  The tour was short and sweet, and the kids liked to pose on the turkey out front, so fun was had by all.

We then headed to West Virginia, but nothing notable happened there, so we'll move on to Alexandria, VA, where we had the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner on Friday evening.  Kai and Pla Shee were looking especially handsome.  :)

Practicing their ring bearing walk...

Family photo at the rehearsal dinner overlooking the Potomac river and Washington, DC.

Me and Alex, Meredith (the bride), and Wetherly.

Saturday morning Aaron took the boys to see the Dalai Lama in Washington, DC, on the steps of the Capitol building.

My boys in their tuxedos after the wedding Saturday evening.

Tearing up the dance floor.

After the wedding we headed to North Carolina, where we encountered a crapatorium called "South of the Border" in  North Carolina.

 Charleston, SC beach day...

 To be continued...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Road Trip!

We decided to embark on a grand adventure this summer--a road trip to Washington, DC for my sister Meredith's wedding.  We rented a minivan and headed out on Saturday morning for a 2 week trip.  So far, so good.  We're basically taking it easy, stopping at parks for picnics and playground time along the way, and soaking in the back roads of rural America.  When the boys get antsy we stop and let them stretch their legs, run around a bit, and we're good to go again.  Hotel swimming pools in the evenings have been the answer to expending all of their pent up energy and have made bedtime in a small hotel room at least somewhat tolerable.

Highlights of the trip so far:

Random playgrounds and parks along the way in Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Illinois, and Kentucky.

 An absolutely perfect 4th of July (despite the downpour) in Webster Groves, MO spent with our friends Melissa and Mark.  We were able to stay at my Aunt Sara and Uncle Lyndy's house in St. Louis which provided a wonderful break from cramped hotel rooms for 2 nights.

The Amheiser-Busch Clydesdales at the parade in Webster Groves, MO.

Looking very patriotic!

Other highlights (sorry, no pics) have included:  The Rock n Soul Museum in Memphis, TN and the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, also in Memphis.  Tonight we're staying in Beaver Dam, KY, and the plan is to head to Mammoth Cave National Park bright and early in the morning.  More updates to come!