|No time for "big camera" pictures this week, so be prepared for some low-quality shots this post!|
Thankfully, it didn't happen all at once. Joci throwing-up on the way to her doctor's appointment on Thursday was the start of it. Although, at the time, I thought it was just a random bout of car sickness. That night, she woke up crying at 1am. I went to hold her and put her back to sleep and heard Jude yelling for mommy. So I carry Joci over to the boys' room, open the door, Jude starts yelling that he barfed in his bed, and at that exact moment, Joci pukes all over me and the hall floor. It was about this time that I decided reinforcements were necessary and called for Jon.
|Cookie in a mug!|
Jude was a trooper, even if he's still a bit skittish from the last time we all had the stomach flu. He went back to bed with a barf bucket and was able to handle things himself that night. Joci's a little too young to understand these kind of things--or alert you when they're about to happen. So she came into bed with us where I spent the majority of the night hopping out of bed with her everytime she made a noise that even slightly indicated the possibility of puke.
|This what Friday looked like.|
It was just 24 hours of stomach "issues", followed by 2-3 days of intestinal "issues", so things were looking pretty good for church on Sunday. Jude insisted on carrying a "barf bag" into church with him. And then he refused to go to Sunday School. Instead, he ended up falling asleep on the chairs in the "adult" service while still clutching his barf bag.
|So many children randomly falling asleep during the day.|
I thought we were all in the clear at this point, but then Julia randomly fell asleep in the living room after church (which never happens). And I realized that perhaps temporary narcolepsy was yet another symptom of this particular virus. Sure enough, within a few hours, she was down for the count as well. We decided to let her sleep on the floor of our room so I could easily "hop" up and assist her whenever the need arose.
|I think the dog has narcolepsy too. He hates to nap for fear he'll miss out on something.|
Despite the sickness, nobody slept in the next day. Jack started complaining that his belly felt funny at breakfast. I was debating on keeping him home just in case, but then he started picking on his brother and I figured if he was well enough to do that he was well enough to go to school. So he did.
And then the nurse called at about 1:00 to ask me if I could pick up my son who had gotten sick in school. It's time like these, when I'm dragging three kids into the elementary school office (two recovering and one still very sick) to pick up their barfing brother, that I realize how good we had it growing up just a few doors down from my grandparents for quick and easy babysitting. As if it's not awkward enough when everyone at the school is counting up your THREE kids that aren't yet old enough to be there, now they all know that I'm THAT MOM that sends a sick kid to school. I got out of there as fast as I could!
It was a gorgeous day, and Jäger desperately needed some exercise. So when Daddy came home from work, I thought we should all get some fresh air. We let Jack rest in the car with his Kindle and barf bucket while the rest of us aired out our germs.
|4 kids, a dog, and a barf bucket.|
Jack was still struggling that night and had us up at 11pm changing bed sheets. I was starting to wonder if maybe this was just a "kid thing" and that Jon and I going to make it through unscathed. A few hours later I got my answer. Around 4:30am, with a still-recovering Joci cuddled up in bed next to me, Jon fell to the bug. I hardly slept the rest of the morning wondering if it was coming for me next.
We struggled through Tuesday (and loads and loads of laundry), and I was still standing by the end of the night. The next day was Jack's field trip that I was planning to chaperone. The following day was the first play date for our church's play group that my friend and I are heading up. And Friday was Joci's pre-op appointment at the hospital. So there was really no time for sickness. And everytime I started to feel queasy or nauseas, I reminded myself of that.
|Me, Jäger, and Joci escaping the house and going to the woods--the one place I can take this dog on a walk!|
Thank the Lord it never amounted to anything. Jack and I had THE BEST time on his field trip to the children's museum. I was the only chaperone out of four kindergarten classes to have 3 kids in my group (everyone else was either 1 or 2 on 1.) It doesn't sound like much, but when you're trying to manage three kids through three floors of fun activities (and one three-story play place in the middle that gets on and off at all floors), it got to be a lot. I definitely lost all of them more than once. But they were really great kids and I so appreciated a chance to get to know some of Jack's classmates (and other parents) a little better.
|At Port Discovery Children's Museum|
|His favorite thing--the golf ball lift.|
|His other favorite things--Legos. Because we don't have that at home or anything! ;)|
Plus, it also got me out of the house for a little bit. Poor Jon, only on Day 2 of "the bug" was left to care for three kids and a dog at home.
|This dog knows right where to sit during meal time!|
Since I hadn't been home all day we decided to just eat at Chick-Fil-A and do a Target run that evening. Unfortunately, Phase 2 of "the bug" hit Jack and Julia while we were out, and we spent more time running kids to and from the bathroom than eating or shopping. Meanwhile, I'm still wondering how much longer I can hold out.
|Playing at church.|
|Some random little girl grabbed my phone and started taking pictures...|
But we made it through the playdate just fine. And as stressful and busy as this week has been, I gotta say that all the barf, poop, and laundry helped keep my mind off that major event looming in our future--Joci's surgery.
|In the middle of all this, we decided to move her to a "big girl bed." She rocked it!|
She had her pre-op appointment on Friday--the day of the big first-day-of-spring "snow storm." It was no big deal here in Maryland. Our wonderful friend Rachel watched the middle two kids so that Jon and I could take our youngest to "the city" to discuss her procedure, get some lab work and x-rays, and meet her surgeon.
It was a long day and A LOT of information. Thankfully, Jon was taking notes because I was having a hard time keeping up. I was also busy trying to keep a 19-month old entertained--a 19-month-old that only wanted to read the first 2 pages of every book I brought in her backpack... The nurse practitioner we've been working with is WONDERFUL. She walked us through everything in detail, and then answered all of our questions like she's heard them all before. Because she has. In fact, we found out that this is THE pediatric heart surgeon at Johns Hopkins. He does one surgery a day, around 4 or 5 a week. ASD procedures (what Joci will have) are the second most common and therefore the second least complex (the most common/least complex surgery is for VSDs, if you're interested.) So this is all routine stuff for them.
|Solved the dilemma of "What does she wear in the hospital?" Answer: two-piece button up jammies for easy access to tubes, wires, and diapers. Even found them super cheap on Amazon. And now she doesn't ever want to take them off. Or snow boots.|
So there were my questions--like "How long until I can hold her?" and "What should she wear in the hospital?" and then there were Jon's questions--like "How EXACTLY do you cut open the sternum?" and "What kind of metal is used to bring it back together?" or "How will you restart her heart when it's done?" So see, we were a good team.
Next was lab work and x-rays and, you guys, this girl was a CHAMP that afternoon. In the middle of should-be nap time, to boot! They had to take 6 vials of blood! From a baby who has never had her blood taken before (I admit, I'm guilty of skipping out on the anemia and lead testing every.single.time they come up.) She sat on my lap and they stuck her with the needle and she didn't even flinch, much less make a noise. Just sat there while they filled 6 tubes.
I'm so not like that. During each of my pregnancies I would DREAD the lab work appointment. And ya'll know my stories of almost passing out, in labor, during multiple attempts to get an IV line in. I'm just not good at that kind of thing. And apparently I'm not good at watching other people go through that kind of thing either because while Joci was cool as a cucumber I could feel myself breaking out into a sweat on her behalf.
Anyway, she had about 4 nurses singing her praises and patting her on the back at the end. And she cruised out of the lab in her stroller with a proud grip on a can of apple juice, a pack of 6 Oreos, and a handful of princess stickers. No big deal.
|They even let her keep a lab tube as a souvenir.|
Next stop was x-rays. Since she's so little they had to place her on a stabilizing board and strap her hands down above her head. And then they asked Jon and I to go into another room and watch through a window. It was so sad to see her little body under this huge machine--and watching her chest heaving while taking quick breaths. But yet again, she didn't make a peep. Here I am trying to explain to the nurse that she's "kinda clingy" and "sometimes throws a fit when she wants me to hold her" and Girlfriend doesn't even bat an eye when her mama leaves her alone in a room strapped to a bed. If nothing else, this pre-op appointment on Friday has me feeling much more confident in Jocelyn's hospital stay experience than I was a few days ago.
After a few snapshots of her chest we finished off our visit with a chat with the surgeon. He was able to explain things a little bit more (when I didn't even realize there was more to explain) about the placement of her incisions, how he'll make the decision (once he's "in there") on whether or not to use a piece of her heart for the patch or a special mesh material, why she'll need a blood transfusion, and just exactly why it's important to fix a hole in her heart (surprisingly, it's not so much because of her heart, but rather the impact such a condition has on her lungs). Like I said, my brain is so full right now. And I'm not exactly positive I'm getting all this correct.
So we're laying low this weekend. Joci just CANNOT get sick (otherwise it will delay the surgery by 2 weeks which would throw EVERYTHING off!!) Thankfully, she was the first to get, and get over, the stomach flu. And since she hadn't had a fever they said it was okay. She's had a bit of a runny nose this past week so we're amping up the vitamin C and praying it doesn't become anything else.
Personally, Monday morning can't come soon enough. For the past week I've felt like there's a band stretching between my shoulders--this constant weight and tension of what's to come. Even Jon said he's been distracted lately. There's rarely a minute that goes by that you're not thinking about IT. Which is why you start mulling over questions like "Just what kind of wire holds a sternum together?" and "What am I supposed to do in a waiting room for 7 hours while my daughter is being kept alive by a machine?"
Which is why maybe the stomach flu wasn't so terrible after all. It gave me something to do other than worry about next week. Yes, I'm feeling in over my head. But I'm completely trusting God. He created my little girl. He loves her more than I ever could. And He's in control--control of my baby, the surgeon, even the bypass machine. I'm just following wherever He leads--tomorrow, Monday, and every day after.