Monday, April 25, 2011

On the Road to Recovery

Good morning! I've been meaning to write an update on Rowan and our hospital experience but I've been SO busy (as you can imagine). I have to figure out how to streamline this blogging thing because I DO love it.  First off, Rowan is doing amazingly well, now let me tell you a little bit about our journey.

Jason, Rylie, Rowan and I went up to Atlanta on Monday because Rowan had a pre-op appointment for blood work and paper work.  The blood work was NOT fun.  Apparently this kid's veins are hard to find.  The good part was that when we were done we went to my Aunt Amy and Uncle Stan's to stay the night.  They really spoiled us with delicious, healthy homemade food and tons of hospitality.  Rylie loved it there.  Here she is riding in Stanley's chair and "helping" Aunt Amy do the dishes.

Rylie playing at Rowan's pre-op appointment.

Washing dishes with Aunt Amy

Jason and I slept about 3 hours that night.  We had to get up and feed Rowan near midnight because he had a midnight cut off for formula.  We got a little sleep and then woke up at 4 because his cut off for pedialite was 4:15am.  We drove 40 minutes to the hospital and started admissions.  I was scared that Rowan would wake up starving and mad but he slept until they started taking his vitals and even after that he was sweet.  Amy and Julianne (my sister's) were there and he cooed and smiled at them both.  All the doctors came in for a chat (anesthesia, neurosurgeon and plastic surgeon) and prepped us on what they were doing and then they took him back. We even had a GA Tech student ask if we'd donate the bone that they took out for a study they're doing on the cells in children with this condition.  Absolutely!  I have to say, as much crying and worrying as I did before his surgery, on the day of I felt calm and confident that it would all be ok.  

Still sleeping when we got to the hospital at 6am!

Rowan just before going off to surgery

We went down to breakfast and after breakfast my friend Karen stopped by with her husband Paul and little Patrick (who had the same surgery 5 weeks ago!).  They could not have stopped by at a better time.  What a bright spot in our morning.  Sitting there waiting to hear from the doctor's and boom, we get to see how happy and well adjusted little Patrick was just 4 weeks after surgery.  They also gave us great comfort and reassurance and 2 venti coffees!!!  It was a bright spot in our stressful morning.  Being the great bloggers we are, we forgot to get a picture together, LOL.  I'm sure it's not the last time I'll see her though, next time!

After taking Rylie outside to play and downing even more coffee we went up to the room and the doctor's starting coming in to let us know how things went.  The anesthesiologist had to put a central line in because they couldn't find a vein (and now he's bruised from head to toe where they kept trying to find a vein).  When Dr. Reisner came in (the neurosurgeon) he explained that they got into surgery and decided that the best option would not be an ear to ear incision, but 3 incisions that they could take the bone out endoscopically and then the plastic surgeon could also work to reshape his head that way.  It was a little less invasive, yay!

Rylie playing while Rowan was in surgery.

When we finally got to see our baby he did not even need to go to the PICU as expected, he went straight to a regular room.  He looked really good and was chugging pedialite as the nurse was wheeling him in.She took him off the gurney and handed him straight to me!  He had an IV in his foot, a central line on his chest/shoulder, a turban on wrapped head and a drain coming out of it.

Rowan fresh out of surgery and drugged up.

Thankfully we got a sleep room every single night we were there.  One night my Aunt Amy even stayed with Rowan so that Jason and I could both sleep.  It was amazing!  He still did pretty well despite all of the interruptions. On the third day they took the turban off and the drain out and unhooked everything. We could finally see the incisions. It was horrific for me, but he did fine with it.  He only took morphine the first day and then the rest of the time only tylenol!

Day 2, a little more swollen, but still lookin' good! 

He even grinned and "talked to me(day 2).

The bandages came off and this is what we saw!

Being sweet right after they took the turban off and the drain out!

The nurses and doctor's were amazing.  Very sweet and patient.  At one point Rowan woke up while Jason and I went to grab coffee and the nurse was walking him around the nurses station while he flirted with all the nurses there  when we got back.  There were playgrounds, little outside garden areas, a koi pond and some little nooks to just sit outside and take a break when you needed it.  And we needed it at times.  As horrific as an experience as I expected we did have highlights.  Playing outside with Rylie at the koi pond, my sweet friend Karen stopping by to bring the MOST amazing basket of goodies for us (trail mixes, fruit, chocolate, magazines, gourmet popcorn and a balloon and stuffed animal for Rowan...that Rylie is obsessed with).  I am SO glad to have met Karen and her family, they are very dear to us.  I also got to meet another Twitter friend, Kelly, who was nice enough to stop in for a visit!  The time I got to spend with my Aunt Amy was wonderful. The kindness we were shown over the past week has been unreal.  We felt all the love. Rowan's speedy recovery, lack of swelling and resilience is amazing. To God be the glory =)

Taking a breather outside with some coffee.

The basket of goodies (minus the balloon) that Karen brought us.
We named the dog Choa (Children's Healthcare of Atlanta) and Rylie takes him everywhere!

Happy, sweet and delicious even after skull surgery.

Since we've been home Zande my MIL has been here and she has been amazing.  She's gotten up with Rowan every night (twice a night) and Jason and I have slept better than we have in years.  My parents and sister and brother-in-law have helped me more than I can even write about.  My grandmother and Aunts too. I don't have enough space or time to say thank you enough.  I'm sorry if this post is a bit of a mess.  I've been trying to have time to sit down and write it for days and haven't had time or I've been too tired.  Thank you all so much for your prayers and support.  I'll keep ya'll updated on our buddy and please keep him in your thoughts/prayers.  He's doing amazingly well but SUPER clingy (and 15 1/2 lbs).  I'm SO blessed and happy that the surgery is over and we're on our way to recovery!

Have a great day ya'll!  


  1. Huge hugs!! I'm so glad that all of you are doing so well. (And if your MIL wants to stay here on her way home, I could use some sleep. Hehe.)

  2. What a sweet little boy. I'm so happy the surgery went as smoothly as it did. A quick recovery to Rowan :-)

  3. What an amazing story of this journey God has placed you on. It is beautiful and speaks to the realities in our lives. God gives us hope. He brings arms to help us and often surprises us with unexpected blessings. I have smiled and cried while reading this. Thank you for sharing. You are a blessing :) love you, Aunt Amy