Friday, August 21, 2015

The News

Today was the day we've been waiting for: Ewan's cath procedure to find out the extent of his heart damage. We arrived at Primary Children's Hospital at 8:00 am and began the lengthy check-in/waiting process. Luckily Ewan didn't seem to notice too much that he hadn't had breakfast! He was in a great mood and, as usual, enjoyed finding the fun in life (even when it involves collecting vital signs.)

The doctors and anesthesiologist all came to talk to us and were SO very nice! They were loving and understanding and promised to take the best of care of our boy. When it came time to go back, Ewan excitedly ran. His sock had turned around backwards and the non-slip side ended up on top of his foot. This caused him to slip and he went down right on his head. Oh dear. It was awful! He was screaming and there was a big, red bump on the back of his head. All the doctors and nurses gasped and we were all very upset. They told us to go regroup before they began the procedure. I picked Ewan up and after a few minutes (and being able to watch himself dance on Baba's phone) he calmed down. The anesthesiologist let me hold Ewan while they put the laughing gas on him because of all the trauma. He quickly got a glazed over look on his face, and I laid him down and gave him a kiss and hug before we had to leave him.
After leaving him, the panic really set in for both Quin and me. I was nervous about the procedure, but I was mostly nervous about the results. The doctor came and found us after about three hours and took us back to the office to discuss the results. He went into great detail (most of which went over my head), about the hole, the effect the hole has had on his heart and lung function, and where we go from here. All in all, the doctor is quite surprised and pleased at how well his heart is doing. He does have about 3 times the amount of pressure on his lungs that a normal heart would have, but his lungs haven't been too adversely affected! They still look healthy and there has been minimal closing of the arteries. These results are just preliminary. They still need to look at all the numbers from the blood they took from all the chambers of his heart. They also analyze all the data and review all the images they captured after they have all the numbers in. He feels fairly confident, though, that a VSD repair is a possibility. This would extend Ewan's life about 30 years. I am so relieved!! This is absolutely the outcome we were praying for!

After talking with the doctor, we got to go see our boy. He was just waking up from the anesthesia and was quite groggy still. He gave a giggle when we walked in, though. He's so cute! He was out of sorts for a while, but not too crazy. They let him sit on my lap since he needed to hold his legs as still as possible. 

Once they let him start drinking, he seriously guzzled three sippy cups full of water! He was allowed to eat and started with crackers, then chicken nuggets, fries, and a shake. He ate for the next four hours straight. He was so, so hungry! We had to stay in the hospital to make sure he didn't bleed and his leg clotted properly. Finally we were discharged at 5:00 pm. We had to head to get a chest x-ray before we left in anticipation of his VSD repair.

It's scary to think open heart surgery is in our very near future, but really this is the very best outcome of all. I fell overwhelmingly thankful for Ewan's preserved health. He is a strong, resilient boy and I can't wait to get that heart fixed up so he can start growing and really thriving! We are all tired emotionally and physically, but I have a feeling we'll sleep peacefully tonight!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Not-So-Good News

I have a whole slew of doctors appointments set up for Ewan, and we began our appointment adventures yesterday with cardiology. Ewan's file specifically says his heart is normal, so I had no reason to think otherwise. I made the appointment pretty much to check the box of specialists he'll need to see. I walked in with confidence that we'd hear, "Everything looks great, come back in a year!" The doctor listened to his heart, then ordered an EKG and echo. Even just getting Ewan to let the doctor listen to his heart was a challenge, so I didn't know how well those would go. Generally kids need to be sedated to get a good echo. I did my best to entertain him, and we had success with the EKG. He got a little nervous with all the wires hanging off of him, but I told him we'd take pictures to show Baba and all the kids at home, and he quickly became excited.

We went back for the echo, and I was nervous! The technician told me he'd need to lay down on his side and hold still for 30 minutes. He didn't love having to lay down, but he held my hand and let her do the ultrasound. Luckily they had a big TV with the Lego Movie (he loves any cartoon) on, so he was much more willing to cooperate. He held my hand and would look at me every minute or so to make sure everything was okay. He was such a good boy!

I was watching the screen occasionally, and at one point the color was on the screen showing red and blue. I figured that was indicating the oxygenated vs. deoxygenated blood. His red and blue were mixing, though, so I thought I must have had it wrong and was actually looking at something different.

When she finished the procedure 45 (longer than planned) minutes later, Ewan and I were both relieved! We had to wait for her to review the images and make sure she didn't need to redo any pictures. While we waited, we took selfies for Baba. Lucky Baba. I'm so glad the phone kept him entertained, though!

Once she got back, she had a bunch of toys in her arms. She told Ewan he did such a great job that he could pick any toy he wanted. Of course he had no idea what she was saying. He just saw a bunch of toys and thought they were all for him. Haha! She said he did such a good job that he could take whatever he wanted. So nice! He settled on a beaver Beanie Baby and a Hot Wheels firetruck.

The doctor then met with us again. He was very somber and let me know that Ewan has a sizable hole between the ventricles of his heart. A Perimembranous Ventricular Septal Defect. He said if this had been caught when Ewan was a baby, it would have been corrected and that would be the end of the story. Unfortunately it wasn't corrected, and it has had seven years to wreak havoc on his little heart. The left side of the heart is supposed to be the high-pressure side and pushes blood through the whole body. The right side is designed to be the low-pressure and just pushes blood to the lungs. When there's a hole between the two, sometimes the right side of the heart compensates by becoming high-pressure as well. This damages the lungs, and the damage is most likely irreversible. Because Ewan isn't showing signs of being under oxygenated (blue lips and fingers, etc.), the doctor's best guess is that Ewan's right chamber is indeed high-pressure. This causes pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary hypertension is incurable. It is sometimes treatable. It is also sometimes terminal. To figure out exactly what's going on with his heart, we will need a cath procedure done. They will be able to know what the prognosis and course of treatment is once that's done.

Life has been a blurry whirlwind since I met with the doctor. I can't even believe this is happening. I have cried off and on for 30+ hours now. I scheduled his cath appointment for August 21st, so at this point all we can do is pray. We will be joining in fasting and prayer for Ewan this Sunday, August 9th, and invite any who are willing and interested to join us. Thank you to all who have already said they would. We are desperate to make sure Ewan has a long, healthy, happy life. He is such a part of us and I just can't imagine our life any way but together.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

One Month!

We held Ewan in our arms for the first time one month ago today. It's hard to believe, because it feels like just yesterday that we were preparing to go to China. In other ways, it feels like we've had him for years and I can't remember how my heart felt before he was such a big part of it!

Ewan is doing remarkably well. He is happy, funny, darling, and finds something amazingly fun in every single thing he does. He's just delightful! Mei Mei (our 5 year old) said to me yesterday, "I wish I was Ewan because he's so cute and is always having fun no matter what he's doing!" We have Signing Time DVD's, and we watch them in the car. This has helped our communication more than I can say! Hearing the word "ball" followed by pictures of balls and showing the sign for ball is a brilliant way for a child to learn a different language. And he's learning two at a time: English and ASL! Perfect! When he forgets the English word, he always remembers the sign! It's the best! I filmed this on my phone a few minute ago to show just how perfect he is :) I always forget to turn my phone sideways when I take a video on it. Oops! Sorry!
We've been having lots of fun this past week! Ever since my mom was a child, her family would take trips to Lake Powell. We've had this annual vacation since I was born, and the tradition is still alive today. It's SO fun, but SO tiring and overstimulating. We didn't think Ewan could handle it this year, plus Quin couldn't take any more time off work. The big kids got to go with my parents, and the three littles stayed home. We promised Mei Mei we'd have a week o' fun since she missed China as well as Lake Powell. Quin and I each got to take her out on our own personal dates, but this weekend we did a lot of family activities. The 24th of July is a holiday in Utah. It's celebrating the Mormon Pioneers making it to the Salt Lake Valley and the eventual founding of the state. We started the day off by going to the parade. Ewan, in true Ewan style, had a blast.

 Clapping for the floats.

 Waving hello. So fun!

 Once the marching bands started coming down the street, that was the end of it. He could sit in his seat no longer. He had to dance, and dance he did! It was the cutest, most heart warming thing. He'd been home from China exactly two weeks, and here he is dancing in the streets with a large family (as well as all the surrounding parade-watchers) as a captive audience cheering him on. He's just the best.

 (You can see the marching band in the background.)

 This little man had fun at the parade as well. He's doing quite well adjusting to another sibling. He's been happier and more smiley than ever lately. I just love this little snuggle bug! I have an important Milo blog post in the works...soon!
One of the craziest things Ewan did at the parade was walk up to a man, say hello, then grab his vuvuzela right out of his hand and immediately put it in his mouth. Oh, man. I know we should be embarrassed and this shows an obvious need for parental intervention. He needs to know personal and social boundaries, yada yada yada. Truthfully, though, I just laughed and laughed. Oh, and had Quin buy the guy a new, non-slobered-on vuvuzela.

He didn't know how to blow it correctly and instead voiced a sort of sick sounding horn noise of his own into the tube. It was loud, though, and quite obnoxious (while simultaneously hilarious). This went on for the entire last half of the parade.

While I thought it was cute and funny, these ladies most likely did not. He might look like an angel with this horn, but they had to have thought he was the devil. He stood so close to them and blew that thing in their ears relentlessly. We'd get him to back up for a minute, then he'd go right back to their ears. They were good sports about it, luckily!
Milo played with a shoe for most of the parade. Our parenting skills were on fire this day, clearly.

We came home from the parade and had a mandatory family nap. When we woke up, we headed to the canyon for some campfire fun with Quin's family. Ewan helped roast his first marshmallow and enjoyed the fruits of his labor with his first s'more. He liked it for a few bites, then was disgusted at the sticky mess he'd become and quickly ditched the idea of the gooey goodness.
 There was also this perfect little hiking ledge. He was scared of walking up on the rocks at first, but with his Baba's help went up a few steps. He was SO proud of himself. This pictures makes me chuckle. You'd have thought he'd conquered Mount Everest with the amount of chest beating and praise he required. Ha! I love this kid!
 In the mean time, Grandpa and Milo were having a tickle/laugh fest. Too cute!


We had such a wonderful holiday! The next day we headed to a local "fun center". They have little rides and games as well as miniature golf and laser tag. Ewan and Mei Mei had lots of fun on the playground and even rode a few rides. Family time is the best, even if we are missing a few kids!

Mei Mei was invited to a play with her best friend the other day. She was getting fancy and even put some lip gloss and body spray on. Not to be left out, Ewan joined right in the fun. I love these two, sparkly lips and all!
Ewan has slept on his own in his room for the past four or five nights. He's done pretty well, and it's been SO nice to be able to sleep in my own bed with my own husband!! We have a video monitor so we can run down if he needs us. He's only woken up once in the night, luckily!

This first month has been a month of adjustments, learning, and growth for all of us. Ewan still has a lot to learn about what family means. He thinks every man who isn't a grandpa or child is Baba (dad) and every gray haired person is Yeah Yeah (grandpa). An older male child is always Geh Geh (older brother), etc. I don't know that he understands that his family consists of the seven of us, or that he only has two sets of grandparents. This seems to be a new concept, and I think time is the only way to resolve it. He's pretty attached to us, but I also don't know that he understands the permanence of us. He's also learning at lighting speed, however, and seems to be adjusting well. We've come up with a sort of modified system of cocooning (cocooning or nesting is an adoption term referring to making your world small and staying close to home while your child is still learning who mom and dad are. The whole point of it is to bond with your child and have your child bond with you. The most important part is that Mom and Dad fulfill all the child's needs.) We are venturing out more and more, but Mom and Dad are the only ones to take care of Ewan. We feed him his meals, help him get dressed, etc. It's working for now, but obviously we'll tweak it as necessary.

When I think back to the boy we met on that June 29th afternoon, I can scarcely believe this is the same boy sitting beside me today. There are a lot of things about adoption that are difficult and exhausting, but there are even more things that are rewarding, wonderful, and beautiful. I am so, so glad we said "yes".