Thursday, January 23, 2014

Briella - 8 weeks

I can't believe it has been five weeks since I last updated! If I could summarise the last five weeks, it has been extremely busy - but wonderful. 

Having Briella has been my easiest "newborn" period in many ways. When Lana was three days old, I came down with Bell's Palsy which lasted for the next 2-3 months and was very very difficult for me. I joked that I didn't have postnatal depression, but I did have "Bell's Palsy depression" and in retrospect, I probably did. With Maddy, we were dealing with NICU and in addition, were still learning so much about dwarfism and about her future that it was overwhelming at times. That time around, I had "NICU depression". With Briella, however, I was prepared for it to be rough at first - and my expectations were exceeded since she was home so quickly. Briella is my first child with whom I didn't spend much of the first few months in tears! And that feels really good...

We had a wonderful Christmas with my family - mostly just hung around at home and didn't do much of anything. Great company, good food - it was really nice. 

As soon as January started, my schedule became nuts. In addition to all the doctors appointments, I'm in the middle of applying for Briella's Australian citizenship and passport, as well as my Hong Kong permanent residency. In terms of medical appointments, between the whole family, we have around twenty appointments for January - up to three a day. Many days this month, I have been at the hospital for over three hours. 

Life with a newborn is always exhausting - night feedings are not easy on anyone. Although Briella is my third baby, she's only my second newborn, since Maddy was discharged already sleeping through the night. I'd forgotten how rough it can be! In addition, I think Briella has a bit of mild reflux and many days goes through periods of time where it is extremely hard to settle her. 

If you have just one baby, you can sleep all day if you want - or at least get a good sleep in a few times a week. With three, that is much harder. With three and a hectic schedule, it is near impossible. We are surviving though, even if I'm somewhat delirious at times. 

In terms of what is happening medically with Briella, we have seen many doctors and they are FAR more relaxed in general than they were with Maddy. Her breathing is stable, her feeding is improving, she's growing and getting stronger. With Maddy, there was a great deal of concern about flying. With Briella, we have already been cleared to fly and we are planning to go back at Easter. The doctors will see how she is closer to that date and decide whether or not we should prepare supplemental oxygen for the flight, but either way she is safe to fly. 

Many of our appointments with Briella currently are focused on treating her clubbed feet. Typical treatment involves putting both feet into casts which go up to the thigh - however since Briella's legs are so tiny, the casts will likely fall off quickly. Instead, we have been using physio tape to stretch her feet into a better position. While this is not as effective as casting, it will at least stay on her feet. In addition, I need to do daily stretching exercises on her feet. 

In the next few months, we will continue to see how her feet go with this course of treatment. As she grows, we may start casting her feet instead. In addition to casting, she may need to have a procedure to lengthen the archilles tendon which is extremely tight. 

I've started so many blog-posts in my head but never get a chance to sit down and put them all into a coherent post. I'm sure our lives will continue to be slightly crazy over the next few months but I hope to update when I can. 

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