I haven't been very specific about some aspects with Hannah's surgery because--well--we just didn't have all the specifics until today. Now we have the full picture of what lies ahead (sort of) and we'll fill you in so you can know best how to pray for us tomorrow.
God is already showing us His supreme care and protection for Hannah. One of our primary concerns with any of Hannah's procedures has been the need to deny her food--a huge source of trust and comfort for her. We were not looking forward to this and were anxious about what potential damage it could cause in our relationship with her. As of about three hours ago, we were set to be the second procedure of the day--meaning Hannah would not even be taken back for her procedure until about 10:30 in the morning tomorrow and we would have to deny her food until that time. This had us nervous. Huge praise! Protocol with the little ones at the hospital is that they go in order of age. Youngest kiddos go first. There was one child younger than Hannah scheduled for tomorrow. We got our call a little after 12 and found out that the child prior to Hannah had cancelled just minutes before! We are now the youngest case and therefore, FIRST! It means we have to be at the hospital while the world is still sleeping, but I cannot tell you the relief we feel about not really having to deny her food--or at least for not a long period of time. Her surgery is scheduled to begin around 7:30AM (Eastern) tomorrow morning. We have to arrive to the hospital at the wee hour of 5:30AM. We do not yet know how long to expect her procedure to take.
Some have asked what this specific procedure is for. This will close the cleft in her lip and nothing more. The cleft in her gum line and palate will remain. Her nose will be shaped some as well. In addition to this procedure we have decided to move forward with placing ear tubes and have requested those be placed tomorrow as well. There will not be a graft involved in the closure of her lip. Isn't it amazing how God created our bodies?!
When will we close the cleft in her palate? I had originally thought we could do all of it at one time (and some surgeons out there still do it this way for adopted children). We have agreed with our surgeon that it is best for Hannah and her recovery to do one thing at a time. Too much at once would just be too painful and difficult for her during recovery. Once Hannah's lip is fully healed (about 3-4 months from now) we will have a 2nd surgery to close the cleft in her palate. We are told the palate surgery is far more difficult than the lip, so we are bracing and preparing for that.
What do we expect as far as recovery with this procedure? We have no idea. Having never experienced something this significant with Hannah before, we have no idea what her tolerance for pain is or just how resilient she is. We venture to guess she is far more brave than either of us could be.
Will we have to spend the night? Typically this procedure is done on an outpatient basis. Since Hannah's medical history is a great big question mark for us, we have no clue how she will respond to anything, including all the anesthesia. So--at this moment in time she is scheduled as an "observation" patient, meaning she could potentially spend the night. If all is well and she is tolerating things nicely, we will get sent home early. I have packed bags with the intent of spending the night there and really hope the mere act of doing that has guaranteed we won't be staying.
How can you pray?
- Pray for sweet closure for all of us as we say good-bye to this amazing smile. We truly adore it.
- Pray our attachment with Hannah is not hindered at all by this procedure--in fact, we hear from many others that surgical procedures actually strengthen attachments. This is our prayer.
- Pray for an anesthesia team that is open to learning the needs of an adopted patient and willing to work with us in making sure Hannah's needs for security are met. Pray specifically she is able to be asleep when she is taken from me and also that we are able to be there the instant she awakes. These are specific areas we are sensing a degree of resistance from the hospital on.
- Pray for swift and easy recovery for Hannah and patient endurance for Chris and I as we help her through these next few difficult days.
- Pray for minimal scarring. This is her sweet face, y'all. It will be her first impression her whole life.
- Pray for God to be ever present in and through Dr. L tomorrow morning. For him to truly feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. For Dr. L to get excellent rest tonight and to feel fantastic and energized tomorrow morning.
- Pray for the ENT placing the tubes. For the tubes to be easily placed and for Hannah's hearing to dramatically improve.
- Pray for outstanding fully functional lips that can quickly learn all the things they need to do for successful speech development.
- Pray we get to come home tomorrow and do not have to stay the night.
- Peace. Peace on all of us.
Mommy: Tomorrow we are going to go to the.......
Mommy: Yes! And we will see the .....
Mommy: And when we get there Hannah is going to take a great....big.....
Hannah: Signs for sleep emphatically
Mommy: Yes! A big sleep! And when Hannah wakes up from that big sleep? What will be different?
Hannah: Puckers and points to lips.
Mommy: Yes. Hannah's lips will be different. And Mommy and Daddy will be there with you for every bit of it.