Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I have finally set aside time to update you all on Elise! It's been quite a hectic, busy week and a half and I'm still trying to catch up.

Elise's procedure was scheduled on Wednesday, July 6th. Above is a pic of her in the waiting room that morning. There's one thing I can say confidently about Elise....she is a TROOPER! She was not to eat anything past midnight before the procedure. She could have clear liquids up until 8 am that morning. The plan was for the doctors to prep her at 11:30 (and we had to be there by 10 am) and then they would be ready. As with most hospitals, that wasn't the case. It's crazy to put a toddler through no eating or drinking for such a long period of time. But Elise was fine with it. She didn't even ask for water or her juice after 8. Amazing! Once we told her that she couldn't have breakfast, she looked up at us and asked, "No breakfast, Momma?" and went on playing until it was time to leave.

Typical of hospitals and doctors.....they were running a little behind. They finally got us in a prep room close to noon. For the most part, Elise was in good spirits. She would play a little, but we knew she was tired and weak from no food or drink.

We took this opportunity to take a few pictures and just love on our little girl! A few times she would take her gown off. She would say she only wanted to be in her diaper and socks. Go figure!

Above is right before she went into the room where the procedure was taking place. She didn't cry or get upset. We couldn't go in, so we had to leave her at the door. She waved to us both and said, "Bye-by Momma, bye-bye Daddy". So adorable!

The procedure took approximately 2 1/2 hours. They began at 12:30 and finished around 3 pm. Everything went better than expected! Right after they completed the PDA closure, Dr. Brown called us into a room and showed us the video they took of the catheter going in and placing the device in her heart. It was amazing! The device fit perfectly into her valve and no blood went through or around it (which is what they wanted to make sure of). The pic above is her an hour after the procedure drinking juice. She was to lay flat on her back for a total of 6 hours. Not easy for a toddler, but she did just that! She did have a leg brace keeping her right leg straight as to not injure or reopen the catheter site in her groin.

Bronson's cousin, Rachel came up to the hospital shortly before the procedure and stayed with us until Elise's 6 hour bed rest was up. I didn't think we would need another person up there if Bronson and I were there......but little did I know that Rachel's presence was a Godsend!!! Rachel is all too familiar with hospital stays from her brother being a heart patient, that she knows the support that is needed when anyone is admitted for medical attention. Later that evening, her husband Kevin joined us and was a bit of a comic relief for Bronson. We are so grateful to them both for giving us their time when we needed it the most.

What a night! Elise had to be given antibiotics from having a foreign object inserted in her heart so we were woken up several times during the night for those to be administered. There were also her vitals that had to be checked. And on top of that, a chest X-ray was ordered for 3 am!!! We were told several times that we would be discharged around 10 am. I said it would be a miracle if we got to leave by 4 pm that day! The wheels were set in motion from that chest X-ray....the ECHO was scheduled immediately following as well as the EKG. Both tests showed that Elise no longer had the heart murmur and all the blood was flowing in the right direction!!!!

We left the hospital at 10:30 am!!! I cannot thank Dr. Brown and all the staff at Memorial Hermann enough. They made this whole event bearable as well as comforting. I wouldn't say it was a pleasant stay, but it definitely wasn't terrible!

The old Elise was tired and whiny most of the time. When Mollie would wake up first, Bronson and I would make a mad dash for the room to get her out of there before waking Elise. We tried to allow Elise as much rest as possible. The old Elise could barely keep up with her siblings running and playing. She would come sit by me and just play with her small toys. And she wanted to be held all the time. What a difference a day makes! The new Elise is constantly running, jumping, giggling and being silly. Now that she has more energy, she puts up a fight like a normal two-year old that doesn't want to do what you want them to do. The new Elise doesn't always want to be held or carried....she would rather "do it herself!" The Friday after her PDA closure, we went up to my mom's to spend the weekend and eventually bring Mollie and Preston home. My mom asked me if I gave Elise speed! She couldn't believe how different she was. It's like the real Elise finally emerged. I was not expecting this. Not so soon. But I'm so happy! I'm so thankful that she feels better and she can finally be herself. Thank you to all that prayed for her (and for us!). Now I'm asking for prayer for me to have strength to keep up with 3 very active toddlers!!!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day!

This year, 4th of July was very low-key for us. Like every year, we go up to my mom and stepdad's house, either watch or be a spectator in the Rusk parade, and just enjoy being with one another. It was a little different in the fact that we were the only family that visited (Tommy, Gina and the kids have relocated to New York and Jason, Ashley and their kiddos decided to stay home this year). Needless to say, it was about as quiet as 3 toddlers running around the house can get. This trip served two purposes: one because it was our regular 4th of July vacation; and two was to drop off Mollie and Preston while Bronson and I took Elise home with us to prepare for her procedure (I will explain in the next post).

The annual 4th of July parade held in Rusk is your typical small town parade.....which is why I LOVE it! There's not a lot of participants or extravagant floats. Just nice, small town folk celebrating our independence and the history of those who brought about that independence.

Unfortunately on our way up there (mere 15 minute trip to town), I got motion sickness! And since I'm the photographer, we didn't get many photos. Oh well! But I survived and the kids still had fun.

Words cannot describe how much I love my parents' place. It's so relaxing and peaceful. Bronson and I don't receive cell phone service in that area....so no texts or phone calls. Although cable is available as well as the Internet.....we stay outside on the front porch a majority of our time. Above is Bronson with the kiddos right after they had a swim. The view from this seat is amazing! All you see is rolling hills with cattle scattered over them. Occasionally you'll see a few deer peering out of the woods and sometimes running across the pasture. Also my parents' horses are in plain sight from the porch. Every once in a while you'll catch them running the fence.

One of the highlights of the visit is PawPaw's tractor ride. PawPaw takes us around part of their land on his tractor. It's a bit of a bumpy ride, but the kids enjoy it so much! We get to see wild rabbits running around as well as spot more deer.

The kids seem to never run out of things to do up there. An imaginative play area is set up for them in the house; the drive has a Playskool desk with an abundance of sidewalk chalk; they even have their own little playhouse outside as well as two swingsets; and let's not forget to mention the barn! That barn has tons of stuff for the kids to get into. And just like being on the farm, every night all three of them are dirty from head to foot and tired enough to go straight to sleep. It's no wonder they don't miss Momma and Daddy while they're up there. I consider it a blessing! I'm so glad they have that comfort of being where they know they have the freedom to do what they want (play) and the security in knowing that we'll always pick them up ('cause GaGa does NOT want to raise triplets!).

Overall it was a nice, long weekend. But come Monday afternoon, it was time to say goodbye to two of our little ones and prepare for what was to come......