Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lyla's 4th Birthday

Lyla's birthday was back in the beginning of December.  Her party had to get canceled because she caught the stomach flu that was going around.  Then, I was sick on her birthday.  I felt terrible because I was so nauseated, I couldn't move or I'd throw up.  I even had to cancel a neuro appointment that day since I was so sick.  But Lyla was truly, so sweet about it and didn't even complain once that I was a useless mom on her big day.  Anyway, we still did presents on her birthday and she was thrilled with her gifts...

She had been asking for those cookies for a while. And she busted out the bead necklace making set that very day and made all her girlfriends necklaces.

That night, Nate came home with a cupcake that he got from some event at school and since I had felt so sick, we used that for her birthday cupcake. She was thrilled. :)

We finally had her birthday party a few days later.  It was a baking theme.  Each of the girls got their very own apron, baker's hat (which were huge!), and a rolling pin.

The idea was for the girls to roll out their dough with their pins, cut out the cookies, and we'd bake them and decorate them.  Unfortunately, the dough ball that was in the fridge was super hard... dah!  Nate used his super strong muscles and rolled the dough out and the girls cut out their cookie shapes.  Then we had lunch while the cookies baked, but in the craziness of all that, I forgot the cookies in the oven (nooooooo!!!!!) and they turned out to be pretty crisp.  Oh well.  The girls had fun decorating them, nonetheless.  :)

Then it was on to presents. Lyla has some of the sweetest, and cutest friend in the world.  And Ruby claims them all as her own. :)

Overall, Lyla had a really great birthday and she (and me and Rube) really loves those friends of hers.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

She's Finished!

Because I use this blog as somewhat of a journal and because I realize not EVERYONE wants to read all the details of my life, I have provided a short and long version of Lyla's Clubfoot journey.  Feel free to read whichever you like. :)

A little over 4 years ago, my sweet Lyla was born with Club Foot. We knew about it from our 20 week ultrasound and were prepared for it at her birth. At 1 week she was put into full-leg casts that were changed each week so they could slowly correct her feet. When she was 5 weeks old, they cut her achilles tendon on her right foot so it could lengthen. She then had casts for another 3 weeks. After the casts and at just under 2 months of age, she was then put into a brace that looked like a mini snowboard. She wore this brace for 23 hours a day for 3 months. After that, she wore her brace every time she napped or slept at night for several more months to a year. Over the next couple years we slowly weaned her off her brace. She hasn't had to wear her brace in over a year. Today we went to see her club foot doctor and he officially told me he doesn't need to see her anymore and that her feet look awesome. YAY!!! We are so blessed to have had such great doctors, especially the ones in the beginning who did all the work! And the best part? Lyla doesn't remember one single bit of it. :) Blessings!

Before I ever got pregnant, I remember dreaming of all the fun and exciting details that came with pregnancy... finding out, feeling the little flutters and then kicks in your stomach, baby showers, and ultrasounds...  So, aside from the morning sickness in the first trimester, everything was going very smoothly and I was loving every bit of it.  When it came to our 20 week ultrasound, we were SOO excited.  We had both sides of our family cast votes on whether or not they thought our first baby would be a boy or a girl.  We were pumped!  

When we got into our ultrasound, we they informed us that they mostly are looking to make sure our baby is healthy and there are no concerns, and then they would try to see if they could tell the gender.  Eventually we found out that we were having a GIRL, which we were SO excited about.  And then the ultrasound tech started to spend an unusual amount of time looking at her legs and feet.  She finally said she was going to get a doctor and we asked if something was wrong.  She said she just had a question about her feet.  While she was gone, Nate and I were panicked.  I remember thinking that maybe she had webbed toes and Nate wondering if she was going to have any feet at all.  So, the head doctor came in and took a look at our baby and confirmed what the tech had thought... our baby had Club Foot.  To say we were devastated is an understatement.  I tried to be tough while listening to them and then as soon as the doctor left, I lost it.  Nate was solid and composed, probably making up for my crazy hormones.  The doctors came back with all sorts of pamphlets and advice for us and told me that I was the only one who would remember any of it.  Anyway, needless to say, I called in sick to work that day :)

Fast forward a few months and Lyla was born and we were prepared to see her little feet.  We felt really blessed that we found out in the ultrasound, because many people find out at birth instead, which would be tough.  So, here are her little feet...

Everything we read and all the advice we received said that we should begin casting as soon as possible to start correcting her feet.  So, Lyla had 4 sets of casts, changing them every week, while they slowly corrected her feet to the proper position.

Lyla getting her first cast on.
You can see from this picture how I handled the whole thing :)

I was a WRECK!
 Her left foot was a "Positional" Club Foot and her right was a "True Club" foot.  That basically meant that they would have to do more work for her right foot than the left.  Her first casting they "went for gold" and corrected it all the way on her left foot.  She was awesome and calm the entire time. We knew then that she was such a tough girl.

After first casting.

It was pretty sad that first day after because she used to love to scrunch her legs up into a little ball and snuggle up and fall asleep on someone, and the casts prevented her from doing that.  It broke our hearts, but we had to keep reminding ourselves that she won't remember any of this at all.  

We used to have to elevate her legs while she slept and make sure her toes were always pink so we could make sure she didn't lose circulation.  
Her new snuggle position...

Her feet after her first set of casts...

Whenever they would cast her or take her casts off, they would have to swaddle her so her arms wouldn't get loose and get in the way.

They took the first cast off her left leg until we did the 3-week long casts since it wasn't as clubbed as the other.

Then came the dreadful day of the achilles cut.  Her achilles tendon on her right leg was too short.  So they cut it to lengthen it and then cast it for 3 weeks while it heals. They say it's technically a surgery, even though it's more of a quick procedure.  They wouldn't let Nate or I in the room so all we heard were her screams.  It was heart wrenching!

Daddy holding Lyla after she screamed and cried from her "surgery".

After that, they casted her back up for 3 weeks so her achilles could heal.

Her last set of casts.
Getting her last casts off. The way they took off the casts was pretty alarming, but they assured me it was safe and even tested it out on me so I knew there wasn't a possibility for them to saw Lyla's leg off or anything.

Getting her last casts off.

When they correct club feet, they try to over-correct because they will tend to go back a little.  Her poor little legs were not used to being exposed so her skin was very sensitive.

And this was Lyla's amazing doctor, Dr. Stephanie Holmes, from Primary Children's Hospital.  She did awesome.  All the doctors we had seen afterward would always ask me who her doctor was and what a great job she had done.  They were all extremely impressed with her (and so are we!)!  

Lyla and Dr. Holmes
After we got her last casts off, we went to go get Lyla's brace.   At this point, Nate had left for Chicago to move our stuff so he could start his job at Sears.  Lyla and I were going to follow after she got her brace and another set of immunizations.  Since her legs were so sensitive, putting on thick, leather shoes was really rough for her and she screamed the entire time.  What made it worse was that her shoes were connected to a heavy 2-3lb metal bar!  After that, we went to get her immunizations at the doctors.  By that point, she was so tired from screaming and crying that she just cried as they gave her the shot and stopped immediately afterward.  I was so grateful I was staying with my sister-in-law Candace who was SO helpful in helping me to keep calm and take care of her.  She even sang Lyla Les Miserables that seemed to calm Lyla right down (Thanks Candace!)

Lyla, right after her immunizations.  Saddest picture ever!

And in true Lyla fashion, she warmed up to her brace after a day or two and was just fine.  She started scooting and crawling and used her brace to push herself around.  She would kick her legs up and bang her brace back on the ground over and over again (hello abs, and sorry to the neighbors!).  Anyway, we went to the Shriner's hospital in Chicago and her doctors would just adjust her brace as needed.  

Fast forward to a year ago and he told us we didn't need to put her in her brace anymore.  And then today, we went to her club foot doctor and he told me that her feet look so good and that he didn't foresee us having any problems and that he didn't need to see us anymore!  Yay!!  So here is the before/after pic again. 

We are so thankful for all the amazing doctors we were able to see, all the people who prayed and fasted for our sweet girl, and for Heavenly Father for blessing her and us through and through.  We could not feel more loved.  We are so proud of our Lyla girl for being such a trooper throughout this whole process!  Love you Lyla!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Find The Monster

Bedtime routine for the kids is pretty big in our home.  It typically goes: Brush their teeth, read 1 or 2 books, say family prayer, and sing a song or two.  Recently, however, we have added in a fun little element to our bedtime routine: Find The Monster.  Find the Monster is basically hide-and-go-seek in the dark with flashlights.  It's fun, goes pretty quick, and the girls love it.  Plus, it's a pretty great bribing tool. :)

Counting on the stairs for Find the Monster.

Fast forward to today.  We went to a COLE Fellow brunch for Nate at the COLE Fellow leader's home.  They had a really nice home with really nice stuff.  So, as we were about to leave and were saying our goodbye's, I found Ruby trying to shut herself in a closet.  Embarrassed since there was about 15 people right there, including the owners, I quickly grabbed Ruby and told her not to go into closets.  She sort of panicked and opened another closet door.  I quickly shut it and told her again that she can't go looking in peoples' closets.  Then, I hear Lyla yelling out "1, 2, 3, 4..." and it all clicked.  Ruby was trying to hide from Lyla.  So Ruby, not knowing where to hide, heads over to the huge entryway rug and wiggles herself underneath it and lays so still with her little legs poking out.  I really wish I got a picture of it because it was hilarious.  The wife of the COLE Leader said something to the effect of Ruby getting into all the places that people were not supposed to see.  I was mortified, but it was so funny and cute I still let her lay underneath that rug like she was in her best hiding spot ever.

I have the cutest kids in the world!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Lyla 4, Ruby 2 Pics

I finally got to taking Ruby's 2 year and Lyla's 4 year pics.  We tried getting some of Ruby when we did our family photo shoot, but she was being very stubborn and would not smile when taking pictures by herself.  So, although she turned 2 in October, taking her 2 year pictures in December would have to do.  I really love my sweet girls and feel so lucky and blessed to be their mom (though, they may not feel the same, haha!).  I am planning to do an individual update post for each of them, but thought I'd post the pics of our little shoot for now.  Here they are...  

My personal favorite of Lyla. It's just such a sweet smile!

And then the only decent one I got of the girls together...

These two crack me up!
Pics with Ruby started out rough and ended great.  We gave Lyla a candy cane for doing a good job smiling for pics and Ruby was upset that she actually had to work for her candy cane.  So it started out like this...

Listening to Nate explain the whole candy cane deal...

Unsure if she should actually trust us.
We finally gave her a lick or small taste of the candy cane and then her attitude started improving...

My personal favorite.  This is so her!

My other favorite.
 At the end we were heading back to the car and Nate was teasing Ruby.  He was saying something like "Don't you hug that tree or I'll tickle you!" and so naturally, she ran to the tree and hugged it while laughing hysterically.

Most hilarious face, ever!
I love my little ladies!