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Thursday, April 30, 2015

It seems strange

Saturday morning was my third "normal" day home this month. My third morning where I could get up and make breakfast and know that kids would be getting up and nobody was sick. So I got out the plates...no, the plate. I got out the food scale...then I put it back...I opened the medicine cabinet...and closed it again. The counter seemed empty, no glucometer or glucose sensor. It didn't matter how many carbs Capper and Evelyn ate for breakfast because there wouldn't be anyone who was limited. Heck, we could have JUICE if we wanted! Suddenly juice had become a beverage instead of a medical treatment.

I thought about my night. How I had slept well due to sheer exhaustion...and that no beeps had woken me up. No hospital alarms- IV pumps, oxygen sensors, ventilator. No glucose monitor alarms saying her blood sugar was too high or too low or changing rapidly. I hadn't set an alarm to recheck Anellah's blood sugar in order to fine tune it. For the first time in YEARS I didn't think about how her blood sugar during the night was going to affect her future. You see I made the mistake of reading some studies a few years ago. Studies about how severe low blood sugars during childhood may affect cognitive functioning later in life. And we all know that high blood sugar affects the body's organs. So for the last 4 years I have thought about these things when I should be sleeping. I have worried about how that night's blood sugar will affect her the next day or in years to come. I have lost hours of sleep either thinking about these things or waiting until 2 hours had gone by so that I could check her blood sugar and treat it. It's strange, realizing all my concerns for the future are now irrelevant.

It seems strange that the world keeps turning, that the days keep coming, when it feels like they should be standing still. I don't want to stand in this grief forever but I don't want to move farther from her. Each day I wake up thinking it's one more day since I last saw her.

Even in the middle of all of this. Even in the middle of sorting out what is relevant and what is not. Even in the middle of planning my kindergartener's memorial service and allowing the truth to sink in that she is gone...I keep returning to the verse God gave me on the night we made the decision to let her go. And I believe it, it's not just words, it is the truth when I say, "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living." Psalm 27:13

In the end, maybe I'm not moving farther. I guess we are actually moving closer. We are moving closer to seeing her again, in her new body without her pump and without discomfort and DANCING. As my father in law says, "She is looking forward to being reunited with us and to her it is just the blink of an eye."

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Sea of Purple

So many people have honored Anellah's short life through contributing memories and pictures tagged #AnellahSmiles on Facebook, through contributing to her memorial fund here, and in countless other ways. I received the below email from her teacher yesterday and was struck by the gesture which had been made in her memory.

You may already have heard this, it's likely that you have, but then I had the thought that perhaps it didn't get passed along.  And I knew you would want to know. Today at Fall City Elementary, there was a sea of beautiful sparkly purple in honor of your little girl! 

The principal had bought tons of ribbon made out of the fabric that Anellah's tutus are made from.  It was PURPLE and it was SPARKLY!!!  The ribbons were for all the staff,  the children in all the Kindergarten classes, and the Reading buddy class, and then I believe others made their way to the office to pick up their piece to pin on.   Anellah touched so many. It was such a lovely, simple thing but it meant so much.  I just wanted to make sure that you and your husband knew.

Thank you to everyone for your support during this time. Your messages, meals, offers to help with "anything", phone calls, texts, and visits have not gone unnoticed!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Memorial

We will celebrate Anellah's life on May 9th in Fall City and May 22nd in Oakland. Time and specific locations are to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, Anellah would be honored to know friends are supporting other children through the gifts of ducks, chickens, and goats. Here is a link to her memorial fund: http://mycause.worldvision.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.team&teamID=5195

Friday, April 24, 2015

#AnellahSmiles


And then you're home...and it's like you never left because the medicine dropper is still where you left it on the nightstand, and the ballerina boots are still where they were kicked off last time she wore them, and your other kids are just happy to have their Mommy home...so you eat your dinner. And you think maybe she is just taking a nap, resting like she has done so much in the last month. So you put your baby to bed, you put your preschooler to bed, they don't question it because she hasn't been home for awhile now. And you go outside, seeing the new life. The goat that was born the week the chaos started. The pea plants that are growing from seeds she carefully planted. The chickens that started laying eggs today, the chickens she named "Jessica" and "Orangie" and "Cookie". As if they were primed to give this daily reminder, one more reminder, one more ritual, one more thing she loved.

You wonder what it will feel like...wonder when the "mundane" you said you missed will return. But now you don't really want it to. Because you don't really feel like anything has changed. Your head tells you she isn't coming home, that you held her today while she breathed her last, that you experienced that one thing you always said you couldn't imagine going through. But your heart says she'll never really leave. Her smiles will always shine. If this really happened how can you feel such peace??

You think about your expanding family...in the past 8 months growing from four to five and back to four. But you know it's not really "back." That it will never be back. That she's been asking about heaven. That she wanted to make sure she brought her meter and sensor and of course her pump. But she doesn't need those now, that's what you told her, you won't need those there. It was a cute conversation...but now you realize it was more than cute. It was crucial. That long before we could see what was coming, God was preparing her heart. That long before the hard decisions were made, someone wrote a letter. A letter with a worn page from a devotional book, a letter with the exact words you needed to read. A letter that arrived today.

And you know that Anellah Smiles.

A life well lived

Anellah passed away this afternoon in peace. Daniel and I were holding her.

Inexplicable Peace

We feel your prayers. Anellah is not doing better, in fact she is in a rapid decline. She has not been responsive for over a day. But we feel peace. We sense God's presence and provision.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A pseudo-plan

I know everyone is anxiously awaiting news about Anellah so I will continue to update as frequently as possible. Through the night it became evident that Anellah is in Acute Liver Failure. The only treatment is an emergency liver transplant. The risk for complications for her particular case are high and although the transplant surgeon is hopeful she will return to her normal level of functioning after the procedure it is not known if she will or not. Right now her brain seems to be doing ok, the key is to try to maintain that function in order to prevent permanent damage. There are a couple issues that need to be resolved to make sure she is even a candidate for liver transplantation. If we choose to pursue that route and she is placed on the list, she will likely receive a liver within a week. This would be followed by over a month in the hospital and a year of frequent appointments and tests along with life-long monitoring.
Currently she is resting in bed. She is not responsive and has a ventilator to help her breathe. She does not seem uncomfortable right now.
I will likely stay here one more night as the next 24 hours will involve a lot more tests, treatments, and decisions. Then I plan to head home so that the rest of us (Daniel, Capper, Evelyn, and I) can spend the weekend together.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Intubated

Things change quickly, she started having problems breathing so now Anellah is on a ventilator. While on the ventilator she will recieve medication that keeps her sedated even though she was already out of it, she was still alert enough to fight a little.

There will be tests throughout the night (blood work, xrays, CT scans, and more!) to try to determine what caused such a rapid decline.

Back In ICU

I don't want to write a blog post because I'm not really sure what to say. And I don't want to write the truth. But the truth is, Anellah was discharged on Saturday. Sunday we focused on trying to figure out where we had left "normal life." By Monday Anellah was starting to show some confusion and clumsiness, signs that the liver is not filtering toxins out of her blood. We increased her medication and by yesterday we where giving it every hour. The doctor and I agreed to treat Anellah at home since treatment at the hospital would be exactly the same. She had a brief period of improvement last night but then continued to decline. She was not very aware of what is going on but I was able to get her to swallow some medication until today. At the point that she could no longer take the medication in, she and I came back to the hospital to get a feeding tube in order to get medication in her.

Anellah is now getting plenty of attention from ICU doctors and nurses. One of her liver doctors was here too, it feels discouraging and sad to see Anellah like this. She is not really responsive and is hooked up to plenty of tubes and monitors. She doesn't seem comfortable but hopefully once all the medical staff are done bothering her, she will be able to relax.

I wish I had better news and could answer the questions you have such as next steps and prognosis but we really don't know much at this time.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Welcome Home!


Leaving the hospital and seeing the sun for the first time in weeks!
(I'm including the time she was sick at home before the hospital and didn't go outside)
It seems like an eternity ago that Anellah and I began our adventure with two kind paramedics that led to getting to know more caring health professionals than we ever wanted to know! Yesterday we were finally able to free Anellah from the confines of her isolation room and reintroduce her to the outside world. As I had expected, we didn't leave "first thing in the morning" as we'd been promised but we were out of the hospital around 1:00pm so that wasn't so bad.
Beautiful weather for a welcome home orange juice party.
Anellah and I squeezed it out of fresh oranges from my aunt in California!
 I wish I had a video of the moment Evelyn first saw her and how excited she was, it was incredibly sweet.

Last night began a process of helping Anellah get back to "normal" life. She slept in bed with me (Daniel was demoted to the couch) because we knew she would be waking up in the night. She had gotten in the habit of being woken up so frequently at night that eventually she would just stay awake for a few hours rather than going back to sleep. Last night there weren't any doctors or nurses around to "bother" her (her word choice) but she still woke up around 2:00am and had a hard time getting back to sleep until around 4:30am. But the fact that she stayed in bed and didn't get to watch TV was a change. I DID still allow a midnight snack though.

She ended up sleeping in until around 8:30 which is great!! When she got up I made her a special breakfast of green waffles (her color choice), fruit, syrup, and whipped cream. She devoured it and asked for more. She is getting so much closer to being "herself" now!
Sun on her shoulders
After breakfast Daniel took Capper to our property to do a little work, I let Anellah sit in the sun and play LeapPad, and Evelyn went down for a nap. In the silence I looked around and tried to figure out what I should do first- laundry, clean up breakfast mess, unpack hospital stuff, organize new medications, get dressed, plan the week, check on the animals...and I just stopped. I took a deep breath, I realized I was focusing on all the little immediate things when the big picture is this:

We are HOME!

Anellah is doing WELL!

We are BLESSED!

Friday, April 17, 2015


In no way do I believe that God wants people to be sick or suffer, especially children. But I do believe that He can work through the hard stuff and shine His light. For the past few months I've been praying that God would show me how to "connect" with Anellah. The fact that she is adopted, that our personalities are so different from each other, and that she is the oldest (ie. our guinea pig child) mean that we struggle to parent her the most out of all our children. It is not that she has significant behavioral concerns, she and I are just different! Two areas that I have been seeking guidance is in how to comfort her and how to respect her. There have been little bits of insight over the last couple of months but I REALLY feel like she and I grew together through this hospital experience. We've been through both expected and surprise hospitalizations before, but this time around she is old enough to have a much better idea of what is going on. She is also old enough to realize that this isn't the life most people have to live. She and I have cuddled, I have coached her on calming down when she is scared, and overall I just feel like she and I are closer and have a tighter bond now than we did 2 weeks ago. For that I am thankful and praise God.

Other perks of having to be away with Anellah are that Capper and Evelyn have been doing a great job at night! They quickly realized Daddy wasn't going to comfort them in the night so it wasn't really worth waking up. Also, since Evelyn couldn't nurse before bed she got very used to going to sleep in her crib.

I AM home tonight, though, Daniel came to the hospital after work. I had considered staying "just one more night" but as I was riding the elevator I realized I was starting to doze in between floors 3 and 7 so it might be a sign I was a bit sleep deprived! Don't worry, the drive home was in Daniel's car which is a manual so that was enough to keep me awake.
Yes, at one point she convinced the nurse she should have a bottle to drink out of...smart kid!
There are a few lingering concerns which prevented discharge today. None of them are a "big deal" in and of themselves but as one doctor said, "there are just too many question marks" for anyone (including Daniel and I) to feel comfortable sending her home. Hopefully some issues will resolve themselves tonight or it will be clear what is causing the problems so that we can have a speedy discharge in the morning!

You are welcome for the pictures this post! I am finally posting on a REAL computer so adding pictures is feasible.

Marked Improvement

Over the past week there have been a lot of ups and downs. We never really knew if things were getting better or worse. The last 24 hours have been different though, Anellah has been showing continuous improvement. She has moved from miserable to calm-but-exhausted to just-a-bit-tired. It is so good to have her smile and her appetite back. I think she is trying to make up for missed meals because she has been eating a full meal in the middle of the night for the last couple of nights.

She has had a fever off and on since the procedure and has also had some mild issues with her breathing. Everything else is looking great though so if we can sort out those concerns we will likely leave earlier than planned. We MAY even be discharged today although I'm not allowing myself to get my hopes up too much.

Thanks for your prayers!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Procedure Successful Yesterday

Anellah had her TIPS procedure yesterday. They were able to get the shunt placed routing much blood around her liver. This was the main goal although there were plans to repair some vessels internally also. Since it took 6 hours and 2 minutes to place the shunt, the vessel repair was called off. There was some discussion about going back tomorrow to do the repair but the risks outweigh the benefit so we will not be doing that.

Anellah is recovering well enough to be out of the ICU this afternoon! She did have one complication during the night involving pretty extensive bleeding from the incision site but since she was in ICU there were 2 doctors, 4 nurses, and 2 techs there to help within minutes. She was very brave!

She continues to be pretty tired and not up to do much of anything other than watch a movie here and there but we are thankful she finally seems to be on the upswing!

Daniel came in this morning to be with her and I savored my time at home with Capper and Evelyn. I left so abruptly last Thursday morning without even picking Evelyn up from her crib I don't think she thought I would ever come back. I also finally got to see our ADORABLE baby goat and check on our chickens. I didn't realize how much I'd miss our animals! We were supposed to get baby ducklings today but our friend agreed to keep them for us awhile until we can all be home! It's too bad to miss the CUTEST fluffy duckling stage but I don't think the hospital would appreciate us having ducklings in our room. I hear they can be messy. :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Seattle Children's Hospital


There are so many things I appreciate about Seattle Children’s Hospital I just had to make a list!
First of all, I’ve never met a staff member who was grumpy and didn’t look like he or she wanted to be at work. Everyone seems to come to work with a smile. Everyone is helpful and willing to go the extra mile. Seriously, I’ve never met so many nice people in one place before! Even the cafeteria staff are great! All staff also see the importance of letting parents advocate for their kids and are often asking, “is there anything in particular that is important or helpful for me to know about your child?”
They provide so many helpful services for families who are living in…err I mean staying in the hospital. Simple things like a place to do laundry, separate shower facilities with towels for parents, 20 minute massages for parents, a 24 hour Starbucks, a cart that randomly shows up on your unit with a smiling volunteer providing hot coffee, hot tea, and snacks, a swimming pool with certain times available for patients and families to swim, 24 hour family lounge with computers…and all of these things are free!
And the way they provide for kids, they know what is important! New rooms have a TV system called “Get Well Town” that starts with a short video just for kids about being in the hospital and how even though it can be a little sad or scary there are some cool things too like, “it’s never really dark” and “you are never alone because someone is always checking up on you.”The facility itself is beautiful and the décor is really kid-friendly. Everything from color-changing lights in the elevators to having each building named after a place (Ocean, River, Mountain, and Forest) and décor to go along with the theme. Each elevator has an animal name, like Frog or Salmon or Owl. Everything is kept exceptionally clean and in good repair.As with any hospital, there are always hiccups with communication between providers and departments but of all the places we’ve been I’d say it’s one of the best with keeping communication open and clear. Logistics run smoothly and staff members are kept up to date about current plans for the patients.I am so thankful to be receiving care here. Sometimes staying here even feels like a bit of vacation…ok that might be a stretch but it’s really a blessing to have the privilege for Anellah to be treated in this facility!

Monday, April 13, 2015

TIPS Tomorrow

Hello, just a quick update:

I found out this afternoon that Anellah will be having her procedure tomorrow. It's not considered "surgery" because, thankfully, she can have a type that is done through blood vessels in the neck or groin rather than an open incision (like a heart cath). Hopefully she will have it at 8:00am but it may have to wait until later in the day if the Operating Room is too busy since this was just scheduled today. The procedure will take from 3-6 hours so she will be in the surgery area from around 7:30am-noon or 3:00pm.

In preparation Anellah had an echocardiogram and a CT scan this evening. And if course, she will be back to "nothing by mouth" until after the procedure...she's not so happy about this.

We ended up staying in the ICU tonight rather than moving to a room for one night since she will be back here tomorrow night. We expect to be in the hospital about another week.

A New Week

I've got a feeling this week is going to be a little less exciting than last.
Last week started with me and a stomach flu. That combined with both big kids coming down with a cold resulted in canceling a trip to visit my friend in Oregon which I'd been looking forward to for months. Next came a cycle of literally CONSTANTLY having someone in the house asleep. Evelyn would go down for a morning nap as Anellah was waking up and then someone else would nap as Evelyn was getting up. It sounds nice but I was feeling a little stir crazy. Then there were the flames in the microwave which erupted from Capper heating a cookie...What was I doing instead of watching him? Oh, just getting the goats off the porch! Of course what happened next is already narrated on this blog- calling 911, riding in an ambulance all the way to Seattle, hospitalization, medical procedures, ICU stay, birth of a goat (with only Daniel to be there and take care of that situation while taking care of a wild preschooler and a baby who had never been away from Mom for more than 5 hours), living indefinitely in a hospital...Things are DEFINITELY going to be less exciting this week!

Today has been pretty laid back. Anellah and I got up around 8am after having a relatively good sleep...although we did have a midnight session of Curious George and Popsicle eating since she was finally allowed to have clear liquids. Other than that we were only awake for blood sugar checks and vital signs every couple hours.

This morning provided the usual rounds of plenty of doctors. The best part being an order for her IV medication to be stopped and authorization to eat soft foods!! She is a happy camper now that she can eat!

Her usual liver doctor is back today and had already discussed plans with the surgeon. He agreed that the less invasive procedure called a "TIPS" procedure will be performed. She won't have full blown surgery at this time. It is likely that she will have the procedure during this admission so I think we will be here until the weekend. That is better than going home only to come back for a full week if the larger surgery was still the plan!

Anellah is excited because Grandpa is coming to stay tonight! I am excited to kiss my bug guy, hug my little guy, nurse my little girl, and pet my baby goat this evening!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Time Warp

I have officially entered the hospital time-warp. In a sense every day feels like you just arrived since you haven’t really slept for more than 2 hours at a time and “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” are foreign concepts so everything blends into one long day. At other times I feel like I blink and hours have passed. Can someone please tell me what day it is? When answering or asking questions with doctors and nurses I’ve stopped using the words “yesterday” and “tomorrow” but rather use the day of the week since I’m never exactly sure if I’ll use the right term. For instance I thought I posted my last blog post yesterday, but nope, it was the day before.

Enough of my ramblings, what you really want to know is how Anellah is doing. Thank you for asking! I had to re-read my last post TWICE to figure out where I left off…but here is my best synopsis. After her procedure on Friday she returned to the room and slept on and off for hours. I think I slept too, I’m not really sure. She was not happy that she could still only have clear liquids but we made popsicles work. Eventually she was able to eat some real food and had graham crackers, what a treat!! For dinner I ordered her everything I thought she might like. But she wasn’t very hungry by then and just had a few bites of grilled cheese. As the night progressed she seemed to be getting restless, her stomach started feeling full and hard and within a couple hours she was exhibiting terrible pain. She had started to bleed internally again. The doctors on the floor were consulted, plenty of doctors and nurses came in and at one point I said to the nurse, “yeah you just need to get blood ordered because she is going to need it.” The “Rapid Response Team” was called and an A-MAZING nurse from the ICU came along with a fabulous doctor. They took control of the situation and although there was still a lot going on, it felt so much calmer once they took the lead. Once she was stabilized, calmed down, no longer in pain, and was receiving blood and a quadruple dose of the medication she was previously getting in her IV we moved to ICU. The ICU nurse stayed for the first few hours finishing getting things in order and making sure that the nurse who would be assigned to Anellah felt comfortable with everything. My favorite thing he did was put in a big IV that would be used exclusively for blood draws. No more phlebotomists rooting around in Anellah’s arms and feet!

Morning came and Anellah got a bit of rest here and there between tests and assessments. We have been in the ICU ever since. The ICU room itself is like a fancy hotel! It is huge and the TV system has on-demand movies, games, and TV. Being in the ICU, though, means constant interruptions (even more than on a medical floor!) and more “rules” like the fact that she can’t have balloons in her room. The biggest bummer is that Anellah is in isolation since she had a cold when we were admitted. This means she can’t leave the room (not that she has the energy to do much but she does keep asking to go on a wheelchair ride down the hall or to the playroom). Isolation also means that I can’t use the family lounge which is the only place I’m allowed to eat on the ICU so I have to leave the unit in order to eat…(not that I always obey that rule)…and the last important thing it means is that Anellah can’t have any visitors under 10 years old so I haven’t seen Capper or Evelyn since Wednesday night except for the 10 minutes I saw them Thursday morning. Anellah and I really miss them. The second big bummer is that the medication Anellah is getting in her IV means that she cannot eat anything. She is very sad about that and I can’t even count how many times she has asked to eat. Other than one meal on Thursday, 3 graham crackers, and a few bites of other food on Friday she hasn’t eaten since Wednesday.

Each day Anellah has spent a tiny bit more time awake. Yesterday she was willing to do some coloring and paint her nails. Today she was willing to play with play doh for a few minutes. These seem like little things that before that she was so tired and miserable even doing a fun activity was too much.  Today I made her get out of bed and look out the window which she didn’t want to do but didn’t protest TOO much.
I was finally able to talk to the surgeon today (yes actually today not Saturday as I’d originally been told). He said that he doesn’t actually recommend surgery based on the options we have with Anellah’s body. He had to take into consideration her complex medical needs and also the anatomy of her organs/vessels. He thinks the best choice is to do a procedure that is actually less invasive than overt surgery. It sounds like a good option but I’ve learned not to count my chickens before they hatch and I am waiting to bank on that procedure until he can discuss it with the doctors (interventional radiologists) who would actually perform it. He plans to talk to them tomorrow.

Well I have much more to write but I need to get back to our room before Anellah wakes up. Not only does she hate to be left alone but since she is on an insulin pump she is supposed to have a parent with her (though the nurse has my phone number if she really needs me.)

Oh, also, at some point, our goat Barbara had her kid which is super-exciting but I was dying that I missed it! After all, one of the reasons we didn’t go out of town was so that we could be there for the birth. Yes, I know I am grateful that God kept us near Seattle rather than heading to Oregon and that outweighs me being sad I missed the kidding but just being honest I am still disappointed.
Thank you all for your prayers and for asking about her. I’ll try to keep you all more updated. I have some specific prayers requests I’ll try to post later but Anellah’s nurse just called so it’s time to get back to the room.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Not The Spring Break I Planned

**Please forgive any typos as I am writing this on my phone**

 started Thursday morning with prayer, peace, and coffee. After spending 4 entire days at home only leaving to take Anellah to the doctor for an ear infection, I was excited for the day. Antibiotics would be kicking in and we MIGHT even get to do something fun for Spring Break since all our other plans had been cancelled.
Capper got up and went straight to playing with his trains. I was about to start fixing breakfast when I heard Anellah coughing. Ok, I guess she was still a bit sick, but a cough didn't need to dash all our plans! Then she called out for me. I went to check on her (in all honesty a bit annoyed that she was waking Evelyn up). I was immediately thankful and praised her for calling to me because she had just thrown up a large amount of blood.

Within 15 minutes the fire department had arrived, my Dad was there to take Capper and Evelyn, and Daniel was in a taxi to pick up his car from the Park & Ride. I grabbed a few essentials (charging cords, wallet, phone, and snacks), gave one last look at the microwave on the porch which was melted from flaming cookies the day before, and was off to Seattle with lights flashing.

Our experience in the emergency department wasn't terrible, it helped that Frozen was one of the movie options! Of course we saw plenty of doctors, nurses, and other staff before finally heading to our own room around 1:00pm. We spent the next 20 hours trying to rest with literally constant interruptions. She fell while going to the bathroom which meant a bunch of extra assessments every hour but I refused to allow a CT scan because it seemed like overkill. Anellah continued to have some internal bleeding through the night and needed a blood transfusion. By morning she was still being a good sport but was having a harder and harder time settling back down after each interruption. She has been an incredible sport through everything including the 7 attempts to get a blood sample. At one point she said, "I want my surgery NOW!!" In other words "I know you won't let me eat or go home until the surgery is over so let's get this show on the road!"

Finally, at 11am this morning she was taken into the operating room. The scope didn't take long as they put the camera down her throat and treated the bulging vessels. She had a slight complication as she was waking up because she is getting over a cold so she had some wheezing but eventually she was brought back to her hospital room calmly asleep. One blessing is that she did not have the fear and anxiety while waking up from anesthesia that she normally has. Now we know, for future, what kind of anesthetic can be used for her.

It's important to know this detail about anesthesia because there will be plenty more of it to come. This complication was the last "hopefully she won't need surgery" step. If she didn't have a cold right now it sounds like we would likely be having surgery during this hospital admission. As it stands, however, we will probably be here for a couple days, go home for a couple days, and then return for a week-long stay involving surgery. I should have more details on that step after talking to surgeons tomorrow.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. It has been hard and tiring but in each moment I have been choosing to say, "blessed be Your name." Please continue to pray for our family as we process these next steps and for rest and healing for Anellah. Thank you!