Don’t Save the Dates

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There are many things this family lives by. One of them is: What’s life without a little chaos?
In the last post I was catching you up on all the most recent chaos. Plans started changing so fast we were in a mad scramble to keep up. We had a short time to make a decision and it seemed like all options were taking us to a dead end. When we got engaged, we decided that very night that we didn’t want a wedding that caused stress in the planning process. We were going to keep it simple and take our time. Now we were stressing and worrying and doing all the things we didn’t want. Every night at dinner we would pray for closed doors and open doors that would take the stress of making the right decision away. Last Monday, doors started doing just that. By the end of the day we were making a decision and moving forward. It’s a good thing I ran to the mailbox that day two weeks ago and pulled the save the dates out! Because that day had changed. I am pleased to FINALLY annoince: David and I are getting married on May 27, 2017!!

Don’t worry, we only had FIFTY of these printed and ready to go with postage attached!
Exciting! Happy! Yay!
We are getting married in 2 and half months! Just 2 and half months to wait. Just 2 and a half months….to plan a wedding, pack up all we own, move to a different house, unpack, have two of our kids undergo surgery, celebrate three of our kids’ birthdays, save up the money we need to have this wedding, and not forget to pour into each other and the kids through this time….another very simple plan….
I dove head first into the wedding planning with a few people who are much better decision makers than me and started trying to create the vision. That’s right, I still had no vision for this wedding. I didn’t have time to pee most days, much less plan a wedding! When I thought I had until December, there was no rush and so I had done the opposite of rushing-I had done nothing. With a little help, I started to see what I wanted. I still didn’t know exactly how to get there and what funds would exist to make it happen, but we were getting somewhere.
We didn’t get very far before life stepped in again. We made our decision Monday, planning started Tuesday, but then Thursday was a big day: our Hope turned 10 years old! Double digit birthday is a big one! On the same day, Madalyn and Meredith were having surgery. Hope woke up that morning to birthday decorations, hugs, and many “happy birthday!”s. We had plans to have her favorite meal for dinner that night after the twins’ outpatient surgeries.
We arrived at the surgery center at 10:30 am to wait. It was a few hours before the surgeries actually began, but we had fun taking pictures and videos with the silly hair nets and masks. Madalyn was taken back first and 15 minutes later she was all done. Ear tubes in and adenoids out. By the time they were taking Meredith back for her turn, Madalyn was waking up and I got to go to her. She woke up a grump! She sat with a scowl for about an hour after she woke up. The more popsicles she ate, the more it went away. I think she had 5 or 6 while we were there!

This was her face for almost an hour.

Third popsicle in and feeling a bit better.
Meredith’s surgery took 20 min (tubes, adenoids and tonsils) and I could see down to her in recovery from where we were with Madalyn. It was taking a lot longer for them to allow us to come to her side, which mommy did not like one bit. When they finally waved us down, I speed walked the whole way down. They said that she had had some bleeding when she woke up so they wanted to get it cleaned up before we came down. I could still see it in the corners of her mouth, in her nose, and on her gown. I wished I could have been there with her. Meredith woke up in more pain than her sister. She couldn’t eat a popsicle. She just looked sad and while she wasn’t actively crying, a big tear would fall from her eyes every few minutes. I knew it would be harder for her and I thought I was prepared, but it was hard to watch. It wasn’t long before they released us to head home. We loaded up and headed on a detour to the pharmacy before home to pick up the drops we would need for the girls’ ears.

Once both girls were awake, they got them back together quickly.

They had the girls share a wheelchair out and Madalyn gave her sister a feel better kiss and hug.
If you don’t like talk of blood, you may want to pick this up at the end. We hadn’t made it there yet when Meredith started to spit up some blood. They had told us this could happen due to possibly swallowing some while waking up so though it scared me, I just helped her stay calm. We decided to detour again and head straight home. On the way, it continued. She would sit still with her mouth closed, then tap my arm, and out it would come again. It was getting brighter and I was getting worried. Just about the time I was growing very uncomfortable with this, it slowed way down. We arrived home, greeted the birthday girl again, and Mer and I got tucked in on the couch. David started the birthday girl’s special dinner and it started again. I was flying through paper towels and David was all over the place trying to help me and make the dinner and deal with the other children. We finally made the call. I talked to a nurse at the Dr’s office and she said to not go just yet. I calmed down and ran to use the bathroom real quick. When I came out, David was in the kitchen on the phone. He hung up and told me to gather some things for Meredith and put them in the diaper bag because we were going to the ER. Commence worrying. Apparently, the Dr had called right back from the surgery center where he still was and told David to get her to the hospital quick. I called my mom and asked her to come be with the other kids and got Meredith cleaned up a little. We packed a set of clothes and lots of paper towels and plastic bags. The older kids helped pull things together. I took a moment with Madalyn and reminded her I would be thinking about her while I was gone and hoping she was feeling great! I then pulled Hope aside, who was being all kinds of helpful, and told her I loved her and appreciated her help. I told her I was proud of her for handling this so well and assured her that her birthday was still special and we would still celebrate! I hear Dad had the same talk with her. We got the 6 kids that were staying home at the table with the special birthday dinner and then ran out the door as soon as my mom arrived.
On the way, I updated a few important people and kept catching. The Dr that performed the surgery called as we were walking to the doors. We saw him come out and walked to him. He rushed in and got us straight to the intake nurses. As he was asking questions, Meredith spit into the bucket they gave her to hold. As soon as he saw it, he stopped asking questions and stepped away to make a call. He came back over and told the nurses to get Meredith in a room and that he was running up to the OR to make sure a room was being prepared. Everything started moving very fast after that. We were rushed to a room, papers for me to sign were rushed in, we kept hearing them talk about finding anesthesia and getting an IV and needing to get her up there. I was getting more scared with every word. Meredith started to get pale. While we were alone for a moment, David and I sat on the bed with her and he asked her if she wanted to pray. She said yes and we all sat on the bed and prayed together. The Dr came back and explained things a little bit and reminded me to take slow deep breaths. He rushed back off again to keep preparing. Two nurses came in to do the IV. Earlier in the day they gotten her to sleep before doing the IV, but it couldn’t be done that way this time. Nothing worse than seeing fear in your baby’s eyes. She cried and didn’t want it, but we faced her toward us and just talked to her and she took it like such a champ. Once the IV was in they rushed us upstairs. We met with the anesthesiologist when we arrived in the prep area. He told us that because of all the bleeding, he would have to start the anesthesia and then empty her stomach before the surgery was done to avoid risk of aspirating. He also said he would take some blood and check her levels just to be safe. I was a mess at this point. Meredith was calm but I was not. It had been a long day, I hadn’t eaten, and I was scared. Not long after arriving, they were taking her back to cauterize the hemorrhage at the surgery site.
We got to the surgical waiting room and I cried a good cry. David held me and reassured me. I am so glad he was there with us. He was my rock, though he told me later he felt like he could have cried too if I hadn’t needed him not to so badly. I was finally able to calm down and we waited. After what seemed like forever, we got a phone call that the surgery was over and that she was ok and someone would be over to talk to us soon. Cue HUGE sigh of relief and praising God. The Dr came 20 min later and told us her levels had definitely lowered but not enough to be in great danger. He said the surgery was done and she would be ok but we would have to wait a while to see her because she had had two adult sized doses of anesthesia in one day and it would take her a while to wake. He also said he wanted her to stay overnight for observation. I hadn’t brought a thing (not even some very important things) but I was definitely staying.
Meredith’s bio father came while we waited. They finally said we could come back but only two so David had to wait-the hard parts of sharing. When we got to her she was still asleep, and stayed that way for a while. We took turns standing by her until they were ready to send her to a room. When I returned the final time with David for a turn, I noticed she had developed a rash on her face. I pointed to it and asked if that was there before and the nurse said it was probably just from the fever but they couldn’t give her anything till she woke up more. Mommy didn’t quite agree so I watched it closely. We were moved to her room and her nurse for the night confirmed that she was having an allergic reaction. Thankfully, it never caused any swelling before it started to subside.
Meredith and I had a long night of being woken up to be checked and given medicine. I had my first bite of the day at 10:30pm. When my food came Meredith saw the red juice and perked up for the first time. She said “mommy, is that jello?” The nurse heard her and offered her some green jello to which she nodded excitedly. After the nurse left she looked at me with so much concern on her face and said “why does my voice sound different?” I told her she sounded like Minnie Mouse! She struggled to swallow the jello yet still asked if there was any of my “real food” left. Poor thing was so hungry. She started to get sad again and then the nurse told her the tv had the movie Frozen! We snuggled in her bed and watched it together until she fell asleep.
On Friday morning we saw the Dr and he said we could go home. Meredith ate some waffles (yes that’s right-waffles!) They had super soft waffles and they were just what she needed to start to feel a little better. David came to pick us up and we tried the route again that took us by the pharmacy. We finally made it home and we were both pooped. David took care of us both until mommy felt like herself again. Meredith still doesn’t feel like herself but she is doing well. She is in and out of pain and trying very hard to eat and drink. The Dr says the worst pain is still ahead, but I don’t think he was factoring that trip to the ER in when he said that!
The next day was Hope’s birthday party which meant a morning of cooking and baking and an afternoon of entertaining and celebrating Hope! The pictures are all on David’s phone, but if I had them you would be inundated with them here!
Needless to say, not much wedding planning happened since Wednesday, but hopefully as I snuggle Meredith for a couple weeks I will have plenty of time to make some plans!
May the fun and the beautiful chaos continue!!
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Ashley Karaffa

Ashley is mother to a blended family of 10 and appreciating the beautiful chaos of it all. She enjoys creating systems - because how can you survive a family with 8 kids without systems - and spending time celebrating her family.

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