Saturday, November 13, 2010

Home Sweet Home

We are home!!! After my post yesterday, Annika began to wake up a little more, and my mom came to visit her in the later afternoon. After my mom left, we had about a two hour break where we all relaxed a bit before the evening visitors. At about 6:15, the flood of visitors began; lucky for all of us, we had a bigger room this time around, so everyone fit, but in the midst of all the visitors, Annika became overwhelmed,tired, and very very crabby. As of this time, Annika had still not eaten anything either.

The last of the visitors left around 8:30, and Annika finally ate 8:45 via syringe. She was able to get some more medicine, and she fell right asleep. Ross and I were also thoroughly exhausted, so we went to bed shortly after 9:30. The night itself went SO smoothly; Annika only woke up when nurses came to check her vital signs and give her more medicine. Even then, she fell right back asleep each time. We all woke up this morning around 6:45 feeling well-rested.
the Dr. came in around 8:00 and gave us the okay to go home, but Annika decided to take another nap before leaving. By the time it was all said and done, we didn't end up getting home until shortly after 11, but we are so glad to be away from the hospital!
As we are on our own now, please pray that Annika begins to eat more. She is still not thrilled about eating and will only take tiny bits of formula at a time. She is also much more swollen today than she was yesterday, so pray that her body will go back to normal quickly. Even when she wants to smile right now, you can only tell by her eyes that she's smiling because her face won't move much.

Very ready to go home...note the stylish "farm alphabet" no-no bands

Annika was ready to play when she got home!!!

A very puffy-faced little girl

Friday, November 12, 2010

Surgery #2 Complete

After a pleasantly calm morning, Annika went into surgery just before 8:00 a.m.. By the time she was put under the doctor ended up not getting started until 8:45. Ross and I enjoyed a relaxing (and ginormous for Ross) breakfast in the cafeteria, and then spent the rest of our time in the waiting room. At about 10:45 Dr. Mann came in to let us know everything had gone just fine. He ended up only doing the lip repair on her left side and said he would save the pallet work for the next surgery. We spent about an hour in the recovery room before we were taken to our room where we will spend the rest of our time.

Annika has been sleeping most of the afternoon. She wakes up sporadically and cries and whines a little but falls back asleep quickly. The morphine and tylenol with codine are keeping her knocked out. As far a her looks go, it's difficult to grasp what she is going to look like because of the current swelling and crusted blood around her mouth and nose. Her nose is crooked and pinched because of the tightness from surgery but it will slowly relax back into normal position.

Ross and I are both a little exhausted since we were up at 5:00 a.m. this morning and didn't sleep much for a couple hours before that while I was trying to give Annika a little more food before her surgery deadline. On the upside the room that we are in this time around has much more space in it so we are very happy about that. Now we should have room and are looking forward to Annika's Grandparents stopping by to visit.
Thanks again for all your thoughts and prayers. Please continue to pray for Annika as she heals, and deals with the frustration of arm restraints and a sore mouth.
Annika Still groggy after surgery

Getting some much-needed snuggle time with Mommy and Daddy
Starting to wake up a little bit

Awake and ready for visitors!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Could you please repeat that?

I got the phone call today for Annika's surgery time and instructions. They nurse said, "We have Annika scheduled for surgery at 7:53 AM..." I was thinking, "Did I hear that right? Who schedules surgeries so exact in timing?" I actually had to ask her to repeat the time, because I thought I heard it wrong! Anyway, so the time is set! We're happy to get it over with first thing in the morning. Last surgery was also in the morning, but Annika was so crabby before surgery because she was hungry! This time around I'm going to make sure to give her some pedialite in the middle of the night to fill her tummy.

The plan for communicating on Friday is for Ross and I to call our parents when surgery is finished, or in the small chance the doctor calls us to let us know he's going to go ahead with the palate work, we would call parents then too. For everyone else, please check her blog in the late afternoon for updates, or feel free to get a more personal update from a parent!

Annika is still struggling with a little cough and an ear infection. In addition to surgery, please pray that these things do not make her even more uncomfortable than expected this weekend.

Thanks again for your prayers! It is truly amazing to have such a sense of calm this time around.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pre-op appt.

Annika had her pre-op appointment with Dr. Mann's office this past Thursday. I took a half day of work and made the trip to Grand Rapids with Annika in the morning. The nurse, who always pronounces her name wrong by the way, was updating her charts, and she said, "so this is her first surgery coming up, huh?" And I replied, "No, but if a nurse who works in this office can't tell she's had a first surgery, then the Dr. really did the first one well!" Her first surgery has truly turned out fantastic so far, and our reservations about the next are much less because of that. Anyway, the rest of the appointment went pretty much as planned. The Dr. looked at her and explained a little bit about surgery and after. The only suprise was that he said there is a VERY SMALL posibility that, when he takes her into surgery and looks at her mouth, he may start doing some palate work as well. He actually said to not even plan on it, but that we needed to know it was possible. We've been planning on palate work not starting until at least late winter, early spring, so this as great news! Its difficult to not think about it, but we also don't want anything rushed.

We won't find out the time of her surgery until a few days prior, but she is set to have it done Friday, November 12 with the plan of staying at DeVos just one night again. I will update with the time once we find out.

In the mean time, please begin praying that conditions are right for palate work to begin. This would mean so much as far as eating baby food, getting started on speech, and so many other things I'm probaly not even aware of. Also begin praying for the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and the surgical team as the day draws closer. And mostly, pray for Annika as she's the one who will be in the physical pain for a few days, but also the frustration of dealing with arm restraints. With a girl so close to crawling, not using her arms is going to be tough.

On a side note, a few developments since last post:
~ Annika has 3 teeth and a possible 4th on the way! Two are on the bottom and one on the top in her little nub area.
~ She sits up all the time and is beginning to stand by things. She's not pulling herself up yet, but once she is propped into standing, she can do it on her own.
~She's decided that 5:30-5:45 is an appropriate time to wake up every morning. I've asked the advice of too many people to count, and nothing seems to break the cycle.
~She wants to crawl SO badly! She scootches around on her butt right now, but if she's not crawling by surgery date, I would be suprised.

Thanks again for checking in, and for your conitnued prayers!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Change in lifestyle + Surgery info

Greetings from our busy little family! Life sure has changed since the last post. A month ago, Annika and I were spending the majority of our days in comfy clothes and bathing suits, taking naps at our leisure, and trying to find things to keep us occupied. Now, I'm back at work, which meas no more comfy clothes or naps for me, and I am certainly not looking for things to occupy my time! The transistion from home to work has been a good one overall. After many tears the night before and the day of my first day back at work, we all seem to be adjusting well. Annika spends 1 day a week with Grandpa and Grandma Kruithof (along with cousins Kirstyn and Erika), and she spends the other 4 days at Lakeshore Little People's Place at Providence Church in Holland. Annika loves daycare, especially because my sister, Katie, works at the daycare and visits Annika often. I think she may get a bit of special attention over there! Her caregivers say she's a very happy baby (and Katie says they wouldn't lie to me). For Ross, the adjustment comes with less shock factor than for me, but he's had to do some adjusting as well, getting up a bit earlier so we can all be out the door on time, getting things ready with me the night before, and helping with things I used to do during the day. We're finally feeling like we have things under control for the season!

Also, we got the official paperwork today for Annika's upcoming surgery! Her surgery is scheduled for Friday, November 12 with a pre-op appt. on October18 and post-op appt. on November 18. We're not nearly as anxious about this one, because we know what to expect in general this time around, and this surgery is actually less invasive than the last one. This time around, they will only be touching the lip, but not the gum areas.

Finally, Annika has made some fun developments since last post! She can roll from back to tummy, but not the other way around yet...we're beginning to think she may never learn that part. She's also sitting up almost completely independently! She makes some VERY loud noises, and we're still trying to figure out who she gets that from. Finally, she has developed an attitude even further than it was before; she refuses to drink her whole bottle (something we used to be so prideful of), she fake burps, so we stop bothering her, and she grunts when she sick of playing with something. In all seriousness though, we have a very happy baby on our hands. All it takes is a smile at her and a "hi" and she's wiggling and laughing and squealing.

Unless something dramatic occurs, I'll update again after her pre-op appt. in October. Thanks again for keeping up to date with Annika's developments and for your prayers for her surgeries. We can all start praying now that she doesn't get sick just before her surgery!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

6 Months!

Its so hard to believe that Annika will be 6 months already tomorrow! Somedays I feel like she's just been with us forever, while other times we still feel like such new parents, still questioning our parenting decisions daily!

Since I last posted, Annika continued to recover well after her surgery. She is sleeping regularly at night, and has adjusted well to feeding from the other side of her mouth.

Last time I posted, we had just gotten into cereal. Annika seemed to tolerate the food for a maximum of 10 bites and then she would get mad. After about a month of frustration on both my and Annika's part, I called her specialist just to see if this is just a normal baby phase or if it could be her palate keeping her from eating. The nurse just said, "Oh yeah she probably won't really eat solid foods until after her palate surgery." This would have been nice to know!!! Just a note that palate surgery is not until late winter at least. She also said to keep giving her solids whenever possible to keep her familiar with the texture, but not to expect Annika to get any real nutrients out of the feedings. Since that phone call, I feel much less pressure about feedings. We feed when we can (maybe every other day). And we do some cereal mixed with peaches or bananas. She's actually doing better than before, so I just feed her until she gets agitated and then we stop. Thank goodness she takes bottles so well!

We also got a tentative surgery date for Friday, November 12. This surgery will be her stage 2 lip repair. Dr. Mann will be closing the other sie of her lip. In the first surgery, he attached her outter gums to her right side gums and did her lip. This surgery will be just the lip. Dr. Mann plans to leave the other side of her gums open so that later in life when she has to have dental work, the dentist will be able to move and adjust the gums easier. Also, the date is only tentative as of now because DeVos Children's Hospital only schedules surgeries 3 months in advance, so we should hear if this date is solid in the next few weeks.

Annika also had her 6 month check-up with her pediatrician. These are Ross and my favorite appointments because we can guess how much she has grown. Yesterday Annika was 14lb. 12oz. and 26in. tall. This puts her in the 25th percentile for weight and 63rd for height. She is on track developmentally, and the doctor said everything looks good!

Finally, my dad was able to take Annika's 6 month pictures for us last Saturday. Annika can sit up for about 10 seconds right now, so my dad bought a very handy little helper for her so she could still sit up for pictures. Here are 2 of our favorites!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Good News!

Annika had her post-op appointment with Dr. Mann yesterday, and he seems really pleased with how things are looking! All of Annika's skin glue fell off Sunday night in the bathtub, so Ross and I were really able to get a first look at what the surgery did, and we think she looks great. Everything seems to be healing well! He also said we could get rid of the arm bands! This is good, because Ross and I made a parental decision to stop using them Friday already :). Dr. Mann also said he's going to go ahead and schedule her next surgery, and I can expect a letter in the mail giving me the dates. He said it will be between 4-6 months from now. I'll let everyone know once I get that date, but I don't anticipate hearing anything for about a month.

Also, After a week's worth of seemingly sleepless nights, Annika slept 11 hours Sunday night and took a few big naps yesterday....I think she's back to her normal self!!! I can't describe to you how much this excites me. I also notice a huge change in her mood too...still spoiled, but less crabby!

Finally, at Annika's 4 month appt. with the pediatrician, her Dr. said we could gradually introduce her to solids whenever we're ready. I was going to wait until July, but I picked up some rice cereal at the grocery store yesterday and then couldn't resist trying last night already. She looked confused the whole 10 bites she took, but she didn't scream, so I am taking it as a good sign. It's difficult to fit a small spoon in her mouth with her gum area still sticking out of her mouth (there's not much of an opening), and since she can't close her mouth all the way, I anticipate solids being a bit more messy than normal, but we'll see once! If anyone has any suggestions on how to keep it from drooling out of her mouth, please let me know!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Is this what most babies are like???

Ross and I have always known we were very lucky to have a good sleeper. Annika has been sleeping 10-12 hours through the night since she was a little more than 2 months old. On top of that, she's generally been a good napper only takes her 3-5 minutes to fall asleep.

Since surgery and these awful "no-no bands" (as they are called at the hospital) on her arms, Annika has not been such a good sleeper. She wakes up at least once in the middle of the night and it takes her at least 10 minutes to cry herself to sleep. Naps have also become almost non-existent, causing Annika to be less than her happy self. To many parents, this might seem like a normal baby, but to us it is a whole new world. We know now more than ever how very spoiled e have been. We can't wait to be able to get rid of these no-no's!

Enough complaining though. Annika still has her squealing, happy personality for the most part. She's still eating normally, and her mouth doesn't seem to cause her any pain at all. We'll just have to wait out the next week before we can go to her post-op appointment and (hopefully) trash the no-no's!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Still pretty out of it here.

Daddy helping Annika fall asleep Thursday morning

Annika and her sweet set up in her crib!

Not too grumpy for a girl who just had surgery 12 hours prior.

Wednesday afternoon as Annika started to be a little more alert and ready to eat!


Just wanted to let you all know that we are home! The Dr. gave us the OK to go home already at 7:00 this morning, so we were more than excited. However, Annnika had just fallen asleep, so we decided to leave her alone until she woke up. After a few errands, we got home at about 11:00 this morning. All of us were able to take a little nap (which was MUCH needed) and now we're ready to just relax being home.

As far as our night last night, Annika started being more alert and ready to eat around 4:00. She's only really been fussy when pain meds are wearing off or when she remembers she had arm bands on (these are too keep her from touching her face). Annika normally soothes herself and puts herself to sleep by chewing on her fingers, so these restraints will probably be the hardest adjustment. And since she can't suck on anything, a pacifier is only do-able if someone is holding it in her mouth! This is really the only set back from surgery we have noticed. We got a few smiles and squeaks already last night, and today she is much more herself.

I'll post a few more pictures at some point, but for now, it is time to enjoy the beautiful day!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Under our Belt

Annika's first surgery is complete, and everything went well. She went into surgery at 8:30 this morning. We were told to expect about 2 hours for the surgery. Those 2 hours turned into 3, but in the end, everything went as Dr. Mann had planned. We hung out with her in the recovery room for about a half hour and by 12:30 we were settled into her room.

Below, you will see a few pictures of her. The first is pre-suregry, and the second is post surgery. Dr. Mann took out her tooth that was on her right side. He then used that area to connect her center gum to her right side gums inside her mouth. This is the part of surgery I didn't know would happen. He also stitched right lip into place. As far as pain goes, he compares it to getting braces tightened. Since she's been out of surgery, she has been sleeping the whole time with some raspy groans and a few rare actual cries.
Annika just hanging out shortly before surgery.

Sleeping after surgery.

Thank you for all your thoughts, prayers, and messages! Ross and I both said we felt more calm this morning than we expected. Pray that Annika has a smooth night tonight and that she won't feel pain.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Annika's surgery has been scheduled for 8:30 AM next Wednesday morning. We'll have to be there at 6:30 AM, and from there, her surgeon and the anesthesiologist will see us and get everything set up and ready to go.

I will be posting an update after her surgery either during recovery or while she's napping. Check in for updates and hopefully some pictures too!

Thanks in advance for all of your prayers!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Too Cute

Annika's Uncle Ryan and Aunt Julie, who live in California, sent her this adorable bear to keep her company at her upcoming hospital stay next week. It comes with a little doctor's kit and everything!

Thanks Ryan and Julie!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I was hoping my first post would be something spectacular with exciting news from the doctor's visit this week and all, but no such luck. Annika and I went to GR to visit Dr. Mann (her surgeon) Monday afternoon for a pre-operation visit. We were one of the last appointments and he was running behind, so we sat around for about 20-30 minutes before he saw us. The news we got was she is having surgery June 2 (which we already knew) and someone will call us a few days before surgery with instructions and a time to be at the hospital...big waste of time. But Annika seems to like her Dr. because she just smiles away at him!

On a different note, I'm back at work this week and Annika is being tossed around to family members for now. After a rough first day for everyone (I think Annika must have had a stomach ache all day Tuesday) things are beginning to settle down. I'm glad to be back at work and feel like an active member of society, but I LOVE being at home in the evening even more now, because my time with her is so limited. Ross is excellent at calming me down when I get overwhelmed or super stressed, but I'm sure its been an adjustment for him too.

Anyway, check back around Memorial Day weekend where I will have more information regarding surgery time and such.