"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." -----Martin Luther King, Jr.
"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet,regardless of time, place, or circumstance.The thread may stretch or tangle,but it will never break."
- ancient Chinese belief

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Junie's Walking!?

Junie is taking her sweet time making the switch from crawler to walker! I was so happy when we got her that we'd be there for her first steps but now my back is ready for her to walk full time.

She loves to practice, though, especially with such an enthusiastic audience! During this practice session, every time she fell she would laugh and laugh. Jack remarked, "she is the best baby ever"! I love them!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Junie's mealtime fun!

Well, it may not be the best lesson in manners, but at our house we'll do anything for a laugh (especially one this cute!).

The noise in the back is Jack's new saxaphone. Never a dull (or quiet) moment in the Gruskin house!

Monday, October 4, 2010


Part 1- Cleft Team Appointment

Here is a great picture of Junie's "level 2" (classified by China. They classify them into level 1, 2 and 3 with 3 being the worst) palate. Junie had her big "cleft team" appointment a few weeks ago. It was 4 hours long!

This isn't so bad... as long as these snacks don't run out.

Killin' time with my daddy. Please check out the cute onesie!

We met with a speech pathologist, a social worker, the plastic surgeon, a dentist. Junie had x-rays and photos taken and her teeth cleaned (which she hated the most of all!). She was charming and adorable for the most of it and made her parents look like the impatient and distractable ones. :)

Per the dentist's recommendation, she will have a retainer-type device made just for her. They will suture the retainer into place on the day of her palate surgery (November 2nd-yikes!) and it is supposed to come out on it's own within 2-3 weeks. The purpose of the retainer is to protect her palate until there is enough healing.

Did you know that to repair the palate they just basically pull the two sides together and sew it up? Did you know that it is then very easily damaged? Did you know that Junie sucks her thumb and puts everything, and I mean everything, into her mouth? So, the retainer thingy sounded like a really good idea...

So, the dentist told us that if she sits still and gets comfortable enough with the hygienist that perhaps they could just make the mold of the roof of her mouth at that appointment, while she's awake. The pool of sweat and tears under her head after her 5 minute teeth cleaning determined that the mold making was going to be turned into an "I.V. sedation" procedure.

After teeth cleaning.

Part 2- Mold making at CHOA

So, last week we had to go back to Children's Healthcare and Junie was sedated while they made the mold of her palate. We have been so very blessed that we have never ever had to go to the Day Surgery (or any part of Children's) with our boys. No tubes, no MRIs, nothing. So, this was our first trip there. But not our last.

Yes, I am cute in my gown but please pick me up!

Getting suspicious!

Playing with MeMaw

Because David couldn't go down with me due to a work conflict, my mom came to stay with me the night before and help me with Junie. I couldn't have done it without an extra set of hands and a little moral support.
First, Junie got her ID bracelet. Then they brought us back and weighed and measured her. She cried on the baby scales! She just had to sit there. We all chuckled and said, "boy, you're in for a long day if this upsets you!".

Then we got our room and our very kind nurse, Tina (btw, Junie got a "hope you're feeling better card" from nurse Tina in the mail yesterday). Tina explained everything to us- all the people we'd be meeting with that day and what the time frame would be like.

About 30 minutes later, Tina and another nurse came back in to put in Junie's IV. This was the worst part of the day! She hated being pinned down and cried and cried but almost as soon as they were done, she settled right down and started watching the Baby Mozart DVD we brought for her. Surprisingly, she basically ignored the IV splint and just acted like it wasn't even there.

Luckily, David was able to move around his lunch "hour" and showed up in time to be there as we spoke to the IV sedation Dr and the dentist who was making the molds. Junie's procedure time was at noon but we had to be there at 10. She could have nothing to eat all A.M., only clear fluids (she had apple juice and jello) before 10. I really thought this part would be the worst because my girl does not like to miss a meal (much like the rest of her family!), but she was fine and never even asked for anything!

Yay, Daddy's here!
So, right around noon they had us walk Junie down to the procedure room. As we got closer, I had to hand her off to David for fear I would pass out. They let us hold her as they all "gowned up". I thought this would scare her but she was so brave, not a peep out of her. Then the sedation doc started putting things in her I.V. "This one will dry her up, we don't want too much saliva while making the molds". "This one will relax her, maybe make her eyes flutter". Uh-oh, am I going to pass out? "This one will make her go to sleep, it may sting her a little". Then, the faintest little whimper from my brave girl. We were then instructed to lay her down. I was hesitant because I thought she'd be scared, but I guess the meds were already taking effect because she just laid there. And that's when I lost it and was asked to leave! :)

A nervous mommy

I am so fortunate to have a "connection" at Children's who came over and sat with us for a long time. She told us how wonderful our sedation doctor is (very comforting to know) and I cannot tell you how much it helped having her there with us. I don't know if it was my imagination, but people sure seemed to be nice to us with her in our room! After the dentist came in and told us he was done and that Junie should be awake soon, we continued to wait for some time. My friend went and checked on her and let us know what was the holdup (the sedation doc had to come back in to check her vitals). I really wanted her right away but procedure comes before obsessive adoptive parents' desires I suppose. My friend assured me that Junie was awake and calm and shortly after, they brought her back to us tucked under a warm blanket. She was still pretty "dopey" and was indeed calm. When she saw me she fussed a bit but was fine when I picked her up.

Almost right away she signed for a drink (have I mentioned how smart she is?) and as soon as we got the green light, she downed a bottle of apple juice. After about an hour, they took out her IV, and released us. We were there for a total of about 5 hours for a 15 minute procedure. Junie was basically her usual self the rest of the day, just a little more low key and ready for bed a little earlier than usual. The next day she was back to normal.

Ahhh, juice at last!

Ready for this day to end.

She is a total trooper. I am so impressed by her strength and by her trust in us.

This was just a minor little procedure but it got us acclimated with the hospital, the day surgery dept, and I will feel a little better walking in there on November 2nd knowing how nice everyone is. Please keep little Junie in your thoughts and prayers as that big day approaches.