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December 11, 2018

Amelia has what's called an "umbilical hernia", which happens when the opening in the abdominal muscle that allows the umbilical cord through fails to close completely. Also known as an "outie" bellybutton, it's very common. Most of them resolve on their own by the time kids turn four.


Amelia's was quite large and not getting smaller. More importantly, she often complained about it hurting and pushing everything back in place stopped things from hurting. So we asked for a referral to someone who could check it out.


Turns out an umbilical cord hernia allows part of the intestine to protrude through the stomach wall and in rare cases it can get pinched. If it gets pinched too long that part of the intestine dies which is not good.


When we saw Dr Nasr, he decided that Amelia's hernia was unlikely to resolve on it's own even if we wait until she's four. Given that Amelia was having pain from the hernia we were already inclined to proceed. After talking to a family member with the same issue whose hernia was not repaired as a child, and hearing enthusiastic encouragement on going ahead we put Amelia's name on the list for surgery.


I wasn't terribly concerned about it; after all Elizabeth had day surgery around the same age. Then the pre-op nurse called and told me that she had to stay home from all activities for the first week of recovery and be kept quiet with NO JUMPING for a further two weeks and I started to freak out a bit. Then she was prescribed morphine for pain and let's just say I'm glad they checked her blood pressure and not mine.


The surgery was scheduled for 12:30-1:30pm. Amelia had yellow jello for breakfast and then we played upstairs for a while. She did not talk out loud much at all and I started to worry she was sick. Lorianne gave her a tin of stars "pretty like you" and a trumpet that Amelia thought sounded like an elephant. After that she forgot to be worried for a while and played being various animals, blowing her trumpet and stomping around.


Soon it was time to go. Daddy dropped us off at CHEO and we went to get her into her special pajamas. She was very very quiet, but after about twenty minutes in the playroom she started to relax a bit. We did crafts, played with their toys, played with toys we brought and played games. The volunteers quizzed her about how many brothers and sisters she had. Apparently she has one brother and one sister. No other brothers? I asked. Nope. Michael -as it turns out- is not a brother. He's a baby... They asked her if she had to travel a long way to get to the hospital. Answer? Yes. About ten minutes, I clarified.  The volunteers were quite amused.


Playtime flew by and it was time to go to the ER. She came so easily that the staff decided that she didn't need to premed to calm her down beforehand. I was a little surprised because admitting had strongly recommended it, saying that if she fought the mask the surgery would be delayed or cancelled, but the nurses really wanted her to try without so I got all gowned up ready to go to the operating room.


While I was getting dressed, the anesthesiologist was checking her heart and lungs and a volunteer was blowing bubbles to distract Amelia. Then it was Amelia's turn to blow bubbles and I don't know WHAT she was thinking but she popped the bubble wand into her mouth! Yuck! Everyone was quite surprised. It was quite a small one so I'm not sure if she didn't realize it was the bubble wand or what. Anyway, bubbles were blown and her lungs were deemed clear.


The nurses got me to put Paw Patrol on my phone for Amelia, and she proudly walked to the OR carrying my phone.


I lifted her onto the table and she picked cotton candy for the smell. I should have reread my blog entry about Elizabeth's surgery because I'd remembered that she'd fallen asleep almost instantly, and Amelia took ages to pass out. It was definitely longer than 30 seconds though and we had a whole conversation about how the cotton candy smell changed to smelly sock (probably Matthew's). She was watching Paw Patrol the whole time though so maybe she was trying to stay awake to see the end of the episode.


Then I was escorted back to the waiting room where I joined the throngs of anxious parents all watching the TV screen that had their child's unique number and current status. After only about 25 minutes, Dr Nasr came to tell me that she was all done and in recovery. The edict on NO JUMPING was repeated several times, but I was relieved to hear that we can otherwise take our cue from how she's feeling. Apparently they used a lot of freezing on her tummy.


I had to wait another twenty minutes or so before they finally fetched me. Amelia was calmly sitting in bed, eating a popsicle. The nurses all gushed about how good she was. "I know" she replied. Later she proudly told Matthew that she didn't cry at all "Not even a little waaah". The nurse suggested I might like to go downstairs to fill my prescription for morphine, because finding liquid morphine in a regular pharmacy is apparently hard. Amelia said it was fine if I ducked out to do that, so I did. Apparently she was a dream patient.


In recovery she had three popsicles and a container of jello. After which she claimed her tummy didn't hurt at all and she felt fine, so they removed her IV and let us go. Amelia liked getting to ride in the wheelchair and she liked getting to pick out the medication flavours (cherry Tylenol, bubblegum advil).


She spent the rest of the afternoon eating toast and popsicles, and watching Peppa Pig. It wasn't until late evening that she decided her tummy was starting to get a bit "owie", but only a bit. We aren't sure if that's because the freezing was starting to wear off but hopefully she has a good night! She sure is doing great so far.


November 5, 2018

It's the fifth of November and the kids actually asked me when fire day was in November this year. It's the next exciting thing that happens after Halloween and switch witch, apparently.


Lorianne walked by and saw the fire and said "Oh it must be bonfire day" (or something like that). Apparently my excitement over Guy Fawkes has registered.


I was proud, even though the kids were more looking forward to the marshmallows than the fire. Michael didn't quite know what to make of the fire. Elizabeth reckoned he found it too hot. Yes, those ARE Girl Guide thin mints in lieu of graham wafers.


November 4, 2018

It was All Saints Day and we all duly dressed up for the annual procession. I was St Florian, Brendan was St Joseph, Matthew was St George, Amelia was St Audrey (I don't know why she carries a sunflower, but Amelia's primary request was to be a princess...) and Elizabeth and Michael were St Francis and his lamb. Elizabeth's friend Juno from church was St Mary, and she actually stayed overnight and came with us in the morning. Our junior church lesson was on Jericho. The kids had a grand time dramatizing it with the playdough and peg people.


We had grand plans for the afternoon - choir practice, an invitation to bounce on a neighbour's trampoline and schemes to go swimming...


But then Matthew was very subdued after coming back from Junior church and my "mommy sense" was pinging loudly. He said he felt like he might throw up, but that he could last until the end of church. Brendan and I looked at each other and decided we'd leave immediately, abandoning Elizabeth at church. Then I'd head back to church to join Elizabeth for choir.


We got home just in time to escort Matthew to the toilet. I tucked him in, took his temperature (38.5 under the armpit), set him up with Curious George and some water. Arranged lunch for Amelia and then I fled.


As Matthew put it, he "spent all the rest of the day throwing up" and because he had an "owie throat, it hurt a lot and was not much fun". He kept telling me he was hungry and I would offer him various options (mostly of the jello, soup and popsicle variety) but when it came to actually thinking about food he ended up decided he was too unwell to eat. He actually got to the point where he didn't want to watch videos or do anything but lie in bed and cry. Poor Matthew.


Aside from complaining his head hurt, everything else tallied with our kids typical strep complaints. Puking? Check. High Fever? Check. Sore throat (with pus)? Check. Strep smell? Check. Unfortunately Sunday afternoon is a terrible time to try to get a strep test, so not wishing to take him to emerg for a strep test we rode it out until the following day. Took the doctor about 15 seconds to reach the same conclusion I had and prescribe an antibiotic, to be taken three times daily for the next ten days. 


November 3, 2018

Switch witch duly came and removed candy. Matthew got a giant remote control spider because he adores RC stuff and spiders and we just couldn't resist. Even though we suspected that he might use it to torment his sisters. There was a lot of screaming the first day. On the plus side, Michael isn't fond of it either so we can put it near places that he's to stay away from and it's a bit like those invisible room dividers for the Roomba.


Amelia was thrilled to receive her first Lego set. "My very own!"


Elizabeth finally got a highly coveted fidget cube, along with a cover for her e-reader, both of which she's been wanting badly. A fidget cube is basically a completely useless hunk of plastic consisting of switches that don't work, toggles that do nothing and buttons that make clicking noises but not much else. Clearly I'm not in the target demographic, but Elizabeth thinks we're the best so I guess it was worth it. I'm betting the e-reader cover will have more staying power.


Margaret and I happened to walk through Confederation Park downtown on our way to/from our ballet yesterday, which is how I discovered the "Edge of Peace" moon garden exhibit.


Consisting of nine glowing orbs with images projected on the various screens, I decided it would be pretty cool to bring the kids (especially since there is currently free parking at city hall across the street!)


It's intended to be a tribute to the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. We stayed for the entire 14 minute presentation despite the rather chilly evening. The presentation itself was more abstract and artsy than educational, but the kids enjoyed it and there were volunteers handing out free pins which the kids may have thought was the best part. That and the "song at the end" which we got to hear as we arrived and left.


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-Umbilical hernia repair
-Remember Remember
-Strep again
-Switch Witch
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