Tomorrow is our ten year wedding anniversary. This photo was taken by my friend Amy when Rob returned form his last deployment a couple of months ago. When I look at it, the emotions of all of our reunions come flooding back - I can actually FEEL them. Each time he returns I feel as if we've accomplished something - our family bonds are even stronger. Our world is right again, because as long as we are together we can do anything.
This time last year, I envisioned us having a romantic weekend alone somewhere - maybe one of the neighboring islands - to celebrate (something we never get to do!). Of course our lives have taken a different path and earlier this month we found ourselves enjoying time together as a new family of five, amazed and overjoyed at how easy it was to incorporate Bella into our home. And while we realized that having a newly adopted daughter eliminated the possibility of a romantic weekend alone, we certainly did not expect to be where we are tonight.
Bella was not herself earlier this week. We initially thought she had a viral illness because she developed a couple of mouth sores, followed by a fever and vomiting at dinner. Throughout the following day it became obvious that she was also in some kind of pain but we could not identify what was wrong. On Thursday morning I took her to the doctor. Other possible causes for her behavior were ruled out (at this point she was like a completely different child, not smiling or wanting to be touched at all). The physician blamed her leg pain on her hip dislocation and muscle spasticity, but I was not convinced because the dislocation was pre-existing and had never bothered her like this before. We discussed the possibility of a broken bone, but everyone agreed that was not the cause since there was no swelling or discoloration/bruising of the skin. However, a pelvic xray was done and it showed a probable hip fracture, which was confirmed by CT scan.
So Bella was admitted to the hospital with a broken hip and scheduled for surgery the next day (Friday morning). The operation went well and she is recovering in the Pediatric ICU for a few days, with an epidural pump for good pain control. The surgeon remarked that when she opened her up her bones were like pretzels - and as a way to describe just how frail Bella is, she jokingly said that she wanted to tell the team not to breathe on her for fear that something else might break.
Finding out that your child has a broken hip that requires surgery and hospitalization just three weeks after discharge from the first hospital stay for malnutrition is very upsetting. It was the first major bump on this journey. The surgeon assured us that the fracture was inevitable due to years of laying on her right side (to the extent the her left femur is curved from being draped over the right leg in a side-lying position for so long), having a severely dislocated left hip, very poor nutrition, and osteopenia. She said the real blessing is that it happened HERE and not in the orphanage, where it would have likely been lethal. So there is the silver lining in the cloud of despair that we feel for our daughter, who has one more medical hurdle to clear.
Yesterday though, my heart leapt with joy when she began to really wake up from anesthesia and it became clear that our happy, vivacious Bella was back. It was such a relief to know that the pain was gone and that she is once again handling hospitalization so well. I've said it before - her spirit is amazing. As a wise friend wrote to me today " Bones heal and nutrition will improve again. Her heart is the key to the long term and it seems well fed by your loving family." Bella, your family indeed loves you, we are so happy to have you with us, and we know the road to good health is long for you but worth every step. Remember what I said - as long as we are together we can do anything.