Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More Good News

I just got a phone call from M's pediatrician's office. I'm hot and cold with them. I always like the ped and wish he would leave to open his own office. The office staff is iffy most of the time. I usually like the nurse who takes calls for him, but the rest of the staff...ah, give or take them. Ahhh, but I digressed because I'm so excited, in a weird, only mom could be excited sort of way.

WAAAAAYYYYY back in April when M was in the hospital with the UTI problem, they wanted us to have a test called a VCUG to make sure M doesn't have a kidney reflux problem. I refused the test. I thought she just had a UTI that we didn't clear up, etc., etc.

The other MAJOR reason I refused the test is because it requires that M be cathed again. The mother in me IS.NOT.GOING.THERE.AGAIN. My sweet girl was cathed at least 4 times, if not 5, in a span of less than 6 days in April. She screamed every time I changed her diaper when we got home from the hospital. I couldn't do that to her again.

Fast forward to Halloween evening. Remember the phone call at 7:30 that evening claiming that M had yet another UTI? Sometime between that evening and the scheduling of her surgery, M's pediatrician's office has called several times. They tried to schedule the VCUG at the same time as her tendon transfer surgery, but we couldn't coordinate that.

Monday evening the nurse called from the ped's office. She wanted to see if I'd schedule the VCUG and she'd somehow missed it. No, I replied. I then asked if there is any way we can sedate M when she has the test done so she's loopy and out of it. When I explained the situation, the nurse completely agreed with me. Today she called me back and....

*drum roll, please*

THEY WILL SEDATE HER FOR THE VCUG! Our nurse said she'd NEVER heard of them agreeing to this before, but when they heard about our situation, THEY AGREED! It will just be some relaxation medication, not general anesthesia, but that is fine with me. As long as M is comfortable and not completely aware of reality, I'm fine with this!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Christmas Card Photo Shoot

On a whim (actually, a hope and a prayer!), I took M to meet some friends at a local collage to take Christmas card pictures by the lake. The sun was setting, so we were SHORT on time. Thankfully, M was cooperative. I think I took about 60 of her playing around. Too bad I had the incorrect white balance for atleast 20 of them!

I LOVE this picture. I really like it in bw, but it lacks some depth. It seems rather "shallow" when I convert it. If I crank up the contrast, the lightest portions blow out and the darker portions become too dark. I'm going to keep working on it.

Another favorite, but my white balance wasn't right, so it's too dark. When I work on it in PSE, it helps, but I'm not crazy about the technical aspects of it.

M has had ENOUGH picture taking. Actually, not. She was playing around. I've seen this face a lot recently, though.

Just wanted to show off the cast. Many people didn't realize how encompassing the cast is. Thsoe are her sweet little piggies poking out of the bottom and the cast is nearly up to her hip.
A sweet story: When we were done taking pictures, an older couple walked by. I'd left M on this bench while the other kids and I took some pictures on a bridge several feet away. We all walked toward M together. The older lady noticed her and commented on her cast. She asked what happened (in a kind, not nosey way) and I told her she'd had some reconstructive surgery on her foot. I was going to leave it at that, but I noted that the lady wanted more information, so I proceeded to explain about the club foot, blah, blah, blah. Well, it turns out that her husband is a retired orthopedist! He knew all about club feet, the surgery, everything! He even knew one of our previous orthopedists! This is a small, small world.
I might post pictures of the other cute kiddos tomorrow, with their mommy's permission. It is certainly much harder to capture two than it is one!

Monday, November 24, 2008

In Love

I am completely in love with something new.

Not completely new.

Probably not new to you.

Actually, not new to me either.

Wanna know what it is?


Yeah, yeah, okay. So, you, yourself, have probably bought something important like your house or your car or even your spouse on e-bay. But I'm an e-bay novice. I've never really been good at it before. I would get caught up in the moment and before I knew what I was doing, I spent WAY.TOO.MUCH. on something that I didn't even really need.

Until this weekend.

H wants a items for Christmas. Not that one or even two by themselves would be so bad, but almost every single thing on his list is over $50. Sorry, buddy, but that adds up a little too quickly in Natalie's already-stretched-to-the-max budget. I knew he was looking at e-bay for some kind of ear-talkie-thingie for our new cell phones (blue something?). So, I thought I'd check out e-bay for a few of his Christmas gifts.

Did you know that you can buy NEW things on e-bay? Not every thing is used!
Did you know that you can get some KICKIN' prices on e-bay if you are patient? That's not one of my stronger character traits, by the way. But I'm working on it.

Within the past 18 hours, M has scored herself three new dresses--for less than $30, INCLUDING SHIPPING!!! One is a precious hand-made pillow case dress for Christmas. One is a totally cute Gymboree sweater dress. And the last is a smocked House of Hatten dress that is TO DIE FOR. I can't wait to get them in the mail. I bought some fabric today to make M another pillow case dress if I can figure it out from the one that is coming.

I know you may be wondering about H. Not to worry. I'm staying mum on those, just in case he decides to check our family blog. I never know if he's checking this or not. Every now and then, he'll say, "So, you wrote about ----- on the blog?" IF he scores anything great for Christmas, I'll post about it on Dec. 26th and not one moment before.

Better run. One of my auctions is almost over. I might be winning something else!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Making History

**Warning! Warning**
This post is NOT a patient update on the Queen of the Benson Household! (Although she is doing fine and has not had any pain medication today!! Praise the Lord!)

H and I are making history over here at the Benson household. We are almost done with our Christmas shopping. *collective gasp of shock*

Yes, friends, I know it's a never-before-heard-of phenomenon. We're the last minute kind of people. I know this year will be no different--we'll still be picking up treasures at the last minute. But the BULK of it...most of it...almost ALL of it is done.

Now the debate is this: to get up early on Black Friday or not. To shop or not to shop. That is the debate. (For my friends who are not in the US: Black Friday is the day after our Thanksgiving. It's one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, shopping day of the year. Most of the stores in the US have huge sales that start before the sun considers rising. Some people stand in line for hours before the stores open to get the best sales.)

What are YOUR plans on Black Friday?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Patient Update

Frustration set in this morning, as we all knew it would. We weren't sure when it would hit, but we knew it was coming.

H was sweet enough to get up with M this morning so I could sleep in a little. A little turned in to 2 extra hours of sleep for me! Thank you, H!!!!

When I finally emerged from my slumber, M was...agitated. We couldn't really engage her in anything. She was tired of watching TV, but when I turned the TV off, there was a temper tantrum. She asked for a cinnamon roll, but when I gave it to her, she was screaming because that's NOT what she wanted.

After we were done with the cinnamon roll she DID NOT want, I brought her a few toys to play with at the table. That lasted for a little while, but not very long.

I put her on the floor. Truthfully, I wasn't really sure what else to do with her. She didn't want me in her face trying to engage her. She wasn't really interested in her toys.

"Can I dance?" she asked.
(insert Mommy's heart breaking)
"No, sweetie. Your cast is on and you can't dance."
"Oh. Can I go in there and listen to my music louder?"
"Sure. Want me to carry you?" my voice trails off as I watch her scoot herself across the floor toward the office where the music is playing.
"No, Mommy. I take myself there."

Ahhh...frustration dissipated just like that. She found a way to move herself! She doesn't have to ask me to move her every time she wants to move. For the past hour and a half, she's happily (did you read that...HAPPILY!) moved herself from one quiet activity to another. She's worn out now and asked for a snack and a movie. As much as I want to turn the TV off, I know her stamina isn't very high yet. And darnnit...she worked hard for over an hour! If she wants a snack and some snuggle time, I think she earned it!

After naps today, we're going to try to run a few errands. If she's up for it. If not, they can wait. But it might do us both good to get out of the house for a couple of hours.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gritting Teeth

Whew...24 hours post op care under my belt! What an interesting day!

M had a GREAT morning. She hung out on the couch. When she was ready to move to the chair and sit up , she screamed at me, "Mommy! CAN YOU MOVE ME TO THE CHAIR, PLEASE?" Not a big deal, but I was only standing about 2 feet away from her. Really. There was no reason to scream at me.

She wanted to color in her new book from Nona and OB, so I brought her bag of crayons to her. Again, I was standing about 2 feet away from her (granted, my back was turned to her) when she decided to draw "smiley faces" all over herself. Each cheek was covered, her chin was covered, she even drew them on her chest. To those of us that are not 3 year old art critics, it looked more like a huge green mess than smiley faces, but then art is in the eye of the beholder. (Pictures coming of this). When I asked what in the world she had done, she replied in her sweetest voice, "Mommy, I just drew smiley faces all over me!"

I decided it was time for bed tonight when I was holding M. Out of nowhere, she grabbed my ears in her fists, put her face in mine with nice nose to nose contact, gritted her teeth and said,

Drugs make kids say the darndest things. I just hope they make her sleep well tonight.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Today was truly a medical miracle. God orchastrated a perfect day for our family. We left home this morning at 9:30, ready for whatever the day held. I was calm (for the first time in many days), M was in a precious mood this morning, H was anxious, but laid back.

We arrived on time at 11:15. Just a few minutes later, we were registered. A few minutes after that, we had a room. M asked for a snack a few times, but was easily distracted.

What did we do while we waited?

We played with Bear--who had a matching bracelet!

We fed M's new baby. She was particularly hungry, so she had "Watsa bottles, Mommy! Watsa bottles!" (I think she meant lots of bottles!)

We wore M's new "doctor hat." Does she look like an anxious child? She was like this ALL morning. Smiling, sweet, cooperative. If the surgery hadn't been looming over our heads, I'd venture to say it was one of the best mornings we've ever had!

The nurse came in around 1:15 to give M some "happy medicine" to make her less anxious and send her to a la-la land so she wouldn't mind leaving us.

1:30: They came to take her away. She did great. She climbed right up in the bed, covered herself up, put her hat on and let them take her away. I was told she would come back about 3 hours later.

2:50ish: The doctor came in to tell me everything looks great.

What do you think? I think she looks great! They brought her back to me around 3:50. She was doing marvelously! She was inquisitive, sweet, cuddly. We played a few games of memory, fed her baby a few more bottles, ate a popsicle, drank two box drinks.

M isn't too keen on her cast. Her nurse asked her to wiggle her toes, which she did. When the nurse left the rom, M said, "I wiggled my toes. Take this thing OFF me." A few minutes later she told me it was too tight. Then she tried to push it off with her other foot and told me, "It TUCK. MOMMY! IT TUCK ON MY YEG!!!!!"

During one of her vital checks, her heart rate was a little elavated, so they gave her some more pain meds. Next check, it was back down. We were dismissed around 5:00.

Here she is! Practicing her Queen-Mobile pose. Our wagon here is decorated. Check out the green/red cast! My kids at school gave me the idea of a decorated cast. I'll have to share that sweet story soon.

The ride home was the worst part of the day. We were about 15 minutes away from the hospital when M started vomiting. We pulled over to clean her up and get re-situated. She threw up several times on the way home. She was so brave and strong, though. Whenever she thought she was going to be sick, she grabbed the cup. After the first big mess, she didn't mak any more messes! The saddest thing is she threw up all over her snuggles. Aunt L, she is sleeping with the sweet green blanket you made for her when she was a baby!!!

I'm going to have to buy her some nightgowns. She's always been a pj kind of girl, but her cast is too big to fit in her pjs! When I was changing her for bed, she started grabbing the cast, saying, "Take it off now, Mommy. I go sleep. Take it off me." She was NOT happy with me when I put her to bed with it on! She told me she couldn't put her leg down. All is quiet in her room now, so she must have figured something out.

Thank you so much for your prayers today. We wouldn't have made it through the day without your love and support. M was a model patient, H was laid back, and I was fairly calm. God certainly answered all our prayers.

ETA: It's 4:09 a.m. on the eastern coast. M woke up a few minutes ago crying for her snuggles, which were still in the washing machine. I'm waiting on them to dry now. Poor girl. After I pacifid her with a baby blanket, she said, "My yeg is all hurting. Take this hard thing off!" I gave her some of the good stuff. I think she's drifted off to the land of nod once again.


We're home.

Will post more in a few hours.


Sunday, November 16, 2008


M has three freckles on her face.

Completely irrelevant. I know.

As I stare into the face of this scary (for me) surgery, I'm focusing on the most irrelevant things.

Three freckles on her face.
Where to spend the night post op.
How to decorate her wagon (aka The Queen-Mobile).

I'm scared to ask what this "head in the sand" mentality says about me.

Oh, and I'm completely obsessed with my mother's colonoscopy tomorrow. They live three hours away. My mind is racing, "Should I be there? Do they need me? Should I pack a bag in case I need to go quickly?" Irrelevant!!!! My dad is perfectly capable of handling this. My mother is amazing and will handle this with grace and dignity, the way she handles everything.

Did I mention M has three freckles on her face? One between her lip and her left nostril. One above her left eye brow. One near her left ear.


I sure would appreciate your prayers right now. I'm having a hard, hard, hard time letting go of this and RELYING on The One Who is in Control. He is stronger and bigger than my worry, but I can't quite seem to go to Him. I'm holding on to this real tight right now, clutching it to my chest.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Anxiety Update

I'm trying so hard to remain calm about M's upcoming surgery.

Right now my heart is RACING. I feel light headed. There is something about being the mommy that makes me want to control every single aspect of this surgery. And I'm not in control at all!

Tonight at 6:40, my phone rang. Oh, I mean, MY CELL PHONE rang. As we were on our way to the local pizza parlor (you know, the one with all you can eat and a bazillion out-of-control-kids) to support my school, the phone call that I expected before 5:00 came in. Didn't occur to me that these nurses worked all hours of the day and night calling and returning phone calls to explain to and calm down parents of upcoming surgery patients.

"Mrs. Benson, this is the nurse from ----Children's Hospital. I'm calling about M's surgery. You are mom, right?"

(Insert heart in throat) "Yes, this is Natalie. I'm M's mother."

"M's surgery is scheduled for 2:00 in the afternoon on the 19th. You'll need to be at the hospital at 11:15."

WHAT???? (Out of control Mommy here)

"Ma'am, do you mean 11:15 in the morning? As in, I've got to bring a little kid who HASN'T EATEN since midnight the evening before?"

"Yes, ma'am. It's not going to be an easy day for you all. Do you have another adult you can bring with you to help you?"

And then we proceeded to talk for about 20 minutes about the surgery, the post op care, spending the night in the city the evening before vs. the evening after, how do we try to get to spend the night at the hospital, tips for entertaining her at the hospital.

She was one of the nicest nurses I've ever talked to. She must be a mom, because she anticipated my questions before I could ask them. She gave me some great ideas--get her a new toy to play with while she's waiting. Bring her snugglies so she can have them when she goes into the OR and they will be there when she wakes up. She gave us a pretty good idea of how long we'll be there post op.

Now, friends, help us decide. I'm torn about what to do post op. The hospital is right at an hour and a half away from our house. Should we make arrangements to spend the night near the hospital AFTER the surgery or should we just tough it out and come home? We might leave the hospital as early as 6:30, but it could be considerably later (as in several hours). What do you think? Part of me thinks we should just come on home. Part of me hates to put her through the car ride home after such a long day.

Be still my racing heart.

Trust with all your heart, mind, and soul. Know that He is in control.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


"I need go bathroom."

"Okay, go."

"Can I close the door?"


"Can I close the door?"


"Can. I. Close. The. Door? I need my PRIBACY." with a three year old.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


At 10:40 am today, God completely convicted me of my lack of faith in Him. I was all worked up because the surgery coordinator had STILL not called me back. People, we're talking surgery on MY BABY here. Let's get this ball rolling! My co-teachers encouraged me to call the surgery coordinator again, despite leaving two messages.

When a voice answered on the other end, I was almost speechless.

"Hi, my name is Natalie Benson and I'm calling--"

"You must be psychic! I am holding your daughter's paperwork right here in my hand. I was going to call you when my phone rang."

Guess who's in charge here--NOT ME!

"When do you want to schedule this thing?" she asked.

"I'd love to do it before the end of the year because we've already met our deductible for M."

Silence. Longer silence. "Hmm...let me see." Snapping of fingers. "I know! I just took a patient off the books for November 19th. How does that work for you?"

Speechless, yet again. I'm never speechless so to be that way twice in less than 30 seconds is pretty unusual. I was so dumbfounded that I couldn't even think of what day of the week November 19th is! "Yes, yes," I stuttered. "We'll take it." (like it's a prize offering!) What if I HAD spoken with her yesterday? The November 19th patient might not have canceled their surgery yet and there might not have been a slot for us. God is in control. He is sovereign.

I proceeded to tell her about M's little UTI problem and our needing to have the kidney reflux test--was there anyway we could do it all at the same time she's asleep?

God answers prayers, people. He really and truly does.

This lady, who bore the brunt of my anger yesterday, called the children's hospital to find out how to set it up. She then called me back, with specific directions on how to proceed.

I've talked to M's pediatrician, who supports my decision to try to have it all done at once and is trying to coordinate with the hospital to make it happen for us.

Did I mention the hospital and orthopedist are in another city, nearly an hour and a half away? And we're trying to coordinate two very different procedures to happen at the same time???

Miracle. Real life, present day miracle.

Thanks be to God.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

When things were easier

Do you remember a time when things were easier? Perhaps childhood when you knew to head home when the streetlights came on? Perhaps in college when you just had to study, attend class and hang out with friends? Life before kids? Life before marriage?

At this point in my life, I'd give anything to head back to that place where things were easier.

"No, NO!" (fingers pointed, voice emphatic, confident even) M's version of easier. When we were trick-or-treating Friday evening, if something frightened M, she'd point her finger at it and proclaim, "No, NO!" The first No a bit timid, the second NO with conviction.

I'm finding this approach doesn't work as well for me.

At 7:30 Friday evening, my cell phone rang. The caller ID indicated the call was coming from M's pediatrician's office. Yes, at 7:30 ON A FRIDAY EVENING. As I hesitantly answered it, I heard the words I dread every time we head to the peds office. "Mrs. Benson, we just got the results from M's urine sample you dropped off this morning. It seems she's got ANOTHER urinary tract infection."

My response? "No, NO!" I'm frightened. I'm upset for her. I'm super thankful we just happened to drop off a long overdue urine sample that very morning, before she was symptomatic and hurting. I want this to go away and never plague her again. I don't want to deal with this when we're dealing with an upcoming foot surgery that I barely understand.

I called the orthopedist office not once today, but twice, and haven't heard back from them. I was told to wait one week to call to schedule the surgery to make sure the surgery orders arrived on the surgery coordinator's desk. Did she call me back today? (Dearest surgery coordinator...if you happen to read this blog, forgive me and don't hold my apprehension against M and postpone her surgery.) NO, SHE DID NOT. What??? That's HER JOB. "No, NO!" I want to tell her. Don't make me wait any longer to schedule this. We MUST do it before the end of the year because we've already met M's deductible. Not to mention, I've prepared myself emotionally for this. Let's get it on the books before my apprehension REALLY takes over. We don't even want to talk about how we've been preparing M for this. Let's get this show on the road.

I only wish "No, NO!" worked as well for me as it did for M. Each time she said it, she became a little more sure of herself and a little less scared of the world.

I wonder what would happen if I stared muttering "No, NO!" under my breath when I needed a little confidence?