February 21, 2017

Dash: One full year surgery free!

One full year since his last (and hopefully final!) surgery.
Below are some favorite photos of our sweet boy from this past year and toward the end I'm sharing some thoughts regarding our miracle baby's milestone and what this past year of recovery has been like.
(^^Dash show me your belly!)
(^^Both scars. The long vertical one was from his 3rd operation 1 year ago)
(^^Always trying to be big like Daddy)
(^^First official haircut at home, given by his mama)
(^^The good life with sister Dollie)
(^^Turning ONE!)
(^^Just enjoying the ocean view from the beach house)
(^^Doing things that his sister never did)
(^^His adorable and hilarious bear crawl before he began to walk)
(^^Sucking down some watermelon like a champ)
(^^Meeting Great Grandpa J for the first time, just a short time before he passed)
(^^Snapchat selfie with mama)
(^^First Easter)
(^^Buddying up to puppy Reese at Grandma's)
(^^Last moments on the peds floor before being discharged once and for all)
(^^Our room for surgery #2 and #3)
(^^Post operation recovery)
(^^New scar/Post Operation healing)

Well, friends, we made it! Dash made it.  
I have been dreaming about this milestone for 365 days. Really even longer than that. For those new to Dash's story, you can get caught up here with part one, part two, and part three. We've just been so anxious for time to pass, one year, two years, three years and beyond..that we no longer encounter more problems and surgeries and just scary stuff with Dash. So here we are at the one year mark. It certainly hasn't been a perfect year and we've had our fair share of scares with him. He hasn't stayed overnight at the hospital, but we have had a good hand full of panicked phone calls to his team of surgeons, and also have rushed to the hospital for more upper gi tests to make sure all is well. The kid just randomly vomits when none of us are sick and it's freaky. Here's why...
 Exactly one year ago yesterday I woke up and played with our kids, went for a walk, took naps, and then headed to the store for groceries. During that trip, out of nowhere, Dash vomited ferociously. And then he kept vomiting. And then he splashed and played in the bathroom tub as if he were fine. Like, maybe the frozen breast milk I had given him earlier was bad. But then he continued to vomit, and then he began to become dehydrated. And then the surgeon ordered us to head to the ER. Fast forward 15 hours later, one year ago today, and we were meeting another surgeon who would unexpectedly be operating on Dash for the 3rd time in 7 months. And, as it turned out, he had another malrotation. Another big problem. Well, the same problem, repeating itself for the 3rd time. Which is 100% completely unheard of. One time, sure. 2 times the surgeon had seen happen maybe a couple of times in her 20 year career. But 3 times? Never. Were there any other symptoms along with the vomiting? No. Should there have been? Absolutely. Such as: no stools, wincing in pain when his belly was pressed, a hard, not soft and squishy tummy, sickly looking, lethargic. He showed none of them. In fact, he never has. Not any of the times at all. It's honestly the craziest thing, you guys. This has always been our biggest issue because doctors don't want to take us seriously or I guess I should say him. But they do now, sorta. We hope. So, when he randomly vomits, like he has a few times over the past few months, it sure gets our hearts beating fast. But so far, so very good. 
So how is he doing now? 
Well, he's thriving. He is almost 20 months old and he is full of life. He is loud, he is busy, and he is loving. Perhaps it's because of always tagging along with his sister every minute of every day, but he talks so much. We are starting to have very small conversations together. He knows words that I don't know how he learned. There is not a room or basic object that we walk past that he doesn't say the word that describes it or is it. It's easy to understand, too. I love it. We love him. We are seriously obsessed with him.  He is obsessed with Dory, the movie. All day long I hear, "Dory! Dory! Dory!" and he brings me all the little toys or things that relate to Dory. He loves Elmo, and he loves Mickey. He loves avocados, oatmeal, and popcorn. He lovessssss his binkies. All 17 of them. Okay, not 17. But 7 for sure. He loves to feed himself with a fork or spoon and refuses to allow help. He sleeps perfectly through the night in his own room from dusk till dawn, plus a 3 hour nap daily. In a room full of toys he goes for the balls and the cars/trucks. He's a little too comfortable with the word "candy". The words I hear most during our days together are: beetee (binky), Dory, yeah, oops, uh-oh, Dollie, fishy (for his goldfish), play, Daddy, Mommy, rawr, and drink. Outside, running and racing Dollie, is his happy place. Church is literally the hardest part of my week with him. Just cannot seem to keep him occupied for longer than 2 minutes no matter what I try. His only interest is to meet new people there. Comments from strangers are still 95% about his big brown eyes. So far he is showing the same weight that Dollie did around his age, but much much shorter. I guess if I had to use just a few words to describe Dash, at least in my eyes, I would say: tough, happy, curious, brave, loving, smart, and surprising. 
This day truly is so important to me, to us, to our family, because we have been through a whole lot with this sweet boy in his first year of life. Our worlds have been turned upside down with him and we have been, and probably will continue, holding our breath. But it does feel like we can exhale a bit knowing that one full year has come and gone without problems which just gives us reassurance that those little intestines are growing stronger and stronger, they are staying put and functioning the way they are meant to. 
I still experience moments of anxiety relating to each surgery, and each scare, and the unknown, but that's another post for another day. Today is about celebrating a milestone that I hope repeats itself in another year from now. 
Thank you all for your love and support. I appreciate you stopping by and, as usual, sticking around for my long posts. 
For Dash: 
Congratulations, baby boy! You are strong and you are meant to be here to do something very important. You have already touched many, many lives. Every single day that passes you are getting stronger and stronger. Your father and I recognize many great and special qualities in you already. You make even your Dad tear up on a daily basis as we watch you grow. Your scars are stretching across your belly in both directions as get bigger and I look forward to the day when I can explain to you what they mean. I also look forward to the day that you can better communicate with us and tell us if something is wrong inside your sweet tummy. Dollie loves you so much, and you two are going to be each others person. I just know it. You make our family happier and better than we could have ever imagined. We are blessed and thank God every single day for you and your sister. 
We love you! 

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