The Physican's Assistant came in first. She was very kind, and it was comforting to see her interact with Adeline and Nile. But she jumped right in with talking about a second surgery. She commented on how nice and round the back of Adeline's skull is, but also narrow the front is. She said, "She just might be one of those few that does need a second surgery on the front." It's difficult to remember anything she might have said after that. (And the fact that Nile was scaling the exam room furniture like Spiderman didn't help my concentration either.)
As soon as she left the room I looked at Aaron and said, "Dr. Puccioni will come in here and say something completely different."
I was somewhat right. He came in and played with Adeline a little. He commented on her chubby cheeks and big blue eyes. I'm sure he knew I needed some sort of sedation - and nothing eases your mind like hearing how beautiful your baby is! He told us that she seemed very happy and healthy. And we agreed. We talked about the difference in her personality and comfort level since surgery. She sleeps well, laughs all of the time, and is always exploring. He talked again about many babies don't experience the pressure on the brain like Adeline did. And how pleased he is that she is doing so well now.
And then he examined the front of her skull. He told us that her temples are still "pinched". Her head is growing from front to back, but isn't expanding from side to side. But the fused suture that they removed went all of the way to the front of her skull, and the opening they created by removing it was still there. And that is good. As her brain grows it should force her skull to widen. And that may take time.
He wants to give it a year post-op and see how it looks then. He reiterated that he would never do a second surgery less than 9 months after the initial surgery. So we won't plan on seeing Dr. Puccioni again until early next year. Wow. If she starts to show signs of pressure - becomes inconsolable, wakes frequently at night, change in appetite - we are to contact him right away and he will order a CT scan. He said at least we know what to look for since we have already experienced it.
We will continue to see her Craniofacial (Plastic) Surgeon, Dr. Miller, at least a couple of times before next year. And they will always communicate with each other. So the appointments with him should help ease my nerves and allow me to ask the crazy questions that my mind will create in the meantime.
I guess this is just another test in life. Nine months is a long time to wait - I've done it before, twice! And both times I was blessed. How will I spend this time waiting? Will I drown in the what-if's and nightmares of what could happen? Will I grow angry and resentful? Or will I remember how lucky I am and spend this time loving and appreciating and learning from my beautiful children (and husband!). And giving praise to God for all He has blessed me with? Will I allow God the time needed to heal Adeline? Or will I try to take control of the situation myself by contemplating and obsessing over that little (not so round!) head. I'm sure I will do a little bit of it all - worrying is one of my "finest" qualities.
Now I will focus on praying for Adeline's head to grow as it should. I will pray that she will continue to be healthy and happy and full of curiosity and everyday surprises. And I will pray that God will give me the courage to let go and let Him do what He needs to do.
It used to drive me crazy when I would cry to my dad when something absolutely horrible would happen in my life - like when I'd get into a fight with a friend, or wouldn't get the grade I studied so hard to get, or when my sister wore my shirt without asking. And instead of making it all go away...he would tell me to say the Serenity Prayer.
Well, God you will be hearing these words A LOT from me these next nine months!!!
The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
(thanks dad!)--Reinhold Niebuhr