"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Beginning Is Always the Hardest (or so I hope!)

 Want to see her owie?
 I wrote that "yes."  I feel a sickness in my gut every time I see it.  I stamped "yes" you can put my baby through this.  
 Here you can see the immobilizer.
She has to wear it 24/7.
 Another shot of her shoulder.

I keep remembering, these last days, that the first surgeon we saw told us that this was a tough surgery.  Because of how uncomfortable the surgery is and the long recovery time, he said he would not want to put his daughter through it.  He DID recommend we see the doc who specializes in it though.  Not being able to lift even a gallon of milk is rough, but. . . were his last words.

The specialist saw a patient he knew he could "fix."  He brushed over the "tough" and sold the finished product.  He was honest that recovery would be long. He did not deny the hard - but he was confident the result would be worth it. (The exact name for her surgery, for you medical type, is Arthorscopis anterior Bankert/capsular plication along with Arthroscopic Posterior Bankert and a labrum repair thrown in as a "bonus.")

While I do believe that Sierra made the right decision,
I DO!  I believe it 100%, remembering the caution from Dr #1 has helped us both feel less wimpy these last 5 days!

I expected rough, but it has been worse than I expected.
That is rare for me.  I usually over-prepare for bad stuff.

However, I think we are FINALLY on the road to recovery.
I think we finally have a pain med that is working. (Third time seems to have been the charm.)  Sierra is more comfortable at last.  Thank you, Lord.  She is still dizzy, but it keeps getting better.

She is the bravest, sweetest person I know.  Truly.  She tolerates pain with a rare grace.  I both love and hate that about her.  Sometimes I want her to yell and scream.  Watching her hold it all in hurts.  At the same time, I am in awe of her composure and maturity.  She is one special girl.

We left the house for the first time today.

She had PT
She was terrified, yet, as always, she carried herself with calm and peace.  She is very wobbly (as in I never let her go when she is standing, or trying to stand, or trying to sit), but she works through each step with cautious determination.  I am SO thankful for the relationship we have formed with her PT.  Charity knows her well.  She can read her face almost as well as I can.  She knows Sierra is tough, so when Sierra shows any sign of discomfort Charity backs off.  Today would NEVER have gone as well as it did with anyone else.  Sierra trusts Charity, so when Charity said she was going to manipulate Sierra's tender limb, Sierra was able to relax and allow it.  They were both amazing.

When we got back home, Sierra was almost too tired to walk.  Her knees were shaking.  We crept back into the house, and she was asleep before I even had her blankets arranged.

She is as brave as she is beautiful.
I could not respect her more.

The short term plan is for lots and lots of rest!  She will not return to school before April 7.  And if she needs more time, that's OK with me. 

The road to recovery has been rough so far, my love - but I DO believe the worst is over.

(Crazily enough, although Sierra has been through major trauma - it is Mataya who is fussy!  Mataya is so upset from her stuffy nose and teething pains you would think she has had major surgery.  Sierra and I jokingly agree that if Mataya ever has to have surgery we might just hide out in Hawaii.  Baby girl does NOT have her big sister's pain tolerance, that is for sure!  Ha!)

I am thankful today that all of these trials are temporary.  While, in this moment, I am tired and a bit overwhelmed, a week from now things will be looking much different.  And a year from now, God willing, Sierra will be in charge of her own milk!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Surgery Complete

 We arrived at the hospital at 6:40 AM.

They quickly got Sierra changed into a gown.  It was a really hot gown - literally!  It had spots for a hot air hose to hook into the gown.  
 Sierra has never even had blood drawn, so I was worried getting the IV started would freak her out.  It ended up being messy - but she took it all in stride.  She is totally fascinated by all things medical, so rather than averting her eyes like a "normal" person - she watched every bit.
 Her phone kept her busy while she waited.  One of her BFFs set her alarm so she would be awake to text with Sierra pre-surgery.  Besties are truly the best!

About an hour before surgery the anesthesiologist came in to do a nerve block.  He gave her what we have nicknamed "loopy juice."  She has an odd combination of memories from that point further.  She does not remember getting the nerve block.  she does remember some of the funny conversations we had. 

Full of loopy juice she looped through the same conversations over and over.  She would freak out because she could not feel her arm.  Then she would freak out because she did not know why her finger was glowing (Oxygen sensor).  She remembers trying to lick the oxygen in her nose... she wanted to know what it tasted like.  She remembers worrying about farting in the operating room.  She remembers getting mad at her dad for teasing her.  He called it teasing, she was sure it was lying... and lying is NOT OK!  And then randomly she would tell me she was scared, and start crying.  (Insert momma's heart breaking here.)

They took her down to the OR promptly at 8:40, but the surgeon was running a bit late, so surgery did not begin until 9:30.

While I was in the waiting room, I felt "holy calm."  I was OK.  I am so thankful for prayer.  I had had several of my besties text and FB me before and during her surgery reminding me they were praying.  There is nothing more precious that a girlfriend holding you up in prayer - except the amazing calm that the Holy Spirit brings.

By 11:10 surgery was over.  We met with the surgeon soon after.  He was happy with the repairs they were able to make.

About an hour later they brought me to my girl. I was definitely getting fidgety by the time I was able to be with her again. 

She was nauseated, overwhelmed, and a little grumpy by the time I arrived.  They gave her some meds for the nausea.  Her nerve block was already starting to wear off.  Her fingers were tingly.  She hated the tingly.  She would continue to hate the tingly as it climbed up her arm.  But when she woke the next morning feeling her arm with no nerve block, she decided tingly was not so bad at that point.

It did not take long before they were sending us home.  The instructions were all a bit of a blur.  It all felt very rushed.  Getting her dressed was NOTHING like we had been told it would be.  We had been told she would be able to wear any old t-shirt.  Not so.  They wanted her whole arm inside her shirt, immobilizer and all.  She had worn the largest t-shirt she owned, but it was a tight, uncomfortable fit.  Not cool.  When you are 15, details like that matter.

We got her home, put one of her dad's much larger t-shirts on and started pain meds.

Hunter stopped with a dozen pink roses.
We told silly stories about her pre-surgery on loopy juice.  She was definitely still a bit loopy!

I do not even remember the rest of the evening.  The only place she is even a bit comfortable is in the recliner, so I slept on the couch next to her - with my timer set to wake her every four hours for pain meds.  It was reminiscent of her infant days when I would watch the clock for feedings.

The following day was NOT FUN.


We tried.  We really, really tried.  We rented about a million '90's chick flicks on Amazon Prime - but nothing can distract you from terrible pain.  My Berra-girl was miserable.  She cried.  Many, many times.  She almost never cries, especially from pain.

She had several friends stop after school and into the evening.  For me, that would be a nightmare.  For Sierra, even in terrible pain, it was a blessing.  Conversation, silly stories, sympathy, and laughter helped her.  It was still bad, but the time passed more quickly.

Saturday was a bit better.  The pain was bad, but not so bad she was always near tears.  There were tears, just not as many.  She had friends stop off and on all day.  They watched what I have called "comfort movies." All of her favorite movies from upper Elementary School and Middle School were re-watched.  She has been so thankful for her friends.

THAT has been such a blessing.  It has been a hard year for her.  She has not felt like she has many friends, but she has been well-loved these last days.  Being well-loved is a precious gift.

I had been noticing that she was increasingly dizzy - but I attributed it to a combination of all the meds and her being tired.  I was concerned, but felt that a good nights sleep would help.

She slept the best she had slept since surgery.  It was hard to wake her for her meds.  I expected some big improvement when she woke this morning.  Instead, she was CRAZY dizzy.  Walking her to the bathroom was scary.  I truly expected her to go down.

So, I started sending texts and making calls.  Why is it that whenever you have a pressing medical question, it is on a weekend?

After consulting several people, we decided to switch her meds up a bit.  We dumped one, and added another over-the-counter one.  Her dizziness is better.  And hopefully her Doctor agrees with the decisions when I visit with him tomorrow.

The accomplishment of our day was a shower.  She is not supposed to move her shoulder AT ALL.  The goal of the surgery is to keep the ligaments they have shortened short, so her shoulder must be still.  It is in an immobilizer all day and night which maintains the perfect position.  Showering was scary because the immobilizer is removed.  Add to it a still slightly dizzy girl and the fact that I have not assisted her in showering since she was about 4, and you have a bit of a stressful situation.  But we made it!  It is a good thing we were close before because once you shave your 15-year-old's arm pit and assist her in putting on a bra, you are about as close as it gets. (HA!)  I definitely make a poor nurse and I will never get a job at a spa; however her hair is clean and braided, her bandages are removed, and she is still in one piece.  Thank you Lord.

I have her snugly tucked into the recliner.  I will soon crash on the couch - but I wanted to update and add some specific prayer requests.

Please give thanks:
for the scary of surgery to be behind her.
for friends that love and encourage us both.
that Sierra is such a trooper.  Even on her most painful days she was full of "thank you mom for taking care of me."  It is easy to take care of a patient as sweet and thoughtful as Sierra.
for the power of love and friendship.

Please pray:
for her pain.  It is much worse than she expected.
for the dizzy to subside completely.
for rest.  Sierra, Chad, Mataya. and I are all very tired.  Mataya is teething and has a stuffy nose.  Both Chad and I have been up with her.  She is cranky and restless and not any fun! 
that love, unity, kindness, and patience rules our home.

Sierra will be home from school all day tomorrow and Tuesday.  She has PT on Tuesday.  She will attempt a half day of school on Wednesday and another half day Thursday.  Then she has a four day weekend in which we hope to catch up on homework.  All those details feel overwhelming when today we celebrated a simple shower.  However, tomorrow is another day!

Good-night all.
Sleep well.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Risk Worth Taking

This beautiful little bundle of energy and enthusiasm has surgery tomorrow morning.

Surgery is a first for my kids!  I have never sent one of mine into the OR before; and though I am nervous, I am also excited.  

Sierra has been struggling with her right shoulder since July.  After months and months and months of PT, many doctors appointments, and multiple tests, I feel confident that surgery is her best option.

In this surgery, the doctor will surgically tighten all that holds her shoulder joint in place.  

Although this surgery has a loooong recovery period (up to 8 months) and we go into it knowing that Sierra will always have to treat her shoulder joints with more TLC than most of us do, it also provides light at the end of the tunnel!  Currently, Sierra can not do simple things like lift a gallon of milk from the refrigerator or put her hair in a pony tail without her shoulder slipping out of joint.  Many simple activities are not possible.  She is in near-constant pain.  

Post-surgery and PT, we expect that she will not be in pain.  She will be able to put away her own milk!  She will be able to cheer (with a few restrictions like stunting and tumbling)!  She will be able to play catch with her younger siblings and participate in regular PE during High School.

We are so very grateful that we live in a place where surgery is a viable and affordable option.  It is, of course, not without risk - but it is a risk worth taking!

We also ask that you be praying for Sierra, the medical team, and her slightly worried parents and siblings tomorrow and in the months to come.

Pray for surgical success.
Pray for pain to be well managed.
Pray for her warrior spirit to be alive, joyful and persistent as she works through PT.
Pray for fullness of recovery.

As I have been praying over my girl and this surgery the verse that I feel the Lord bringing to mind is this - 

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is work within us, to Him be glory for ever and ever! Amen"
Ephesians 3:20-21

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Turning 1 is FUN!

Mataya Hope-y girl had such a fun birthday party this weekend!  I had expected her to be shy, but she surprised me!  She had a wonderful time exploring both her guests and her gifts.  She took on her "duty" of Party Princess with grace and sweetness.  It was a precious time.
 "Do you hear that?  This toy talks!"  
 This little Aunti-to-be LOVES playing with babies.  She was thrilled that her new baby has eyes that open and close!   
 We have been reading her new books from cousins Lincoln and Ben all day!
 She's leaning in to kiss the baby.

She loves to say "baby."  Then she rocks it side to side and says "rocka!  Momma rocka!"  So, I sing Rock-a-Bye Baby while Mataya sways and smooches her dolly.  It is pure preciousness.
 Joshua stayed by her side every moment of the gift opening, which was one reason she remained so brave.  Big brothers help with bravery!  He joyously unwrapped her gifts.  He (with Grandma's help) then put them together.  He is an amazing big brother.
 Although we are not usually a cake family, you can not turn one without cake!  So momma baked and mixed frosting, and Brenna decorated the cupcakes.  My Brenna-girl does great work!
 Brenna has such an artistic eye for color and arrangement.

 This time we sang and clapped softly - and Mataya didn't cry!

Birthday cake is YUMMY!!!!

We also served berries - blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries; which are Mataya's very favorite foods.  We drank pink punch (raspberry sherbet mixed with 7-Up) with pink paper straws.  Mataya thought it was the yummiest thing ever.  And really - everything tastes better out of a pink straw, right?!?

The guest list included:
 Honorary Auntie Sharlene and Angie 
 Ra-Ra and Krissy
 (Great) Auntie Robin
 Cousin Caitlin
 Auntie Emily and Cousin Lexi
 Nenna and cousin Adrianna
 Grammy and Grandma Great Hoff
 Uncle Chad
Devin, Krissy, and Mataya's nephew-to-be

Not pictured: Daddy, Grandpa Scott, Grandma Donna

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Another Dietrich Driver

Sierra got her driver's license today!

And in typical Sierra Dietrich fashion during the 20 minutes it took to take her driving test, she became fast friends with the DOT professional that tested her.

I am not even joking here.

She and the proctor walked back into the building after she had completed her test giggling like classmates.  They walked up to me and the proctor announced between chuckles, "We were going to come in pretending she had failed, but we are too excited.  She passed!  She is perfect!"

As we drove away Sierra told me about the test.  She said, "Mom!  It was great!  We chatted the whole time.  That helped me so much!  I get so nervous when it is quiet.  The lady's name was BeeBee (spelling?).  Her first car was a Mustang.  She only paid $100 for it.  She was so nice.  At one stop light I was slowly creeping forward to see if I could turn on red when a BIG truck behind me beeped impatiently.  I was scared.  But she looked at me and said, 'Even if you can turn, you stay put!  That big old bully can wait!'  I am just so thankful for her!  It was awesome!"

Only my Sierra.

I just adore her sweetness.  Her raw purity - not in the form of perfection - but rather honest emotion, inspires me and challenges me.  She is real.  She is open.  She draws people out, even at the oddest times.  She is a world changer.  And, I am so very thankful for my front row spot in watching her become all that He has planned for her to be.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

This Precious Package is ONE Today!

 This is the "really mom" look!

A tiny bit fuzzy - but THAT is my smiley, always moving baby!

At one Mataya Hope loves:
to talk!  Her words include - mama, daddy, Jaaay, Nenna (Brenna), Josha (Joshua), Ra Ra (Sierra), Riley (our dog), pup pup, papi (Pacifier), more, done, tickle, eyes, no-no, buh-bye, hi, uh-oh, baby, mol (Molly, Krissy's dog), ni-ni (good night), bath, wow, more, please...  She is a mocking bird and tries to repeat anything she can in herrprecious little baby voice.  It is SO fun!

to eat!  Berries are her favorite.  She also likes yogurt and all fruits, along with most veggies.  She is not big on carbs like cereal, crackers, etc...  She likes eggs, pancakes, pasta, and potatoes.  Her favorite on the go snacks are craisins and yogurt drops.

the steps!  Climbing up the steps to check on the big kids brings her great joy.  She has started hanging on the gate and yelling for "Ra Ra."  

songs!  Especially this silly teen hit called WOP!  She begs and begs Sierra to play WOP on her phone and dance with her.  She even sings along with the chorus.  It is beyond cute.

daddy!  Mataya loves each of us, but her relationship with her daddy is unlike any of our kids had at her age.  She gets so excited when he is near.  She dives into his arms anytime he walks by her side. She cries when he leaves for work.  The way she says "Daddy!" melts us all - but especially her daddy!

books!  Reading is a favorite.

copying mommy.  She does everything I do.  She is great at switching loads of laundry and scrubbing floors.  She races to "help" when she hears the vacuum.

Riley.  I do not know why, but she begs to visit that stinky animal in the garage. (;

She does not like:

diaper changes, getting dressed or anything else that forces her to be still.

milk in a cup.  Water and diluted juice is good in a cup.  Milk is NOT!

having her face washed or nose wiped.

The night of Mataya's birthday ALL of her siblings were home for dinner!

It was so fun to see all my kids together.

Mataya agreed!

 She smiled and giggled while we sang Happy Birthday to her!
 After we blew out the candle, everyone started clapping and cheering.  Poor baby girl got so startled that she cried!
 Thankfully, she realized there was something new and yummy to explore on her tray and quickly settled in to eat!

 Yep - that is ice cream she is holding like a snowball.
BRRRR!  But yummy!

 I love this shot.
The cake was a hit!

She either ate or demolished every bit.  It was a MESS, and we all loved every minute of it!

Mataya Hope-y Girl, 

We did well this year, you and I.  God allowed us to be home together, savoring each moment.  I am so thankful.  It was a blessing unlike any other - precious and pure. 

I confess that I have dreaded you turning one.  Your baby days were so very precious to me.  I truly could not have enjoyed them more.  Over the years I have learned just how quickly time passes, which made me extra careful to appreciate each moment with you.  

You have grown so much this year.  You have accomplished much.  Being a baby is hard work, and you have learned and grown with such sweetness and grace.  You are such a joyful little one, full of smiles, powerful smiles, ones that have the power to break down even the toughest of exteriors.  Daily people tell me how your bright beautiful eyes and sweet "HI!" brighten their day.  You crawl with gusto.  Explore like a secret agent in enemy territory.  Exert your independence, when necessary, with delightful sassitude.

And although I will miss all that came with your days of infancy, today I celebrate you.  Truly.  I feel incredible joy and excitement as I think about all we will experience during this year of ONE.  Where I expected to be sad, God turned my heart toward joy and delightful anticipation.  He is so GOOD, my precious one.  So very good.

Walking, swimming, boating, and a full-nights sleep all loom near.  One will be wonderful and exciting and full of new adventures.  

I can't wait!

Love you always, baby girl!


Thank you Jesus for this precious gift.