Is my daughter really a teenager now?

I am now officially a mother of a teenager now.  This birthday has been really tough for me to accept!  I just can’t believe that she is just growing up so fast.  Sometimes it’s too fast and sometimes it’s not fast enough :)  These hormones are no joke.  I can remember exactly when that first contraction hit around 4am on August 27, 2001.  I remember pacing around our little kitchen in so much pain, trying to stick it out at home as long as I could.  I remember being so young and thinking that nothing could go wrong…I had planned on having a natural, drug-free childbirth.  My plan had gone exactly as I wanted up until the midwife discovered that Mackenzie was breech.  I had already gotten all the way to 10cm in just 6 hours…which I thought was pretty good for a first time labor!  Then all hell broke loose and all these nurses were flying around us trying to get me ready for an emergency c-section.  Everyone looked worried, which worried me.  The pain was the only thing that kept my mind distracted.  Finally, I was taken back and Mackenzie was born at 9:52am, and everything seemed perfect again!  (Here is the whole birth story, if you’re interested)…  She had a head full of hair and had all her fingers and toes.  I remember her cry was like a little squeal…she really had some lungs on her!  She had a tough time at the beginning, with a long hospital stay in the NICU due to pneumonia.  During that time, they found out she had a hole in her heart, too.  After she recovered from all that, she was a healthy baby.  Between her brother and sister, she’s got the medal for the most hospital visits so far…4…with a total of about 40 days spent in a hospital for various reasons.  Even still, she was very sweet and loving, but very determined and stubborn.  She was a colicky baby, which wasn’t fun at all.  Very much a “high needs” baby, as I think it’s called now…really demanding, intense, sensitive, and exhausting!  But we got through it.  She was an early talker and early walker…always on the go and learning new things.  She was and still is smart…if only she would apply it to all of her schoolwork :)  She is so creative and always had an imagination.  You could always tell that she would do something later on in her life where she could use those skills.  Maybe a lawyer, because she certainly is persistent and will try to talk you into something in a heartbeat!

She is very loving and loves affection, which I love.  I love it that she still hugs on me and has never been that kid who seems to be embarrassed of being around their parents.  I hope it stays like that.  I’ve tried to always tell her that she can always tell me anything and I won’t judge her…and that no matter what she does in life or who she chooses to love that I’ll support her.  She has come to me and asked my advice on different things, so hopefully that means I’m doing something right.  It’s just downright terrifying to know that she is a teenager now, with all those what-ifs and unknowns out there.  I was an extremely well-behaved teenager that was scared to death to do anything wrong…but I know what other kids were out doing, and that’s the stuff that scares me.  I can’t lock her in the house and forbid her to do anything; so at some point I just have to hope that I’ve raised her with enough common sense and good judgement to make the right decisions.  Luckily she hasn’t been too interested in boys yet, but I know it’s coming sooner or later (hopefully later!).  I remember the first time my heart was truly broken was when I was 14; my freshman year in high school.  I was just a mess and it was pretty pathetic, but knowing that’s only a year from now for her is just frightening!  Not to mention that my mom was around that age when she met my dad and they’ve been together ever since.  I was only 15 when I met Michael and we’re still married!  But, I digress…

I think that this summer has changed her outlook on some things, for the better.  Or at least I hope it has taught her that life has some bumpy parts but you just have to keep going until the road gets smoother.  It certainly brought us closer…being cooped up in a room with someone 24/7 for weeks on end will do that!

Happy Birthday, Mackenzie!

Mackenzie’s 3 week post-op appointment (stomach)

Mackenzie had a post-op check-up with Dr. Bambini today (who did her duodenojejunostomy).  He came in the room and said that she looked so much better and was glad to see her smiling!  He even noticed that she changed her hair color and was pleased that she was eating well and not throwing up.  He said that he should have done the surgery sooner :)

At the doctor's office

At the doctor’s office

He looked at her stomach and said that he was going to take the tape off of all of her incisions.  Mackenzie was worried that he was going to do that and immediately started getting anxious.  She grabbed my hand and the doctor started pulling off the tape.  Mackenzie was squeezing my hand and trying not to cry!  The nurse that was in there starts pulling off the tape on the other side of Mackenzie’s stomach and says to Dr. Bambini, “here, this is how you do it.”, and starts pulling up Mackenzie’s skin really fast and pulling the tape up and off.  What she was doing looked more painful, but she knew what she was doing!  The nurse said, “see, that doesn’t hurt, does it Mackenzie?”.  Mackenzie laughed and said that it actually didn’t hurt the way the nurse was doing it!  So, Dr. Bambini stopped even trying to help and just sat back and watched the nurse do it!  It was pretty funny :)

Scars

Scars

Three scars are pretty visible and the fourth one blends in pretty well under her belly button!  It’s like they made it a curved line underneath her belly button to blend in…you can barely see it!

After that, he said that the incisions look good and that there was still some glue over some of the incisions, but that will eventually come off.  He said that since she had not been throwing up that everything is moving through like it should and she really doesn’t have any restrictions as far as he is concerned.  She can swim now.  He asked her if she had any questions and the only thing she is concerned about is when she can ride roller coasters and Carowinds :)  But that will have to wait a few months!

I asked him how many cases he sees of this and he said that he sees about 2-3 patients per year that could have a diagnosis of SMA Syndrome.  He said it’s very rare and even more rare that it requires surgery.  He mentioned how swollen her duodenum was and that she really did need the surgery since she just wasn’t getting better in the hospital.  He has never had a patient to have this after spinal fusion surgery.  So, Mackenzie is a first case for him and for Dr. Wattenbarger.  He said that he is following a girl right now that has it but she didn’t have anything that caused it – I guess she has had it for a while and they have recently diagnosed her.

We talked about the different ways that her surgery could have been done (I think there is 3 ways) and why he did it the way he did.  He talked about one way being to just move the intestines out of the pinched area but that is rarely successful.  He said that it usually causes more problems than before the surgery.  So I’m glad he didn’t do it that way.  He said that with her anatomy the way he did it was the best route for her.  He said the only thing that she would be at risk of later would be a hernia if her intestines looped through the loop that was created and get tangled up in themselves.  If she ever has to have surgery in the future then we would just have to let her doctors know about her anatomy and not to cause further problems in there.

He did mention that she was at higher risk for scar tissue where they did the surgery.  I asked how long that takes to show up if it’s going to be a problem and he said that it normally happens in the first two years but could happen any time.  He said that the symptoms would be the same as she had before…pain, stomach distension, vomiting, etc.  He said that if she starts to have those symptoms again to call their office directly and they could get started doing tests and stuff instead of taking her to the ER where they wouldn’t know about her past issues.  But, hopefully we won’t have to deal with this ever again.

So, the visit was good and it was good to see Dr. Bambini again.  He said that since everything was going great that he really didn’t have to see her again.  So, off we went!  Hopefully never to return again :)