A Week

It’s been a week since Bella had her procedure.

I’d love to say “time flies”, but I’d be lying.

Bella has not yet returned to school – our hope is that she will be back on Monday.

The reason she is not back at school is this::


This is what Bella’s toe (the better of the two) looks like this morning. She just cannot go to school and risk getting it exposed to pretty much anything a 3rd Grader might encounter throughout the school day.

We are not unfamiliar to days/weeks away from school. We are able to adopt a bit of a routine and Bella’s teachers have always been wonderfully accommodating of us, allowing me to act as interim teacher to Bella.



We even enjoyed a field trip or two.

Today, I even allowed Abeni to stay home so that Bella had someone to play with (admittedly, thus taking the pressure off me so that I might actually get some work done).

There was a significant highlight this week.


Abeni Joy turned FIVE!




It is hard to believe that she is the exact age Bella was when we brought Abeni home from Ethiopia. And as so often happens, my thoughts and my heart drift to Abeni’s birth mother.

I find myself wondering if she is wondering about Abeni.

I find myself dreaming of a day when Ethiopian, among other, mothers no longer need to even consider relinquishing their babies in order to ensure their child’s survival.

This weekend, Abeni is having her first real birthday party – meaning, the kind where she is aware and excited to have her friends come and celebrate with her. We have found a fabulous preschool for Abeni and she loves being there, and they love her. It has been fun to plan that party this week and for all of us to have something to look forward to!

Abeni is JOY incarnate. She is fiery and stubborn. She is compassionate, always at the ready with a smile and a hug. She is animated with a brilliant sense of humor. She is unabashedly adventurous, and enthusiastic about exploring the world with me.

Something new happened for me personally this time around as well. Usually, over the past almost 10 years, there has been this personal mourning that occurs every time we are faced with some setback with Bella. I find myself retreating to this place of self pity – intensely and acutely aware of the loneliness that accompanies these setbacks. It accompanies me like a limb on one’s body.

For whatever reason, I have welcomed the solitude this time.
I have not felt like I SHOULD be with friends – that somehow the fact that I am alone is some sort of enigma – a social pariah.

I have been able to release that expectation.
And in doing so, there has been a sense of deep, deep exhalation for me.
It has not obliterated the loneliness that is permanently attached to being a mom of a medically fragile kid, but it has allowed me to show up in a way I was incapable of doing in the past.

I am grateful for that.

Stay tuned for Under The Sea birthday photos coming soon!



We are home.

Surprisingly, we were only at the Surgical Center for about three hours total.
That is a welcomed new record.

As predicted, they did fully sedate Bella, which meant that she had to be wheeled – once again – through those horrific OR doors, without me at her side.

She cried.
I cried.unnamed-1

There are way too many of these moments that have taken up residence in my permanent memory.

As always, I think it is important to acknowledge where God not only showed up, but revealed His steadfast and enduring character to us::

* Our anesthesiologist was amazing. The young dad of twins, he listened to us. In fact, he asked Bella what she wanted. She told him. He honored her request. And by doing so, my daughter learned a valuable lesson about the importance of advocating for herself, making her needs known, and that she has a right to be heard. I am indebted to him for this.

* Once again, we had a phenomenal nursing staff. They doted on Bella, were gentle and kind, and one of our nurses was a kidney transplant recipient and understood some of the special needs Bella has.

* I made it through the day. Really – this is a big deal. I was not sure I could do it. It was the first time I had to do this on my own with Bella. We had a bunch of scheduling conflicts, so I had to go on my own. I honestly was not sure I could do it. I could not sleep the night before, and I am NOT a morning person. But I did it. By God’s mercy, I made it through. I am paying for it today, but Bella is not.
And that is what matters.

* Bella’s pain is manageable. This is HUGE.


So, now what?

For the next 4-6 weeks, we will be doing foot soaks and bandage changes three times a day. Bella will be wearing flip flops to school for the next month and I now have the challenge of trying to keep her feet warm with her toes exposed. 😉

Our continued prayer is that we are able to stave off infection and that her toenails would not reverse to their former growth pattern.

Soon, it will be time to start dealing with the scoliosis, beginning with X-rays.


But for now, we are all taking a bit of a rest. We are regrouping, recharging.
Martin and I have a date night planned.
I cannot even begin to articulate how imperative date nights have become! 
((Aside::)) It is interesting to me how my ENFJ-ness is becoming more and more an INFJ-ness – whether that is because of all that we have been through with Bella, or just me becoming more comfortable in my own skin as I get older – not sure.

And we are preparing for Abeni’s 5th birthday on Monday!!
More to come on that, so stay tuned…

Thank you for your prayers, thoughts, emails, and for being
Our Village.