We are all back in Xian safe and sound.
It was a really big week for Starfish. We had five babies get their surgeries. Nathaniel and Sarah went to Nanchang to have cleft palette and lip surgery with Connie from Spain and Deborah from Australia. Heather, Jasmine and Lily went to Shanghai with Mrs Liu and I to have their spina bifida surgeries. It would so happen that we would have two teams here at the same time!
On Monday April 23rd Heather was the very first patient to be operated on. I was so extremely happy when she came back to see that big old sack was gone. Her back was flat and even though I have not seen the whole area it looks just great. Her fontanel now has a big dent in it because her hydrocephalus is being drained by a shunt which you can feel which runs from her head into her stomach.
Jasmine and Lily had surgery on Tuesday and Jasmine bounced back as quick as Nina/Flower. She was ready to play after she woke up and has showed the least effects of the surgery. Lily has been a little fussier and so has Heather. Since we have been home they have all slept better and they are all eating really well.
I thought I would share with you some of my favorite memories of the trip:
• Some of the medical team came down and watched Jasmine and Lily getting bathed. Jasmine was splashing around so much and it was so cute to see.
• I got to meet Branch and Allan who at the tender age of 12 have decided to start an foundation to raise money for surgeries. they gave such a professional presentation complete with business cards, a brochure and followed it up with an email. it was so impressive.
• Jake (7) and his sister Ally (5) made some gifts for the nannies. They made an individual snack pack for them and then made them some cards. Often people focus on the children and they seem to forget that the nannies need some TLC too.
• I loved getting food delivered every day. I loved seeing Tammy's face so often and I am so grateful to everyone who made me feel special and who laid the love on thick.
• THE VOLUNTEERS WERE AWESOME. I have never been on a medical trip where so many people were willing to support the babies and the nannies. It is a very stressful time and having someone who shares their talents and time is so extremely useful. To Pam who saved me by coming in for two night and helping with the other babies. Elfie who would do anything you asked and to all the others who came so regularly. Thank you so very much.
• I am so extremely grateful for Dr Lazareff and his team that came to Shanghai. To the people who make it possible to cover their cost and allow them to be here and to make the most life altering differences in the lives of these 20 children.
• To Dr Bao and all the staff at the Shanghai Children's Medical Center, so diligently took care of the babies thank you so much. I know the UCLA medical team were so impressed with your skills in the operating theater too.
• Last but not least. Tingting...you rock!!!! She was the one who has been diligent working to have everything run smoothly.
You will notice that there is only one picture. I am sad to say that I dropped my camera and the LCD screen is broken. I need to take the disc to the shop to get the pictures off of it.
As you can imagine that I was so excited to get home and see Nathaniel and Sarah. Sarah did not look much different except that her hair is longer and she had armbands on. Smart girls that she is she pulls them off by herself. Nathaniel on the other hand looked beaten up. For the first while after the surgery it looks really ugly and as it heals the protective coating falls off. I will send some before and after pictures in a few days.
• Because I could not be in two places at one time Conny and Deborah went with Sarah and Nathaniel. I am so grateful to them for being so willing to travel great distances (Spain and Australia) to be here to help.
• Thanks to the medical staff at Nanchang Fourth Affiliated Hospital for all their help with the babies.
• Thanks to the Gena and her medical team who came from New York to do the surgeries. If you remember they were here last year to do Jonas and Laura's surgeries. Thank you so much to every one who traveled with her and who helped the babies so much.
Next up: I am already looking at taking four babies to my favorite man in China....Dr Li. I am going to put my babies hearts in his hands. We will be taking Olivia, Rachel, Rebecca and Danielle. I need to rebuild my strength after this trip. We should be leaving sometime towards May 23rd.
Thanks so much for all your love and support. I so appreciated all your prayers on our behalf.
With much love and laughter,