Monday, July 16, 2012

Hitting the Motherload

The last post was vague and full of pictures - this one will be full of information and very few pictures.

Pete and I have been working on buying a house since March. We were under contract back in April and May, however that deal fell through about a week before closing in late May. We were left in a bit of a bind, because we had already given notice to our landlord, and needed to be out of our rental by the end of June. So we hit the ground running, and after being out-bid on 2 more houses, we finally found the perfect house, and went under contract. It was a roller coaster ride from there, with difficult sellers and a slow to respond loan processor. To add to the stress, we Pete and Andy loaded all of our belongs up into 2 PODS, and I went to NJ while Pete stayed at a hotel in MA. All the stress, anxiety, teeth mashing and hair pulling was worth it - as of Friday evening, we are happy residents of Epping, New Hampshire.
 Home Sweet Home
 "Tubby-ing" in the kitchen sink
 Helping Dad change the locks
Chalking in the driveway... we have a driveway!

Friday was a big day for us. In the morning, we had Addison's annual check up at Boston Children's. This time, we also met with Dr. Orbach, is the director of neurointerventional radiology. He had looked at Addy's scans, and had come to a different conclusion than what we had heard in December (he wasn't part of her team originally, but after talking with other parents of kids with intracranial "stuff," we decided he was the guy we needed to be seeing). Dr. Orbach reviewed Addy's scans from December with us, side by side with her scans we had done as a baby. Unfortunately, he feels that her vascular malformation is significantly larger than before - which is not how a vascular malformation typically behaves. Because it looks larger, he is concerned that it not just a vascular malformation, but that there may be an arterial (artery) component there also -- which means that we could be dealing with an arteriovascular malformation (AVM) instead of just a vascular malformation (VM). An AVM carries with it the risk of bleeding (brain aneurism) and seizure. So, if it is an AVM, Dr. Orbach will need to treat it - and hopefully would be able to do so during the angiogram. (Lost yet? Click here for the medical terms page if you need a quick refresher.) We had been hoping to put off the angiogram until Addy was at least 5 years old, after learning that she didn't need one at a year old. However, Dr. Orbach feels it's important to do one within the next 6 months. The silver lining to this is that the angiogram is the one test that will give us all the answers - we'll know exactly how the blood is flowing in her brain and face, if it is vascular or arterial, and if treatment of the blue areas of her face will be a possibility down the road. If her malformation is just vascular, we'll just spend the day at Boston Children's getting the angiogram, and will go home that same night. If there is an arterial component and Dr. Orbach is able to treat it, we will stay a day or two in the ICU. If there is an arterial component and Dr. Orbach can't treat it, we'll have to sit down with a neurosurgeon team to discuss our options. Luckily, not only is that the worst-case scenario, it's also the least likely.
Friday morning was a tough morning for us. We were immediately taken back to the emotion of two years ago; the fear of the unknown, the difficult position of having to chose a risky procedure when watching and waiting became riskier still. Just like two years ago, we sat on a bench at the front of the hospital, Pete somewhat angry and frustrated with the options presented; me crying silently and trying not to let my mind run away with the what-ifs. This time around, however, we had a happy, healthy 2 year-old sitting between us, and that made all the difference. 2 years ago, I felt paralyzed for days with the fear and enormity of the situation; on Friday it only lasted about an hour. In some ways, it was harder to hear what the doctor had to say on Friday. When Addy was a baby, we were taking things day by day, appointment by appointment. Now, we have been lucky to move beyond that, and look back at those dark difficult days and be glad they are behind us - Friday took us all back. Pete and I spent about 2 minutes reflecting on how hard it was, how scary the decisions were and just how much we didn't want to have to make them... and then, collectively, we picked our chins up and knew that we'd get through this, too.
The angiogram hasn't been scheduled yet, so there will be more information to come.

And this blog post wouldn't be complete without one more big revelation: this December, we'll be welcoming a baby boy into our family. We are overjoyed - this has been an easy pregnancy, and I'm hoping that it doesn't change for the second half!

Chloe is still in NJ - soaking in every minute she can. We're excited for her to get home so she can see the new place, and set up her "apartment" - she managed to score both a bedroom AND an office!

More pictures soon!

Monday, July 9, 2012


That about sums it up.
But instead of dwelling on it, I'm going to share the past (way too many) weeks in pictures...

Some random sweet moments between the girls... big sister tubby time, followed by hiding under the covers:

Boston with friends:

Berry picking with Livvy, now an annual event:

A whirlwind less-than-48-hour trip to the Vineyard in 60-degree weather... still so worth it:

And an extended stay-cation in New Jersey:

And even though life is oh so stressful and crazy right now, it's easy to look at these faces are remember how lucky we are in spite of it all. More updates (and fewer hazy statements) to come.