Today is the due date!  On Saturday, I had Noah take my traditional Blue Shirt picture.

Heather Blue shirt #9, 39 weeks, 5 days

I'm ready to meet this baby!  My hips are sore from all the pressure.  I have to rest a lot, but not stay in one position for very long.  I did sleep well last night, for which I am very thankful.  Prayers for a smooth, healthy labor and birth are greatly appreciated.

Posted by Heather Daley on May 27, 2024, 6:33 am | Read 127 times | Comments (9)
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This is the day the doctors consider the transplant to be successful. 

This doesn't mean that she's not still at risk for a bunch of things. But it does mean that Faith's cells are firmly established in her system and doing their job!

Posted by Heather Daley on May 18, 2024, 7:41 am | Read 842 times | Comments (12)
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I've been meaning to write an update; I've even gotten started on one (labelled day +90: it's now day +97.) Overall, things have been going well, Grace's numbers coming back satisfactorily.

But then she got a cold.  Just runny nose and sneezing.  But after her nap, she had a mild fever.  Boston wanted us to take her to Dartmouth, but Dartmouth said that if her fever went up, they'd be transferring her to Boston.  So Jon decided to take her straight to Boston. (That was Tuesday night.)

They did a plethora of tests and the only positive was rhinovirus.  But they wanted to keep an eye out on her for at least 24 hours, so they admitted her. She did get blood overnight, but everything else is looking good.  Jon is hoping to come home tomorrow afternoon.  She did some painting and lots of games with Daddy.  He went over to the Dana Farber resource room to get her more books, since I had only packed her a few.

This is a really short version to get the word out and still get myself to bed relatively on time.  Please keep up the prayers.  Day +100 is just around the corner, and Jon discussed with the doctors the weaning process for the immunosuppressant drug.

I'm so very thankful that our family has not had any sickness from the time we had COVID at Christmas until now.  Please pray that general trend continues and we keep sickness (and hospital visits) away.

Posted by Heather Daley on May 15, 2024, 8:55 pm | Read 457 times | Comments (2)
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As they say, no news is good news.  Not much exciting has been going on lately.  Grace is eating a fairly regular diet at meals, which has always been pretty small.  Yesterday, she drank a lot, which hasn't been common for her, so we give her 600ml of water via her NG tube, 50ml every hour throughout the day.  She gets 2 bottles of baby formula 50ml/hour throughout the day, which means she doesn't have to be on the pump at night, which is nice for everyone involved.

We thought she had c-diff last week, as the symptoms returned shortly after getting off the antibiotic, but the test came back negative, and her symptoms have mostly resolved, so perhaps it was just related to a switch from magnesium sulfate to magnesim oxide for a few days due to it being impossible to get from a pharmacy within an hour of us.  Heather had to crush up the pills and make a solution herself, which you would have thought a pharmacy could do...  But, she is back on her regular magnesium sulfate now, and we just have to remember to schedule and pickup a few medications at the Dana Farber pharmacy when we go for weekly clinic visits.

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Posted by Jon Daley on April 23, 2024, 6:40 pm | Read 277 times | Comments (10)
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Grace sings this little Happy song at least once a day. She sang it in the hallway as we were leaving the apartment to go home. I have not yet managed to get a video of her singing it.
Everybody is doing better now that we're all together.
It's good to be home; it's good to not have to try to get a bunch of stuff done before leaving again. We are still adjusting to the routine, and still unpacking, but the overall feeling is good.
There is a lot of laughter in the house with Grace around. She is such a blessing.
Please continue to pray for her complete healing and protection from germs.
Posted by Heather Daley on April 10, 2024, 9:59 pm | Read 214 times | Comments (2)
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We are headed home on Monday!

 

Grace will still have at least one clinic visit a week and depending on the labs that week, might have a second appointment, but we decided that for the sake of our entire family, we need to be home and it is worth driving back and forth as needed.

At some point, we'll transition to some appointments at Dartmouth hospital and some at Dana Farber.

We need to get the prescriptions transferred to Hillsboro and the CVS in Boston isn't making that easy.

We are thankful that Grace has been less nauseous and we've been able to reduce her formula intake down to 16 ounces per day and she is eating more on her own and has steadily been gaining weight.

We need to figure out what "isolation" means for Grace and how to keep her from getting sick, but also not living in a complete bubble.

Her next milestone is the 3 month mark, where if things continue, her transplant will be considered to be successful, though there is still the possibility for graft vs host disease until she is off the immunosuppressant drugs. 

 

Posted by Jon Daley on April 6, 2024, 4:17 am | Read 928 times | Comments (12)
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We went back to the clinic in the late morning after Grace threw up her NG tube.  She did manage to take her meds by mouth that morning, but she doesn't really like it.  They had tested her stool when she had so much diarrhea at her appointment the day before and it did come back positive for C. diff.  So she is on antibiotics for that now, but her symptoms are better. We are still struggling to find the balance between real food and formula feeds, and getting enough fluids into her.  Some days she eats and drinks a lot.  Some days not very much.

Jeremiah was with us for a few days, and he and Grace had lots of fun silly times together.  On Friday, Jon drove with Jeremiah up to Maine for the 2024 Daley vacation.  That night, we did a video call and said hi to people and Faith gave us a tour of the house.  Grace was very sleepy, so she didn't interact much.  Saturday, I took her for a walk and found a nice park.  It was also a beautiful day.  That afternoon, Jon called to say that Faith's phone had caught on her pocket on the way out as she was going to take a picture of them on the WIggly Bridge.  Her phone splashed into the water and was irretrieveable.  But the rest of the Daley vacation went smoothly.  Jonathan said it was the most stress-free vacation in years and it was good.

Grace has started being aware of and interested in the baby in my tummy. She likes to feel my belly for feet and Saturday she told me that she had a baby in her tummy!

Jon came back to Boston Saturday night.  We switched off Easter services the next morning.  I went to Park Street at 9am and it was glorious!  Then I met Jon at the hospital to switch off and he played guitar for the service there.

After Grace's dressing change (which is definitely nice to do with two people) I headed up to Maine.  It was great to hang out with the kids again and some of the extended family. The cousins played hide and seek pretty much the whole time they were at the house.  It was a great big old house for that.

I drove to Hillsboro after the Daley vacation. Again, it was good to be with the kids and I long for the time we can be all together again. I'm definitely quite physically tired.  When some people came over on Tuesday to help they said I sure looked tired and made sure I went back upstairs to take a nap.

Joy and I came back to Boston today, and arrived just in time to pick Jon and Grace up from the clinic.   Grace's electrolytes are not settled and so they want us to come into clinic twice a week.  Her head doctor is away for a few days, so we have not gotten an official answer yet about going home.  We think she's stable enough that we can be further away, and think it is worth driving into Boston twice a week (once for each of us) to have our whole family together at home.  But we don't have official approval yet.

At Jon's prompting, Grace announced to us that the baby in her tummy is a boy.  Then she and Joy had a hilarious argument about who is in my tummy - Grace, "boy!" Joy, "girl!" etc. for quite a long time.  Even when Jon said that was enough talking about it, Grace pointed at my tummy and made knowing eyes at Joy.  It was so funny!

Hopefully tomorrow is a laid-back day for us. Please pray that Grace can consistently eat a lot of calories by mouth and also fluids, so that her electrolytes are balanced and she can get off the NG tube soon.  Also that we can go home!  And get sufficient rest.  And for the kids at home who really miss their parents and sister.

Posted by Heather Daley on April 3, 2024, 8:44 pm | Read 201 times | Comments (4)
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We are settling into our second week of being full-time in the apartment.

Our schedule consists of:

  • Adminstering meds 3 times a day and then washing all of the syringes and straws and flushes
  • Keeping her central line clean twice a day (Boston Children's says cleaning twice a day is good, Dartmouth says once a day is good, so sort of interesting - there is a tradeoff of cleanliness vs risk of opening the line and cause an infection)
  • Cleaning up small amounts of vomit once (or more) a day
  • Changing and cleaning up overflowing diapers and the corresponding washing of clothes and sheets
  • Keeping her formula pump running and her NG tube not blocked (it's only gotten blocked twice, related to the cyclosporine, which is a thicker/stickier med)
  • Reading lots of books
  • Meals - Grace doesn't eat much, and I've been missing cooking, so I've cooked a few meals, and use DoorDash otherwise
  • Miscellaneous phone calls to insurance and medical providers
  • A fair bit of sleeping
  • Regular household chores

If the email subscribers haven't figured it out yet - this is the last sentence that you'll see in the email, but there is more content (and pictures this post!) by clicking the link below.

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Posted by Jon Daley on March 26, 2024, 9:13 pm | Read 351 times | Comments (14)
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This includes anesthesia and intubation and all that goes along with that. Please pray for her surgery and for the results. Thank you.

An "aspirate" in this context means removing a small amount (7 ml in Grace's case usually) of the bone marrow fluid and a biopsy is removing a small chunk of the bone.  I (Jon) believe they did both, if I'm remembering the medical records after the fact correctly.  It was an expected test, and she will have two to three more over the next year testing to confirm that Faith's bone marrow is meshing in correctly.

Posted by Heather Daley on March 21, 2024, 5:13 am | Read 1219 times | Comments (14)
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She got her own badge.

We got the news that we can leave!

Exploring the apartment.

Playing with Faith and Joy.

Swinging at the park.

Posted by Heather Daley on March 19, 2024, 9:25 pm | Read 256 times | Comments (7)
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Grace did well her first night. I had a harder time because it was like having a young baby - changing diapers in the night; she did go on the potty. Jon and the older girls dropped Grace and me off at the clinic on their way home.

Grace was not happy to be stuck in a clinic room. First thing, she wanted to go in the resource room to get a book. But she is not supposed to go in public places. So she's stuck in her isolation room for the whole visit. She even stood with her head against the door crying to go out. But we had the nurse bring her some books. Other than that, her visit was uneventful, They had anticipated giving her platelets, but her numbers were good, so they didn't. They did give her the last dose of the anti-nausea med that is supposed to last 7 days.

The plan was for us to catch an Uber back to the apartment, but the app was giving me an errror. Emotionally overwhelmed and sleep-deprived, I called Jon in tears. He was able to book a ride for me, and Grace waited patiently and that went without a hitch. (Much better than trying to book an airbnb for someone else.)

Grace and I got a much-needed nap and I felt a lot better after that.

Jon came back in the evening and took care of her evening meds and feeds so I could go to bed early.

In the morning, I was looking forward to a day at "home" doing "nothing" but got a lesson in "do not say we will go to this or that city..." When Grace woke up, we saw that her food bag was still full!  Her NG tube had clogged. Both of us tried to flush it with no success. Jon had a terrible time getting through to the right people at the clinic (and that mis-routing of request ended up getting escalated to superiors.) By the time the right person called back to schedule an appointment to put in a new NG tube, Jon had tried again and this time successfully unclogged it!  By the way, the nurse said "try Coke, we've had great success unclogging tubes with it" and Jon says that's the first time he's been in a store debating abbout the medicinal qualities of brand name vs. generic coke...

But after that, the day has gone well and been a good kind of relaxing while slowly getting settled. She has been eating and drinking by mouth more than before, even while her feeds are running. Oh yeah, I forgot to say she had a bout of nausea in the morning, but after Jon gave her the zofran, she's been better. We played video games with the younger boys. Jon took her for a walk to a playground in the afternoon. They had fun and I got a nap!

Jon also went shopping and bought salmon, which he made for dinner. He has been missing cooking. It was yummy and Grace ate a good portion. We are slowly getting organized: clothes, medical supplies, kitchen/food.

There are definitely aspects of this phase that are hard so please keep us in prayer. Grace is now out of isolation with a baby immune system. She has another clinic appointment tomorrow and a bone marrow aspirate soon.

But it's good to be in a more home-like environment.

I'll do a separate post for pictures.

 

Posted by Heather Daley on March 19, 2024, 6:52 pm | Read 890 times | Comments (4)
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The kids who have been admitted for any length of time look longingly at the airlock doors that leave the hallway they are not allowed to leave.  So, when discharge day comes, it is a pretty exciting time. For those of you who are confused - yes this was published out of order since Heather couldn't get the video to post properly originally, but I've back-dated it now.

They call it a "Bubble Parade" (and there are some fun videos of hospitals that have actually bubbles and a bell for the kid to ring at the end) because it used to involve bubbles, but they have modernized and it now has light-up sticks and spinning things and lots of whooping and hollering.  They asked for a song, and we weren't sure what to choose originally, and probably Grace doesn't care too much (as you can see from her face at the end, the whole thing was pretty overwhelming, but once the camera turned off and I asked her if she wanted to push the door opening button she was happy about that).  But, we thought the rest of our family would appreciate Raining Tacos, which is sometimes played loudly while dishes are being done at home (the dishwasher is in charge of the music for the evening, so the music varies quite a bit depending on who is washing the dishes).

Without further ado, here is the grand exit:

Posted by Jon Daley on March 17, 2024, 11:00 pm | Read 196 times | Comments (2)
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We left the hospital at 5pm today and are "home" at our new apartment and working out this phase.  Lots of meds to organize and schedule.  Getting used to a quiet room, so now we can actually hear the feed machine, where I never really heard it before.

 

Heather will be going to the clinic tomorrow morning - we think there are two visits a week? Maybe three 

 

The nurses do a really fun "bubble parade" - I guess it used to involve bubbles, but now has digital light up toys and lots of whooping and cheering.  And we picked "Raining Tacos" for her victory walk down the tunnel. She kind of thought it was fun, but also overwhelming and strange. But she was thrilled to leave the wing and walked almost all the way to the car in her own, including walking up a flight of stairs instead of taking the elevator. 

 

We'll get some pictures up later, but it's been a full day and we have to get up early tomorrow. 

Posted by Jon Daley on March 17, 2024, 10:03 pm | Read 247 times | Comments (8)
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We've probably said it before, and anyone who has been in a hospital for any length of time knows that any time someone says "soon" that means 2-10 hours, and "tomorrow" means 1-3 days, etc.  So, even though I posted here that it could be Friday, I've been telling myself Monday, though as the week progressed, I started to think it could actually be Saturday.

Have feed bag, will travel

She spent most of the day unplugged from her regular lines, and now has a small backpack that contains her formula pump.  She was able to walk fairly well with it, but occasionally takes a step backwards to compensate for getting pulled by the weight.

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Posted by Jon Daley on March 15, 2024, 6:34 pm | Read 1541 times | Comments (6)
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The doctors started talking about discharge last Friday and that continued on Monday.  They decided to turn off the continuous morphine and moving more of her medicines to her NG tube.

I was pretty skeptical that she was going to tolerate only on occasional morphine and I expected her to vomit more with the increased meds through her NG tube, but as of Tuesday, she has been doing about the same as the previous days, so that is good.  She has continued to play and also vomit a little.

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Posted by Jon Daley on March 13, 2024, 5:30 am | Read 315 times | Comments (4)
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