August 22nd 2008 6:32 pm
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She was 33 grams this morning 'round 1:00 am.... and a couple of hours ago, showed 32 grams...
I measured her at just shy of 6" long.
August 22nd 2008 6:25 pm
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Emma had a very good night... is weighing in at 124 grams this morning before her 8am feed....
The incision is healing and scabbing over (which I'm so afraid she'll rip open!) and I'm working to keep it somewhat supple while not disrupting the healing process.
August 22nd 2008 6:23 pm
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Our nightly routine... since the first set of stitches came out. I don't know if it WORKS, lol - but it did keep her content enough to get some good rest at night. At first it was only an hour or two... but since the second set of sutures ripped her skin so badly - we do it much longer.
Six hours - every night - usually betwen 2 and 8 am - - - that's OUR time... and my most favorite!
She didn't like the wrap.... (gauze, then med tape - wrapped around her muzzle) then the little "burrito wrap" and then warm compresses... damp at first with warm water... (to loosen the scabs) then heated dry compresses..... the steady pressure and heat comforts her after a few minutes.... I hold her tight till my hands ache - - - but the goal was to get the skin to adhere even without the sutures. The longer I "held her face together"... the better chance of a positive result.
Two hours of cool compresses to her face (not wet, just refrigerated cloths) at some point during the day.... sometimes right after the heat... sometimes later in the evening.... usually an hour at a time... she doesn't like that one so much, lol.... but it too, helps with the swelling. I try to do the cool when she's REALLY sleepy and with a full belly so she's a little more still...
With all that... the oral antibiotics and the injectible Penicillin G (I don't inject it, I just drip a tiny drop into the wound) - she seems to be healing.
I wasn't having good luck with this at first.... but today is showing marked improvement ... so I'll keep up with it...
August 22nd 2008 6:21 pm
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I honestly don't feel that Emma is experiencing any true "loss of quality of life" even now, as a week old baby. Yes, of course - she has experienced much more trauma and stress than a normal pup - - but it was my heartfelt feeling that she would benefit from the surgical procedures at a very early age.... so my decision early on, was that the long term benefits outweighed the risks.... and I still believe that would have been the case... IF indeed, the surgery had been successful.
There is so much controversy surrounding whether or not, and to what extent, a newborn puppy experiences pain.....
Advocates assert that the newborn's nervous system is unable to feel even what would normally be viewed as extreme pain. There are claims that since puppies are less developed at birth (altricial) than, say, fawns or colts - which stand, walk and run within a very short time after birth (precocial) - their nervous systems are less sensitive, therefore experience abnormally low levels of pain. However, it is well documented in the human medical literature that newborn humans, who are also altricial, do feel pain.
I have no desire to get into a "heated debated" regarding this topic.... I am simply making reference to what I have read.
I DO feel that Emma experienced pain.... from ALL of her procedures.... to what extent, I can't be certain.
It was BECAUSE some level of pain was evident to me - I was firm in my desire to continue my attempts at getting her to nurse, rather than tube feeding or using the syringe or dropper. Research indicates that suckling causes the release of endorphins, the body's natural way of relieving pain.
I firmly believe that the stress of being taken from her mother, being passed around from doctor to doctor - poked and prodded on, and being denied any type of nutrients for the first 20 hours of her life.... played a far larger part in Emma's failure to thrive very early on - than the pain she experienced from her medical procedures.
It breaks my heart that our attempts at surgical intervention have failed.
But, to believe that Emma is being subjected to "undue suffering".... I simply cannot wrap my mind around that concept.
Emma is a very active, very NORMAL little Chihuahua girl - in EVERY aspect, other than her birth defects. ALL of her needs are being met.
She eats very well, (though not on her own) - - - Actually... she CAN nurse at this point... I have just chosen not to allow it right now to avoid any further trauma to her mouth and nose. But from day one, she has never regurgitated or had any other issues tolerating her formula.
She sleeps peacefully with wiggles and twinges of little puppy dreams in her head..... she scoots all over the place - already building the muscles she'll soon be using to walk and run!
Her heart and lungs are strong.... her other internal organs are all fully functioning... she responds normally to direct stimuli - She exhibits the behaviors of a normal puppy, instinctively seeking out what she needs, whether it be warmth, nourishment, or just closeness.....
She is a beautiful, healthy girl ... and she continues to thrive.
August 22nd 2008 6:18 pm
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You know........ Emma is not "my dog"..... she's not from a litter born to me... she's not a baby I sought out and brought home with the intention of raising to be "my new love".... she's not even the pup of a "friend of a friend of a family member"....
She didn't start out as my "obligation" or my "responsibility"...
She's not even going to remain with me once she is well.....
I simply happened upon her story, much like all of you.... and my heart could not refuse her.
I am doing my very best for this precious, precious soul.......... and that's all I can do..... I may NOT make all the right decisions for Emma... I don't know - - - but I pray that God will guide me in how best to care for her and that He will hold her in His healing hands through her struggles..... I don't know how to do anything more.
This is not about MY needs..... whether or not I am well... whether or not I "have time" to nurture her..... whether or not I "can afford" her care.... whether or not I "have it in me" to give to what some may see as a "painstakingly worthless effort"..............
This is not about what I want...... I have a life... I have children coming back from summer vacation tomorrow... starting back to school the day after tomorrow.... I still have the loss of a beloved family pet to help my son get through.... I have a brand new grandchild ready to join the world any day now... I have hobbies and entertainment and friends - - all being neglected.... I have my Yorks who already take so much love and care.... I have home repairs that have gone unfinished... appointments that haven't been kept.... dinners that haven't been made.... laundry that hasn't been done... and the dream of a 3 hour bubble bath that STILL awaits me.........................
IT DOESN'T MATTER!!! None of it makes a difference!! NONE of that will stop me from giving Emma the best possible care that I am able to provide to her. EVERYONE here in this house will continue to work our daily lives and schedules AROUND EMMA........ because, in this family, we carry our weak... and right now... Emma is a part of our family... and her well being is what's important.
So if none of THAT can affect my love for this tiny little being........... the comments by those who cannot possibly feel my heart - - - will certainly not lead me to disregard her.....
My dedication to this little creature whom God has entrusted to me...... will not waiver.... My faith in Him - WHATEVER His plan for Emma - is unfailing....
Maybe she won't survive........ but the trials endured will not go without having served the purpose that God has intended..... and I know in my heart, that one tiny girl in this world, even if only for a while.... will have learned what it is, to feel loved - despite the pain.
August 22nd 2008 6:15 pm
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I've contacted all the local news stations with no interest... and emailed CNN, MSNBC, FOX and CBS (I think, that was the other one) - - even considering Oprah and Ellen and Leno!! lol
You never know... nothing could come of it... but something may!!
Wondering if it would be worth a shot to contact the surgeons at Alameda East in CO - that they feature on Animal Planet's Emergency Vets....
............ can't light a fire without a flame...........
August 22nd 2008 6:12 pm
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Emma's stitches are officially OUT.... her face is officially a mass of scabby mush........... and the palate is coming apart. (there is already a small hole towards the front - leaving her nasal passage way.... *the one that is functioning* - open).......
I feel like all I've done is hurt her since the minute she came home... and for WHAT???? She's worse off than she was when she was born!!!
August 22nd 2008 6:09 pm
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Oh my goodness!!! I just weighed Emma.... after potty... and before feed.......
I can hardly believe it!!!
She weighs 3.9 ounces!!!! That's ONE HUNDRED AND TWELVE GRAMS!!!!!!!!!! I mean WOWZAAAAA!!!!!
Pooh is "pudding" rather than "pea soup".... mouth is more like "cooked hamburger" than raw... but at least it's still pretty much together....
Emma is soooooo content with her new little snuggle puppy with the heat and heartbeat....
Thanks to one of Emma's special friends, Emma now has her VERY OWN MYSPACE PAGE!!!! hahahaha.... you people absolutely AMAZE ME!!!!
Here is the link.... www.myspace.com/donationsforemma
Emma can't wait to have all of her fur friends come be a part of her world on her page!!!
The visits to Emma's live cam keep me smiling all day long.... I feel like so many of you are right here in my living room surrounding Emma's crib!!!
You all are so very special to us..... I hope you know that.......... the prayers, well wishes, tips and tricks are what I've come to rely on here.... please keep them coming!!!
Good day..... very good day..........
Better ROLL lil' lambchop into her crib............ haha.... my gratitude is with you all!!!!!!!!
August 22nd 2008 6:04 pm
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Last night was long... but uneventful.... thank goodness - - - I've been tubing Emma faithfully, every two hours 'round the clock and the results are certainly showing in her weight this morning.................. 101 grams!!!! YAY!!!
It still terrifies me... and I probably take far longer to do it than most, because I spend the better part of 20 minutes praying and "gearing up" for it.... but.... it's serving it's purpose.
The stitches are loose... but the wound is not completely open and it looks as though the skin is beginning to bond together in some places... starting to look pretty scabby though and I wonder if I should be putting something on it. (I was so upset yesterday, I didn't think to ask).
I was able to get her mouth open so I could look at the inside... (when I think about it, it's kinda' sad that she instinctively KNOWS to "be still and open wide" when I place my fingers on both sides of her muzzle.... it's like she knows something bad is going to happen and if she just "does what I want", it won't hurt so much...)
Looking at the inside of her mouth, I'm really pretty angry, even more than yesterday, about the job that was done with the 3rd "repair"....
Now, I realize how difficult it must be to work inside this teensie tiny little space.... but I've seen, I don't know how many people do it now, so I know it's not impossible.... and I had hoped for better results. (did I mention earlier that her mouth is all but MANGLED???)
Inside her mouth - is a large chunck of her cheek.... I guess in pulling and stitching the nose and lip together - they had to pull so tight that part of her cheek bunched up and was pulled in with the stitching...... anyway.... it's right in the spot where her jaw closes... so in closing her mouth, she's essentially gumming on the piece of her cheek......
During the night is our main "cuddle time".... that's when I'm constantly holding her - either snuggled on the couch, researching on the computer or piddling around here doing dishes or whatever..... so since she's getting pretty good rest during that time, I don't mind her being a wiggly little "weeble" during the day.... (and it gives you all a chance to get a good look at her!)
I know she's not confined to a TINY space and I know she gets around all over the place.... but again, I want her to have quite a bit of movement... I need her to stay strong and work all of her muscles... keep the bowels moving... keep the lungs clear... keep that tiny heart pumping!
My thoughts, prayers and gratitude are constantly with all of you who have shown baby Emma so much love and compassion...... it makes my heart smile every time I see such beautiful souls come together for the benefit of another, with such selfless devotion!
August 22nd 2008 6:00 pm
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Well...... four hours at the vet's.....
The surgeon who originally did Emma's first surgery, left for a week the day he did her procedure.... so when we went back yesterday for the first repair... it was someone different..... who was unavailable today.... (I thought ONE of them would be there!)
So............ what we had today, was one of the doctors... (she was with the surgeon and assisted with the repair yesterday).
They got Emma right in, regardless of the huge number of people in the waiting area.... (and the fact that they're only open from 1-3 on Sunday) - which was nice....
I talked, and questioned and cried a little..... and still wasn't getting much positivity from the consult...... really the only thing TO do, was stitch her back up.... which she did. This time from both sides of her muzzle and both inside and outside stitches.
No suggestions about how to keep it from happening again.... "it's her instinct to root like that with her nose... it's inevidable"....
I talked about feeding.... she suggested I keep "doing what I'm doing".... that evidently is not good enough or I wouldn't have been there again!!
Anyway.... I asked her to measure Emma and mark a tube for me to take home in the event I absolutely needed it. (though she agreed that this was only if desperately needed since it could cause more harm than good in some cases)...
I had her put Emma on antibiotics since the incision is just so bad... and still open to an extent. We came home with Clavamox drops, of which I will give her 0.05cc 3 x daily.
I brought her home and JUST sat down to feed.... and the wound was open again.... I hadn't even put her down from the visit yet!!
This time, it didn't rip through the skin... it was just loose stitches...
I didn't think to snap a photo before jumping back in the car and heading BACK to the vet..... (even though they had "technically" closed 20 minutes prior)...
They had a slew of patients still in there when I left... so I knew there'd be no way the office was closed yet.....
So again, they take her straight to the back.... nurse comes out and says.... "the doctor said she's already done her best with this - and the last stitching was as tight as she could get them" (after I reiterated that Emma had NOT been rooting around and I hadn't even set her down... the stitches were simply too loose or not properly knotted or whatever - and fell out)....
Again I said the same thing.... (perhaps with a bit more desperation and certainly with much more "moxy")... the nurse went back to the doctor... returned... took Emma and said "she says she'll try one more time"....
(how very decent of her)
So yep... I was a little irked to say the least... (this is not Emma's regular doctor... a very nice lady and I respect her... but really feel she could have been a little more compassionate... I don't know... maybe I'm expecting too much...)
Anyway.... we're home.... Emma's face is all but completely mangled.... there wasn't enough skin to close it entirely.... and no one is really even trying to create a "functional face" anymore I don't think.... just trying to get the incision closed and healed.... the rest will have to come later.
This is our last battle with this...... if the incision comes open again... I will just have to keep my girl in a little plastic bubble where she can be germ free until it heals however it may....
She can't nurse like this... the pain must be absolutely excruciating by now.... can you IMAGINE having gone through everything that she has with NO PAIN MEDS??? No sedation.... nothing???
They're not even giving a local for the repairs at this point.... absolutely NOTHING..... (unless they gave it and didn't tell me about it... which I don't think is the case).
She can't open her mouth for the syringe OR the dropper right now.... so yeah... I did.... I had to tube her............................ and I HATED IT!!!
She fought me - and screamed - and sqirmed.... this, all before I even got the tube passed her tongue!! It's the pain of opening her mouth..... I felt like a MONSTER forcing her... but I know it can't be helped....
I pray to God that I got the tube in the tummy and not the lungs.... though I guess I'd know by now?? Maybe?? Ugh!!! I hate this!!!
Tubing is really no better than anything else.... it has lots of risks... lots of potential for infection... and the risk of aspiration is still there..... and I hate it hate it hate it!!! (did I mention I really don't like doing it?)
Not to mention... at least with her nursing... or taking the dropper or syringe... if she aspirates at all, it's gonna' be on a matter of DROPS.... a mouthful maybe...... if I get the tube in her lungs... she's gonna' get 2 full cc's filling her chest cavity!!! I HATE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!
Moving on now..... (sorry)..... okay, so she's home... fed.... and wiggling around her "newly designed" crib. (which SHE HATES!!!)
No cuddlies... no snugglies.... nothing soft and cozy... smooth, flat and really kinda' scary for a lil' baby...... but necessary. Hopefully this will aid in keeping the stitches in place..... (I had nothing else to reach for - so this is the only SOMETHING I could think of that might help).
Please continue to pray for our girl.... and that I don't hurt her by tubing!!!