It's done, and like always, there's good and bad news. The good news is that Rachel is recovering well--much better than last time. Already today she is up and walking around, communicating, and acting much more like herself. The bad news is that the doctors were unable to reinsert the implant and plan to do so two months from now.
So here's how the day went: We left home at 8:00 without giving Rachel anything to eat and only 8 oz of apple juice to drink. The drive took about 3 and a half hours, and while the other kids were quite fussy, Rachel was fairly calm. Christian dropped me off at the hospital with Rachel while he took the kids to lunch, then the hotel. I really wanted to be with Rachel. We were admitted quickly and met with the doctors. I was relieved that our doctor had enlisted the help of a senior partner for the surgery and that the senior partner had contacted Rachel's previous surgeon at Johns Hopkins, whom he knew personally, and discussed her situation. The doctors said that there was a good chance they would not reinsert the implant at this time, depending on how her inner ear looked. Rachel was given "happy juice" to keep her calm before the general anesthesia, and was in the operating room less than two hours after we arrived. She was in surgery for just over 4 hours, and during that time Christian joined me in the waiting room. He stayed with Rachel during post-recovery while I took the kids to dinner. The hospital had not reserved a bed for Rachel as planned (another minor bump in our road) so we took her back to our hotel with us. Thankfully, she was very sleepy, and not at all sick and delirious like last time. I was so relieved, especially when morning came, to see how well she was doing. She slept through most of the night, waking only occasionally to try to remove her bandage. In the morning she began to drink and ate everything we offered her. We took her back to the hospital for a checkup, when the doctor removed the bandage (a huge relief). We went back to the hotel, where she continued to improve, walking around and communicating and asking for more food. We left at 11:00 and drove home. She is still on pain medication and antibiotics, and we'll probably keep her out of public for a while, but it is a huge relief to see her feeling so well. We are very disappointed that we have another surgery to look forward to, and we have some big choices to make about it. Please keep her in your prayers. We'll probably just focus on learning to use ASL as best we can over the next few months and pray that she will be able to make up for lost time once she has the implant again. She will probably be at least four months without hearing by the time this is all over. We appreciate everyone's concern and prayers-- they worked-- and now are just waiting to schedule everything, and to have this baby come.