Friday, January 7, 2011

Our baby's surgery

I'm not even sure where to begin. I wish I could show the blinking curser that I have been staring at, thinking of what to say, trying to sort out my thoughts.





Both the boys got a stomach bug this week. Neither one has ever thrown up in their almost 3 years of life, and they get sick when we are leaving. My momma heart broke, not being able to be there for them and felt for my dad who got stuck dealing with sick kids- who also ended up getting sick.


Pre-op testing went well. She was approved healthy for surgery. The nurses who drew her blood remembered her from the NICU- they even remembered what room she was in! And somehow, in the midst of drawing her blood, they kept her smiling and laughing. It warmed my heart to hear that giggle.

A knot settled high up in my stomach the morning we drove up to the hospital for her pre-op testing. What I thought was a knot from nerves ended up being that stomach bug, and I spent my last day with my daughter before her surgery puking and not being allowed to go near her. After a full day of failing to keep anything down, and my body starting to go numb from hyperventilating and dehydration, my husband took me to the hospital next door and I spent the evening hooked up to IVs. My heart continued to break as Fiona starred at me from her fathers arms across the room. All day she had given me this look like, "Mom, why are you avoiding me?"



Hanging out with Daddy at the Ronald McDonald House


We weren't sure if they would continue with the surgery this morning since I had been so sick. But after checking out her vitals and observing her demeanor, they felt that it was safe to continue. A part of me wanted to postpone the surgery- I had envisioned taking her to the beach the day before her surgery, and letting her toes feel the sand and the ocean for the first time. Something my weak body just could not handle yesterday.

After a nearly sleepless night, we had to get her up to registration by 5:30am.  We left all carriers and strollers behind, and she stayed snuggled on her daddy's chest the whole time. Saying good bye this morning was one of the hardest things we have had to do. I broke down after they gave her IV and where about to take her back. I had to hold her. I hadn't held her in almost 24 hours.  Her body felt so small in my arms and her little forehead was cool on my lips. She was smiling, completely clueless to the train she was about to get hit by.












Waiting was horrible. We tried to sleep away most of the time but our minds were going a mile a minute and it was hard to get any rest. There was a coordinator who would come out periodically to fill us in on what was going on and how she was doing. The reports were always good, but we were aware that its not over till its over. Sitting in the conference room, waiting for the surgeon to give us the final review was nerve racking. I kind of just let my mind go numb, not thinking here nor there, until he walked into the room. I love Dr. Chai. He has this demeanor that is laid back and confidant that immediately relaxes my husband and I. I watched my husbands tense shoulders relaxed as Dr. Chai announced that the surgery went smoothly and Fiona was doing great. He seemed to be very pleased with the outcome.

I  had completely blocked out the fact that she is going to be in pain from this surgery. And its not like when you or I are in pain where we can vocalize what hurts. Its a guessing game of how much pain she is in and when to administer more pain meds. This next week there is going to be a lot of screaming, and a lot of crying on my part. Nothing prepared me for seeing her for the first time. The medical team went over throughly what she will look like and what tubes will be where, but my heart broke when I walked into her room and saw her little body laying on the bed. She was swollen and drugged and had a look of complete misery in her eyes. I wanted to scoop her up in my arms and make it all better. But that wasn't an option so instead I stood back terrified at my beat up little girl. She has 5 different tubes in her body. They are not little either, but thick and stuck in large holes in her abdomen. The scar on her chest is the hardest for me to look at. 7 centimeters long, it covers the majority of her small torso. Eventually it will shrink and heal and be barely noticeable. The first few days, though, its swollen and bruised and sticks out from her chest in an odd way, kind of like her breast plate is broken and sticking out.










The orange stuff on her face and body is betadine, not blood. They covered her with a sheet of it and cut through the sheet to do the surgery to keep everything sterile.

Poor thing has cotton-mouth so bad from the drugs. She can't have anything except through her IV till tonight, so we dip her paci in sugar water to wet her mouth. Her cries are muted from her dry mouth and  from the pain of the movement. Keeping her still and comfortable is the number one priority. I am so thankful for how well this all went. The risks were small in number, but big risks. Her anesthesiologist said she is the best-case scenario. They are thinking if she does well, we will be back home within the week. But I learned my lesson last time. I am in no rush to leave. I just want my baby to heal, however long it takes.

Thank you everyone who prayed for Fiona, the doctors and for our family. I know a small army was thinking about her today.

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