Since Ada has been introduced into the world of youtube videos of furry little kittens and puppies in swimming pools, it has been difficult for me to spend much time on the computer, much less writing an entire blog post about how everything went during Ada’s sugeries last Friday.
And after what she’s been through, I don’t have the heart to tell her no when those big weepy eyes pint toward my open laptop screen and pitifully say “kitty. kitty”
But right now she is peacefully sleeping, for the moment. She has been waking up crying most days since the surgery, but not too bad. Last night was three or four times.
So onto what everyone wants to know.
We got in the car at 5 am from my mother’s house in Raleigh to get to Duke Children’s Hospital in Durham. Ada last nursed at around 3 am, putting us just barely in the time bracket allowed. It was fine anyway, because though we were the first scheduled surgery to arrive, Ada didn’t actually get put under unti about 7:30 or 8.
She waited in our tiny little room pretty well, getting antsy after a while and pulling at her hospital gown. It was too large. Eventually a nurse noticed her protest and told us she’s find a smaller one and we could take it off, but to please leave on her diaper. Ada doesn’t wear diapers since she was a diaper free baby (see posts on elimination communication) so we kept on her underwear. That made her unhappy to.
The anesthesiologist’s assistant told us she could be naked and they didn’t care. She asked if she could slip on a pull-up after she was out because we told her she would protest to a diaper and I said sure.
Leave it to one of my kid’s to even charm everyone into going into a surgery naked. Seriously. The reason I hardly ever share pictures of them online is because they never have on clothes.
The dentist and her pedistric GI, the two doing the procedures came with us and we had papers to sign. That may have been one to the hardest signatures to give. Payman made me do it. You have to sign that you understand, essentially, that there is a chance your child will die because you give consent for them to be put under general anesthesia. And with the endoscopy you are signing that you understand her stomach could be punctured.
These are small chances, but I feel confidant that I’m not the only parent that takes a deep breath and tries not to think about it, hurriedly scrawling her name and remembering that this choice has been scrutinized and weighed over and over.
I had been told during the tour that at this point Ada would be wheeled away from me and that occassionally the anesthesiologist will give a baby something to make them loopy so that they do not cry a they are wheeled away from me. This would be the hardest part. Letting her get wheeled away from me. I knew she would panic but certainly didn’t want to ask for yet another drug in her system.
The dentist had told me that we had an anestesiologist that was good with kids.
He brought me disposable scrubs and told me to get ready to go back.
“I get to go back there??” I asked.
“You are invited to go back, but you don’t have to,” he said.
Before even considering Payman I said “Yes I’m coming.” Payman didn’t want to go back anyway, I don’t think.
Who could possibly choose to let their kid get wheeled away crying or drugged up when they had the chance to be there!
We wrapped her up in the blanket we’d brought from home and I followed them as they practically jogged down several minutes of hallways. Yeah. Ada would have been a mess through this.
When we got to the small, scary looking operating room full of stuff from the TV show “ER”, I asked if I needed to put her down and she grabbed me tightly.
He said, “No just cradle her and let’s wrap her hands under the blanket so she can’t pull the mask off. He pretended to eat her toes to try to distract her and put the mask on. She cried and struggled of course but was asleep in my arms in a matter of seconds. I was in disbelief at how fast it was.
They were urging me to put her on the table while I was still registering that that was it, at least as far as the getting her under part was concerned. It was a tad eerie, actually, to see her that limp, unnaturally limp, after 10 seconds or so.
But they needed to get on with it and I was ushered out of the room, but not before the assistant turned Ada’s cheek to me and told me to kiss it.
I was fighting tears as a new nurse guided me back (and you without a doubt needed a guide through this maze) to the parent’s waiting room, where we stayed to await hourly calls on how she was doing. I had told myself beforehand not to fight tears, that there was nothing from with being emotional in this situation, regardless of how weird our society gets when people cry in public.
But as I told Payman the story I just leaned over her blanket and let it out. I think part of it was relief that this hurdle was jumped. But I knew, from talking to other mothers, that it was sometimes harder when they came out of it, so I was ready for that, and I had four hours to go.
Nothing can prepare you for seeing your little kid’s face all swollen up. The dentist had said “Now, her top lip will be a little swollen, so just expect that, and it will cause her some pain.” A little swollen lady? Are you serious?? It was easier for me than Payman though, as Ada melted in my arms minutes after waking up, and I couldn’t really even see her face. She said “Momma, ow, momma, ow” in a heart-breaking little scrape of a voice, her throat sore from the endoscopy and her mouth clear swollen and painful from 3 hours of dental work.
She happily drank down some water and then nursed, promptly falling to sleep. She kept gagging, as the experiance makes most people nauseated, but that lessened and lessened. She slept for several hours, through getting her in the car and back to my mom’s house to pack and get Azita. We had considered staying but both had the overwhelming desire to be at home, comforting her in her own bed.
She woke up then, clearly hungry, but in too much pain for applesauce or nursing. Naturally, we stopped at Whole Foods and bought her coconut milk ice cream, which she enjoyed. And it helped the swelling. And Azita scarfed down her choice of coconut ice cream: chocolate.
Ada was so exhausted she could barely sit straight. She fell asleep in the car at 5:30 and slept until the next morning. She nursed several times throughout the night.
The beautiful thing about nursing is that when a child is sick or in pain, if you can at least get them to sleep, it seems you can get them fed. I don’t know how a baby eats in this situation when they don’t nurse. I guess you can bottle feed them while sleeping? I don’t know. But I do know Ada natural instincts allowed her to get sustenance and avoid dehydration and wake up less miserable than she would have otherwise.
I think nursing might have been a powerful factor in letting her sleep as well as she did.
Now she is mostly better. The last few days it has been more like she has a cold, slightly irritable, but really not that bad. Not as bad as it could be.
We just simply feel we have a lot to be grateful for. I’ll lay out the results of her procedures in the next post.
Just grateful that she was able to get this type of care at a place like Duke, with an anesthesiologist that really seemed to value the mother-baby bond and encouraged me to nurse right when she woke up, rather than insisting on 7up or apple juice. Sometimes it seems like doctors or dentists feel the mother is getting in the way and would rather have the kid upset for a few minutes while they do their job. But this guy clearly seemed happiest when Ada was happiest.