What do you do while your child is under general anesthesia having surgery? You blog about it.
4:00 a.m. the alarms went off. Not surprisingly, I was already awake. Though it didn’t seem natural. It was still dark out, baby monitor was silent, and hubby was snoring. On a typical Saturday morning, we’d all be sound asleep until 8 a.m. when the sun rises. Not this Saturday. This Saturday is surgery day. The day we have all been anticipating but not so much dreading, to be honest. Yes, nerves are very high but we couldn’t be more excited for our girl to finally get her healthy hips.
As I was packing our hospital bag last night, I couldn’t help but think about how different I felt from the last time I was packing a hospital bag for Stella (for delivery day). 3 months ago, I was sitting Indian style on the floor in her nursery with my big belly in my lap. All of her clothes were laid out around me, paired into outfits with matching headbands laid on top. I kept thinking, “How many outfits will she need? 10? 12?” ha. Last night was a different story. After frantically cleaning the whole house so we can relax when we get home, I took our giant diaper bag from the bottom and dumped its contents out on the changing table. Dirty bibs, 4 different brands of diapers, empty formula container, you know, the results of everyday traveling with a 3-month-old. This time, I was thinking about what a baby in a 10lb cast from her armpits to her ankles would fit in. 12mo onesies and socks it is! Plus, enough formula and bottles for a full day, blankets, white noise machine, other stuff…
So 4 a.m. and hubby and I wake up and start getting ready to head to the hospital. Even with all the noise, Stella was still sound asleep- of course. With the car packed and the heat blasting, I crept into her room and greeted her with my sweet Mommy voice. She gave her usual big, adorable stretch as soon as I unvelcroed her arms-only-swaddle (get your hip-healthy swaddle here). Skip the morning bottle, have a nice diaper change, and we were off!
The hospital was like a ghost town. Greeted by a few friendly faces, we were all checked-in. I’m sure you’re wondering about my emotions at this point- especially if you’re reading this as a mother. I’m fine! Really, I am! We are taken back into the operating prep area. Stella is very awake and curious at this point. So many new things to see and hear! So we were given the low down of what’s about to happen and met the whole team. A few things were repeated more than once, for good reason. Their main point was about her undergoing anesthesia. Our nurses described how I was allowed to be there with her and how upsetting it can be to watch your baby slip into that deep sleep. We were warned that she probably wouldn’t like the mask, her eyes will roll into the back of her head, her breathing pattern will be altered, etc. They were right, pretty scary stuff. They gave us the option to opt out of being there with her during this time. “We understand- these things can be hard.” Chyea right?! I will be there with my baby every second that is allowed. Thank you very much.
At 7:30 a.m. the anesthesiologist came back and told us it was time and to scrub up. I was a bit worried Stella would be freaked out by all the blue plastic and face masks but she was fine, actually. Just sleepy, hungry, and cuddly. We carried her back, in her baby hospital gown, into the OR. The room was SO warm. Just the way naked babies like it, I suppose. I was asked to lay her down on the table and place her head on the tiny, round, foam pillow. The anesthesiologist put the mask over her face and well, it was just like they said. She screamed, fought it, eyes rolled back into her head, started to struggle with breathing. Within 20 seconds she was out. They told me to say goodbye and give her a kiss. I leaned in and pressed my lips against those sweet, chubby cheeks of hers. The tears started flowing. Unconscious, she almost felt lifeless to me. I felt Rob rubbing my back as if to say ‘that’s enough’. Soon after, the anesthesiologist pulled me up and explained that they needed to get started and she would do just fine. Rob gave his kiss and then it was time to go. We left. She stayed.