Surgery Recap

The baby had his surgery yesterday. The good news is that he survived. The entire thing was terrible for us, but the worst is over.

We had an arrival time at the children’s hospital at 8:30. We got there at 8am because we were very anxious. We’d woken him up and fed him at the last possible moment he was allowed to eat, which was 2:30am. They checked us in and charged us a zillion dollars which we paid. I still don’t know how we are going to pay for everything with that money spent, but it was what it was.

They called us back around 9am and gave him a gown and some socks, and let us meet the anesthesiologist. By 9:30 the surgeon was there and warned us that the previous surgery in his operating room had run long and it was going to be an extra 20-30 minutes.

The time of his surgery came and left, without any sign of him being taken back. The 30 minutes delay time also came and went. By that point, the baby had been awake for 6 hours and hadn’t eaten in 8 hours and was not in a good place. I gave him his lullaby music and rocked him to sleep. Within 3 minutes of him falling asleep they were ready to go. The anesthesia nurse let me carry him to the door of the surgical area and then hand her the baby, and she let him keep his pacifier that he loves, and she carried him in asleep. She said they could probably minimize waking him, because they were putting the mask over his face to put him under, and the goal was do to that before he realized he’d been put back down so it wouldn’t be too bad.

I don’t know how well that worked, but they did the gas and then an IV and then a caudal block, which is apparently less intense than a true epidural.

We waited for an hour, which was the amount of time they said that it would take to do the surgery. Then they called us back and put us in a waiting room for the surgeon to come tell us how it went. We waited for the surgeon. We waited 20 minutes for the surgeon. You cannot begin to imagine how stressful that was, I was shaking and trying to do the anxiety breathing exercises. That set up–wait for the surgeon to come talk to you in a private room–is exactly what you would expect them to do if he died on the table.

The surgeon said it went well and he should not appear to have any scar more obvious than the circumcision would have produced on its own. He didn’t stop breathing or anything, everything went fine.

And then we waited for another half an hour for the baby to wake up so we could see him. He woke up, but barely. He was still mostly asleep but he was responsive, so he’d move if you tickled him.

It took him another 2 hours to wake up enough for us to feed him. Even then, the thing that actually woke him up was the removal of his IV.

I cannot emphasize enough how much blood was involved. They pulled out the IV from his hand and covered it in gauze and a bandaid, and the gauze soaked through and started dripping blood onto his gown before the nurse had even thrown out the bandaid wrapper. They had to replace the gauze and the bandaid and hold pressure on the hand for a while to fix it.

Then we changed his diaper and HOLY CRAP, so much blood. I grant that it was diluted and spread out by his pee, but it was just a diaper full of blood. And they told us that as long as the blood doesn’t completely soak through the diaper it is fine, so the rest of the day and evening it was the same. You would open his pajamas and see that the diaper was dark, like a taupe color from the outside, from all the blood. And you would open the diaper to blood.

The good news is that the medicine they have given him to take at home today and possibly into tomorrow depending on how he does overnight seems to be containing the pain. And there has been no blood today. He’s sleeping a lot–it’s basically baby vicodin that he’s on–and when he’s not sleeping he’s staring into space and I’m trying to find ways to make him happy. We watched some nature documentaries this morning and he did seem to enjoy the colors and movement, anyway.

This poor baby. But the worst is over for him now, and for us, too, I suppose.

And now we have to put ourselves back together. I have been eating whatever I want these past few weeks, so many carbs and so much sugar. I have been either not sleeping or taking a ton of meds to push myself into sleep and sleeping heavily. I’ve barely been working, I’ve been doing the bare minimum on the housekeeping. And now we have to start fixing all of that. Cut back on the sugar, carbs, caffeine, and sleeping medicine. Push up the housework and work. It’s going to be a long road.


One Week and Counting

In exactly one week the baby has his surgery. By this time next week, we should be out of surgery, and he should be out of the anesthesia and we should be home recovering.

Or, you know, not.

I appreciate that the doctor is excellent and I do not doubt his word when he says that its far more dangerous for us to drive to his office than it is to have the surgery but it does not FEEL more dangerous to drive to his office than it does to put a 6 month old under general anesthesia and give him an epidural and then slice him open.

The surgery is non-complicated and minor. It’s mostly skin repositioning, no actual internal work needed, and they tell me that the surgery itself will take about 45 minutes. On Friday afternoon they’ll call us with the time of his surgery, we’ll stop feeding him six hours or something before that, which he will HATE, of course, and then we’ll take him into the hospital. My in-laws are planning to come in for the surgery, although they’re both sick this week, so I suppose we will have to see how they’re doing over the weekend before we plan for it.

The most likely result is that there will be no ill effects. The surgery will go well and he’ll go under and come out with no issues and be better in two days, four at the outside.

The next most likely result is probably an anesthesia issue. He could have trouble breathing and they’d need to intubate him, which would probably cause zero long term issues but could result in some brain damage depending on how long he goes without air, right?

He could also have an issue with an epidural, right? Nerve damage, something that paralyzes him. It’s unlikely but it would be terrible for him if it happened like that. Kicking is his main hobby. He wakes me up at night, kicking his crib in his sleep. He has toys that he can kick and he loves them and kicks constantly. When you hold him he kicks like he wants to swim through the air. I cannot imagine what it would be like for him not to be able to kick. And of course, later, not be able to walk.

And of course, there’s always the chance that he’ll die on the table. It could happen to anyone at any time. There are risks.

If we don’t do the surgery, it will need to be done later. The risks will not decrease, but the recovery time and the trauma he’ll experience will increase. This is why we’re doing it now. This is why we’re trying to find the money to pay for it–I don’t know how we will, I really don’t, I can only imagine that we’ll have to not pay things like electricity for a month and hope there’s an end of the year bonus or that we can get a tax return to fix it before it all goes to hell.

And I’m trying to do as much as I can before the surgery, without compromising the time I spend with him. Today, he only slept 45 minutes all day and for all but 30 minutes I was either holding him or actively playing with him. It was a good last Monday for us to have together, if this ends up being the last Monday we have. He only fussed once for a couple of minutes because he woke up when I was in the middle of eating and I took an extra two minutes to finish eating before I rescued him.

But this week we also have to get the pictures of him that we’re going to frame for his grandparents’ Christmas presents. And I have to bake cookies for the teacher appreciation lunch at the elementary school, and meet with the principal about an issue with the teacher.

It’s all bad news. I’m eerily calm thus far. I’m not sleeping at all, even with unisom or nyquil, I can’t sleep. But I’m done with the crying. I’m done with the hysteria, and I’m done with the panic. I’m just calmly planning for the possibility that I have 6 days left with this baby.

Of course, I expect the day of the surgery to be different. I expect to lose the calm.I have buspar for anxiety, but I very much wish I had something stronger to use that day. On the other hand, the buspar is incredibly mild–it doesn’t make you drowsy or anything–and no matter what happens I’ll need my wits about me.


I Hate Christmas

I KNOW. All the Christmas fans are outraged right now, but hear me out.

  1. I’m Jewish, so every freaking Christmas thing is just a fun reminder that I am an outsider. I don’t see any freaking menorahs on the walls of the kid’s school, but I DO see lyrics for Christmas carols, which…is that a violation of the separation of church and state? Feels like it maybe is. I’ll give you the Rudolph stuff, but Silent Night? I do not think so.
  2. EVERYTHING HAPPENS AT ONCE. This week, I had three separate school events, next week there are 3 more, and the Hannukkah things start that week as well.
  3. Everything costs a million dollars. Everyone needs presents. Family members, the kids, the kid’s teachers, everyone. And then of course the pants that fit the kids in the fall do not fit them any more, so everyone needs new clothes right now.
  4. This year I’m also worried about the surgery that is two weeks from Monday, so 12 days away. There’s a chance I only have 12 days left with the baby but I can’t SAY that because then I’m ruining everyone’s Christmas joy.
  5. Sickness. Why do illnesses run amok in schools in December? The kids are sick, I’m sick. I think the baby might be getting sick.

I hate the entire thing. If we could put a hard limit on the amount of holiday parties and presents it might be bearable but as it is, not so much.

Current checking account balance: 49 dollars and change. I have 8 days until we get paid again so that’s going to be fun.

Meanwhile, we’ll get paid and then immediately have to pay 232 to the surgeon and then another 500 to the the hospital on the Monday so the baby can have his surgery. I’m *almost* done with Christmas shopping. I have the stuff for the bigger girl to buy, so maybe about 60 dollars left to spend. And that’s everything, except for the brother-in-law that’s been threatening to beat us up, so maybe we don’t have to buy him something this year.

I’m hoping I can get 60 dollars worth of work done this week, in the evenings after the baby goes to sleep for the night. It’s not easy because I’m so sick, but things need to get done.

I am a mess over here. I’m eating whatever I want because of the possibility of dead baby in 12 days. I’m sick. I’m worried about the baby and the surgery. We don’t have enough money to do Christmas or the surgery, let alone both. I don’t know how we an do any of this.