PHEW, Maya’s surgery is over.
It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t a walk in the park, either.
Maya slept til 7 — per usual — and as soon as I got her on the changing table, began signing for milk. I felt awful, but we couldn’t give her anything to eat or drink, so I distracted her with BOOKS and BLOCKS and SOCKS and who knows what else. She fell asleep on the short 10-minute ride to the outpatient surgery center, but woke when we got her carrier out of the car.
We checked in and spoke with a nurse who was really sweet and gave Maya some Tylenol, which she sucked down. Poor girl was thirsty! She signed for milk repeatedly but we couldn’t oblige. After 15 minutes or so, the doctor and anesthesiologist came in and explained to us their role in the procedure and then, like that, she was gone. I felt awful as she cried, being taken away like that, but she clutched her blanky and didn’t turn around to our voices .. almost like she was saying, “I’m OK, Mommy …” or maybe more something along the lines of “You evil woman, you!”
We watched her go through the operating room doors and then that was it; we were asked to wait in the waiting room until the surgeon came out.
I had flashbacks to what my own mom said she felt when she watched me head to the OR for my C-section surgery. It’s a feeling of helplessness; whether your baby is 2 or 32. There was a pit in my stomach the size of Texas … but I didn’t cry.
About 15 minutes later the surgeon came out and said all went great. He noticed excess fluid in her ears, which could have led to another ear infection any day now … but now that fluid was drained as the tubes were inserted. He said her hearing had been reduced and we would likely notice a big change in her hearing and communication skills in the next 2-4 weeks. Sounds good to me, although we haven’t exactly noticed anything wrong with either yet. Still, good to know this would be an added benefit (and, moreso, good to know that we’d be helping her for the future).
A few minutes later the nurse told us she had just woken up and she had no clue who I (or L) was. She was glassy-eyed and clearly in an unfamiliar place, feeling unfamiliar things — i.e., the aftermath of anesthesia. She alternated between those awful, sad helpless newborn wails and staunch silence. It reminded me SO much of those initial days with her in the hospital … only now, we KNOW her … and can differentiate tired, hungry, sad, hurt, etc., cries. It was pretty awful to see, and nothing I’d heard about or read about prepared me exactly for that first half hour of such uncertainty.
After the nurses said we could go home, we packed up and got in the car. We’d not even gotten out of the building and little miss was sound asleep. She slept for three solid hours before waking up, looking and chatting like herself. She showed us her nose, hair, belly … she signed for milk when she was ready for milk. It was as though she didn’t even have surgery!
The only lingering affect was her balance was a smidge off initially (as the doctor anticipated it would be) and she took a few spills in the afternoon. But by evening? She was on her A-game, running to us with her books and resuming normal, happy play.
We were given antibiotic drops to put in her ears for the first few days after surgery and we have a follow-up appointment April 9 and that’s really it.
Now that it’s over, we can breathe a sigh of relief. Hopefully they’ll stay in for the next year or so, and we look forward to swimming lessons next week and a tropical retreat in April.
Thanks for all the thoughts, prayers and well-wishes. Our little trooper really was amazing!