Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Longest 45 Minutes of My Life. Twice.

Sometimes, you just gotta let go.  And trust a greater being.  And breathe.  And close your eyes.  And pray like hell.

That’s what happened this morning when we arrived at Brenner’s Children’s Hospital.  Luckily, we were the first ENT surgery of the day, with an arrival time of 6am and a surgery time of 7am.  After check-in, the wait was short before we headed back to the pre-surgery holding area.  We talked to the surgeon for a little while, who was very reassuring and made us feel confident in our decision.  After changing our sweet girl into the littlest hospital gown I’ve ever seen, it was time to meet with the anesthesiologist.  The part I was dreading.

The part where I had to sign my name on a line agreeing to the fact that I understood all of the bad things that could happen to my daughter due to anesthesia.

That’s when I lost it.  I’d held it together all morning, kept a smile on my face, being brave for my girl, telling her we were going on an adventure.

But – well – there’s just something about agreeing to put your child at risk that causes a mama to crumble.

I signed.  I cried.  I sucked it up and put my brave face back on.

They then gave Cameron a drug to calm her down so that she wouldn’t lose it when we handed her off and walked away.  Within about ten minutes, she was acting like I do after about three cocktails.  Happy, smiley, go-with-the-flow, not a care in the world.

We said our prayers, gave hugs and kisses, and then handed Cameron to the anesthesiologist…

And walked away.

And then the clock-watching began.  My heart raced as if I’d just gone for a long, cold winter’s run.  My stomach turned.

I cried.  I prayed.  I browsed Pinterest.  I looked over Facebook.  I prayed.  I cried.

I prayed.

After about 25 minutes, the surgeon came out to tell us that everything went well.  That both ears had actually STILL been full of fluid, and her left ear was actually STILL infected and full of pus, making us even more confident in our decision.  He said it’d be a little while longer before she started waking up, at which point they’d let one person go back to see her in the Pediatric Recovery Room.

This, of course, was the part I was worried about.  Not the cutting a hole in her eardrum.  Not the dropping of a tiny tube into that hole.  But the waking up from being put under.

I cried and prayed some more.

About 20 minutes later, I got the call that one of us could go back.  No words needed to be spoken – it would be me.

I left the waiting room and entered the hallway leading to recovery, and that’s when I heard it.

The unmistakable, ear-piercing, heart-wrenching, high-pitch screams.  Screams I’ve never heard before coming out of my child, but it was definitely her.

When I rounded the corner, a nurse was struggling to keep her contained.  Cameron was struggling to open her eyes as they kept rolling back into her head, and she was thrashing, and arching, and swinging…

And screaming.

Oh the screams – screams that told me she was scared – didn’t know where she was – didn’t feel good – something was hurting – something was weird – she wasn’t herself…

Honest to God, it was like she was possessed.  And I was terrified.

I took her from the nurse and attempted many, many things to try to calm her down, help her come to – I just wanted my girl back.

But nothing worked.

In a flashback I remembered Dr. M telling us that about 5% of babies wake up and are, well, out of their minds.  Not right.  Inconsolable.  Struggle to maintain muscle control.  And that it could take up to an hour to wear off.

And obviously, our sweet Cameron Kate was in that 5%.

Which was fine – I was willing to deal with whatever I needed to as long as it meant she was awake and well.  But I started to get nervous that something was wrong.

Luckily, the nurses called T and let him come back, too.

T – our rock – my better half – her knight in shining armor.  I knew he would help both of us calm down, and that he did.  He was able to control her movements a little better, get her to drink some water, get her to fall back asleep.

I won’t go into all of the details, but it was the second longest 45 minutes of my life I’d ever had – all in one morning.

Eventually, we got her calm enough to be dressed and discharged.  Besides a few more fits of an inconsolable little girl and projectile throw-up in the car on the way home, she was starting to show signs of my sweet Cameron Kate.

And after a few of her favorite snacks, a warm bath, and many hours sleeping to the rhythm of her mom’s and dad’s heartbeats, head on our chests – our little girl is doing just fine.

I’m so glad to be on the other side of this experience.  To watch my little girl live a healthier and happier life.  To hopefully have made a decision that opens up a world of opportunities to her that may not have been available otherwise.

But man – it was tough.
Some Before & After Pics
Post-Surgery Chest Naps... Perfection

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