Recap of Abby's Hospital Stay

Monday, August 22, 2011
We arrived at the hospital a little before 7am. We hadn’t slept very well the night before (no surprise), but we were up and as my Mom says, had our “game faces on" and were ready to meet the day.

We checked in at the pre-op clinic and a nurse took us back to check Abby’s vitals and to ask if we had any final questions. Then we were escorted up to the holding area. There were a bunch of other parents and kids awaiting surgery as well as a lot of doctors and nurses checking on their respective patients. It was somewhat weird to see so many doctors and nurses in one room, it really drove home the severity of what was about to happen.

The anesthesiologist team came and talked to us for a while and once again explained the various procedures that they would be doing. I’m thankful Children’s Hospital really goes over everything several times. They really understand that amidst the stress of the situation that parents can sometimes forget certain details.

At this point we were supposed to dress Abby into her surgical gown, but we opted to wait until the last possible minute because it was really cold in the room. Abby started to cry a little, she was probably hungry since she wasn’t allowed to eat for four hours prior to a surgery. Anyways, Matthew is forever my hero because he walked Abby around the room and was able to get her to sleep. This was a great blessing and made the wait much, much easier. He may be embarrassed by this, but I’m going to add it anyways. Matthew also sang to her as he walked her around. Although the song he sang was questionable, it worked nonetheless. He sang “I’ve Seen the Needle and the Damage Done” by Neil Young. It’s a song about a junkie but he said it was the only song he could think of considering Abby was going to have a needle injected into her soon.

Soon enough it was time to hand Abby off to the team of doctors. Thank goodness Abby was asleep because if I had to hear her cry as she was being walked away, I would have lost it. But seeing as she was fast asleep, the hand off was so much easier. We gave her a kiss and told her we loved her and I choked back some tears as we walked away. After saying goodbye to Abby, we headed to the family waiting area.

The nurses in the family waiting room were so nice. We checked in and they talked to us for a bit and told us they would be updating us with the status of Abby's surgery every hour or so. Also, since I was a breastfeeding Mom, they gave me a coupon to receive two free meals. How awesome is that?

So we headed down to the cafeteria for a while then back up to the family waiting area. In some ways it’s easier to be in a room full of parents who are waiting for their child’s surgery to be finished and in some ways it’s much harder. During Hannah’s surgery we were in a family waiting room that was mostly comprised of adults waiting for other adult’s surgeries to be finished. In that waiting room people were laughing, surfing the web, and playing games. In a family waiting room that is comprised of parents, people don’t play games and nobody really laughs. For that I am thankful. But on the flipside, it’s a lot harder because there are a lot of emotional mothers in there. (Understandably)

Abby’s surgery was SO much faster than Hannah’s. Perhaps because the coronal suture is much shorter than the sagittal suture, or perhaps because pediatric anesthesiologists are much better at finding the veins of little babies, I’m not sure of the reason, but it was so much quicker. Thank God for that. Her surgery wrapped up around 10:45am (it started around 8:30am). Dr. Proctor came out to talk to us and to let us know that the surgery went very well, as expected. He had to run because he had another craniosynostosis surgery planned for 11am, but this time he said the child was too old to have the endoscopic surgery and so needed to CVR (cranial vault reconstruction) surgery. My heart immediately went out to the parents of the child. They must have been so afraid and anxious. I pray their child's surgery went well, I'm sure it did, Dr. Proctor is the best.

Soon thereafter we were able to go see Abby in the recovery room. She was fast asleep, but we were happy to simply sit by her bed and watch her sleep. We were able to give her gentle little kisses and to tell her we were there and that we loved her.

About an hour later, we were moved to a room ready up on the neurology floor. Like I mentioned before, Abby’s roommate, also named Abby, was there recovering from her hemispherectomy.

Abby's nurse came in and talked to us for a bit. After that I went outside to get some fresh air. There’s a little atrium garden within the hospital so I took a short walk around the garden. It was nice to get outside for a bit.

For the rest of the afternoon we sat by Abby’s bedside and pretty much watched her sleep. I was able to hold her a couple times, even though she had all her lines attached. She was still pretty drowsy, but it was so nice to hold my baby.

(Look at those thighs, I could just bite into them.)

Unfortunately, the hospital only allows one parent to spend the night, so Matthew headed home after dinner. I forgot to mention that Matthew’s Mom had spent the night at our place the night before so we could get up and go rather than have to wake up Hannah and drop her off. So she had been with Hannah all day. (Sidenote: My mother in law is awesome and has been so helpful this entire summer. She had Hannah for the year I was in labor with Abby. Someday I’ll have to write an Ode to her.)

Abby had a great night in the hospital. She slept really well (I’m sure the drugs helped) and only woke up a few times. I was even able to nurse her when she woke up in the middle of the night. That was so lovely.

The next morning, I was up around 5am, so I walked across the street to Starbucks. It had been a long night (hospitals are a tough place to get a good night's sleep). A Venti coffee never tasted so good. Abby continued to sleep and recover well. At one point, the doctors came in for rounds and one of the doctors was like, “so we’re still waiting for the pathology report to see if it’s an infectious disease.” I was like, wait, “what?!?” the nurse started shaking her head, you could tell she was annoyed. She informed the doctors that they had the wrong patient. I was thinking c’mon, how hard is it to make sure you know which patient you’re dealing with before you walk into the room? And secondly, there’s an infectious diseased kid on this floor? Great.

Matthew arrived back at the hospital around 11am and we proceeded to take the steps to be discharged. It’s incredible to me that our baby can have her head operated on one day and go home the next. Modern medicine, it’s a marvel.

Oh, I forgot to mention, the hospital offers all these neat services to parents and one of them is free chair massages. Oh my goodness, can you tell how much I love Children’s Hospital Boston? So I was able to get a chair massage that afternoon before we were discharged.

By 2ish that afternoon we were ready to checkout. It was nice to be leaving the hospital but a little nerve-racking too.

Since we’ve been home, Abby has been doing great. She’s been in a little pain at times, but otherwise she’s her happy, smiley self. Friday morning she woke up with her eyes swollen shut. Poor baby, that was tough. We propped her upright and I held a cold washcloth on her eyes and by the end of the day her swelling had gone down a lot. But despite the fact that her eyes had swollen shut, she was still smiling. God love her.

Abby has been such a trooper through this entire ordeal. God has blessed her with a calm disposition and a joyful soul. I'm so proud to be her Mama.

So that’s the gist of our experience at the hospital. I think I’m going to write a “What to Expect” post for any parents whose child will be having an endoscopic craniectomy. But that’s for another day.

Thank you again for your prayers.

1 comment:

  1. That was so interesting to read! You are amazing...I lovvvvvvve Matthews song choice!!

    I would have been a wreck about the whole thing, but especially the fasting that the baby has to do before surgery...that would have really freaked me hunger!! (but then I saw the pic of her thighs....yeah she was probably fine and not wasting away... ;)

    She is so cute.... love that you included the pics.

    Thank you for the recap and so glad she is recovering well.

    Was it like dejavu from the experience with Hannah?


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