Thoughts on a Thursday: Babies in surgery? Noooo! Edition
It’s her left eye (look on the right, that’s her left, right? right.) See the gunk? We wipe it out, she sleeps, it comes back. Repeat, repeat, repeat. The doctor referred us to a pediatric ophthalmologist at her last appointment.. I’ve tried not to dwell on it, but it keeps me up at night. It tortures me while I’m awake. Every time she rubs her eyes, or I have to warm a washcloth to wipe the gunk out. It’s been getting a lot more noticeable lately, and people ask about it. If I explain the science to adults, they go, oh, and if I mention surgery, get a real understanding. Kids don’t get it. They look at me weird. They look at her weird. But that’s okay. She’s just a baby with a congenital issue. It’s not her fault. It’s not my fault. But it’s an issue.
She has a beautiful smile, a gorgeous giggle, and a fabulous personality. She’s my baby. Who will probably need surgery before she is a year old. Maybe in the next month. Soon.
Surgery. On my baby.
Now, I love both of my girls. But Keeley is 3.5 years old. If we explain things to her, she will understand. We could say, you’ll have some food as soon as your surgery is done, no big deal and she might be pissy, but she’d go to sleep and be distracted and be fine. This does not work with an infant. One that wakes up all night when she’s teething because she’s in pain. and NURSES when she’s in pain. One that will NOT take tylenol but spits it out, so there’s no way to ‘help’ her with anything. She only wants mommy. Fast forward to surgery. You KNOW they don’t let adults eat after midnight. It might be later for babies, but probably not much.
I don’t think that people really get what it’s like when a baby cries for you when you’re in the bathroom for 30 seconds. Let alone if she wakes up at say 12:01 and wants to eat, but can’t. Eight + hours of non-stop screaming? Then there’s the fact that the nursing relationship could be irrevocably disrupted from this. She’s only 9 months old. If she decides that mommy was mean to her and wouldn’t feed her at the right time, she might completely refuse the breast. This has happened to people because they spoke loudly over their baby’s head while it was eating. The baby would never eat again, and they were forced to use formula. I can’t imagine having to do that because of a stupid surgery.
We haven’t talked to the doctor yet, but a brief internet search says that it’s a very short surgery and works about 90% of the time before 1 year of age. It doesn’t say what happens after 1 year of age. There was a mention of ‘care’ afterward but not what kind of care is needed. I’m thinking probably an eye patch or goggles or something to keep her from rubbing it. But how do I get her to keep it on? Will it be for weeks? Insane. Then there’s the anesthesia.
I don’t care if it’s for 10 minutes, that’s my baby you’re conking out with drugs. Adults go under and don’t wake up. Or they aspirate, or they what? lose their minds.
I can’t lose her. She’s my happiness every day.
She’s my smiles, my light, my little love. Yes I love Keeley, but it’s SO much easier to love a baby who just wants to eat, be held and smile and dance with you. One that doesn’t talk back, or refuse to put on her pajamas because no one will help her. She just giggles when you tickle her and tries her best to help out. She’s pure love.
I need her love in my life… and I’m scared. Plenty of people say ‘well my kid had surgery.. and’… well that’s GREAT. That’s your kid and it was years ago. This is my baby right now. I don’t think we would survive if something happened to her. I wouldn’t survive. Our marriage wouldn’t survive.
But how do you not give your baby the surgery it needs if it’s necessary and will help them live their life better? How do you deny them on the rare chance something would happen? How do you live with yourself if something DOES happen?