If you’re breastfeeding, I’ve always found the best thing to do if you’re not able to feed the baby (1 a.m. cutoff) is just to STAY AWAY! I showered the night before and we got up a mere 1/2 hour before we were set to leave. Of course that only left about 4 hours of sleep, but who’s counting? I made sure to put pads in to avoid leaking (I used Bamboobies for a soft, washable breast pad option) and changed them in the morning as well. We had coffee prepped the night before, so after turning it on, I finished getting dressed, poured the coffee and tossed some tylenol in my pocket. I also had pre-packed the diaper bag the night before so all I had to do was add my stuff to it and we were set to go. My husband picked her up, made sure she didn’t smell like poop and took her out to the car seat. I made sure to put her in a thick diaper with extra inserts (a bum genius free time in albert and a geffen baby hemp/cotton insert tucked beneath) at 1 a.m. so she’d stay dry for those few hours and we didn’t wake her too soundly that morning. She stayed awake on the drive but most babies probably would go back to sleep. If you used disposables, probably an ‘overnight’ diaper would be your best bet, following the same method, changing the diaper at the last feeding and putting on that super duty diaper.
We were to arrive at the hospital at 6:45 a.m., so we left around 5:30 a.m. because we are about an hour from the hospital. Granted, that early in the morning, there was not a lot of traffic so it took about 45 minutes instead, so we had a bit of wait once we got there. HOWEVER, the parking garage was still almost completely full. At 6:15 a.m. No joke. TIP: arrive early, even if you have a very early appointment, because other people will still be there, and probably not leaving at that time of day. We arrived and got signed in, and were sent back after a few minutes. They asked that we only have 2 adults and no kids, and there were people there with grandparents and a whole slew of other kids. It wasn’t annoying, but it WAS stressful for me with other kids around. That’s why I left mine with someone else. I just wanted some peace and quiet! Seriously, unless you’re also breastfeeding another one, leave your kids with a trusted friend, grandparent, or sitter. It’s a long boring day for a kid to hang around a child’s surgery ward. When we were sent back, we had a private cubicle that we could close the doors to, and were shown the playroom down the hall.
The playroom is the best bang for your surgery buck while you’re there with your pre-op child. Otherwise, you’re sitting in a little cubicle or roaming the hallway. Mostly it was blocks, books, puzzles and easily washable stuff like the little people sets. Plus there were mirrors low on the walls, a board that lit up when you touched it, a magnet board to make faces, etc. There were games for bigger kids on the shelves, too, but I’d say your typical baby who sits on their own through pre-schooler and a little older would be captivated by the room. We took turns holding her and showing her the toys, but she would cry when I held her because she wanted to eat, so she got lots of daddy snuggle time! During the time we were waiting, nurses, anesthesiologists, the doctor, and pretty much anyone doing the surgery came to see us. The doctor made a mark over her eye (even though it was patently obvious from the green goo we didn’t wipe off that morning because we didn’t want to rile her up) to show where the surgery was to take place. People checked on us on a regular basis until it was time to go, the nurse on staff had us do some paperwork, we got her into her gown and a fresh diaper, and on and on. Then they gave her some tylenol and other good stuff and let it take place for a while before taking her back. She got big hugs and then the nurse asked if she wanted to take a walk with her… she went right with her, they did the surgery, and pretty soon the doctor came back and told us how it went. THAT WAS NICE! It was still a long wait, but hearing from him right away was very helpful. She was still in recovery for a while and would have been for longer, but she was a nice baby and the other babies were bratty so she got to come recover with us!
Low points of recovery: barfing, snotting and sloshing blood around. TIP: wear DARK shirts, red preferably, or something you don’t mind getting ruined. Baby too. Bring extras in your car just in case. My husband wore a polo with a t-shirt underneath, and we took the polo home covered in yuck.
High points: basically she nursed and then napped a bunch before they let us take her home.
If you can eat at the hospital go ahead and do it. We left early enough and with zero time so neither of us ate and it was a long wait until we hit the road. It would have been something to fill the time, and pagers were available for when the surgery was done or if we were needed. Bring something to do, like a magazine or book to read if you can handle that, or your fancy phone with angry birds on it or whatever. Anything to pass the time. I used a pen and wrote down birthday ideas on the surgery literature. It was something to do, anyway.
Coming home: TIP: Put a dark towel in your vehicle and put it over the baby’s lap/under her chin for the drive. Ours still had some bloody vomit (sorry) in the truck, and we just happened to have an orange towel in there, and that worked perfectly. Since she snoozed the whole way, it didn’t bother her and it kept her clothes mostly clean, and would protect your vehicle as well. Have an adult sit with the baby, too. That way you can keep an eye on the baby and comfort her before the crying gets out of hand. We stopped and got some motrin (ibuprofen) since we don’t have any at our house, and alternated tylenol and motrin for the first 8-12 hours or so, then she slept of course, got a dose at 4 am, and then at 9 am and we’ve stopped now. Your doctor will obviously have instructions for you, I just wanted to point out that the pain does not seem severe or long lasting. We have ointment to put on her eye 1x/night. The swelling is still in her nose, her bruises are fading, but she seems happy go lucky, really. Apparently babies can be crabby for up to a day and half or two days, but other then a little cranky she’s been pretty good. Obviously she’s been chowing down to make up for lost time, and wants to be held more, but of course we expected that. Her eye? Is beautiful.
Well, the goal was to help anyone who might be going through this. Did I leave anything out? If your child is about to go through this please feel free to e-mail me with any questions. The waiting was really the hardest part.
While I was blogging, I got a call from the surgery ward just to see how we were doing. Fine, just fine, I was happy to report! They’ll call again in a couple of weeks to make sure the healing is complete.