The day we have been anticipating is finally here -- surgery day. I was a mess of emotions: hope, fear, nervousness, worry, cautious optimism. We were supposed to be at the hospital at 9:15, so our morning routine was normal and included family prayer before getting Ellie off to school.
While we were waiting for Greg to get back from the school drop-off, I gave Cece her allowed liquids. She wasn't a big fan of the gatorade or water options, and kept on signing MILK.
Tammy came for the first shift to play with Lynlee (my mom came after she finished teaching violin lessons that morning), and we were off. Cece was not happy about being in the car and not being able to have a drink. She clutched her new monkey from Auntie B and told us all about her disappointment.
We got to the hospital a little early, around 9, and got all checked in. As we sat down in the waiting room, my phone rang. A nice lady on the phone said that the surgeon was running behind and we didn't need to come until 10. Well, it was a little late for that...
About 10, they took us back to a holding room and we got Cece all changed into her surgery clothes. Her bed was all set up with Minimus (a flying horse from Sofia the First), a princess crown, and a princess wand. Cece looked at the toys for a few minutes, but preferred her monkey and blanket. Her sisters loved all of her treasures when we got home that night.
Cece was a trooper as we waited, and waited, and waited for it to be our turn. She would sign MILK and then just sigh or put her head back down when we signed LATER.
Cece was scheduled for surgery at 10, and she was the last one on the schedule for the day. There were 6 procedures ahead of her, and the last 3 had things happen that caused them to go long. The staff took excellent care of us, keeping us informed and helping us keep Cece distracted.
I finally got her to take a nap for about an hour. Her poor little body just gave up.
After her nap, Cece was harder to console. She hadn't had any food since 6 p.m. the previous day, or any liquids besides a few sips of Gatorade since 11 the previous night. Our nurse rustled up a wagon and we walked in circles around the ward for about 30 minutes.
And then, at last it was almost time. We elected for Cece to get a dose of Versed, a sedative. We were worried about how she would do otherwise as she went off to surgery.
While we were waiting for the Versed to take effect, we had a meeting with the surgeon and the anesthesiologist. Cece got her right cheek marked.
When that Versed kicked in, the difference in Cece's demeanor was remarkable. The anesthesiologist said it would be like she was drunk. She went from limp and listless to giggly and wiggly.
. : trying to make a thumbs up took a few tries : .
And then she was off (at 1:15)! Cece willingly went with the nurse, waving bye-bye to us. Those of you who know Cece, know what an impact that medication had on her.
The nursing staff, or hospital (I'm not sure which), gave us some vouchers to eat at the cafeteria as an apology for the delay. Greg and I went and grabbed some food and then settled in for the wait. It was four hours until we saw her again. I worked on crocheting R2D2 and Greg worked on actual work on his computer.
The part I was most anxious about all day was being with Cece when she woke up from anesthesia. When Lynlee had eye surgery, the waking up process was pretty stressful and she had a really hard time. The experience with Cece was much different. She just wanted me to hold her, and she immediately fell asleep again.
That face! Ah... I am writing this up after two months, when Cece is all healed and we are seeing success every day with hearing sounds. It hurts my heart to remember this moment...
After a few minutes, Cece woke up and drained a cup of apple juice.
Then it was time for another nap.
Daddy needed some snuggle time, so I reluctantly handed my baby over (yes, MY baby -- not our baby at this moment ;)
After a second cup of apple juice, Cece started to perk up a little bit and we were cleared to go home.
Cece could not keep herself awake, even when we were changing her clothes.
Ellie and Lynnie were really glad when we made it home. It had been an anxious day for them as well. Grandma had taken them to her house to play for a few hours, which was the perfect distraction. They met us back home and were glad to see Cece doing pretty well. Lynnie, especially, loved the "Princess Leia" bandage.
Some things that stand out to me about surgery day:
~ the love and support we felt from so many friends and family members. Thanks to everyone who reached out and let us know that you were thinking of us and praying for Cece.
~ how adaptable Cece was and how accepting of all of the strange things that were happening to her
~ how Cece's prescribed pain management was ibuprofen. Dr Chaffin also prescribed baby-strength Lortab, but we never used it. She did fine on ibuprofen alone. Craziness! (And crazy that Costco's bottles of baby Motrin are less expensive per ounce than the $10 copay we had on the generic ibuprofen prescription from the pharmacy.)
The plan continues to be to evaluate in 3 months how Cece is doing, see how her therapy is going, and see how she is responding to sounds. If all is going well (as predicted), we will schedule her left ear for surgery and do this all over again.