The night leading up to palate repair was horrible. I couldn't sleep, and was full of anxiety. I couldn't believe that my little girl, who is so happy and normal was going to be have to be put under again for another surgery. I knew it was for the best; she was going to be able to eat real food after this, suck from a straw and also learn to say things other than "mama", but still it's not something any parent should have to worry about. And packing suitcases should be something fun, not something stressful.
For some reason hospitals have what I call the "gremlin rule"...no food after midnight. It doesn't matter if surgery is at 7am, 10 am, 12pm...it's always no food after midnight. Why is that?? But how do you explain that to a 10 month old? Sorry...I know you're hungry but you can't eat. So, the morning was already rough with a hungry baby. The apple juice we were allowed to give her at 9am somehow got us through till the hand off at 12:30pm. But it took a lot of distracting on our part to make her not have a meltdown.
The time was approaching, it was now 12:15, so I figured we should get her dressed in her hospital gown and of course, Isla was hamming it up so it was a perfect opportunity for a photo op.
Shortly after they came and took her back to surgery. She was also having tubes put in her ears along with the palate repair, and the overall procedure was to take 2 hours. This is when the tears start...
2 long hours go by and our pager finally goes off! We are escorted back to the consult area where we are to meet with the surgeon so she can tell us how everything went. Of course that walk felt like a mile with all the thoughts that ran through my head. "How did she do", "where there any complications", "is she in pain"...the list goes on and on. When we got to the room, we were greeted by Isla's plastic surgeon, Dr. Gosman, and she let us know that everything went great. That all the NAM work we did in the beginning really helped with the repair by pulling everything together so that there was less tension on the repair. Dr. Gosman had a very proud, energetic smile to her explanation, which made me feel a lot better, because normally shes very straight faced and matter of fact (almost to the point I've felt that she doesn't like me lol).
After meeting with Dr. Gosman, I went back to recovery where Isla was. When I first got there, she was still asleep and looked so peaceful. About 10 minutes into me sitting with her, she started coming out of anesthesia and she was like a bat out of hell. Screaming, wailing her hands all over the place. I was trying to console her, only to be beaten in the head with her no no's (arm restraints) over and over and also having ripped my shirt off with her feet from kicking. It took three different medications for the nurses to sedate her again. Talk about heartbreaking!!!! For any moms having to bring your child into surgery...just know that the WORST part of everything is when they are coming out of anesthesia...my bruises lasted a good week from that episode.
The first night was pretty rough, she was up alot and in pain. I didn't try feeding her at all since she was on her IV drip and I couldn't imagine making her try and use any of her muscles inside her mouth for anything. Even when she swallowed her own spit, she would cry out in pain.
Around 4am, the rounding doctor came in and took a peek inside Isla's mouth. He said everything looks great and she should be able to go home today. I thought he was CRAZY. I mean...she still hadn't eaten anything, she was just taken off morphine an hour prior to him coming in and the typical stay for plate repair is at least 2 nights. He assured me that he wasn't crazy, and that she had such minimal bleeding that he guessed she would take her first drink around noon and by the afternoon we would be good to go.
There was not one thing inside me that believed him...ha. But he was RIGHT!! At noon she started taking sips of formula from a spoon and by 4pm she downed 4oz out of an open cup. I couldn't believe it...he really wasn't crazy lol. Isla even was feeling so good that all she wanted to do was go on rides in the wagon they had. Talk about a resilient little human being.
Now we're home and she's back to her old self...well, not as far as sleeping through the night goes, that still needs some work. I'm so thrilled that my little girl now has a palate...something that we all take for granted. And hopefully, this will be her last surgery for 3-4 years.