Well, surgery day came out of nowhere! We got the call that Olivia was scheduled for surgery at 10:30am at Yale New Haven hospital. We were advised that she couldn’t eat anything after midnight, breast milk needed to be done 4 hours before her procedure and apple juice or clear liquid needed to be finished 2 hours before. It’s funny how yes, I was of course nervous about Olivia being put under anesthesia and to have this operation but that morning, I was most concerned about how my one year old daughter was going to understand that momma couldn’t give her milk! Luckily for us, Olivia did really well in the car that morning on our way to New Haven! We missed all the traffic and got there super early just to be safe. We checked in and we were brought to a small doctors office where we set up Olivia’s favorite monkey – Pinkberry the monkey to be precise – and Moana on the tablet. Olivia was given a miniature check up which included listening to her lungs, checking her blood pressure and asking mom and dad a ton of questions about how we feel she’s been doing. Olivia LOVED the nurse and would reach for big hugs every time she came in. The nurse even filled us in on what to expect while she bounced Olivia on her side. When Olivia started to get ansy and ask for “milkies” we started walking the halls and asking the other nurses for stickers. This was the day I was introduced to what a life safer stickers are! Those stickers adorned with Mickey and Poppie the troll were enough to keep her mind and fingers busy until it was time to get all dressed up in our hospital gowns.
When it was time, the anesthesiologist came in and explained to my husband and I, what to expect. I decided to take Olivia in for the procedure so we both got all dressed and headed out on our walk – for this part we took “Patches” the giraffe for morale support. Now, be mentally prepared if you decide to take your little back to the operating room. I’m SO glad I took her but it did shake me a bit. You walk into a big, cold medical room. I was told to put my sweet girl on the bed and they put strabnwery scented gas up to her mouth – we picked that scent :). Having such a strong willed little girl meant I had to hold her still while the anesthesiologist got the gas on her mouth. For a little reassurance, I was told the harder they fight, the more breaths they take and the faster the gas should take effect. Unfortunately, that reassurance dissipated as I watched my princess stare into what seemed to be my soul and cry momma. I looked at her and kept telling her I was right there and that it would all be okay. I reminded myself, while holding back tears, to be strong for her and that she needed this procedure. That it was going to improve her quality of life. After about 60 seconds of crying and fighting, she drifted to sleep. The nurses covered her up, I gave her a kiss and I was whisked back to my husband in the waiting room. Now, I was warned that Olivia could have reacted to the medicine by convulsing and twitching. She didn’t thank goodness but that could have happened – and it would have been totally normal.
Patches and I took the long cold walk back to Dan where I understandably collapsed into his arms and let out the strength I tried so hard to keep together in front of my girl. We both took a deep breath and went to the waiting room to watch the screen that would eventually give us the green light to smile. The procedure took about 2 hours – long enough for my teacher husband to write his lesson plans and for me to explore Yale – which in case anyone is heading there, is beautiful and has the BEST cafeteria! After doing school work and eating my last bite of pork roast – yes, pork roast! – we saw the light next to Olivia turn green and say “in recovery”. We both broke down, breathed a sigh of relief and knew we had made it through another one.
Our amazing surgeon came out to see us and told us that Olivia did wonderful! Both sides of the eye responded really well to the manipulation of the muscle. She warned us that her eye would be very “Santa clause suit” red and her tears may have blood in them but not to worry. We were given an ointment to apply twice a day in her Nemo eye and little arm restraints in case we needed them to prevent her from rubbing her eye – lucky for us, we didn’t need them :). We were then led back to recovery where we saw this little tiny peanut in a giant hospital bed, still asleep from the anesthesia. We waited there as paitently as can be expected for an hour before she finally woke up. Waiting there for a loved one to wake up has got to be one of the hardest parts of surgery. You do everything in your power to not let your mind go to that dark place that says “what if” but until you see those baby blues look at you, it’s just the scariest part. She woke up very drowsy but aware and went right for her “milkies”. After eating, she was smiling and waving at all the nurses. She didn’t skip a beat! And despite how badly I just wanted to hold my baby, she just wanted to be with all the nurses! The nurses loved her and took her to say hi to all the doctors – which Olivia absolutely loved.
Our experience at Yale and with Stabismhs surgery was one I would recommend to any family that is looking to have such a procedure done. Next week, I will post Olivia’s post-op procedures and how she did healing that little Nemo eye. We may be on a mandatory patch break but to all our followers – just keep patching!