Today was the big day - Autumn's second, and hopefully final, eye surgery. It was a smaller procedure than the last and fairly routine for the doctor, but anytime your little one has to go under it's a scary thing. I worried how Autumn would handle the situation now that she's a year older and more aware of what goes on around her. I was so incredibly impressed with how well she did - she was so brave and showed no fear or hesitation at all.
The night before her surgery we picked out special "surgery pajamas" and in order to get her excited for the big day, I told her it was her special day just with mommy. That meant Brody got to spend the night at Nana and Grandpa's. It went great, but I sure do miss my little guy when he's gone!
We had to check in at the hospital at 7:15, so that meant waking up at 5:45am and loading autumn into the car a little after 6. We made great time and went through the registration process with ease. The one thing I like is that in both our experiences at the surgical center our ophthalmologist operates in, there's very little waiting time and they're constantly moving you. Very efficient.
After moving up to the surgical floor, we met with the anesthesiologist who went over everything and did his usual run down. We spent a good bit of time with a nurse who prepped Autumn and myself for heading to the OR, and lastly we had a short consultation with her normal doctor who would perform her surgery. Autumn was in high spirits throughout this process. Shockingly high. I really worried she would have a meltdown out of fear, but I know Heavenly Father heard Adam's Priesthood blessing the night before.
As I mentioned, things moved quickly. Before I knew it, Autumn and I were headed back to surgery. Ernie and her blanket came with us, back into the bright operating room. Autumn let me pick her up and put her right onto the operating table, where the nurses started telling her about the "balloon" (the oxygen something or other). I was able to hold Autumn's hand as they placed the mask over her face, just as she started to become unsure of what was happening. I told her that she was going to go to sleep and dream about Frozen, and she'd have to wake up and tell me all about it, and about Olaf.
The last time Autumn had her surgery, this part was a lot more chaotic. She started flailing and was still moving when they rushed me out of the room, which was very traumatic for my first experience with something of this nature. I remember walking back to the waiting room fighting back tears. Wanting to avoid that this time, I asked if I could stay until I knew she was okay, to which they agreed.
As I held her hand, I saw her relax and the nurses told me she "didn't know I was there anymore", and she was asleep. I kissed her hand goodbye and headed back to the waiting room. The whole day had been so flawless so far that I was in good spirits and felt at ease. I'm sure the Xanax I took that morning also helped...
The surgery itself was only about 20 minutes long. We were hardly in the waiting room at all, but we were in there just long enough for me to see another young mom come back into the waiting room after escorting her baby (about 2 years old) to an OR for a procedure. She was sobbing when she sat down next to her husband and I just gave her a sympathetic smile and a nod. I just remember how hard it was and how scared I was the first time. I was grateful to be in a better position this time around.
The doctor came in and told us everything went great. He let us know what to look out for and what might happen (she might have a black eye tomorrow) and even went so far as to give us his home phone number in case anything concerning happened. We waited just another minute longer before we went back into recovery and saw her being wheeled in.
I sat down in the chair and held her as she started coming out of the anesthesia, which was not as easy for her as the last surgery. Another year older, she was much more aware of the pain and especially of her IV. She flailed and moved a lot more this time, almost like a dog having a bad dream. She cried a lot more and complained about the pain. She had a few bouts of nausea, but generally she was faring a lot better than a few of the other children in the room. It took what seemed like forever to finally get the IV out of her arm so she would relax, and all she wanted to do was go home. Once she finished her IV fluids and took a few sips of apple juice, we were sent on our way.
I have to admit, I was very disappointed. The last surgery, albeit more invasive, she slept all day. Today you'd have never known she had surgery, with her eye being considerably less swollen and her general demeanor. Not to mention all her many costume changes, dancing and singing routines she was coming up with. I was absolutely exhausted!
We were so lucky to have so many people looking out for us today, with messages, words of support and even a few visitors. Autumn's new soccer teammate and friend Mark came over with a bag of goodies and her new soccer uniform, and one of Autumn's best friends from church, Eli, brought her and Brody cookies. We felt so loved today.
I am so grateful that everything went so well. I could not have asked for her to be any better and I am so glad that my own prayers were answered that she'd be calm and happy throughout her special day. Fingers crossed that this is the last surgery for her in the near (or far!) future, and that with her glasses her vision will continue to get better as well. We are so proud of her!